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Permanent Monitoring Panel -

Members of the Panel:

William A. Sprigg (USA)

Congbin Fu (China);  Mario Molina (USA);  Antonio Navarra (Italy); Neville Nichols (Australia);  Warren Washington (USA).

PMP Associates for the drafting of the Data Access Statement:
Mohamed S. Boulahya (Niger);  Joel Scheraga (USA); Martin F. Yerg (USA).

Associate Panel Members:
Robert Clark (USA);  Charles Hutchinson (USA);  Arnaldo Longhetto (Italy);  Douglas Morrison (Switzerland);  Amador Muriel (Philippines);  Carlos Ordonez (USA);  Margaret Petersen (USA);  Soroosh Sorooshian (USA);   Glenn Tallia (USA);  Paul F. Uhlir (USA);   Sixion Zhao (China).

(Associate Panel Members are a community of scientists who provide support and expertise for the working of the Permanent Monitoring Panel.)


Summary of the Emergency

The safety and well-being of human populations are threatened by the variability and change in both the climate and the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Research into these trends is being significantly influenced by a number of factors:

  1. What was once a relatively easy and low-cost task of obtaining data for studying and predicting these changes, is now becoming expensive, complicated and threatening as data are copyrighted and offered on a ‘for sale’ basis by international co-ordinating bodies.

  2. Global monitoring of trends requires inter-comparability and continuity of key observations, combined with the recovery of historical information. Unfortunately, observation systems for gathering climatic data are becoming increasingly costly and difficult to maintain. Furthermore, some of the standard systems upon which climate research depends (e.g. the international upper-air sounding system) are being eroded.

  3. The quality of the information provided to the lay public, industry and governments is critical to the public perception of this issue and the scientists studying it. This, in turn, affects the allocation of limited resources for research and, ultimately, to public well-being. Unfortunately, the quality and reliability of the information is highly variable and is sometimes distorted. Scientists need to do a better job of communicating such information to present an accurate and timely perspective on the significance of their research and its accomplishments.


Priorities in dealing with the Emergency

The priorities in dealing with the emergency are:

  • To encourage and support free access to data on climate change

  • To monitor the monitoring of the global environment

  • To stimulate the education of the public with regard to the causes and effects of climate change.

To monitor:

  1. The increasing vulnerability of human society to the effects of climate change (e.g. More and more people living on flood plains and in areas threatened by tropical cyclones).

  2. Climatic extremes (e.g. droughts) to determine the extent of change and variability.

  3. Ways in which vulnerability to climatic disasters can be reduced (e.g. forecasting drought in order to avoid famine).

  4. Improved methods of forecasting variability and change (e.g. improved models for predicting El Niño) and the responsible issue of forecast products.

  5. The adequacy of climate-observing networks in light of the present and continuing deterioration of the current systems.

  6. Possible human influences on climate and on atmospheric composition and chemistry (e.g. increased greenhouse gases and tropospheric ozone).

  7. The possible effects of natural episodic influences on the climate (e.g. volcanic activity).

  8. The effects of the commercialisation of national meteorological services on data and information services, observation networks and prediction research.


Workshop and Meeting Reports


Special Recommendations

A Statement by the WFS Permanent Monitoring Panel for Climatology.  Erice - 19 August 1999