Over 30 000 people from 190 nations are gathered at the two-week UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. On Thursday about 150 distinguished guests attended an ESA-hosted side event entitled 'Global Monitoring of our Climate: the Essential Climate Variables'.
During the event, speakers from various agencies highlighted the role that Earth observation satellites play in providing systematic global climate observations. These observations are essential for climate change research and for managing mitigation and adaptation strategies. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has long recognised the need for global observations of climate variables in order to quantify the state of our climate. Within ESA's Climate Change Initiative a set of long-term global records of essential climate variables will be provided using space technology.
These data are required by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) an organisation in the framework of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to support the UNFCCC and the International Panel on Climate Change.
Opening the side event, Dr Stephen Briggs, ESA's Head of Earth Observation Science, Applications and Future Technologies Department, explained how ESA is responding to the needs of UNFCCC with its new Climate Change Initiative.
"ESA has developed the Climate Change Initiative to generate, preserve and give access to long-term data sets of the essential climate variables and make them freely available to climate research and modelling communities worldwide," Briggs said.
The initiative will build on the availability of Europe's global data sets and on data delivered by a network of other space agencies. It will also guarantee the provision of space-based information for the future, in a form readily usable by scientific communities and government bodies.
Data from ESA satellites going back three decades, combined with data from new mission
|Contact: Robert Meisner|
European Space Agency