Sunday, July 13, 2008

International Year of Planet Earth

International Year of Planet Earth

12 -13 February 2008, the UN International Year of Planet Earth will be launched in Paris. This sets off a number of activities highlighting the importance of Earth Sciences in our modern society. The actual period of the Year is from 2007 to 2009. The International Polar Year is included in this.

During the Global Launch Event four conceptual issues on IYPE's subtitle `Earth Sciences for Society' will be addressed: (1) Earth Resources, (2) Hazards, (3) Megacities and Soils, and (4) Where is System Earth heading to?

The Earth as seen by Grace

High precision gravity measurements by satellites such as GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) will improve our understanding of mass flows on Earth - such as magma in its crust, water in oceans and melting icecaps on the poles. GRACE will enable Earth scientists to predict floods in lowlands by allowing them to monitor more accurately the degree of saturation in upstream catchment areas, for example. In future, space satellites will be able to monitor and detect earthquake activitiy in areas where no ground stations exist.

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