The Global Environment: Knowledge and Prediction

Dr. Masao Fukasawa
Institute of Observational Research for Global Change

Dr. Masao Fukasawa, Director-General

The global environment of our planet Earth is comprised of the circulations of heat, water and materials in the nature. Recently various changes in the global environment which may cause the drastic changes in the ecosystem and the existence of lives have begun to occur. With growing attention of mass media on these climatic phenomena, social awareness has also increased. The changes in such global environments are considered to be the results of human activities against the natural environment since the establishment of human civilization, and are likely to be a threat to our future.

In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the United Nations, and the Conference of the Parties (COP) has been held every year. The third COP held in Kyoto in 1997 adopted Kyoto Protocol that determined quantitative targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse effect gases. Concrete measures and actions to prevent global warming have increasingly implemented in each nations throughout the world since Kyoto Protocol came into effect in 2005.

Acknowledging the present conditions and the changes in the global environment and understanding their mechanisms based on the actual data accumulated and analyzed are the key to such global measures.

Institute of Observational Research for Global Change (IORGC) of JAMSTEC conducts observations over the areas surrounding Japan, such as the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, Asia-Eurasia Continent and the Arctic Ocean, where effects of climate change prominently appears, using measures like vessels, mooring buoys, floats in the ocean, and radar-sites on land. The data of variation parameters including air temperature, seawater temperature, wind speed, air-sea mass interaction, and chemical properties are organizationally collected and analyzed by our scientists and also with international collaborations. With the combination of observation and scientific analysis, IORGC provides essential knowledge to the Society for understanding global change and its mechanism and for predicting the future of the Earth.

The global environment should be considered as a unique system of the Earth where each phenomenon in the ocean, the atmosphere and the land affects mutually. Therefore the description of natural phenomena with understanding of their mutual relationships is essential for highly accurate prediction of the global changes in order to contribute to sustaining the environment and thus our daily life.

By establishing close collaborations among other institutes in JAMSTEC, Japan and the World, IORGC will focus its efforts on realizing the reliable prediction on the variability of global environment. IORGC will promote its enterprising research activities which integrates phenomena of the ocean, the atmosphere and the land in the unique system of the Earth environment.