TERRESTRIAL OBSERVATIONS OF OUR PLANET - GTOS 50

TERRESTRIAL OBSERVATIONS
OF OUR PLANET

GTOS 50



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Editor: Reuben Sessa
Authors: Olivier Arino; Antonio Bombelli; Michael Brady; Robert R. Christian; Renato Cumani; Han Dolman; Claudia Drexler; Alain Giorgio Economides; Gregory B. Greenwood; Martin Herold; Thomas Hofer; Anthony Janetos; Mami Kainuma; John Latham; Mette Løyche Wilkie; Antonio Martucci; Berrien Moore; Francesco Palazzo; Paolo Prosperi; Franck Ranera; Inbal Becker Reshef; Ilaria Rosati; Steven W. Running; Robert Scholes; Reuben Sessa; Lucilla Spini; John Townsend; Riccardo Valentini; Jeff Tschirley; Maosheng Zhao



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ABSTRACT

As is now well-known, the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, as well as other greenhouse gases, due to human activity, has produced concerns regarding the energy balance of the global atmosphere, and this shift in balance will cause global patterns of temperature to increase and precipitation to change — the broad outlines are that wet areas will get wetter and dry areas will get drier. What is less well known is just how daunting the task is of stabilizing climate change. Stabilizing emissions does not stabilize the concentration in the atmosphere, and even after achieving stabilization of CO2 in the atmosphere, climate will continue to change, with both ocean and land temperature continuing to rise for decades, and sea levels continuing to rise for centuries. The world has therefore already a future “pre-committed” to warming on account of carbon dioxide that humans have already added to the atmosphere. Human activities are also signifi cantly infl uencing Earth’s environment in many ways in addition to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. For many parts of the planet, the challenging environmental concerns are “place-based”: shortages of clean and accessible freshwater, health threatening changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere, severe degradation of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, increases in soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, alterations of the coastal zone, and declines in fi sheries. This direct immediate environmental impact further increases the urgency and the need to take action. To confront these linked challenges of global climate change and place-based environmental threats requires continuous focused information about the planet. The Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) is committed to advancing through advocacy and informed planning the development and maintenance of the required observations of the terrestrial component of the Earth. Confronting these concurrent challenges of global climate change and place-based environmental threats requires continuous focused information about the planet. The Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) is committed to advancing, through advocacy and informed planning, the development and maintenance of the required observations of the terrestrial component of the Earth. This report reviews some of the efforts made by GTOS, its technical Panels and its partners, in meeting the terrestrial observational requirements of stakeholders. For example, considerable support has been given to the realization of the Global


© FAO 2007