Communicating the value of atmospheric services



The atmosphere is one of the most valuable resources on the planet and yet because it is largely invisible it tends to be taken for granted and is increasingly being exploited and commodified. This paper presents 12 Atmospheric Services that are vital to human well-being and the existence of the biosphere. The Total Economic Value of the atmosphere is estimated to be at least between 100 and 1000 times the Gross World Product (GWP was approximately £43 Trillion in 2008). It is only by appreciating the value of the atmosphere to society that we can understand how we need to communicate sustainable management of the atmosphere and treat it as a global commons. It is also important to realize which Atmospheric Services are currently under threat. Only by appreciating the full range of services provided by the atmosphere can the real cost of geo-engineering the climate be calculated. Before geo-engineering of the climate can ever be considered seriously a Law of the Atmosphere will be required. Copyright © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society