Early warning system to spot overlapping threats

Edinburgh scientists are working with the United Nations to develop an early warning system to spot where climate change could impact areas already affected by conflict or natural disasters.

The digital tool reveals where harmful climate change overlaps with environmental stressors – which also include factors such as air pollution – to threaten societies and ecosystems around the world.

Development of the platform will aid efforts to prevent conflict, reduce risk and build resilience. It will also help countries promote sustainable livelihoods by enabling better informed decision-making.

Data tool

The tool – known as the Environmental and Climate Stress Index (ECSI) – will use satellite data and cloud computing to provide a fast, accurate way of identifying environmental and climate hotspots.

It will be available to more than 130 countries through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The world has entered a new age for digital innovation, and we must harness novel frontier technologies to improve global environmental stewardship. To this end, UNEP is thrilled to join forces with the University of Edinburgh and Earth Blox to develop the ECSI.

David JensenHead of Environmental Peacebuilding, United Nations Environment Programme

Global challenges

The collaboration with UNEP – which also involves Google – is led by academics from the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences and start-up company Earth Blox, which was founded by University staff and alumni.

The global climate is changing rapidly, and the ECSI will empower decision makers to more effectively address the global challenges this is bringing. We are delighted to be working with the United Nations Environment Programme to improve mapping of environmental and climate stresses globally.

Dr Genevieve PatenaudeSchool of GeoSciences / CEO of Earth Blox

Related links

Project announcement

Earth Blox

School of GeoSciences

United Nations Environment Programme

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