NASA and ESA recently entered into a strategic partnership to observe Earth and its changing environment. The two space organizations will work together to assess the impact of climate change, following extreme weather events that continue to affect millions of lives and livelihoods around the world. The partnership is an effort to address and mitigate the climate crisis through Earth science observations and research.
According to an analysis of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2020 was the second warmest year on record for the planet, just behind 2016. The average land and ocean surface temperature across the world last year was 1.76 degrees F ( 0.98 degrees C) above average, only 0.04 of a degree F (0.02 degree C) cooler than the 2016 record. In addition, the northern hemisphere had its brightest year. hot ever recorded at 2.30 degrees F (1.28 degrees C) above the 20th century average. It is no secret that events induced by climate change have serious economic repercussions. A Christian Aid report titled Counting the cost of 2020: a year of climate change identifies 15 of the most destructive climate disasters of 2020 that resulted in billions of global losses. Ten of these events cost $ 1.5 billion or more each, and nine of them caused damage worth at least $ 5 billion. Most estimates are based on insured losses only, which means that the actual cost of each event could be much higher.
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What will the two space organizations do?
NASA and ESA will collaborate and ensure the continuity of Earth observations, advance understanding of the Earth system, climate change and the application of this knowledge. Both organizations already collect a large amount of information relating to the planet. NASA and ESA have been working together for a long time and successfully to understand climate change. In 2020, NASA, NOAA and European partners including ESA launched the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, which collects precise data on global sea level to assess how the oceans are rising in response. to climate change. The mission is to collect data on atmospheric temperature and humidity that will improve climate models and weather forecasts. “Space organizations are leading the way in space, building an unprecedented partnership in the earth sciences and this agreement will set a standard for future international collaboration, providing essential information to address the challenges posed by climate change,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. quoted as saying in response to last partnership.
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Save the planet from space
The consequences of global warming are considerable and can affect our freshwater resources, cause sea levels to rise and cause extreme weather events. Scientists and policymakers need reliable data to understand how the planet is changing. Earth observation satellites have been providing this data for more than three decades now, but much remains to be done to save Earth from further disasters. The NASA-ESA collaboration is a small step in this direction.