Nature has a special issue on Earth monitoring out tonight.
Nearly fifty years ago —things were up and running by March 1958 — Charles Keeling and colleagues began a series of measurements of atmospheric CO2 on Mauna Loa in Hawaii. The results, made graphic in the jagged ‘Keeling curve’ running across this week’s cover, made the world take notice — eventually. The Mauna Loa measurements constitute the longest continuous record of atmospheric CO2 in the world. The steady rise in CO2 that they record now forms the accepted backdrop to today’s climate science and economic and political decision making. As well as being an important resource in itself, the Mauna Loa record highlights the vital importance of Earth monitoring programmes. The fiftieth anniversary of the start of this work is marked in this issue by News Features and other pieces on the Earth monitoring being done today, historical pieces on the Mauna Loa data and more.
I’ve a long futuristic article in the special looking at how close we might be to a totally monitored Earth by 2025: Earth Monitoring: The planetary panopticon
Nature itself has an great editorial — Patching together a world view — which provides a great big picture view, that I’d have struggled to write, so kudos to my colleagues who did such a good job of capturing succintly such a vast topic.
Alex Witze then contrasts my upbeat forecast with the lack of leadership of, and the disarray in, the US’s current Earth monitoring programmes — Earth Observation: Not enough eyes on the prize.
And the journalistic content doesn’t stop there: there are also features on:
Earth Monitoring: Observing the ocean from within