The IGOS Cryosphere Theme Report was approved at the 14th Session of the IGOS Partners held at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) in Paris on May 30. No fewer than 80 scientists in 17 countries contributed to the report, so this is truly a credit to the community. The comments by the Partners and theme leads where unanimously positive and glowing. They liked how comprehensive the report is, and referred to it as the “bible” of cryospheric observations. One of the two IGOS co-chairs concluded the comment period stating that “Ice is now a component of the Earth System”!
At the time of this writing, IGOS is preparing to merge with GEO (or be “absorbed” by GEO). GEO recognizes that the IGOS themes provide a wealth of information on observing system capabilities and requirements, information that is critical to GEO’s success. So both bodies have agreed that the IGOS themes will become part of GEO, though exactly how this will happen remains to be seen. One thing that will have to happen is that detailed recommendations or implementation actions from the various IGOS themes will need to be consolidated into broader tasks before they are incorporated into the GEO Work Plan.
So what’s next for the Cryosphere Theme? Implementation of the recommendations in our report is the priority. How? We’ll have to talk about that one.