The future of a more sustainable world could be built with information obtained from Chile. That’s the goal behind the setting up of the Climate Change Observatory, which will consist of an 8,000-kilometer network of sensors from the city of Visviri in northern Chile right down to the Union Glacier camp in Antarctica. This observatory will make it possible to produce and use the world’s most valuable evidence about climate change through a network of sensors set up throughout the whole of Chile.
The data collected by this network will include information on temperatures, rainfall, sea level, solar radiation and wind speed. This data will be open access and standardized so it can be used to contribute to decision-making based on scientific evidence.
As part of this strategy, 21 monitoring stations are to be set up in Antarctica. On December 4, the first station will be set up at the Union Glacier Camp on the white continent.
“Just as the astronomical observatories take advantage of Chile’s clear skies to be the world’s eyes for exploring the universe, this climate change observatory will draw on Chile’s spectacular and unique geography and our permanent presence in the Antarctic to keep a watchful eye in order to fight climate change,” explained President Sebastián Piñera during the launch of this initiative.
Chile has a number of attributes that enable it to be the right environment for this network of sensors:
Firstly, the Atacama Desert in northern Chile has become the world’s eyes for observing the universe. During the last 50 years, Chile has created the conditions for welcoming cutting-edge astronomical observatories and 70% of the world’s installed capacity of telescopes is now situated in our country.
Chile is the country on Earth that stretches through the greatest number of latitudes. It covers over 8,000 kilometers (4970 miles) from the north, which has very little rainfall and a high mean annual temperature, through to the south, which has high rainfall and low temperatures, being in the far south of the planet. This coincides with the need to have more climatic information in the Southern Hemisphere that has been expressed by the international community.
Thirdly, Antarctica is among the world’s most important climate regulators and has a powerful moderating effect on Chile’s climate, influencing the productivity of our oceans and the existence of the desert in northern Chile. It could therefore be a potential source of answers about climate mitigation and adaptation.
These answers are particularly necessary for Chile, a country that is vulnerable to climate change, but they are important for responding to an urgent challenge facing the whole of humanity.
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