Environmental Information

Making information about the  environment readily available to the public and others involves a range of issues, including:

  • How facts are developed from underlying data, hypotheses, assumptions, models, and interpretations; and how they are developed under different types of review and quality control;
  • Mechanisms for providing effective access to information and characterizing limitations placed on its use;
  • Tools  that allow one to visualize or interrelate information to gain a deeper or clearer understanding of an environmental issue in a particular situation or location; and
  • Individuals, organizations and resources that contribute to making environmental information more useful or available to wider audiences.

Many important and or/technical aspects of data and information management are included under a subtopic of that name.

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    This article, authored by Kellyn S. Betts, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the National Institute of... More »

Recently Updated
Climate Last Updated on 2014-10-01 10:48:54 Climate is the typical pattern of conditions of the earth’s atmosphere over a given region, as defined by factors such as temperature, air pressure. humidity, precipitation, sunlight, cloudiness, and winds. The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as "the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time," where an appropriate period is typically at least thirty years. Climate can be assessed at different, overlapping geographic regions. For example, Earth is thought to have a climate that is distinct from that of other planets, while different regions of Earth are also thought to have distinct climate types. Climate is often described as the "average" conditions; however, since daily and seasonal variability (including extremes) are critical determinants, using the term... More »
Sustainable Society Index Last Updated on 2014-07-31 13:15:01 When we were looking for a suitable yardstick to measure the level of sustainability of a country a suitable instrument could not be found. Although the main existing indexes were examined we had to conclude that none of them seem to fit our needs completely. The main shortcomings are a limited definition of sustainability, a lack of transparency or high complexity and an absence of regular updates. For this reason, a new index – the Sustainable Society Index (SSI) – has been developed. The SSI integrates the most important aspects of sustainability and quality of life of a national society in a simple and transparent way. Consisting of only 22 indicators, grouped into 5 categories, it is based upon the definition of the Brundtland Commission, extended to the Brundtland+ definition by explicitly including the social aspects of human life. Using data from public sources,... More »
Improving access to and use of earth science data Last Updated on 2013-10-22 23:34:26 USGS Helps Debut New Technology to Improve Access and Use of Earth Science Data Researchers investigating global issues now have an easy method for finding and using earth science data through a new technology developed by the Data Observation Network for Earth, or DataONE.   Understanding broad and complex environmental issues, for example climate change, increasingly relies on the discovery and analysis of massive datasets. But the amount of collected data—from historical field notes to real-time satellite data—means that researchers are now faced with an onslaught of options to locate and integrate information relevant to the issue at hand.  DataONE, a ten-institution team with several hundred Investigators, including researchers from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is addressing this data dilemma with a number of cyberinfrastructure and... More »
World Environment Day: 5 June 2012 Last Updated on 2013-10-19 00:03:55 World Environment Day (WED) is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere. The theme of WED 2012 is "Green Economy: Does it include you?" World Environment Day celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action. Through World Environment Day, the UN Environment Programme is able to personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development. World Environment Day is also a day for people... More »
Freeway proximity and autism? Last Updated on 2013-09-14 23:34:22 This study examined the association between autism and proximity of residence to freeways and major roadways during pregnancy and near the time of delivery, as a surrogate for air pollution exposure. This research article, written by Heather E. Volk, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Lora Delwiche, Fred Lurmann, and Rob McConnell* appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by Encyclopedia of Earth editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the Encyclopedia of Earth. Residential Proximity to Freeways and Autism in the CHARGE Study Background: Little is known about environmental causes and contributing factors for autism. Basic science and... More »