Observing the Earth from space: Improving satellite measurements for climate change monitoring
Remote sensing of the Earth from space is vital for obtaining the global data needed to underpin climate change research and its impacts, (e.g. flooding and agriculture), and to identify potential environmental issues such as pollution and coastal erosion. Satellites need to detect often subtle changes in Essential Climate Variables (identified by experts for the United Nations Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), such as a few tenths of a percent per decade change in total solar energy or sea surface temperature. However, the performance of satellite instruments is prone to degrade due to the harshness of launch and environmental conditions in space. Therefore they generally need to be re-calibrated and always validated in orbit to guarantee the reliability of the data they collect. This project addressed these issues and aligns with on-going international efforts, by establishing tools, methods and infrastructure to help assign reliable traceable confidence levels to climate change monitoring data.