Overview of the people making the EUROCLIMA Desertification Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) Observatory possible

Ecologist and GIS expert
Specialized in geographic information systems (GIS), with a Master degree in Environment analysis and management (Torino, 2009). Past experiences cross-cut the fields of biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and landscape management, impact assessment and restoration. Dario spent three years as GIS modeller at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (2014-2016, Bangor, UK), focusing on the spatial modelling of ecosystem services. Previously, he worked both as a freelance and within institutions such as the Joint Research Centre (2013), University of Torino (2009-2011) and US National Park Service (2010). He taught GIS and the like for three academic years as well, at Master level courses. His tasks at JRC include the development of drought indicators and contributing to the existing reporting service and tools.
Forest Scientist by training, graduated in 1989 from University College Dublin (UCD) in Ireland, with the degree of Master of Agricultural Science, specialized in the use of satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) for national forest inventories. Since 2000, Niall has been an working at the JRC, were is member of the scientific teams responsible for the operational data portals for floods (European Flood Awareness System) and these Droughts Systems. Currently, Niall 's two main fields of activity are:
  1. Climate impact assessment: Computation, statistical analysis, and visualization of indicators of climate impacts, at regional and global levels, derived from various sources of environmental, social and economic data, including multi-annual time-series of meteorological observations, satellite Earth observation (EO) data, and socio-economic statistical databases.
  2. Satellite-based flood mapping and damage assessment: Production of flood hazard maps in near real-time, based on C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from the Sentinel 1 satellites, using Google Earth Engine.
Prior to 2000, Niall gained considerable experience in his field, working as a Visiting Scientist at Finland's Technical Research Centre (VTT) in Helsinki, in 1999; a Research Scientist and Consultant at the JRC in Italy, from 1993-1998; and a computer programmer for a commercial image processing software company (ERDAS Inc.) in Atlanta, USA, from 1991-1992. Niall has knowledge and experience of a variety of spatial and statistical analysis techniques, and is proficient in several programming languages, including Standard C, Python and JavaScript.
Medium-range probabilistic forecasting of drought and extreme precipitation events
Christophe holds a PhD from the LTHE laboratory (Grenoble, France). During his PhD and two years of postdoc in LATMOS (Paris, France), he studied the origins of the precipitation variability at different time scales in the West Africa monsoon system. He then worked at the LMD (Paris, France), to assess the uncertainties of downscaling extreme precipitation in the context of climate change. In 2009, Christophe moved to Canada to study the surface/precipitation interactions at McGill University in Montreal. In 2012, he was a visiting scientist at NCAR (Boulder, CO, USA), where he worked on quantifying the impact of aerosols on precipitation over West Africa. At the JRC, he will carry on with the improvement of the drought forecast in Europe and Africa using the precipitation and atmospheric predictors fields provided by the ECMWF Ensemble system.
Spatially distributed estimation of hydrological variables using remote sensing data and land-surface models
Bachelor (2005) and Master (2007) Degrees in Environmental Engineering and Ph.D. in Hydraulic Engineering (2011) at the "Università degli Studi di Palermo". Post-doc Researcher at the "Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory" of the USDA-ARS in 2012 and 2013. Recently joined the Drought Group at the JRC-IES Climate Risk Management Unit. The main research topics are the use of remote sensing techniques for spatially distributed estimation of hydrological variables, the modelling of land-atmosphere fluxes exchange and the coupling of the two approaches through data assimilation.
Geologist expert in web GIS development

Geographical information systems and web map services
Master Degree in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering (2002) and PhD in Geodesy and Geomatics (2008). Research and educational jobs at the at the "Politecnico di Milano" (2002-2008) in cartography and geographical information systems. In July 2008 joined the JRC in order to assist the DESERT Action (2008-2012) and the Droughts group of the Climate Risk Management Unit (since 2013). His main task is the development of the website and the web mapping services of the European Drought Observatory.
Jürgen obtained a Diploma in Rural Survey in 1984 and MSc and PhD degrees in Geography and Remote Sensing in 1986 and 1992. Jürgen was heading the JRC Action on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DESERT) from 2008 to 2012. Now he is the leader of the Droughts project at the Climate Risk Management Unit. His current research interests focus on assessment and monitoring of drought and desertification processes, including the development of complex indicators based on climate, terrain, land cover and remote sensing data.
Expert in Environmental Physics and Climate Physics
de Jager
Alfred graduated in 1988 at the University of Amsterdam in Physical Geography and Soil Science. He specialized on Soil Erosion and worked on the quantification of the latter in the Tamale Region in Ghana. Subsequently he specialized on GIS and Database systems through PRIME System 9 and later using ArcINFO. He designed and realized a Industrial Planning System (IBIS) for the Dutch Planning Authority and did various projects for the Dutch Government on behalf of LOGICA (then CMG). In 1997 he joined the JRC and assisted in various projects in which automation and GI data processing are the main challenge.
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