KSL.Com, August 7th, 2011
By Geoffrey Fattah<
LOGAN — Imagine being able to put your fingers on the pulse of America’s biosphere — keeping real-time track of weather, water/soil temperature, animal populations and much more. Armed with this information, scientists would be able to detect sudden shifts in climate, perhaps even predict them, allowing the nation to prepare for potential disasters.
The National Science Foundation has given the financial go-ahead to begin construction of the nation’s first coast-to-coast network of observatories, including one in Utah, to measure real-time climate changes.
The National Ecological Observatory Network, or NEON, is designed to gather vast amounts of data, every second, from around the country using satellites, observation towers, aircraft sensors, mobile motorized sensors and field work by scientists. From insect samples to weather data, the information will be fed into a central lab to build a picture of the nation’s ecological health.
What scientists will keep an eye out for are “threshold events,” or sudden changes in climates, that can lead to droughts, floods, even the spread of diseases, said James MacMahon, dean of Utah State University’s College of Science and chairman of NEON’s board of directors.
Phi Beta Iota: The most righteous thing the White House has done in our view, starting under Clinton-Gore and continued by Bush-Cheney, has been the Earth Science information-sharing initiative. The above article neglects the importance of the same initiative being carried out across the oceans, 75% of the Earth’s surface. This particular initiative would do well to adopt the four fundamental opens: Open Source Software, Open Data Access, Open Spectrum, and Open Source Intelligence.