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Benefits of GEOSS in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, Earth Observations will:

Allow us to monitor and evaluate the safety of Massachusetts' recreational waters with greater certainty through the identification of conditions that cause sickness.

Travel and tourism is the Nation's largest employer and second largest contributor to the GDP, generating over $700 billion annually. Beaches are the leading tourist destination, with coastal states earning 85 percent of all U.S. tourism revenues. Approximately 180 million people vacation and recreate along U.S. coasts every year.1

Monitor local groundwater supplies and surrounding facilities to protect groundwater resources.

Expand the ability to track storms and precipitation. Through Earth observations, Massachusetts can have near real-time monitoring that will improve storm forecasts and help to dramatically reduce the losses to property and life due to storms.

Average annual damage from tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods is $11.4 billion nationally, of which:

Track effects of global change. Integration of international data sets into Earth observations will help us detect signs of global warming, including sea level rise and coastal degradation.

Weather and climate sensitive industries, both directly and indirectly, account for about one-third of the Nations' GDP, or $3 trillion, ranging from finance, insurance, and real estate to services, retail and wholesale trade and manufacturing.3

Track water temperatures, harmful algal blooms, invasive species, and other environmental factors affecting the Massachusetts' coastal areas.

Economic impact of harmful algal blooms in United States average annually $49 million but individual outbreaks can cause economic damage that exceeds the annual average.4

Enable state and local air quality forecasters to issue more timely, accurate, and site-specific warnings about episodes of poor air quality to the public so that people (especially the sensitive population) may take prudent actions to protect their health. By fall 2004, ozone forecasts will be made available for the Northeast United States. By 2009, ozone forecasts will be made available nationwide and particulate matter forecasts will be made available for the Northeast.

It is estimated that 31 million Americans including 9 million children have asthma. Ground level ozone in the summer time is the chief cause for poor air quality warnings and human exposure to ozone is known to aggravate asthma. Another component of air, airborne particulate matter, is associated with increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for people with heart and lung disease and increased work and school absences.5

Evaluate stress in crops through satellite monitoring of soil moisture and tracking of plant diseases and invasive species.

Provide more accurate weather forecasting and save Massachusetts millions of dollars in heating and cooling costs.

The value of understanding the interrelationships between weather variables and electric load can save a small utility at least $0.5 M annually through improved temperature forecasts.6

Help in our efforts to protect watersheds through water quality monitoring and mapping of land cover changes; thereby, protecting sources of water for agriculture, forestry, and human uses.

Economic activity in coastal regions is very large. In the U.S., seventy-five percent of the nation's Gross States' Products came from the coastal states in 2000. Almost half of the national economy came from the coastal watershed counties, and more than one-third came from those counties in which states operate their Coastal Zone Management programs. The near shore area, which is four percent of the nation's land, produces more than 11 percent of the nation's economic output.7

Improve sustainable agriculture by monitoring soil moisture content, rates of fertilizer application, field fertility, and plant diseases.


1 Leeworthy, Vernon R., Preliminary Estimates from Versions 1-6:Coastal Recreation Participation, National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE) 2000, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Oceans and Coasts, Special Projects Office. Website: http://marineeconomics.noaa.gov.

2 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, and the Atmospheric Policy Program of the American Meteorological Society, 2001, Extreme Weather Sourcebook 2001: Economic and Other Societal Impacts Related to Hurricanes, Floods, Tornadoes, Lightning, and Other U.S. Weather Phenomena, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo. Available only online at http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/sourcebook/data.html

3 Dutton, John A., Opportunities and priorities in a new era for weather and climate services, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, September 2002, volume 83, no. 9, pp 1303-1311.

4 Hoagland, D.M. Anderson, Y. Kaoru and A.W. White. August 2002. The economic effects of harmful algal blooms in the United States: estimates, assessment issues, and information needs. Estuaries 25 (4b): 819- 837.

5 U.S. Centers for Disease Control

6 Tribble, A.N., 2003: The relationship between weather variables and electricity demand to improve short-term load forecasting. Ph. D. dissertation, School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, 221 pp., from Building The National Cooperative Mesonet: Program Development Plan For COOP Modernization dated October 2003.

7 National Ocean Economics Project, www.oceaneconomics.org.

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