New series of webinars on Earth observations and the water cycle – Check details at the end of this article.

 Modern explorers have much better tools than yesteryear, if not yesterday. The tools are not even compatible. What if our polar heroes like Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen (the first to reach the South pole) had had sea-ice forecasts? The majestic ship Fram would not have frozen in the ice, for sure, and history would have been different. One of our modern explorer's, ship owner Felix Tschudi, pointed out during an interview on the subject of modern sea transportation in the Arctic, that with the tools they use today when sailing in these harsh environments, the voyages are perhaps less heroic, but definitely more efficient, fast and safe.

I am in the midst of producing a micro documentary for the Group on Earth Observations Ministerial Summit in Geneva, January 2014. We have called it "A Modern Explorer's Journey - Armed With Global Earth Observation System of System as the universal tool.  It is in itself an adventure. GEO is one of a kind international organization based entirely on volunteer contributions from its members and participating organizations. This new form of international cooperation allows great flexibility on one side that by far outweighs the disadvantages caused by a bit of unpredictability and chaos on the other. We are convinced that the flexibility is what is needed to solve global challenges.

My job is two-fold – in the process of producing the documentary, a so-called showcase video, I will together with a small task force learn about the possibilities and obstacles when mobilizing resources on a global scale. The entire video project is based on contributions from an international group of experts and resources from various types of organizations around the world.  The immediate result will be a short video. The longer term result will be valuable information about global mobilization of resources. This information feeds into research on the general topic raised by OECD in their project Meeting Global Challenges Through Better Governance: International Co-operation in Science, Technology and Innovation. For me personally, it is the continuation of my work reported in the article Funding of Geosciences: Coordinating National and International Resources (by Bente Lilja Bye and Kathleen Fontaine) to be found in the Springer's New Trends in Earth-Science Outreach and Engagement.

The micro documentary will take you on a journey alright, but in 3 minutes it is not possible to go into details about the science and the most important in this case, the way we gather information about our planet. The general topic is Earth observations and we focus on water and the water cycle.

Therefore we have decided to organize a series of webinars where you can learn more about how we observe and study the water cycle, it’s relevance to various societal activities and the science behind it. Because science is definitely needed. Just as much as Earth observations are pivotal for science.

As a Christmas gift from me and the Group of Earth Observations community, we present the first two of this series this week. We do this in connection with the GEO Ministerial Summit in Geneva in January 2014 and will continue the series after that event. It is also a tribute to the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation.

Learn more about planet Earth’s water cycle

I encourage you to sign up either on Google Plus, Facebook or the dedicated webpages:

Google+ Page

Facebook Page

You can also go here to find the latest information:

At this location you can find updated programs and recordings of former webinars – and of course the live events will be accessible from this page: Webinars Water Cycle (by 5 pm CET 17th December 2013)

First up is an introduction to the water cycle. We all learnt about this in school but a good reminder and more about the latest knowledge we have gathered will be presented by leading experts. You also get the opportunity to ask them questions. I’ll be the host of this first event.

The Water Cycle and Earth Observations

A brief reminder about the different elements/phases of the water cycle and how we observe them. As an extra bonus you will get an extract of the latest strategy for improving our capability to observe water

Tuesday 17th December 8 am PDT|11 am EDT|5 pm CET 

Paul Houser

Dr. Houser in an internationally recognized expert in local to global land surface-atmospheric remote sensing, in-situ observation and numerical simulation, development and application of hydrologic data assimilation methods, scientific integrity and policy, and global water and energy cycling.

Amita Mehta

Dr. Amita Mehta is a Research Assistant Professor in NASA-University of Maryland Baltimore County Joint Center for Erath Systems Technology (JCET).  Her interest and expertise are in satellite remote sensing of geophysical parameters and their analysis to understand climate and its variability.  She is a member of NASA Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) program for capacity building where she conducts webinars and in-person trainings focused on using NASA earth science data products for water resources and disaster management

Richard Lawford

Richard (Rick) Lawford is a Senior Scientist at Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD) and a consultant to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on the water aspects of the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).  He holds several group leadership positions related to water in the Group of Earth Observations and other international programs.  He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where he is an Associate at the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

The second webinar is called (see later announcements)

Sharing Hydrological Data Across Borders - sensor web and waterM 2.0 as foundation for sharing hydrological data across borders.

Friday 20th December 2013 8 am PDT| 11 am EDT| 5 pm CET

Simon Jirka

Dr. Simon Jirka, 52° North Initiative for Geospatial Open Source Software GmbH. Jirka works as community leader for the  Sensor Web group of the OGC and his activities are focues on Sensor Web architecutres and especially on sensor discovery mechanisms. Besides his contribution to several European projects he is also involved in the Sensor Web Enablement initiative as well as the hydrology related activities of the OGC.