Earth and Space Science is Essential for Society

Last Updated: 20 April 2017

This special collection presents a series of Commentaries from across AGU’s journals illustrating and explaining the relevance of research across the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity—a key part of AGU’s mission.  The Commentaries cover a broad range of topics, showing how data, models, and understanding have wide, broad, and in some cases surprising applications and implications across society and provide broad economic and societal benefits.  Some of the broader themes that are woven throughout this Special Collection are further discussed in an Editors’ Vox. An AGU press release provides some additional context and highlights several of the Commentaries. Specific examples include a myriad of benefits from remote sensing, the broad integration of data about our planet and its space environment at global and local scales in our daily lives (through GPS as just one example), and the extensive application of sophisticated models grounded in research for both daily decisions and longer term planning.

Many other commentaries, papers and special collections across AGU’s journals extend these examples and themes and are collected here. Two other recent special collections are particularly relevant, covering  Geoengineering (in Earth’s Future) and the recent drought in California (in Geophysical Research Letters).

The commentaries are broadly grouped under sections that tie together similar areas of discussion and science. However, there are many overlapping topics in this collection, illustrating that research across the Earth and space sciences is increasingly interconnected, including more and more with other disciplines in ecology, biology, the health sciences, and social sciences.  Societal applications and economic benefits increasingly depend on these interdisciplinary relations. Together, the breadth of these Commentaries show that Earth and space science is indeed essential across society.
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