• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

What we do

IGBP began in 1987. IGBP was an international scientific research programme examining how Earth's biological, chemical and physical processes interact at a regional and global scale, and how these processes affect and are affected by society.

  • 12 projects
  • 70 national committees
  • International reputation

IGBP was sponsored by the International Council for Science.

IGBP sponsored 12 projects, plus many more initiatives*.

The programme was built on interdisciplinarity, international networking and scientific integration. It addressed questions where an integrated, international approach is necessary. IGBP adds value to a large number of individual, national and regional research projects by integrating activities to achieve a better understanding of the Earth System.

IGBP and our projects:

  • Develop international research strategies in key areas - land, ocean, atmosphere (and their interactions), the Earth system, past climates.
  • Build bridges between international science and international policy (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment)
  • Develop international frameworks for collaborative research based on agreed agendas.

  • Form research networks to tackle focused scientific questions.
  • Support Earth System Science networks.
  • Promote standard methods.
  • Create long time series observations.
  • Guide and facilitates construction of global databases.

  • Coordinate model and data comparisons.
  • Manage data.

  • Build capacity capacity.

*Because of the integrated international nature of our work, many projects are co-sponsored by other organisations.

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Please note!

IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

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