Dear LCLUCers,

Here it is, the middle of 2021 and we’re still stuck at home, having continuous zoom meetings with no travel plans for the near future. However, there’s been good progress with vaccinations, and planning is in process for an in-person LCLUC Science Team meeting to celebrate the Program’s Silver Jubilee in October this year. We hope that face-to-face interaction and travel will resume in the next few months. Having had many virtual meetings, it’s become quite evident that a virtual meeting can hardly replace a normal, in-person one. An online lecture may be OK, especially if you are listening, but it’s not so good for the lecturer who cannot see the audience during the presentation. In fact, I have given a few lectures on Land Remote Sensing (an Intro crash course to GLOBE school students/teachers in Estonia and to first-year university students in Turkey). I missed seeing the reactions of the people in the audience and interactions during and after the lectures. The lectures seemed to have gone well, though. However, an interactive workshop just cannot be replaced by a virtual one. We have had a few GOFC-GOLD regional network virtual workshops and they were OK. Certainly, there is more flexibility (people can continue their other duties since they don’t have to travel) and it provides the opportunity for many who would not be able to travel to a regular meeting to participate remotely. But I am sure most of you would agree that it’s just not the same. Chats provide the only interactions. There are no evening cultural events or daily field trips, at which ideas for future initiatives are born (as in the case of SARI) or opportunities to develop ideas for joint proposals and projects, and, in general, building relationships and networking. On the plus side, we haven’t had to suffer from jet lag in both directions. Anyway, I hope we’ll be getting back to our normal scientific life, hence planning for next year's meetings needs to be done. 

Next year LCLUC Science Team meeting is being planned for mid-April in the Washington, DC area. It will be held along with the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Focus Area joint meeting as we did a few years ago. The LCLUC meeting per se will be just one day. But some LCLUC projects will be presented at the joint plenary sessions as well as at the poster sessions. Such joint meetings are a bit crowded but allow for good interdisciplinary interactions. For those LCLUC PIs who are also members of other Science Teams in the CC&E Focus Area (Terrestrial Ecology or Biodiversity), it’s also time/traveling/budget saving. Other meetings, including international, will be announced at our meeting in October and on the website. A propos, our website needs your attention. We are continuously improving the look (new logo), the wealth of information (all the ROSES calls and selections, announcements of webinars, etc.), and the Mapper! But the Mapper requires YOUR verification. I, personally, often find inaccuracies, such as the project members’ locations or geographic research areas, etc. So, I am asking each and every one of you to please spend a few minutes reviewing your Project Page to make sure that all is up to date. Check whether any team members are missing, the location is correct, or if any docs (publications, presentations) or info on some of your students can be added... Since the website is the face of the program, having inaccuracies can reflect negatively on the program as well as on your specific team when we give the links to outside researchers. We want to be proud of the program and its website. Please be responsive to emails you receive from our website coordinator Meghavi, who is continuously working on improvements. Also, please provide info on your media involvement, other PR, and awards. We all need to know about the achievements of our members! And play with the Mapper: check out what projects have been conducted in geographic areas or subjects you are working on. Of course, you can also use the Search engine with keywords – I do it all the time. 

This year will be marked by an important milestone for Land research – the launch of Landsat-9 (practically a clone of Landsat-8), planned for mid-September. Landsat-7 is still flying and producing data but soon will be deorbited. Due to the failure of the Scan Line Corrector on Memorial Day in 2003 L-9 imagery has not been so good, although methods to improve it by filling the data gaps have been developed. We hope that the next year we will have data streaming from two good NASA-USGS land imagers. These data together with ESA Sentinel-2 publicly accessible data provide the opportunity to observe a target almost every three days, supporting multi-source land imaging projects in the LCLUC Program. On the other hand, Very High-Resolution data from commercial companies, like Planet Lab and Maxar, are increasingly used by LCLUCers, including the recently selected LCLUC projects (LCLUC-2020). There are more and more opportunities for accessing these data (see the website), for example, the Norwegian government purchased wall-to-wall data for the tropics to tackle deforestation issues, and they are available for free to all researchers. NASA purchases data as the projects come in, so opportunities constantly grow. 

The LCLUC-2021 round of proposals will be processed by the end of the summer, so we’ll have new young talent coming into the program soon as this round is for early-career scientists. The next, LCLUC-2022 solicitation will be announced next February, as usual around Valentine’s Day, and the due dates for the two steps will be similar to this year (step 1 in spring and step 2 in summer). Keep in touch with me for any help and advice.

Good luck,