EnMAP’s repeated observations with an advanced spectral coverage and resolution will provide new insights into multiple interrelated environmental subjects. The EnMAP Science Advisory Group (EnSAG) identified several research topics, grouped in six major environmental themes, to which EnMAP data can provide a substantial contribution. This selection below focuses on some of the most challenging environmental subjects. Because hyperspectral image analysis is applicable to a wide range of research topics this selection can be enlarged according to the user needs and new fields of applications can be developed.

Key scientific questions to which EnMAP will contribute

Climate change impacts and measures

  • What are the consequences of climate change on the state, composition and seasonal cycles of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (e.g. boreal forests and coral reefs)?
  • What measures can effectively reduce the projected climate change and how can their implementation be monitored (e.g. reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), carbon sequestration in forests and wetlands)?

Land cover changes and surface processes

  • What is the extent and rate of severe land degradation processes (e.g. desertification, ground erosion, salinization, soil acidification) and land use / land cover changes (e.g. deforestation, urbanisation)?
  • Which processes drive land degradation and how efficient are countermeasures?
  • What are the consequences of land degradation and land use / land cover changes in view of food security and environmental sustainability?

Biodiversity and ecosystem services

  • What is the spatial pattern of ecosystem and diversity distributions from local to global scale?
  • How do ecosystems change over time in their composition and health?
  • How are ecosystem functions and services being altered by human activities or natural causes and how can harmful consequences on their biodiversity be reduced or prevented?

Water availability and quality

  • Which areas are affected by water scarcity and water quality problems from local to global and from seasonal to decadal scale?
  • How do climate change and human activities such as intensive agriculture, water demanding industries and high population density reinforce water scarcity problems?
  • How is the quality of inland and coastal water affected by the change of land use and climate, and by management of lakes, rivers and coastal zone?
  • What is the impact of water quality and climate change on tdal flats as well as on benthic organisms, such as kelp, seaweed and corals?

Natural resources

  • How can natural resources such as mineral deposits, energy sources (oil, gas), ground water sources and others be explored and managed in a sustainable way?
  • What impact do human activities such as industry, mining, agriculture and others have on natural resources?
  • How can environmentally harmful impacts such as water/air pollution, land contamination, mine waste and others be tracked, monitored and managed in order to conserve and sustain natural resources?

Hazard and Risk Assessment

  • Which areas are to what extent vulnerable to natural and man-made hazards?
  • In case of a natural or man-made disaster, which areas are to what extent affected?