The global climate is changing with notable impacts on the environment. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that over the period 1880-2012 the global average surface temperature of the Earth has warmed by 0.85°C (IPCC 2013) (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1: globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature anomaly 1850-2012. Source: IPCC (2013)
This increase in surface temperature is statistically significant over most areas of the Earth’s land surface. The impacts from a changing climate may present new risks and/or make managing existing risks more challenging.
Climate, temperature and precipitation in particular, have a very strong direct impact on the development, reproduction and survival of different plant and animal species. Moreover, also changes in extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts (Gordo & Sanz 2006), storms, flooding and wildfires may influence the frequency and magnitude of such extreme events (IPCC 2012).
Hyperspectral remote sensing will provide a systematic, synoptic framework for advancing scientific knowledge of the Earth as a complex system of geophysical phenomena that, directly and through interacting processes, often lead to natural hazards. Improved and integrated measurements along with numerical modelling are enabling a greater understanding of where and when a particular hazard event is most likely to occur and result in significant socioeconomic impact.
PRISMA, with high-resolution spectra of each pixel in spatially high-resolution images of the surface, could provide the identification and mapping of surface materials and atmospheric trace gases (McDonald et al. 2009), the measurement of their relative concentrations, and subsequently the assignment of the proportional contribution of mixed pixel signals (e.g. spectral unmixing), derivation of their spatial distribution (e.g. mapping), and finally their evolution over time (multi-temporal analysis).
PRISMA, having the capability to study in detail the spectral range in the VIS-SWIR, could furnish important parameters to support the risk management procedures for natural and manmade hazards. Moreover, PRISMA could contribute with very important parameters during the mitigation-preparation and recovery phases.
 Gordo, O. & Sanz, J.J., (2005), Phenology and climate change: a long-term study in a Mediterranean locality. Oecologia, 146: 484–495.
 IPCC. (2012), Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, 582 pp.
 IPCC, (2013), Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S. K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
 MacDonald, J. S., Ustin, S. L. & Schaepman, M. E., (2009), The contributions of Dr.Alexander F.H. Goetz to imaging spectrometry. Remote Sensing of Environment, 113:s2-s4.