Steven W. Running, (born 1950) Emeritus Regents Professor of Ecology, W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana, and Director of the Numerical Terradynamics Simulation Group, developed the earth observing-oriented algorithms used by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s satellites, Terra and Aqua. Running's MOD17 algorithms are used to provide accurate and continuous global monitoring of the terrestrial biosphere, specifically, generating near-real-time data sets for repeated monitoring of vegetation primary production on vegetated land at 1-km resolution at 8-day intervals. These datasets are unique in that they provide global data on primary productivity and span a decade.
A recognized expert in global ecosystem monitoring, Running was invited to serve on the board of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 2007, the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change". Running made the following statement about winning the prize: "We've got to get past all the petty bickering and get to work. This is about a big transition for society over the next 50 years. The path we are on is unsustainable. What the Nobel committee is saying is that we've got to wake up. We've got to change the course of the whole world."
In 2012, Running suggested a tenth planetary boundary, the annual net global primary production of all terrestrial plants, as an easily determinable measure integrating many variables that will give "a clear signal about the health of ecosystems".
- MODIS GPP/NPP (MOD17)
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- Forest Ecosystems ISBN 9780123706058
- Author Biography for Steven W. Running
- Running, Steven W. (2012) A Measurable Planetary Boundary for the Biosphere. Science 337 (6101): 1458–1459. doi:10.1126/science.1227620
- Has Plant Life Reached Its Limits? New York Times, 20 September 2012.
- Biomass should be tenth tipping point, researcher says SciDev.Net, 27 March 2012.