The Optical Society Launches Global Environmental Monitoring Network to Measure Local Impacts of Climate Change

Six university-based centers to be established by 2020 will provide stakeholders more precise information on regional climate change

Washington - The Optical Society (OSA) has announced its intent to establish a global network of regional environmental centers aimed at better understanding and forecasting the local impacts of climate change. The Global Environmental Measurement and Monitoring Network project was unveiled by OSA at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

“While climate change is measured on a global level, its impacts will affect different regions in different ways,” said Dr. Tom Baer, head of OSA’s International Photonics Advocacy Coalition (IPAC). “It is crucial that we have a better understanding of how impacts such as changing weather patterns and sea level rise will affect cities and regions at the regional level.” 

The OSA, through IPAC, is leading discussions to create the project’s first two centers in Northern California, jointly with the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University; and in the United Kingdom, with the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. The new centers will bring together public and private decision makers, environmental scientists, and technology developers to provide more precise and useful information needed to measure and address regional impacts of climate change. Additional regional centers spanning the globe are being pursued.

“Leaders at every level of government and in the private sector face increasing demands for better data to address the challenges of a changing environment,” said Elizabeth Rogan, OSA’s chief executive officer. “Rapidly improving technology can provide more precise information and presents exciting new opportunities for improved predictions of regional impacts.”

OSA supports the Global Climate Action Summit and is committed to help participating subnational governments and private interests meet environmental commitments through the Global Environmental Measurement and Monitoring Network. OSA participated in the Summit’s Science to Action event on 11 September 2018 which brought together researchers, businesses, subnational governments and other stakeholders undertaking climate action. In partnership with the Stanford Photonics Research Center, OSA will co-host a round-table discussion on 15 September 2018 entitled, “Better Metrics for More Effective Decision-making: The Need for a Regionally based Global Environmental Measurement and Monitoring Network.”


About IPAC
IPAC, an initiative of The Optical Society (OSA), serves to unite the optics and photonics community around public policy platforms that transcend national borders, offers opportunities for collaboration with other scientific disciplines, and benefits industry and commercial sectors worldwide. IPAC brings together experts from industry, academia, and government to educate policymakers and influencers about photonics technologies; collaborate and coordinate among industry, government and academia to advance knowledge of photonics and its impact on many important areas of science and technology; and advocate for funding for science and technology initiatives with important societal impact.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit


Media Contacts:


Stanford University
Prof. Tom Baer

University of California, Berkeley
Bob Sanders

University of Strathclyde
Dr. Scott McGrane

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