Climatologists warn of data crisis

"Earth Observing System" (NASA image).

Climate scientists warn that the end of the service life of current satellites can be serious gaps in terms of climate data as the next generation something to be seen.

The problem is aggravated by the lack of adequate replacement probes Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory, which failed launch. "We can not manage what you can not measure" — sharpens Kevin Trenberth, a senior fellow of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Sciences.

American "Earth Observing System", run by NASA, consists of polar-orbiting satellites, probes and low inclination orbits. They perform a long-term global observations of the land, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans. Polar-orbiting satellites Terra, Aqua and Aura, most likely, will cease to exist in 2015. The next generation of such devices are unlikely to be fully deployed by then. The lack of overlap vremennogo will have serious consequences for the homogeneity and continuity of climate data sets, noted Mr. Trenberth ivosem his co-authors in a paper presented at the conference of the World Climate Research Programme in Denver (USA).

October 28 NASA intended to launch the "development of the National Polar-orbiting satellite observations of the environment." This is a prototype of a new generation of satellites — "Joint Polar Satellite System» (JPSS), which will be the basis of U.S. space-based observations for weather and climate. But due to budget constraints, the first full start JPSS-unit, originally planned for 2015, was postponed at the end of the decade.

In the transition from one generation to another satellite needs a time when the old and new data probes overlap. This is needed for testing, tuning and calibration of new sensors. In this case, the gap may be two years, which will cause great damage to monitor trends in the global climate.

Lack of calibration tools on various systems and complicates an already difficult problem — the comparison of data: performance of various satellite sensors far apart, there is also a lot of false signals. Mr. Trenberth notes that the principles of climate monitoring nominated "Global Climate Observing System" (GCOS), there is no provision for checking the accuracy of satellite data, and confirm or deny the sensational information.

Questions about the quality of climate data, including the problems of re-analysis and processing of the results of past observations, have become full-fledged trend climatological studies, agrees Adrian Simmons, a senior fellow at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the chairman of the GCOS Steering Committee.

At the same time, the expert emphasizes, concerns about gaps and uncritical use of data without compromising the key findings, including the fact that the world is getting warmer.

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