As part of the U.S. charm offensive at the recent Copenhagen summit on climate change, a roughly one meter-diameter orb helped display a decade’s worth of climate data collected by NASA satellites. “This is the golden age,” NASA’s Jack Kaye told me. As associate research director for the agency’s Earth Science Division, he’s “reaping the benefits of the 1990s.”
That’s Dr. Kaye himself narrating some of the achievements of the last decade to an intrigued Copenhagen crowd.
Of course, most of these satellites are soon to be (or already) defunct and funding for replacements has not been forthcoming. Scientists will simply have to “get very creative,” Kaye says, when it comes to filling in gaps. For example, NASA scientists struggled with a gap in Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer measurements. But, by using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as from European satellites, they could “provide continuity in total ozone data,” Kaye says.
Ultimately, darkened U.S. satellites mean one thing: “We will rely on working with Europeans, Japanese. Even China and India, there are more partners than ever before,” Kaye notes.
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