The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) was established in 1919. Its objectives are the promotion and coordination of physical, chemical and mathematical studies of the Earth and its environment in space.
The Union is a federation of eight semi-autonomous Associations, each responsible for a specific range of topics or themes within the overall scope of the Union’s activities and each with a sub-structure.
These Associations encompass scientific studies of the shape of the Earth, its gravitational and magnetic fields, the dynamics of the Earth as a whole and of its component parts, the Earth’s internal structure, composition and tectonics, the generation of magmas, volcanism and rock formation, the hydrological cycle including snow and ice, all physical aspects of the oceans, the atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere and solar-terrestrial relations, and analogous problems associated with the Moon and other planets.
IUGG is not only dedicated to the scientific study of the Earth but also applications of the knowledge gained by such studies to the needs of society, such as geographical information systems, climate change, water quality, and reduction of the effects of natural hazards.
The Union co-sponsors with IUGS the International Lithosphere Programme. IUGG contributes to several ICSU Scientific Committees, cooperates with UNESCO in the study of water issues and natural catastrophes, and cooperates with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in studies of climate and other aspects of atmospheric physics including patterns of precipitation. Particular emphasis is given to promoting scientific capabilities and data collection in developing countries. At present 69 Adhering Bodies belong to the Union.