The NEESPI Regional Focus Research Center for Non-boreal Eastern Europe is located at the University of West Hungary, Institute of Environmental and Earth Sciences, Sopron, Hungary

Mission declaration, FRC Sopron
NEESPI Focus Research Centers (FRC)
Goals of NEESPI

Mission declaration – NEESPI Regional Focus Research Centre for Non-boreal Eastern Europe, Sopron

There are numerous reasons why a large-scale, coordinated initiative to deal with the consequences of forecasted climatic changes and with the problems of adaptation is founded and necessary. Although facts and prospects with regard to global changes are in the focus of international research and politics, however the mainstream research of well established institutions, as well as European mitigation policy handle the specific problems of continental Southeast Europe as low priority, marginal issues. It should be however considered, that:

• climatic forecasts for SE Europe show higher uncertainties and processes, which are displaying trends different or even opposite to western or north European climatic forecasts,

• there are extensive plains in the region which are situated in a broad climatic and ecological transition zone (ecotone) towards steppes and arid lands. The vulnerability of this region to climatic changes is high,

• the decline of vitality and stability of vegetation zones, especially forests, in this region may generate ecologically harmful processes (degradation, aridification, oxidation of organic carbon stored in ecosystems etc.),

• the region is densely populated, and plays an important role in food production and industry, at the same time the economical and social restructuring following the political transition has not reached a stabilization phase yet. These facts may enhance expected socioeconomic consequences of changes considerably,

• most of the region is easily accessible and has been under extensive land use for a long period, which renders potentially advantageous natural processes of adaptation to changes dysfunctional. At the same time, this fact offers the possibility of applying planned, large-scale measures to support natural processes by human interference.

The above problems are common all over Southeast Europe. This region is still in a transitory phase with partly negative social and economic changes. The communication and cooperation of the numerous, relatively small nations of the region is traditionally underdeveloped. Initiatives to promote collaboration in adaptation to climate change would therefore benefit the whole region.
A weak point of modelling climate and its effects in the area is the uncertainty in assessing the interaction between the terrestric vegetation cover (first of all forests) and land use and of tropospheric atmospheric processes. The vegetation cover has been introduced into climate models very recently and in particular, data about forests - especially on forests in the non-boreal, Southeast European zone - are scarce. The improvement of estimated parameters of matter flux (such as carbon and water) and energy cycles is therefore an important task for research.

Sopron, August 2008 
Prof. Csaba Mátyás

NEESPI Focus Research Centers (FRC)
Currently existing NEESPI centers and their coordinators:
     Center for Cold Land Processes and Arctic Coastal Studies, Univ. of Alaska –
Fairbanks, AK, USA (Vladimir Romanovsky)
     Center for Water System Studies, University of New Hampshire,
Durham, NM, USA (Charles Vorosmarty)
     Center for Aerosol Studies, Georgia Inst. for Technology,
Atlanta, GA, USA (Irina Sokolik)
     Center for Biogeochemical Cycle Studies, Max Planck Inst. for Biogeochemistry,
Jena, Germany (Martin Heimann)
     Center for Land Cover Studies, Friedrich-Schiller University,
Jena, Germany (Christianne Schmullius)
     Regional Focus Research Center for Non-boreal Eastern Europe
Sopron, Hungary (Csaba Mátyás)
     Beijing Regional Focus Research Center for Dry Land Processes Studies, Inst. of Geography and Natural Resources Res. of Chines Acad. of Sci.,
Beijing, China (Jiyuan Liu)
     Regional Focus Research Center for NEESPI Studies in Siberia
(Krasnoyarsk, Federal Siberian University (Evgeny Vaganov) and
Siberian Center for Environmental Research (SCERT), Tomsk (Evgeny

NEESPI Science and Data Support Centers
United States:
     For hydrometeorological information: National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC
     For remote sensing information: Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Russian Federation:
     For hydrometeorological information: Research Institute For Hydrometeorological Information, Obninsk, Kaluga Area
     For remote sensing information: SCANEX Corp., Moscow
China with focus on East Asia:
     Beijing Climate Center

Goals of NEESPI

The original goal established for the NEESPI was to establish a large-scale, interdisciplinary program of funded research aimed at developing a better understanding of the interactions between the ecosystem, atmosphere, and human dynamics in northern Eurasia in support of international science programs with particular relevance to Global climate change research interests and government agency funding priorities. The long range goal is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the Northern Eurasian terrestrial ecosystem dynamics, biogeochemical cycles, surface energy and water cycles, and human activities and how they interact with and alter the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere of the Earth. The anticipated outcome from this program of research is the ability to measure, monitor, and model the processes that will provide accurate future projections of climatic and environmental changes in this region, which is essential because these changes and potential changes are believed to have a substantial potential to impact the Global Earth System and the human society.

The NEESPI research strategy intends to capitalize upon a variety of remote sensing and other tools and implement a general modelling framework linking socio-economic factors, crop, pollution, land use, ecosystem, and climate models with observational data to address the key research questions within Northern Eurasia. As an integral part of these activities, a set of educational activities for students, educators, and the general public is planned as well as substantial interaction with appropriate components of the related ongoing scientific and operational programs. A major objective of NEESPI will be to provide information, which empowers society and decision-makers to plan and react wisely, to mitigate the negative and to benefit from the positive consequences of environmental changes.

Specifically, the objective for conducting the scientific research (implementing the NEESPI Science Plan) during the next decade is to develop the following products:

• An integrated observational knowledge data base for environmental studies in Northern Eurasia that includes validated remote sensing products.

• A suite of process-oriented models for each major terrestrial process in all its interactions (including those with the society)

• Prototypes for a suite of global and regional models that seamlessly incorporate all regionally specific feedbacks associated with terrestrial processes in Northern Eurasia and which could serve to improve scientific understanding that would enable future environmental change projections and provide input to informed decision-making for land use and environmental protection policies.

• Systems demonstrated in the research domain in collaboration with operational partners that can serve the emergency needs of the society (early warning / management / mitigation of floods, fire, droughts, and other natural disasters).

For further information pleas visit the official site of NEESPI