The global proliferation of remote sensing satellite systems is allowing space to contribute more than ever to climate and disaster monitoring. The growing capabilities and numbers of such satellites are providing tangible benefits that will increase as climate change effects are felt. Two examples of how these contributions are being coordinated include:
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO), which includes participation by 85 nations (including the United States), the European Commission, and 61 organizations (as of October 2010). Its objective is to establish a Global Earth Observation System of Systems that coordinates system planning, data sharing, and research collaboration worldwide.
The Charter on Cooperation to Achieve the Coordinated Use of Space Facilities in the Event of Natural or Technological Disasters (Space & Major Disasters Charter), which was created in 2000 to provide emergency response. Its 19 members, consisting of government space agencies and nongovernment space system operators, supply data and services when disasters strike anywhere in the world. From February 2002 through January 2011, the charter was activated 273 times. This is an example of a “no-regrets” program—one that serves a clear need even in the absence of climate change effects.