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What is a Fiducial Site

A Fiducial site is a geographic location that is used as a benchmark for the long-term monitoring of processes, both natural and anthropogenic, associated with the causes and effects of global environmental change.

The word fiducial carries multiple meanings with regard to the Global Fiducials Program (GFP). Fiducials are marks or points of reference applied to images to present a fixed standard of reference, so in the GFP they refer to the identification of a place on the Earth.

The term fiducial may also be interpreted to refer to a long-term trust, where one may be holding something in trust for another. Both references aptly apply, as the GFP maintains a long-term record of data over specific places on the Earth to be available for scientific investigations. Fiducial sites are associated with Earth processes and environmentally sensitive areas that are being monitored so that scientists can better understand and model the dynamic systems and changes that are occurring. The sites are located around the globe and are distributed among environmental topics and processes within five major disciplines: Ocean Processes; Land Use/Land Cover; Atmospheric Processes; Ice and Snow Dynamics; and Geologic Processes.