Posted: 14 September 2016, 9:00 p.m. EDT
(Pictured: Phil DeCola, chief science officer, Sigma Space Corp.; Riley Duren, chief systems engineer, Earth Science Directorate, JPL;
Jean Pascal Le Franc, deputy director for programming and international,CNES; Steve Pawson, chief, Global Modeling and Assimilation
Office, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
Speakers: Moderator Randy Friedl, manager, Earth System Science Formulation, Earth Science Directorate, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Phil DeCola, chief science officer, Sigma Space Corp.; Riley Duren, chief systems engineer, Earth Science Directorate, JPL; Jean Pascal Le Franc, deputy director for programming and international, CNES; Steve Pawson, chief, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
By Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications
Space-based assets, including Earth observations satellites, will play critical roles in the years ahead in helping countries understand the role their emissions play in climate change, a panel of experts told an audience Sept. 14 at
AIAA SPACE 2016 in Long Beach, California.
Panelists in the “Earth Observations — Space and The Paris Agreement” forum hailed the recently
signed agreement — which specifies target reductions of gasses that contribute to climate change, with carbon and methane chief among them — as a real milestone in the fight against global warming. But, they said, in order to keep up with the agreement’s monitoring and reporting requirements, space-based assets will be needed — especially satellite technology that can take a wide variety of atmospheric samples around the planet.
Jean Pascal Le Franc, deputy director for programming and international with
CNES, explained that with sea levels rising about 3.2 millimeters (or 0.13 inches) per year, nations must get serious about monitoring the gasses that contribute to global climate change. Le Franc also acknowledged that satellites are currently monitoring only about half of the factors that contribute to climate change, adding that he would like to see the day satellites monitor all of them.
Panel moderator Randy Friedl, manager, Earth System Science Formulation, Earth Science Directorate, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, offers remarks during the panel discussion, "Earth Observations — Space and The Paris Agreement," on Wednesday, 14 September, at AIAA SPACE 2016, taking place 13–16 September 2016, in Long Beach, CA.
According to the panelists, nations should stop focusing solely on carbon dioxide as a contributing gas to global warming and mount more serious studies of methane.
“Methane is much more difficult to measure given the numerous sources, both natural and anthropogenic, that emit it,” explained Steve Pawson, chief of the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Panelists urged all attendees to engage with individuals in their various communities on the dangers of climate change, noting, to a one, that global cooperation is the only way to fight it. They also said that developed countries with robust space programs should lend assets to underdeveloped nations as a way to provide the global unity needed to combat climate change.
Fighting climate change goes beyond national governments, the panelists said, explaining that the responsibility also falls on communities, corporations and individual citizens working together.
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