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Norman B. Bliss, Principal Scientist, Hughes STX Corporation, EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls,
South Dakota, USA (work performed under U.S. Geological Survey contract 1434-92-C-40004),
ISPRS Commission VII
Understanding global processes requires integrating information on physical, chemical. and biological
processes at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Many of these processes depend on or interact
with the world1s body of soils--the pedosphere. Soil maps provide a stratification of the landscape
designed to separate major elements based on observable soil properties. Traditionally. soil scientists
have made their stratifications sensitive to agricultural productivity. but other ecological processes
are now considered. Carbon storage in soils is an indicator of fertility and also a source or sink for
atmospheric carbon dioxide or methane, which influences greenhouse gas concentrations. The dynamics of
soil moisture is significant, not just for crop survival, but as a component of general circulation
models of the atmosphere. The existing data bases of soil distribution and properties can provide
valuable information for these additional interpretations. A key link is a soil taxonomic system that
can account for the physical and chemical properties that vary within seasons, such as soil moisture and
soil temperature regimes. Global soil data bases at mapping scales of 1:30,000,000 and 1:5,000,000 have
been developed that include attribute files of soil properties by taxonomic class. The data bases are
used to produce interpretive maps and data sets relevant to interdisciplinary global change research.
Key Words:
Global, Soil, Data Base, Carbon, Moisture