In March, 2014, the Obama Administration launched the Climate Data Initiative. The initiative marshals data from a vast trove of governmental and non-governmental sources to inform decision making and ensure that our nation’s communities and businesses are more resilient to climate change. Today, the White House issued a press release acknowledging 16 data collection efforts that address this pressing issue.
We are thrilled that among those recognized was a program that has had Cary Institute leadership since 2005: the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON). GLEON is a grass-roots international collaboration of more than 450 scientists, technology experts, engineers, and citizens using high-frequency data to understand how lakes respond to variables like extreme weather, invasive species, fishing pressures, and escalating water withdrawals.
Cary Institute Ecosystem Ecologist Dr. Kathleen Weathers is a co-chair of GLEON and has been engaged with the organization since its inception. “While GLEON is unique for its network of lake observatories, even more important is its human network. The knowledge, motivation, and ideas shared by partners, who now hail from 49 countries, have been instrumental in advancing freshwater management.”
The announcement highlights projects that will expand the GLEON network using mobile applications. The first, an app called the Lake Observer, is being developed under the direction of Weathers and colleagues and will help citizen-scientists record and share water quality data. GLEON is also partnering with Esri and the USGS to create a crowd-sourcing platform that will facilitate the collection and sharing of lake-related information across the globe.
We are proud to be part of the GLEON effort and extend our congratulations to the entire GLEON team. For those of you interested in trying the Lake Observer app, Apple and Android versions will be available in the summer of 2015.