Science Objectives and Observation System for the International Meridian Circle


Image Credit: IMCP



Dealing with our changing environment is one of the greatest challenges humanity faces in the 21st century. Since the environment is a global whole, its understanding demands a global effort from all countries. This forum will be a contribution to this global effort focusing on the scientific potential of using our planet’s Upper and Middle Atmosphere and Ionosphere layers (IMUA for short) as a detecting screen onto which the different types of natural disasters coming from above (Solar activity and Interplanetary Space) and from below (lower atmosphere, meteorology, climate change and Solid Earth) project signatures that can be used to better monitor, understand, predict and possibly mitigate them. A global, internationally-coordinated Observation System of the IMUA will make it possible to tackle one of the most critical scientific questions of the century: how does energy from the Sun and Earth change our physical environment, how can the resulting change pose a threat to the human society, and how can we mitigate and manage the negative consequences of this change? Designing this system is the goal of the International Meridian Circle Program (IMCP).


This forum intends to bring together multidisciplinary key scientists from different countries with the objectives of producing (1) a compelling Science Case for the development of a global-scale, internationally integrated monitoring of major threats on our environment using their effects on our Upper and Middle Atmosphere and Ionosphere (IMUA) and (2) guidelines for a preliminary design of the associated Observation System, referred to as the “International Meridian Circles Project” (IMCP). The output of the FORUM organized at ISSI-BJ will also lead to the publication of a report in the TAIKONG  magazine, which will be understandable to the non-expert and to a peer-reviewed article in an international journal. The two-and-a-half days of this ISSI-Beijing Forum will be devoted to discussing and producing:

  • A compelling science case for this global Observation System that shall demonstrate how a global monitoring of the IMUA makes it possible to accomplish a major step forward towards better monitoring, understanding, predicting and mitigating the different sources of disasters threatening our Human environment
  • Preliminary specifications for the ground-based component of the Observation System (types of instruments needed and their desired distribution over the globe), for an associated space segment (which will be the specific subject of a second Forum), and for the needs in terms of data analysis and modeling tools

Date: 23-25 September 2019


William Liu NSSC, CAS, China
Michel Blanc IRAP (CNRS-Université Toulouse III), Toulouse, France
Eric Donovan University of Calgary, Canada
John C. Foster MIT Haystack Observatory, USA
Mark Lester University of Leicester, UK
Maurizio Falanga ISSI-BJ, China

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