Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Earth and Space Week: Third Earth Observation Summit agrees ten-year GEOSS action plan

18.02.2005


Around 60 nations and more than 40 international organisations joined ESA and host the European Community at the Third Earth Observation summit on Wednesday. History was made at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels as assembled delegates formally agreed a ten-year plan to implement a Global Earth Observation System of Systems.



The plan summarises the steps that need to be taken to put a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) in place. GEOSS will build on existing Earth Observation systems by coordinating efforts, addressing data gaps and supporting interoperability and information sharing. It aims to increase responsiveness to user needs and improve information delivery to users.

The creation of a single, comprehensive and sustained system for Earth Observation should help countries to identify and address global environmental and economic challenges, including climate change and natural disasters – the agreement coming on the same day that the Kyoto Protocol entered into force, and just under two months after the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.


Delivering the opening address, European Commission (EC) Environmental Commissioner Stavros Dimas said that a combination of different Earth Observation systems is needed to study the kind of complex phenomena found within the Earth system: "Good policy needs good science – we need to understand the environment in order to protect it. "It is very fitting that we are today, on the date of entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, launching a system that will greatly enhance our understanding of the environment and will hopefully help us to do what we can to improve it."

Kusmayanto Kadiman, Indonesian State Minister for Research and Technology, described his 220-million person nation as “both threatened and blessed by nature”, with the vast archipelago both rich in resources but also subject to a variety of hazards including earthquakes and volcanoes, forest fires, hurricanes and floods as well as the recent tsunami that struck Sumatra and Banda Aceh on 26 December 2004.

Kadiman said he was overwhelmed by the response of the world community, including near-real time satellite imagery provided through the Charter on Space and Major Disasters, which enabled the government to swiftly grasp the full scope of the tragedy. "The effectiveness of Earth Observation has been demonstrated," Kadiman said. He added that Indonesia is setting up a Regional Centre for Disaster Mitigation, planned as part of a global network of such centres. "Early-warning systems are required to guard against future disasters, so GEOSS could not be more timely."

US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez reminded the Summit that it had been just 19 months since the First Earth Observation Summit in Washington DC. A lot of work had been done to reach this stage, but the benefits would be worth it: “Hurricane prediction has already saved the lives of many people, keeping our citizens out of harm’s way. A third of the US economy is weather or climate-related – a figure amounting to 3 trillion dollars. "Just imagine with GEOSS, farmers being able to predict their crop yields, or identifying the areas most sensitive to forest fires, having weather forecasts with an accuracy of months instead of days, and zeroing in on our climate with complete accuracy."

GEO Co-chair Rob Adam, Director-General of the South African Department of Science and Technology, welcomed the GEOSS implementation plan, stating that its emphasis on capacity-building will particularly help sustain and extend the observational capacities of developing countries.

Colonel Benjamin Ndala, Secretary-General of the International Commission of the Congo-Oubangi-Sangha Basin (CICOS) gave an example of how capacity-building works in practice. Starting in 1996, a project called PUMA ensured that 53 African national meteorology services would be capable of making use of the enhanced data and services provided by the new Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) family of European weather satellites.

Supported by €11 million from the European Commission, as well as bilateral contributions from the Belgium, France and the UK, PUMA has set up a total of 59 receiving stations across the African continent – one for each participating country and six regional centres – and 350 technicians will have been trained by September of this year.

He added that the PUMA Task Team is now working on a follow-up project called African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD), that extends beyond meteorology to cover Earth Observation capacity-building, with the intention of providing support for African policy makers. AMESD will serve as the African link to GEOSS.

Stephen Briggs of ESA’s Earth Observation Science and Applications Department gave details of a programme called TIGER which is focused on applying Earth Observation to Africa, with a particular focus on water management issues – some 95 research proposals have been received across the continent. Satellite radar images are being used to calculate rates of water extraction from underground aquifers, for example, based on millimetre-scale measurements of ground motion.

Alan Belward of the EC’s Joint Research Centre in Italy stated that the JRC’s Africa Observatory project aims to supply Earth Observation data to African users. Belward had a graphic example of how Earth Observation can work in practice – he compared a 1963 declassified military satellite image of Lake Chad to a view from 2000, showing that it is now only a tenth the size it was forty years ago. Shortages of water and other resources are increasing drivers of regional conflicts.

Developing countries are disproportionately threatened by climate change, he said. But Earth Observation can enable wise stewardship of resources such as water, forestry and national parks – valuable in themselves as tourist attractions, but threatened by illegal logging and poaching. "The environment and poverty reduction fit hand in glove," Belward said. "Natural resources equal income in developing countries. Poor management of natural resources now can limit their value for future generations - decreasing biodiversity limits the value of ecosystem services."

Mosibudi Mangena, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology said he was very pleased to have GEOSS established, and that the developing world was so well represented: "We will be able to generate data and also get data on a worldwide basis, to use it in our own countries in action against poverty and the other issues that affect humanity. "For developed countries the GEOSS challenge is to coordinate many existing systems, while we in many cases still have to create our own Earth Observation systems. We welcome GEOSS and hope it will bring future generations a better health than our own."

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaEO/SEMSABYEM4E_index_0.html
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

nachricht Ice stream draining Greenland Ice Sheet sensitive to changes over past 45,000 years
14.05.2018 | Oregon State University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Asian tiger mosquito on the move

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>