Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global Earth Observation Plan Takes Critical Step Forward

28.11.2003


Italy Hosts Second Meeting Of Group On Earth Observation



The ad-hoc intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) will hold its second meeting this week in Baveno, Italy. The meeting aims to give direction to the continued development of a 10-year plan to implement a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained Earth observation system or set of systems. The first meeting took place in August 2003 in Washington, DC, immediately after the first Earth Observation Summit, which established the group.

In Baveno, the Group will review the first draft of the GEO Framework Document that will lead to a 10-year implementation plan to be presented at the next ministerial meeting to be held in Tokyo next spring. The Plan will direct the co-ordination of observing systems that link thousands of individual technological assets into a comprehensive Earth observation effort and provide critical information needed to address important global economic, social and scientific challenges. This information will help policy-makers around the world make more informed decisions regarding climate, the environment, and a host of other economic and social issues that are affected by Earth and climate systems.


This second GEO meeting will be co-chaired by Achilleas Mitsos, Director General for Research at the European Commission, Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, Akio Yuki, Deputy Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan, and Rob Adam, Director General of the Department of Science and Technology, South Africa.

The first Earth Observation Summit, in July 2003 in Washington, marked an important milestone in the development of a comprehensive, coordinated and sustained Earth observation system(s). During the Summit, a joint Declaration was adopted that

- recognized the need to move forward in the development of these systems,
- reaffirmed the need for Earth systems data and information for sound decision-making,
- set forth principles for long-term cooperation in meeting these goals, and
- committed to improving Earth observation systems and scientific and technical support in developing countries.

This Declaration also established the GEO. The GEO will pave the way for the second Earth Observation Summit in April 2004 in Japan, where the Framework Document will be adopted. The 10-year Implementation Plan will be adopted at the third Earth Observation Summit in Europe at the end of 2004.


Background

The need for developing a comprehensive, coordinated and sustained Earth Observation system or systems have been recognized among nations at the highest political levels. In September 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, called for improved cooperation and coordination among global observing systems and research programs for integrated global observations. In June 2003, the G-8 Summit held in Evian, France, called for strengthened international cooperation on global observation of the environment.

Around the globe, Earth observing systems have already demonstrated their value – e.g. in estimating crop yields, monitoring water and air quality, improving airline safety, and forecasting the weather. However, gaps or “blind spots” in understanding Earth and its complex systems severely limit our knowledge of how to address many concerns relating to drought, disease outbreaks, crop forecasts, energy, and transportation. Relevant tools are required to address scientific uncertainties and improve management of the natural resources that underpin our economies.


The high cost of uncertainty

Our need for tools to predict severe weather at short notice and to monitor long-term atmospheric change has never been greater. There are powerful economic as well as environmental incentives for gaining a greater understanding of these phenomena. According to a survey by the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, in the last 25 years, natural disasters have affected 4.1 billion people and lead to the loss of 1.3 million lives worldwide.

For example, in Europe, the economic and social costs of unpredicted climate change is huge: France recorded 11,435 weather-related mortalities in the first 2 weeks of August 2003 alone when temperatures soared over 40°C (104° F); fires in Portugal this summer caused over €1 billion in damage; the bill for repairing damage in Germany following the floods of summer 2002 was about €15 billion and this year German farmers fear a loss of 80% of their crops because of the drought.

In the United States, more than $3 trillion of U.S. GDP is affected by climate and weather - including the agriculture, energy, construction, travel and transportation industry sectors. In Japan, abnormally low temperatures in the summer of 2003 will cost the country an estimated $2.7 billion in lost crops. It is also well documented that inadequate Earth observation capacity is significantly constraining poverty alleviation efforts in developing countries, as many aspects of their economies are especially sensitive to climactic hazards.

To address these types of problems, significant investments have already been made already made in space and in-situ or surface-based observing systems. For example, Europe has invested in the ENVISAT, SPOT, METOP and Meteosat Second Generation satellites for a variety of land, ocean and atmospheric and meteorological applications. Developing countries have also increasingly been investing in strengthening especially their in-situ observation facilities, including meteorological services. As an example, the Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) includes an important focus on the role of Earth observation.

In addition, international organizations such as The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) have played a leadership role in developing global observing networks. The global observing system of the WMO, World Weather Watch, collects and distributes data around the globe from over 10,000 land surface stations, 7000 ships and 16 meteorological and environmental satellites. Other monitoring systems include the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS).

These systems provide critical data. However, linking and expanding the existing systems will add considerable power to an already impressive data collection effort and a quantum leap in our ability to predict and manage Earth system cycles and processes. The GEO will build upon the existing efforts at integration of these and other systems begun five years ago within the Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership (IGOS_P).

Monique Septon | alfa
Further information:
http://earthobservations.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>