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IGOS - Integrated Global Observing Strategy

Since the Rio Conference in 1992, international conferences on the environment have repeatedly called for integrated global observations on the environment. This is because effective monitoring of the planet requires cooperation on a global scale. In June 1998, a group of global observing systems, international science organizations, United Nations agencies and national space programmes joined to form the Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership (IGOS-P). This partnership marks a new level of collaboration: it brings together the major surface and space-based observing systems to produce a harmonized, comprehensive report on the planet's health. For a complete listing of the partners, please refer to the IGOS-P website.

A thematic approach

In search of a practical strategy to analyse the entire world by space and land, the partnership has adopted a thematic strategy. The partners select a priority area of study, or theme, and create parameters for programme implementation. For example, they agree on a common set of essential observations and their technical characteristics, identify relevant space-based and in situ observing systems that are already in place, create mechanisms for user communities to participate and recommend an institutional framework. Finally, the partners designate a team consisting of the leaders and organizations that will execute the programme. Thus far the partnership has advanced an ocean theme, a carbon theme, and an atmospheric chemistry theme. Themes in Atmospheric chemistry, Carbon, Coastal area, Ocean, and Water are at various stages of development with carbon and oceans among the most advanced.

Terrestrial Carbon

GTOS is a member of the IGOS Integrated Global Carbon Observing theme and leads the Terrestrial Carbon component (TCO). The overall objective is to develop a flexible and robust strategy for global carbon observations over the next decade. Both remote and in situ observations will be used to integrate the terrestrial, oceanic and atmospheric components. The carbon theme team is flexible enough to incorporate new observational requirements as science and measurement technologies develop. The Terrestrial Carbon Observations component has more specific objectives over the next decade, including the determination of terrestrial carbon sources and sinks with increasing accuracy and spatial resolution.

Land Theme

In addition, GTOS with the University of Maryland is leading the development of the Integrated Global Observations for Land (IGOL) of IGOS. The established land team has the responsibility to design a cohesive programme of activities which will provide a comprehensive picture of the present state of terrestrial ecosystems, and build capacity for long-term monitoring of those ecosystems.

Go to IGOS homepage.

© FAO   ::   Global Terrestrial Observing System - GTOS   ::   15 January 2007