Monday, November 29, 2010

ESA Observing the Earth: UN Climate Change Conference 2010

The Climate Change Initiative (COP16) will combine data from satellites going back three decades with observations from new missions to produce consistent, long-term records for a wide range of essential climate variables such as sea level rise, ice extent and thickness, sea-surface temperature, and vegetation cover.
Climate research and modelling communities worldwide will have free access to these data.
The information is required by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) to support the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the scientific work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

ESA will maintain an exhibit throughout COP16 (the 16th Conference of the Parties) and host a special side event on the Climate Change Initiative on 2 December, where top climate scientists will show examples of essential climate variables – such as sea level trends and forest fires) explaining how they are used to develop and validate climate models.

The coordinated efforts of space agencies worldwide to provide climate data will also be outlined.

The event will highlight the contribution of ESA’s Living Planet Programme, including two decades of observations from ERS and Enivsat, the recent Earth Explorer scientific missions and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) operational programme, which will maintain a constellation of satellites continuously monitoring 24 of the 44 essential climate variables for the next three decades.

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