Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr. U.S. Navy (Ret.)

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Taking the Pulse of the Planet A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Biodiversity and Public Health. Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr. U.S. Navy (Ret.) Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr. U.S. Navy (Ret.)Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere andAdministrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)September 14, 2006 National Museum of Natural History Washington, D.C.Taking the Pulse of the Planet A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Biodiversity and Public HealthDr. Ray Berkelmans, Australian Institute of Marine ScienceGreat Keppel Islands/Great Barrier Reef 4 DHWs coral bleaching is expected 8 DHWs mass bleaching and mortality are expectedNOAA Coral Reef WatchESA Initiative: Solving the Ebola EnigmaDAYCASES- 120Adapted from J. Davis, Climate AdaptationWorkshop, Nov. 2003Outbreak Detection and ResponseEffective Health Early WarningDAYCASES- 120Adapted from J. Davis, Climate AdaptationWorkshop, Nov. 2003Outreach and stakeholder involvementA Global Earth Observation System of SystemsGEOSSFrom Observation to ActionAchieving Comprehensive, Coordinated, and Sustained Earth Observations for the Benefit of Humankind AlgeriaArgentinaAustraliaBahrainBelgiumBelizeBrazilCameroonCanadaCentral African RepublicChileChinaCroatiaCyprusDenmarkEgyptEuropean CommissionFinlandFranceGermanyGuinea-BissauHondurasHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIranIrelandIsraelItalyJapanKazakhstanLatviaLuxembourgMalaysiaMaliMauritiusMexicoMoroccoNepalNetherlandsNew ZealandNigerNigeriaNorwayParaguayPhilippinesPortugalRepublic of KoreaRepublic of the CongoRussian FederationSlovak RepublicSloveniaSouth AfricaSpainSudanSwedenSwitzerlandThailandTunisiaUgandaUkraineUnited KingdomUnited StatesUzbekistanwww.earthobservations.org65 Countries and the European Commission43 Organizations Group on Earth ObservationsDepartment of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Institute for Standards and TechnologyDepartment of Defense U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Navy Air Force National Geospatial-Intelligence AgencyDepartment of EnergyDepartment of Health and Human Services National Institute of Environmental Health SciencesDepartment of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management AgencyDepartment of the Interior U.S. Geological SurveyDepartment of StateDepartment of TransportationEnvironmental ProtectionAgencyNational Aeronautics andSpace AdministrationNational Science FoundationSmithsonian InstitutionTennessee Valley AuthorityU.S. Agency for InternationalDevelopmentU.S. Department of Agriculture Agriculture Research Service U.S. Forest ServiceWhite House Council onEnvironmental QualityWhite House Office ofManagement and BudgetWhite House Office ofScience and Technology PolicyGEOSS Operating PrinciplesOpen and Transparent ProcessStandardized Practices and ProtocolsUser-friendly FormatsInteroperable ComponentsMosquito SurveillanceSocial FactorsDemographicsClimateGlobal ObservationsSea Surface TemperatureLand CoverLand UseOther observationsLocal/Regional ObservationsWeatherDisease SurveillanceGEO-NETCast Malaria Case ExampleMalaria Case ExampleGEO-NETCast The goal is to access the right information, in the right format, at the right time, for the right people, to make the right decisions.www.earthobservations.orgThank you, Dr. Foley. And thank you Dr. Farland, and Drs. Joe Roman and Montira Pongsiri (Pon-sir-ee) for developing this important forum and workshop.Without the sound science, we will not have the sound health policies on which sound decision-making must be built -- health policies designed to advance prevention, early warning and more rapid problem-solving. So I congratulate each of you for investing your time to be here today. I am not a health professional, as so many of you are, but I believe we share the perspective that the health of the human species depends directly on the health and condition of our planet. Fostering close and continuing interaction between the Earth science, conservation, and public health communities is key to a scientific examination and understanding of this link. I believe one of the most pressing needs for improving human health and well-being is to bring together -- in one system -- the many disparate entities that include health and environmental data and observations. We must connect the scientific dots to better understand the link between our environment and public health. For science to be sound, we need more than snapshot assessments. We must incorporate observations into models that can be used to forecast and prevent or mitigate health concerns before they become a crisis. In short, to best meet 21st-century concerns, 21st-century approaches and technology must be as integrated as the planet they aim to observe, predict and protect. The efforts of NOAA and others to protect fragile coral reefs reflects a move from understanding and monitoring to more forward-looking management approaches. Worldwide tens of millions of people depend on biologically diverse coral reef ecosystems for all or part of their livelihoods. Coral reefs are a major source of protein -- and more than a billion people rely on reef-related fisheries. Coral reefs also offer tremendous pharmaceutical promise. This rich and still largely undiscovered biodiversity within our oceans is sometimes called the medicine cabinet of the 21st century, holding out hope for cures for cancer, heart disease, HIV, arthritis and other serious diseases. [click]Bleached corals rob us of this promise. Coral bleaching is an example of an environmentally-caused disease that works something like black lung disease or air pollution-induced asthma. Corals stressed by high water temperatures and high light lose the algae that provide the color. When they are injured or lost, there are human as well as environmental consequences. More efforts are needed to better understand how we can proactively manage these ecosystems to maintain biological diversity and prevent loss. NOAA is developing new management tools, including screening and other methods, that can be applied when forecasts indicate that warming is likely to occur. We are using observations and forecasts to better target management strategies designed to mitigate multiple stressors such as pollution, fishing, tourism, and transportation. Tourists, for instance, can still visit but they are advised to be especially careful of reefs during a warming event. [click] This animation shows the NOAA Coral Reef Watch Degree Heating Week product during a 2005 Caribbean coral bleaching event. Every week of the event is reflected, from the July onset through October conclusion. NOAA's Coral Reef Watch and the developing Coral Reef Ecosystems Integrated Observing System monitor the health of coral reefs using satellite and in situ observing systems. State-of-the-art software applications are integrating data in ways that help measure the pulse of these important ecosystems. Research is underway to measure and forecast threats. [click]Here are two more quick examples of how integrated environmental understanding can pay off for human health:The incidence of malaria and other vector borne diseases can change dramatically during extreme weather events related to El Nio. Understanding El Nio patterns also helps predict drought, harvest and potential crop damage. Such understanding contributes to better decision-making about sustainable agricultural practices.All of this information, is related to nutritional and other health concerns. Lives can be saved as a result of the right observations.The European Space Agency is working to discover the source of Ebola by creating vegetation maps of Congo and Gabon that pinpoint "hot spots." In time, comprehensive monitoring of physical, chemical and biological parameters, in combination with super computing, may provide the capability to predict and prepare for the next outbreaks of Ebola, West Nile Virus, malaria, SARS -- and diseases we don't even know about yet.I believe our shared goal is to get ahead of the curve. In a typical epidemic scenario, the first step is to detect the first case, then to report it, then to gain laboratory confirmation whenever possible -- and finally to respond.The goal -- to reduce morbidity and mortality -- is reflected by the total area under the curve. As you can see, the red area under the curve indicates normal morbidity and mortality -- with the yellow area reflecting the only opportunity to mount a response and reduce health impact. The response is mounted only after the epidemic has already peaked and is on its natural path out of a population. The key point is that the opportunity to control the epidemic in such a scenario is relatively small. But look at the difference in this slide. Earth observations and monitoring provide the opportunity to shift the whole scenario forward. The red area under the curve is much smaller than in the previous slide, indicating a reduction in morbidity and mortality.By shifting the process forward in time, the opportunity to control an epidemic starts much earlier, allowing public health measures to reach a much greater number of people in a more timely, efficient way. This is reflected by the large yellow area under the curve. A key element on this slide is the box on the left indicating Earth observations and monitoring information. If you start with some early indicators about environmental conditions conducive to an outbreak, you have a chance to shift the curve toward a healthier outcome. I believe we can do that through GEOSS, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems. In time, GEOSS can help us get ahead of the curve. The benefits to the global health and conservation communities, and to just about every other sector of society, are expected to be profound.Bringing many different types of data and other information together can be quite a challenge. In NOAA alone, we have identified 99 separate observing systems measuring over 500 different environmental parameters.That's why one of the real strengths of GEOSS will be its end-to-end infrastructure for data management, sharing and access. By integrating physical and biological data from Earth observations with many other types of information, we will be able to answer many more questions -- and improve our ability to make sound decisions to protect human health and the environment. Data on population distribution, production and transport of chemicals, and hurricanes and floods, for instance, can be factored into emergency management decisions. Data on weather and stream flow can be factored into the management of drinking water. Data on ecosystem diversity can be a factor in detecting the next emerging diseases. As you can see, almost every one of GEOSS's benefits overlaps with the priorities of both the conservation and health communities. Two topics of this forum are addressed directly: Understanding environmental factors affecting human health and well-being; and Understanding, monitoring, and conserving biodiversity.Support for GEOSS is growing. In three years, 65 countries, the European Commission, and 43 international organizations have committed to making GEOSS operational over the next decade.A 10-year plan is now being implemented.The U.S. plan will be a valuable contributor to the global plan. Several others countries also have plans in development.A new GEOSS product called GEO-NETCast is now in development. Via satellite, it will bring vital information to the global public health and many other communities in user-friendly form. As a real-time global data dissemination system, GEO-NETCast will support a range of societal benefits and be one of the important data dissemination systems within GEOSS. Decision-makers and others will have timely access to urgently needed, improved information products that are produced, at least in part, through the use of Earth observations. GEO-NETCast will include medical data and information that can be crucial to your work -- biological data about disease vectors and pollutants, not just physical data about rainfall, temperature, mudslides, and tsunamis. In order to understand the critical connection between our environment and our health, information now on thousands of disparate databases around the globe might be incorporated, and we hope you will join us in identifying them. Here is how GEO-NETCast might work in addressing malaria: [click] [click again after GEO-NETCAST comes up]This is our vision for a world with GEOSS. There is contact information on the website, and we encourage you to write and let us know where and how GEOSS can be most useful to you. Thank you.


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