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Whole-world study embraced.

Whole-world study embraced

When it met last month in Berne, Switzerland, the International Council of Scientific Unions formally launched an interdisciplinary research program aimed at studying the earth, and the life it supports, as a whole system. According to John A. Eddy of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who was a member of the U.S. delegation to the council, the attendees unanimously endorsed the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) (SN:3/8/86, p.152).

Eddy thinks the enthusiasm for IGBP has been spurred by concerns about global changes, such as "greenhouse" warming, that may have been caused by human activity. In addition, he says, the tools for studying the planet have advanced, and earth and life sciences have "reached a point where we begin to see how they fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle."

In the next few years, the council's committees will hash out the priorities of IGBP research, which is scheduled to begin in the 1990s and continue for at least a decade. The program will consist of existing research projects and about $1 billion worth of new studies. While council members are not yet sure how extensive the program will be, says Eddy, IGBP could well turn into the largest scientific program ever attempted.
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Title Annotation:International Geosphere-Biosphere Program
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 18, 1986
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