Issue Date: July 14, 2008
Satellite Priorities For Climate Research
Building and launching the next generation of satellites to monitor the state of Earth has been plagued by huge cost overruns since planning began in 1994. The National Research Council has been investigating problems of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System and has made recommendations for prioritizing work related to researching climate change. Climate research depends on long-term sustained measurement records, NRC states, and the U.S. still does not have a coherent, viable strategy to achieve this. When going forward, the several agencies planning the new satellites, including the Defense Department, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and NASA, need to balance their science and applications objectives, NRC says. In terms of what satellite instrumentation priorities scientists need, NRC's highest recommendations are for improved microwave radiometry for viewing Earth's surface and measuring temperatures, radar altimetry for measuring sea-level changes, and a satellite to extend the Earth radiation budget long-term record.
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