Space-based observations of Earth have given us a view of the wonder and complexity of the planet. They also provide society with situational awareness of local-to-global environmental conditions and predictive guidance of near-term weather and related quantities (e.g., hydrology, air quality). While these capabilities have become indispensable to safeguarding life and property, as well as for providing guidance for near-term economic and resource management decisions, there are needs and opportunities to greatly expand their utility and impact. These needs result from the growing connectivity and complexities of our food, water, transportation, shipping, energy, communications, and health sectors.
The goal of this study program is to help accelerate discussions and plans for a greater and more impactful U.S. contribution to the global climate observing system. In this context, “climate” includes observations that support climate science and process understanding, as well as monitoring for environmental situational awareness, climate services, adaptation measures, and mitigation assessments. This includes accounting for the context provided by the international Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) program and the Committee on Earth Observations from Space (CEOS), recent and anticipated developments in technology and access to space, and commercial data providers, and the formulation of concepts for future satellite system architectures to address missing observations in, and continuity of, the global climate observing system.