Climate change and growing exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources is leading to a range of environmental problems that require international action.
If humanity is going to respond effectively, many of the solutions will be informed by global monitoring of the environment, including the use of space assets.
Indeed, space sensing observation is essential to help leaders and citizens make better decisions based on reliable data.
Today, several dozen satellites contribute to the accumulation of critical knowledge about the Earth’s system, enabling scientists to describe specific links between a major natural disturbance in the upper atmosphere, and changes in the weather thousands of miles away.
As accurate weather predictions need to start from the best possible estimate of the current state of the atmosphere, it is crucial that meteorologists have real-time, accurate global observations about what is happening in the Earth’s atmosphere over land and oceans. And for this, they rely on space sensing.
Satellite data is today an indispensable input for weather prediction models and forecast systems used to produce safety warnings and other information in support of public and private decision-making.
The need for observations is formally addressed through the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change which has charged the Global Climate Observing System with the responsibility for defining requirements for observations relevant to climate change.
“It is crucial that meteorologists have real-time, accurate global observations about what is happening in the Earth’s atmosphere.” — Mario Maniewicz
All concerned UN agencies work together to ensure the sustained provision of reliable physical, chemical and biological observation and data records in order to contribute to the achievement of each one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their associated targets.
It is therefore important for the readers of the latest ITU News Magazine edition to understand why the availability and protection of appropriate spectrum for meteorological systems is crucial for their performance, and why the potential economic and societal value of these systems deserve special attention from the ITU membership to the needs of the space science community. I am very grateful to the authors for sharing their expertise and perspectives.