A warning system for the planet

November 20, 2012

(Credit: NASA)

There is no centralized system to monitor and report changes in the Earth’s life-support systems. So scientists in 77 nations have established the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Group on Earth Observation Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), which integrates existing data streams into one platform to provide a  global warning system for Earth’s biological and social systems.

GEO BON is structured around eight working groups focused on genetics, terrestrial species monitoring, terrestrial ecosystem change, freshwater ecosystem change, marine ecosystem change, ecosystem services, in situ and remote-sensing integration, and data integration and interoperability.

“The connections between nature and society are most complex and little is known about the tipping points of our socioecological systems,” says Kirsten Thonicke and some of her colleagues from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).