strand1 opt

(focus on: urban growth, air quality, natural and manmade disasters, health and contaminated sites)

According to UN’s “World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision” in today’s increasingly global and interconnected world, over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, while the coming decades will bring further profound changes to the size and spatial distribution of the global population. The continuing urbanization is projected to add 2.5 billion people to the urban population by 2050, and the proportion of the world’s population living in urban areas is expected to increase to 66%. Under these circumstances, sustainable development challenges will be increasingly concentrated in cities" (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2014). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision, Highlights (ST/ESA/SER.A/352)).

The overall goal of ERA-PLANET’s Strand 1 is to fully exploit data and information, tools and services that derive from the increasing multi-sensor, multi-temporal and multi-scale capacity and use of EO (in situ and space-borne), in conjunction with other cross cutting observational platforms, towards identifying and facing cities’ vulnerabilities, supporting policies to design strategies and procedures to shield citizens and mitigate impacts of urbanization.

The achievement of this overarching goal will be based on two discrete, but at the same time interconnected, objectives: create Smart Cities and develop Resilient Societies.

strand2 opt

(focus on: water, energy, biodiversity and food security)

The Earth provides all of the resources that humans and other species require to live on the planet; it is the only source that we have at the present time. With world population at 7 Billion and continuing to grow, these resources are under significant pressure. This pressure is exacerbated by the rapid economic development of countries that did not formerly consume significant resources, which also happen to be some of the most populous (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). In and of itself, this development is of course a good thing, but it has the potential to result in continued pressure on resources for decades to come, even if the global population were to stabilise rapidly in the coming years. This continuous pressure affects water, energy, biodiversity and food resources as well as security. Water, food and energy are most often linked in the so-called nexus, but biodiversity is directly affected by the pressures on water, food and energy. If water, energy and food security are to be achieved and simultaneously their impact on biodiversity minimised, decision-makers, including those responsible for only a single sector, need to consider broader influences and cross-sectorial impacts. A nexus approach to sectorial management, through enhanced dialogue, collaboration and coordination, is needed to ensure that co-benefits and trade-offs are considered and that appropriate safeguards are put in place. A nexus perspective increases the understanding of the interdependencies across the water, energy and food sectors and influences policies in other areas of concern such as climate and biodiversity.

The overall goal of ERA-PLANET’s Strand-2 is to fully exploit data and information, tools and services that derive from the increasing multi-sensor, multi-temporal and multi-scale capacity and use of EO (in situ and space-borne), in conjunction with other cross cutting observational platforms, towards a nexus approach, to evaluate, predict and monitor the resources, and promote cross-sectorial approaches to reconcile resource efficiency and environmental management insuring the human development according to the sustainable development goals.

strand4 opt

(focus on: monitoring and assessment of ecosystems quality in Arctic and Antarctic)

Polar Regions, and more generally regions of the cryosphere, play a key role in the Earth’s climate system and are changing currently at an unexpected and unprecedented rate. Regional sea level change, the release of greenhouse gases as a result of warming permafrost soils, the alteration of fresh water resources are major societal challenges in Europe and worldwide. High latitude areas harbour with particularly fragile ecosystems, where pollutants may have severe impacts on ecosystem services. Pollutant emissions are typically not very high in these regions however pollutant cycling is markedly different such as the potential for remobilisation of anthropogenic pollution from secondary cryospheric sources. Even though pollutants are mainly transported from mid-latitudes, Arctic pollutants are now already being produced locally in the Arctic (shipping, oil/gas extraction, increasing urbanization and tourism).

The goal is to cooperate with on-going initiatives and existing networks which measure atmospheric composition and its temporal changes (i.e., short-lived climate pollutants as e.g. ozone, aerosols and their precursors) and networks more focused on targeted chemical pollutants (i.e., GMOS, NADP) that are more persistent in the environment and have a significant impact on human health (i.e., PAHs, Hg, selected POPs, heavy metals) which are all subject to rigorous QA/QC protocols. This framework should combine a wealth of EO data from ground, airborne, ship and satellite platforms to create an environment in which the links between pollutant concentrations in different ecosystem compartments can be investigated, and the causal relationship between pollutant emissions and ecosystem impacts can be understood. It will provide data to an integrated cyber-infrastructure to understand the changes in atmospheric composition and pollutant deposition, how pollutant cycling changes over time, and how these changes impact ecosystems and human health.

strand3 opt

(focus on: global observing systems for toxic and persistent pollutants, harmonization of monitoring systems, coupled atmosphere-ocean-terrestrial models validation, evaluation of ecosystem response to regional/global emission changes, support to policy implementation)

During the last two decades progress has been made in the understanding of the cycling of persistent pollutants between different environmental compartments. Climate variability is considered one of the major drivers influencing the transport patterns of highly toxic and persistent pollutants from the emission sources to aquatic and terrestrial receptors. Several conventions and international programs such as the World Meteorological Organization's Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) supporting the CLRTAP, the GMOS supporting the Minamata Convention, the Global Monitoring Plan (GMP) supporting the Stockholm Convention and various Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) initiatives of the European Commission have made substantial efforts to establish data centres and quality control programs to enhance integration of atmospheric composition measurements from different national and regional networks, and to establish observational sites in under-sampled, remote regions around the world.

The overall goal of Strand-3 is to develop a new paradigm for real-time monitoring of the quality of our environment with reference to the contamination of air, water and terrestrial ecosystems by persistent pollutants. The overarching objective of this strand is the development of a fully integrated system of advanced sensors (based on nano-structured advanced materials) for major persistent pollutants coupled with state-of-the-art interoperable systems for data sharing and data management. Currently the prohibitive investment and management/maintenance costs of monitoring systems for these pollutants limit our capacity to develop sustainable observational systems for long-term monitoring programmes. The aim of Strand-3 is to produce new advanced monitoring technologies to increase the geographical coverage (number of monitoring sites) of our current global monitoring networks for persistent pollutants at rural (and background) sites as well as in contaminated (highly impacted) areas that coupled with advanced GCI will support policy makers and stakeholders in the implementation of major international conventions and programmes.

strand2 circleSmart Cities and Resilient Societies
strand2 circleResource Effi ciency and Environmental Management
strand2 circleGlobal change and Environmental treaties
strand2 circlePolar Areas and Natural