Monitoring the climate with Earth observation data: GEO at the 2018 Climate Show
7 May 2018
Innovative technologies and solutions for the climate were presented at the 2018 Climate Show, held from 6 to 8 April in Geneva. The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) took part in the event, demonstrating the value of Earth observations in addressing climate change.
Climate change is immensely complex and impacted by multiple interconnected systems. Reducing carbon emissions and building adaptive capacity against the impacts of climate change requires various strategies and solutions - all of which require open and sustained data and monitoring.
At the first Geneva International Climate Show, entrepreneurs showcased innovative products and services for climate change mitigation in the exhibition area, while speakers presented how various efforts and data are being used to feed climate and energy models, to derive useful information for monitoring the climate system, and to eventually support decision-making for climate action.
At the opening session of the Climate Show, GEO Secretariat Director Barbara Ryan spoke alongside Bertrand Piccard of the Solar Impulse Foundation and Thomas Stocker of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Ryan emphasized that while the technology necessary to monitor the climate effectively is already here, political will is still needed to transform our society into a system which openly shares data - noting that more than half of the data collected by government-operated Earth observing satellites is still not freely shared. Open data policies are crucial to address the cross-cutting issue of climate change and to provide input for better decision making across many domains.
In a session on climate change monitoring organized by GEO, Copernicus and ECMWF, André Obregon, GEO’s technical expert on climate, emphasized the need to measure and monitor our environment continuously to better understand how to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. Obregon presented GEO’s efforts to coordinate carbon and GHG observations globally, through its GEO Carbon and GHG initiative. This initiative provides an informal forum for discussion among all major players in climate observations, in order to develop a comprehensive observation system that integrates data from the different parts of the global carbon cycle.
In the same workshop, the Copernicus Climate Change Service and Atmospheric Monitoring Service showcased how they are using Earth observations to enable the assessment of damage and impact caused by climate change. They also provided examples of user-driven services which take advantage of freely available Earth observation data. A case study on the Vortex initiative demonstrated the use of Copernicus data to model virtual data for the implementation of renewable energy projects.
About the author: Natacha Klein is a communications intern at the Group on Earth Observations Secretariat.