Bridging the Gap: How the Global Climate Observing System is related to the Space Economy

Climate Change

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) is an international system established to ensure that the observations and information needed to address climate-related issues are obtained and made available to all potential users. It’s a cooperative effort among the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Science Council (ISC).

The GCOS includes observation programs, such as atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial monitoring systems, that are either fully dedicated to climate observations or have a climate-related component. It covers the entire climate system including physical, chemical, and biological properties, and atmospheric, oceanic, hydrologic, cryospheric, and terrestrial processes.

The GCOS is closely related to the space economy in several ways:

Data Gathering: Satellites form a critical part of the global observing system, providing comprehensive, global data about the earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces. Many space agencies and companies contribute to this effort, deploying and maintaining the satellites, and processing and distributing the data they produce.

Climate Monitoring: Satellites provide crucial data for monitoring changes in climate variables, such as sea-level rise, ice-sheet thickness, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and surface temperature. This information helps scientists to understand how the climate is changing and to validate and improve climate models.

Technological Innovation: The demand for climate data drives innovation in space technology, leading to the development of new types of satellites and sensors. This contributes to the growth of the space economy.

Public-Private Partnerships: The need for climate observations has fostered partnerships between public sector space agencies and private companies. These partnerships can involve data sharing, technology transfer, and other forms of cooperation.

Services and Applications: The data provided by satellites support a wide range of services and applications, from weather forecasting and climate services to environmental monitoring and disaster management. These services are a important part of the space economy.

In summary, the GCOS is a key user of space-based observations, and the data it requires provides a driver for the space economy.

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