4
Summary and Next Steps

Global observations of Earth are essential to understanding how the planet is changing and the implications of these changes for society. In the coming decades, society’s prosperity and security will depend increasingly on Earth information, predictions, and warnings, which, in turn, rely fundamentally on sustained observations of the Earth system, linked to land and ocean observations and decision-support structures. Indeed, the need to improve this linkage was a key motivation for creating the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS), which was initiated under U.S. leadership. During the next year the National Research Council’s Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space will carry out its decadal study to recommend new observing systems for Earth science research and operations. The structure of its panels roughly reflects the socioeconomic benefit areas targeted by GEOSS (Table 4.1), an arrangement that will help ensure that the committee’s recommended Earth research and observations can be applied for the specific benefit of society—now and for future generations.

TABLE 4.1 Relationship of NRC Panel Themes with GEOSS Socioeconomic Benefit Areas

Decadal Survey Panel Theme

GEOSS Socio-Economic Benefit Area

Earth science applications and societal needs

  • Supporting sustainable agriculture and combating desertification

  • Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters

Ecosystem health and biodiversity

  • Improving the management and protection of terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems

  • Understanding, monitoring, and conserving biodiversity

Weather

  • Improving weather information, forecasting, and warning

Climate variability and change

  • Understanding, assessing, predicting, mitigating, and adapting to climate variability and change

Water resources and the global hydrologic cycle

  • Improving water resource management through better understanding of the water cycle

Human health and security

  • Understanding environmental factors affecting human health and well-being

Solid-Earth hazards, resources, and dynamics

  • Improving management of energy resources



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Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Opportunities to Serve the Nation 4 Summary and Next Steps Global observations of Earth are essential to understanding how the planet is changing and the implications of these changes for society. In the coming decades, society’s prosperity and security will depend increasingly on Earth information, predictions, and warnings, which, in turn, rely fundamentally on sustained observations of the Earth system, linked to land and ocean observations and decision-support structures. Indeed, the need to improve this linkage was a key motivation for creating the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS), which was initiated under U.S. leadership. During the next year the National Research Council’s Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space will carry out its decadal study to recommend new observing systems for Earth science research and operations. The structure of its panels roughly reflects the socioeconomic benefit areas targeted by GEOSS (Table 4.1), an arrangement that will help ensure that the committee’s recommended Earth research and observations can be applied for the specific benefit of society—now and for future generations. TABLE 4.1 Relationship of NRC Panel Themes with GEOSS Socioeconomic Benefit Areas Decadal Survey Panel Theme GEOSS Socio-Economic Benefit Area Earth science applications and societal needs Supporting sustainable agriculture and combating desertification Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters Ecosystem health and biodiversity Improving the management and protection of terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems Understanding, monitoring, and conserving biodiversity Weather Improving weather information, forecasting, and warning Climate variability and change Understanding, assessing, predicting, mitigating, and adapting to climate variability and change Water resources and the global hydrologic cycle Improving water resource management through better understanding of the water cycle Human health and security Understanding environmental factors affecting human health and well-being Solid-Earth hazards, resources, and dynamics Improving management of energy resources