OzEWEX – the Australian Energy and Water Exchange initiative

We host the secretariat of OzEWEX and organise its annual Summer Institute and workshops.

OzeWEX is the Australian Energy and Water Exchange initiative. We are a non-profit volunteer organisation that is part of the international Global and regional Energy and Water Exchanges project (GEWEX). Our goal is to promote and increase measurement, understanding and prediction of the water and energy cycles and related variables over the Australian continent. Examples of important related variables include vegetation dynamics and ecosystem carbon fluxes.

You can find our 2014-2019 Science Plan here.

OZEWEX aims to achieve its goal by promoting and facilitating data collection and sharing; collaborative research activities across organisations, and engagement between researchers, research users and research managers.  Data brokering, collaborative research experiments, and workshops are considered important means.

Visit the OzEWEX website

Earth observations for water-related applications

On 28 March 2018, 22 experts from research, government and industry came together in Canberra to discuss the use of Earth observation for a range of water-related applications, including water management, economic production, natural hazards and scientific research.

The event was jointly organised by the Australian National University, the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), Earth Observation Australia, and the Australian Energy and Water Exchanges Initiative (OzEWEX)

Hosted by our Centre for Water and Landscape Dynamics, the workshop was prompted by the establishment of the Earth Observation for Government Network and the expected establishment of an Australian Space Agency, as well as upcoming international deliberations by the International Committee on Earth Observation Systems (CEOS) co-chaired by Australia.

A number of themes were explored during the two-day event from which seven recommendations emerged, namely :

  1. That Australian organisations and a future Australian space agency emphasise maintenance of long-term data time series, providing continuity in satellite data archives and derived products, and promoting gapless and seamless consistency between different missions for key hydrological and environmental variables.
  2. That Australia’s data custodians undertake steps to optimise the timeliness of data provision, either through reviewing their own processes or through advocacy at international fora.
  3. That the Australian space agency formalise Australia’s contribution through cal/val activities, and actively support the maintenance and expansion of this capacity to support continuous satellite data benchmarking.
  4. That the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) invest in the development of a suite of satellite products along with support for cal/val activities for continuous benchmarking of key water-related variables, and that investment occur to address mismatches between information requirements and current NCRIS foci.
  5. That Australia’s strengths in developing pragmatic Earth observation applications and multi-sensor and model-data blending approaches are formally recognised and strengthened and contributed to international efforts where appropriate. Furthermore, that this capacity be supported and contributed at global scale in the context of international efforts.
  6. That Geoscience Australia develop analysis-ready data products from Sentinel-1 radar data that can be used to infer inundation dynamics, and that universities develop training programs for the use of radar observations in water-related applications.
  7. That Australia advocate for a hyperspectral mission suited to water quality monitoring where opportunities arise.

The full workshop report can be downloaded here.

Environmental Remote Sensing: theory and tutorials

For several years we have been delivering training in environmental remote sensing, as

  • an advanced course at the Australian National University (ENVS3019/ENVS6319)
  • training at the Australian Climate and Water Summer Institute (link)
  • tailored training programmes to groups of professionals
  • a publicly available online course

You can find all the material together here.


ACT environmental sensing activities

This workshop was held 13 February 2015 in Canberra. It was prompted by the recognition that there were various ongoing research activities related to environmental sensing and monitoring in the ACT, including the National Arboretum Phenomic Sensor Array, the ACT grass curing trial,  the Namadgi NP cosmic ray sensor, airborne LiDAR and hyperspectral data collection, terrestrial laser scanning activities, and unmanned aerial vehicle sensing development and trialling. No doubt there are other relevant activities not mentioned here, as well as future activities at different stages of planning. This one day workshop was intended to (1) exchange information on relevant recent, current and near-future R&D activities through brief presentations; (2) find common interests and new opportunities for collaboration; (3) determine priorities in terms of data collection and (web) sharing; and (4) discuss where coordination or expansion would be beneficial and agree how to go about it. You can find the presentations and other material on this legacy page.

Environmental-economic accounts with Earth observation data

Environmental-economic accounting continues to receive attention as a robust means of measuring and reporting on our environment and to quantify the societal and economic benefits it generates. However, while the usefulness of environmental-economic accounts (EEA) is widely acknowledged, there remain several institutional and technical challenges to making environmental-economic accounting a reality for Australia.

Important among those challenges is the requirement for spatial data on different aspects of environmental composition and condition (e.g., land cover type, vegetation health) and the natural resources and other ecosystem services it provides (e.g., biomass, soil protection). The scientific literature shows that Earth observation should be able to provide at least some of these data in a cost-efficient manner, but it currently does not.

This Fenner Synthesis workshop brought together experts in (a) the use of environmental-economic accounting data, (b) the framing and production of EEA, and (c) satellite Earth observation of environmental variables. The goal was to identify the main constraints and opportunities to the better use of Earth observation in environmental-economic accounting.

The workshop was organised on 10-11 May 2018 in Canberra by Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, and Geoscience Australia (GA)

All materials and outputs from the workshop can be found on this page.