Agenda Item 8.1.1C deals “with improving the recognition of the essential role and global importance of Earth observation radiocommunication applications and their societal benefits.”
Humanity takes advantage of the natural emissions of terrestrial and astrophysical sources to increase understanding of our environment and our place in the Universe. Access to these faint tracers of key physical parameters is vital to our safety and insight. These incredibly sensitive passive sensors require protection from interference. The ITU has provided protection through its Regulations and Recommendations. It needs to continue (and improve) this recognition of the vital role of the passive observing services (RAS and EESS) into the future.
The exponential growth of remote sensing technology in the recent past has collectively provided an enormous amount of information and insight. This has become a key means to understand the effects of changes in both the natural and artificial environment and to provide information for effective decision-making and resource management in many areas of our society and lives. In addition, remote sensing science and technology have economic benefits, both in job creation and in early warning of potentially disastrous and disruptive situations. As remote sensing observations continue, they are expected to yield revolutionary insights about our environment and serve as a catalyst to increase effective use of natural resources. The fields that benefit from Earth remote sensing are broad based and varied. Some of the key applications include the following:
• Critical public safety needs are addressed using aviation, maritime, defense, and anti-collision radars.
• Weather prediction and climate change benefit from global monitoring of clouds, precipitation, surface winds, moisture, temperature, aerosols, trace gasses and changes in glaciers and Earth’s vegetation canopy (biomass).
• Weather forecasting and climate monitoring are vital for human health, welfare and security. They are also beneficial in daily outdoor activities, transportation, agriculture, and defense. They have reduced the impact on property and human life of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts, tornados, and wildfires.
• Detection of forest fires reduces both response time and damage.
• Data on land use, planning and coastal monitoring benefits both developed and developing countries.
• More effective management of natural resources is enabled by remote sensing data.
• Spectral monitoring and management yield improved utilization and reduction in frequency interference for scientific, governmental, defense and commercial applications.
• The availability of Earth remote sensing data increases the capabilities of scientific, government and commercial users.
• Research and development efforts supporting observations in the passive spectral bands have and will likely continue to produce high-tech spinoffs that benefit our society.
Astronomical observations transform our understanding of fundamental physics, the origin and evolution of the universe, and the place of humanity in the universe. To achieve these goals, astronomers, physicists and engineers have developed sensitive instruments and sophisticated software. In many instances these push the state of the art, not only for science but for practical applications in health, safety and commercial applications. As noted in the CORF Handbook, the ability to determine redshift, for example, “is directly related to the ability to cover the widest possible bandwidth in a search; therefore, it