Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

We need one global network of 1000 stations to build an Earth observatory

05.01.2018

We also need to share our data. So says world's most prominent geoscientist, Markku Kulmala, professor of physics at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and head of the Aerosol and Haze Laboratory at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China.

Environmental challenges, climate change, water and food security and urban air pollution, they are all interlinked, yet each is studied as such, separately. This is not a sustainable situation, for anybody anymore. To tackle this, professor Markku Kulmala calls for a continuous, comprehensive monitoring of interactions between the planet's surface and atmosphere in his article published in Nature, January 4, 2018.


SMEAR II is a station for measuring environmental data in Hyytiälä, Finland.

Credit: Juho Aalto

In his article "Build a global Earth observatory", he refers to his long experience of collecting environmental data. He has built a station, and not just one, but probably the most impressive station, called SMEAR II (Station for Measuring Ecosystem-Atmosphere Relationships), in the boreal forests of Finland showing how a rounded set of environmental measurements can be obtained.

Now building on a large scale, the answer is a global Earth observatory, consisting of 1,000 or more well-equipped ground stations around the world that track environments and key ecosystems fully and continuously. Data from these stations would be linked to data from satellite-based remote sensing, laboratory experiments and computer models accordingly.

"Incomplete coverage from ground stations is the main limit to observations of Earth's conditions. Satellites can continuously, online 24/7, monitor some compounds, such as CO2, ozone and aerosols, almost planet-wide. But they cannot resolve processes or fluxes, or trace the hundreds more compounds of interest. Satellite data must be 'ground-truthed', professor Kulmala says.

This global observatory of 1,000 super stations needs to be established soon, within 10-15 years.

"The costs would be around €10 million (US$11.8 million) to €20 million per station, which can be compared to the building costs of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, or that of US President Donald Trump's proposed Mexican wall."

Nevertheless, a shift in how environmental data are collected and disseminated is needed, there is no question about that.

"There is a scientific interest, as well, in this data," professor Markku Kulmala says, "the researchers could find new mechanisms and feedback loops in this coherent data set."

###

Markku Kulmala is a professor of physics and director of the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research at the University of Helsinki, Finland; and head of the Aerosol and Haze Laboratory at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China.

Markku Kulmala, Build a global Earth Observatory, Nature, Vol. 553, 4 January 2018

Image: Juho Aalto, SMEAR II Station in Hyytiälä, Finland

Contact details: Markku Kulmala, + 358 40 596 2311, markku.kulmala@helsinki.fi

Kind regards, Press Officer Minna Meriläinen-Tenhu, +358 50 415 0316, @MinnaMeriTenhu, minna.merilainen@helsinki.fi

Markku Kulmala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/science/we-need-one-global-network-of-1000-stations-to-build-an-earth-observatory
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/d41586-017-08967-y

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland
15.11.2018 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs
14.11.2018 | Uppsala 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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>