IT IS CONCLUDED THAT:
1. There are several compelling reasons to begin establishing a global carbon cycle observing system:
the commitment by governments to environmental conventions and multilateral agreements that specify or imply the need for terrestrial carbon information, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention to Combat Desertification;
the acceptance by Agenda 21 and the Conference of Parties of the requirement for systematic observations as part of the UNFCCC, and the related establishment of global observing systems for climate (GCOS) and terrestrial environments (GTOS);
the well-known need for information on the productivity and changes of terrestrial biosphere to permit sustainable development and resource management;
the well-established need for improved knowledge of the carbon cycle, its variability, and its likely future evolution, dictated by the desire to develop the most effective national and global policies to deal with climate variability, change, impact and adaptation.
Although the Kyoto Protocol is an important factor in the establishment of terrestrial carbon observations, the complete range of requirements is considerably more diverse, thus the terrestrial carbon observing system must respond to the broader set of requirements.
2. Based on previous detailed studies of requirements and the synthesis carried out as part of the IGOS planning, an initial observing system for terrestrial carbon can be established by employing present capabilities and activities. The main components are satellite observations, in situ atmospheric and ecosystem observation networks, digital data bases of key terrestrial ecosystem properties, integrative models, and associated research and development activities that will contribute to ongoing improvements in the performance of the observing system. Both new and previous data are important to the observing system.
3. Way forward involves participation of a number of existing satellite programmes, observation networks, and pilot and research projects. These may be accessed through coordinating international programmes and organizations, especially CEOS, FAO/GTOS, WMO, and IGBP. Because of the economic and social importance of many aspects of the carbon cycle, numerous terrestrial/atmospheric observation initiatives have been undertaken or are planned.
4. The primary roles for IGOS-P are to ensure that gaps in the observing systems are filled; that continuity, consistency and ongoing improvements in the comprehensiveness and quality of the observing capabilities are achieved; and that effective coordination and collaboration at the global level are facilitated. These are necessary in view of the diverse satellite and in situ data contributions required from national and international organizations.
It is recommended that IGOS Partners:
1. Approve this report and request the IGCO theme team to use it in preparing the IGCO theme report.
2. Request SIT to review and comment upon the commitments to existing and planned missions and programmes (Appendix 3.).
3. Examine the specific continuity and knowledge challenge issues identified in this report and where feasible, accept responsibility for addressing the gaps.
4. Take the following initial steps toward TCO implementation, within the IGCO framework:
a) Identify lead IGOS Partner(s) responsible for TCO implementation;
b) Charge the lead partner to prepare draft terms of reference in consultation with the Partners and to establish a TCO Implementation Team as outlined in Chapter 6, p.32;
c) Request TCO IT to submit a draft work plan with required IGOS-P contributions (beyond those in recommendations 2). and 3). above) within 4 months of its establishment;
d) Agree to support the work of TCO IT by making available staff and financial resources for its activities.