What is a measure?
Focussing efforts to improve environmental information
An essential environmental measure is a quantifiable aspect of the environment that is key to tracking change in the state of the environment. For example, measures of climate may include rainfall, temperature, wind speed and direction, or sea surface temperature. Measures are focused at a national scale but are also useful at regional and local scales.
Identifying essential environmental measures is a critical first step towards long-term improvements in the availability of environmental information. Measures help us to prioritise where we should collect new data and where we should improve the availability of existing data.
Measures have multiple uses
Measures are common to the data needs of a wide range of analysis and reporting (Figure 1). Measures may not satisfy the data needs of any one end-use, but they are common to the needs of multiple end-uses. For example, a measure such as sea surface temperature can be used as an indicator of ecosystem stress, as an indicator of climate change, or as an input to weather prediction.
Measures are independent of methods
Measures help guide information reform
Measures help guide data collection and help prioritise projects that make existing data more findable, accessible, interopable and reusable (FAIR).
Over time, measures will be published for each of the nine theme areas in the national State of the Environment report: Atmosphere, Built Environment, Heritage, Biodiversity, Land, Inland Water, Coasts, Marine Environment, and Antarctic Environment.
Image at top of page: Common noddies in flight over Cato Island in the Coral Sea. Shared copyright (Regulus Fogagnolo and the Department of the Environment and Energy)