Prepared under the auspices of ESA on behalf of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the report provides an overview of existing Earth observation (EO) missions, their instruments and the plans of more than 30 space agencies for upcoming missions and instruments. It is the most up-to-date and comprehensive statement of governmental EO programmes available. The EO Handbook, researched and written by Symbios Spazio, is always keenly anticipated by the space community for its insights into future trends world-wide in remote sensing programmes.
This edition has a particular focus on climate change and on the role of data provided by EO satellites, which are emerging as the single most important contribution to global climate observations. EO satellite data potentially contributes to more than half of the Essential Climate Variables recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The nature of climate change issues presents special challenges in terms of the need for global information and data on key planetary indicators which can provide the information required for governments and policymakers to make well-informed decisions.
Recognising that no single country can satisfy all of the observational requirements necessary for monitoring the Earth System, governments are taking steps to harmonise and integrate their observing networks and satellite observing systems to be able to address common problems of global concern.
The major aims of CEOS are to achieve international coordination in the planning of these EO satellite programmes and to maximise utilisation of their data, in order to effectively address the most critical requirements.
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