ESA and NASA Join Forces To Tackle Global Challenge of Climate Change

Earth Copernicus Sentinel-2

This image of Earth was compiled using tens of thousands of images from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. Thanks to the satellite era, we are better placed to understand the complexities of our planet, particularly with respect to global change. Today’s satellites are used to answer important to understand how Earth works as a system and how natural processes are changing under the pressure of human activity. Satellites also provide essential information for everyday applications such as to improve agricultural practices, for maritime safety and to help when natural disasters strike. Credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019–20), processed by ESA and cloud layer from NASA

Climate change is, arguably, the biggest environmental challenge the global population faces today. To address this major issue, decision-makers not only need accurate information on how our world is changing now, but also predictions on what may happen in the future. A sound knowledge of how Earth behaves as one system is the foundation to all of this – and the pieces of this complex puzzle come largely from satellites orbiting our planet. To ensure that data from Earth-observing satellites are used to their best advantage, further science and, ultimately, bring the most benefit to humankind, ESA and NASA have formed a strategic partnership for Earth science and climate change.

ESA’s Acting Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Toni Tolker-Nielsen, said, “We are already witnessing the effects of climate change through rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting ice and thawing permafrost, for example. Both ESA and NASA have excellent tools and the expertise to advance Earth science, so working together we will be able to achieve much more.

The partnership was formalized today when ESA’s Director General, Josef Aschbacher, and NASA’s Administrator, Bill Nelson, signed a Statement of Intent. This aims to pave the way to leading a global response to climate change, through the monitoring of the Earth and its environment with their combined efforts in Earth science observations, research, and applications.

“Climate change is an all-hands-on deck, global challenge that requires action – now,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “NASA and ESA are leading the way in space, building an unprecedented strategic partnership in Earth science. This agreement will set the standard for future international collaboration, providing the information that is so essential for tackling the challenges posed by climate change and helping to answer and address the most pressing questions in Earth science for the benefit of the United States, Europe, and the world.”

This is not the first time ESA and NASA have joined forces. For example, ESA and NASA teams worked together on field campaigns in the Arctic to validate their respective CryoSat and ICESat missions. They also work together and with other partners on the recently launched Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission, which is a new mission to extend the long-term record of sea-level rise.

In May, NASA announced its Earth System Observatory, which will design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes. The joint statement of intent complements activities underway for the Earth System Observatory.

In addition, ESA and NASA are currently defining a new gravity mission to shed new light on essential processes of the Earth system such as the water cycle. For example, it will ‘weigh’ water in its various locations, such as underground and in the oceans, to understand water mass distribution and transport.

Through the new strategic partnership, ESA and NASA will explore and develop new ways to work together, achieve synergy between their activities, coordinate and cooperate on key strategic programmatic, scientific, and policy interests, and identify processes to work more efficiently and swiftly together.

Josef Aschbacher, noted, “Without doubt, space is the best vantage point to measure and monitor climate change, but joining forces is also key to tackling this global issue. This is why today’s agreement between our organizations is so crucial. Timing is also important, particularly as we look to the COP26 climate conference later this year, where we have the chance to further make space an integral part of the solution when it comes to climate-change mitigation.”

7 Comments on "ESA and NASA Join Forces To Tackle Global Challenge of Climate Change"

  1. Clyde Spencer | August 17, 2021 at 7:37 am | Reply

    “Climate change is, arguably, the biggest environmental challenge the global population faces today.”

    The operative word here is “arguably!” What about the COVID-19 pandemic that stubbornly refuses to go away, driven in part by high population densities, necessitating ‘social distancing?’ What about the threat of animal extinctions driven by landuse changes and competition with humans? What about rampant wildfires driven by poor forest management, introduction of exotic species like cheat grass, and exacerbated by expanding populations building flammable homes in the forests? What about declining fisheries resulting from over-fishing in an attempt to feed growing human populations?

    Then, something else to consider is just what the role of humans is in influencing the climate. It is as though alarmists are in denial of natural climate change, implying that Mother Nature stepped back and left everything to humans at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Claiming that the natural variation is only about 0.01 degrees C out of about 1.07 deg change, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, is simply not credible.

  2. What about reducing personal consumption and stopping all new production, since this is clearly such a huge crisis. Walking and biking instead of vehicles, eating plants and not meat, waking at sunrise and sleeping at sunset to use less electricity? No global tourism, back to farming. Tax sugar. No Air Conditioning will reduce obesity and increase health, sweating is good for you. People adapting to the planet, and not trying to change the planet to adapt to people.

    Or is the boomer bully, drug pushers, and noisy nag solution for the environment the same as the virus problem, not take personal responsibility and personal action for ones own health. Like burdening the youth and healthy with masks and injections because sickly people neglected their own immune systems. Injecting and suffocating youth so the 80+ elderly can lay in bed for a few more years, when its inevitable that the sickly will die sooner anyways.

    • Clyde Spencer | August 17, 2021 at 4:31 pm | Reply

      Have you considered getting professional help? If not, I’d strongly recommend it.

      • Get off the site, you worthless crank, and take your trailer trash nonsense with you. You’re not welcome here.

        • Clyde Spencer | August 31, 2021 at 3:18 pm | Reply

          You are a self-appointed censor. You obviously don’t have the authority to speak for everyone here, or the board of editors.

          You have contributed nothing other than an authoritarian demand that someone you disagree with remove themselves.

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