. "Summary." Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: Elements of a Strategy to Recover Measurement Capabilities Lost in Program Restructuring. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2008.
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Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: Elements of a Strategy to Recover Measurement Capabilities Lost in Program Restructuring
by mechanisms for cooperation. These are issues whose solutions will require action at high levels of the federal government” (NRC, 2007, p. 13). In turn, this prompted one of the report’s most important recommendations: “The Office of Science and Technology Policy, in collaboration with the relevant agencies and in consultation with the scientific community, should develop and implement a plan for achieving and sustaining global Earth observations. This plan should recognize the complexity of differing agency roles, responsibilities, and capabilities as well as the lessons from implementation of the Landsat, EOS, and NPOESS programs” (p. 14). The present committee fullyendorses the need for clarified agency roles and responsibilities, consistent with inherent agency strengths,and reiterates this important recommendation of the decadal survey.
The committee recognizes the importance of international cooperation in obtaining climate-quality measurements from space; the absence of an internationally agreed upon and ratified strategy for climate observations from space remains an area of grave concern. The research and operational agencies should coordinate theirdevelopment, operations, standards, and products with international partners.
Community Involvement in the Development of Climate Data Records
The NRC has produced a number of reports on the subject of climate data records (CDRs), many having been motivated by concerns over the future availability of satellite-based climate-quality data records. The implied demise of climate-focused satellite observations from NPOESS, a consequence of the Nunn-McCurdy certification, adds to the ongoing concern about the lack of organized commitment to CDR development. It has been stressed in many NRC and other reports that generation of CDRs requires considerable scientific insight, including the blending of multiple sources of data; error analysis; and access to raw data. On the basis of its review of previous NRC studies and its own experience, the committee identified a number of particularly important elements for a sustained long-term program dedicated to developing credible CDRs. These elements are discussed in Chapter 4.
Finally, it is important to note that community concerns about the adequacy of NPOESS for climate research existed even before the 2006 program restructuring. For example, in the 2007 NRC decadal survey Earth Scienceand Applications from Space (NRC, 2007, p. 263), the report from the Panel on Climate Variability and Change concluded that, “Regardless of the descoping, the NPOESS program lacks essential features of a well-designed climate-observing system.”