The main purpose for environmental monitoring has been to manage the environment and minimize the adverse impacts on the environment that may be caused by an organization as they carry out their operations. This can be achieved by ensuring the organization's compliance with national, regional, and global compliance organizations as well as following the laws and regulations. Organizations are also responsible for mitigating any incidents that may happen that compromise the quality of the environment thereby causing a threat to flora, fauna, and human life.
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Climate change has, however, affected how environmental monitoring is being carried out, making it necessary for adjustments to meet the target of protecting the environment. Climate change can be described as the long-term change in the average weather pattern that has defined the earth’s climate from a local, regional and global scale. Human-produced temperatures have increased as a result of the emission of GHGs (greenhouse gases) from human activities causing what is known as global warming which is one of the major contributors to climate change.
Four Types of Environmental Monitoring
Air pollution can be very harmful to human health and the environment. Any business or organization must follow the national air quality government regulation as it is essential to human health as well as flora and fauna.
Sensors can measure the levels of pollutants such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone. These gases have the potential to lead to global warming which is responsible for climate change and ice cap melting.
Water is essential to life and therefore all the bodies around an area of operation must be monitored. The water must not be polluted as a result of operations of the business such as mining or the manufacturing industry. The water must remain safe, clean, and drinkable during and after operations have been concluded.
Both surface water and groundwater are monitored remotely by the deployment of sensors that can measure the parameters such as the water turbidity, total dissolved solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS), the concentration of mineral ions, and any pollutants that may find themselves into the water. Wells are dug strategically around areas of operation to manually sample; if sensors are not available, the collected samples can be tested in the lab.
Monitoring of Biodiversity
The populations of different species on Earth are what is known as biodiversity. Climate change has had a direct effect on plant and animal diversity. Biomonitoring clearly shows how human activities are impacting the environment by altering the ideal condition in which animal and plant species can thrive.
This has consequently led to a decline in the number of different kinds of species. Environmental monitoring is, therefore, necessary to monitor different kinds of animal and plant species for a long period to understand how certain activities can directly affect them and avoid their extinction.
Noise is monitored both on land and sea. Cetaceans in the sea use noises to navigate and communicate, therefore noise pollution makes it difficult for them and puts them in danger, particularly for whales. On land, noise disrupts the wildlife’s natural habitat, consequently disturbing their quality of life.
To measure the levels of sound on land and sea requires sensors that report in real-time and is managed by software to monitor the sand levels, noise monitoring for the sea protects marine life, and while on land it will protect marine life and while on land it will protect communities that are close to industrial areas such as mines, ports or airport.
Importance of Environmental Monitoring
Due to environmental monitoring, businesses can identify and analyze environmental conditions and assess the impacts that their operations have on the environment.
Life on earth will require clean air and water, as well as noise pollution reduction. Therefore, biomonitoring is very important to protect life on earth. Many government regulations are put in place and more are being put in place each year. Therefore it is necessary for companies to monitor and manage both their short-term and long-term environmental impacts and set plans to mitigate any possible damage that can be done to stay in business.
This will also help the company gain public support. The IPCC released a detailed report stating that the health of the climate is already in danger if our actions do not change, therefore environmental monitoring is now more important than ever.
Consequently, monitoring our environment while we carry out our operations in our day-to-day business will help improve the state of our environment.
The more data that is collected through monitoring, the more scientists can better forecast and predict what our future will be like. Therefore, corrective action will need to be put in place to abate climate change. Environmental protection will help organizations and companies to determine if their actions are degrading or improving their environments.
The Future of Environmental Monitoring and Climate Change
With more people becoming more environmentally aware of the increasing impacts of climate change such as flooding, increased atmospheric temperatures, droughts, and melting of ice caps, governments worldwide are now investing billions in environmental monitoring techniques to control further damage to Earth.
More research is going on to produce digital artificial intelligence sensors and move away from old analog technologies. Targets have been set to reduce the emissions of carbon, a major culprit of global warming.
Policies and regulations are now being put in place and enforced, therefore environmental monitoring and climate change will have to go hand in hand to meet these targets.
References and Further Reading
Raval, A., 2021. New Podcast Episode: How Climate Change Affects Environmental Monitoring - OTT Blog. [online] OTT Blog. Available at: https://blog.otthydromet.com/en/podcast-climate-change-environmental-monitoring/
Ctc-n.org. n.d. Climate Change Monitoring | Climate Technology Centre & Network. [online] Available at: https://www.ctc-n.org/technologies/climate-change-monitoring.
Jones Parry, E., n.d. The Greatest Threat To Global Security: Climate Change Is Not Merely An Environmental Problem | United Nations. [online] United Nations. Available at: https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/greatest-threat-global-security-climate-change-not-merely-environmental-problem
Sinay. 2021. SOLVED: The Four Types of Environmental Monitoring. [online] Available at: https://sinay.ai/en/what-are-the-four-types-of-environmental-monitoring/
Ceccato, P., Fernandes, K., Ruiz, D. and Allis, E., 2014. Climate and environmental monitoring for decision making. Earth Perspectives, 1(1), pp.1-22.