Instances of application of geophysical tools to societal problems are growing. In one recent example, a three-agency scientific team successfully integrated Landsat satellite information, data from a global meteorological network, and a computer model to estimate future crop yields. Dubbed LACIE for Large-Area Crop Inventory Experiment, the project is being conducted jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Jerry D. Hill, of NOAA, explains that satellite imagery permits estimation of the proportion of cropland in a country devoted to growing wheat, while weather data are used to estimate crop growth state, vigor, and potential yield. A computer model developed to estimate wheat yield projected total wheat production for the Soviet Union in 1977 at approximately 91.4 million metric tons. This compares very well with USSR reports of 92 million metric tons, released at the end of that year.