Blog / June 17, 2022
James Thornton, Mountain Research Initiative
It is well recognized that, at a global level, in situ data coverage is often sparse and irregular. However, in many specific regions and disciplines, there remains no detailed understanding of network coverage.
In a recent article in the open access journal Frontiers in Climate, my co-authors and I aimed to fill this knowledge gap with respect to freely accessible climatological monitoring data from across the world’s mountain regions, as a contribution to GEO Mountains.
These regions provide many crucial ecosystems system services to humanity, not least water, and are highly threatened by ongoing climate change.
The paper’s key conclusions, which may have high relevance for international organizations with climatological monitoring mandates, are that:
A similar approach could be replicated for other in situ environmental monitoring networks thanks to the open science approach taken. Further background information about the study can be found here.
Aside from GHCNd, data accessibility remains a key issue that is raised frequently in the Regional Data Surveys that GEO Mountains have been conducting recently. Despite GEO’s large membership, a considerable proportion of in situ data from national monitoring agencies appears to remain behind a paywall in practice. Novel and equitable solutions are required to address this.
Informed by such scientific contributions and stakeholder engagement activities, the GEO community must continue to strive to improve the in situ data situation. Numerous specific steps being undertaken include:
To read more about progress towards a GEO In Situ Data Strategy, please see the GEO’s Data Working Group’s September 2021 submission to the Programme Board. The Data Working Group is currently undertaking consultations with GEO Work Programme activities including their in situ data needs and challenges.
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