[____] Satellite data from NASA is essential to measuring emissions to stop global warming. James Lewis et. al, senior fellow and director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS Sarah O. Ladislaw, senior fellow in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, June 2010, “ Earth Observation for Climate Change,” http://csis.org/files/publication/100608_Lewis_EarthObservation_WEB.pdf This is a question of priorities. Manned flight should remain a priority, but not the first priority. Earth observation data is critical to understanding the causes and effects of climate change and quantifying changing conditions in the environment. The paucity of satellites actually designed and in orbit to measure climate change is disturbing. The United States does not have a robust climate-monitoring infrastructure. In fact, the current infrastructure is in decline. Until that decline is reversed and an adequate space infrastructure put in place, building and launching satellites specifically designed for monitoring climate change should be the first priority for civil space spending. Manned spaceflight provides prestige, but Earth observation is crucial for security and economic well-being.TheUnited States should continue to fund as a priority a more robust and adequate space infrastructure to measure climate change, building and orbiting satellites specifically designed to carry advanced sensors for such monitoring. Satellites provide globally consistent observations and the means to make simultaneous observations of diverse measurements that are essential for climate studies. They supply high-accuracy global observations of the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface that cannot be acquired by any other method. Satellite instruments supply accurate measurements on a near-daily basis for long periods and across broad geographic regions. They can reveal global patterns that ground or air sensors would be unable to detect—as in the case of data from NASA satellites that showed us the amount of pollution arriving in North America from Asia as equal to 15 percent of local emissions of the United States and Canada. This sort of data is crucial to effective management of emissions—the United States, for example, could put in place regulations to decrease emissions and find them neutralized by pollution from other regions. 15 Satellites allow us to monitor the pattern of ice-sheet thickening and thinning. While Arctic ice once increased a few centimeters every year, it now melts at a rate of more than one meter annually. This knowledge would not exist without satellite laser altimetry from NASA’s ICESat satellite.
Impacts – Earth Science Solves Global Warming
[____] [____] NASA satellites focused on global warming are key to help predict global warming and natural disasters. Larry West, Environmental journalist, finalist for the Pulitzer prize, 3/5/2006, “Budget Cuts and Mismanagement Place Environmental Satellites at Risk” Budget cuts and cost overruns are threatening the current integrity and future existence of a network of U.S. environmental satellites that help scientists forecast hurricanes, droughts and floods, and predict global warming, according to a news story by the Associated Press. "The system of environmental satellites is at risk of collapse," said Richard A. Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and chairman of a National Academy of Sciences committee that advises the federal government on developing and operating environmental satellites, in an interview with the Associated Press. "Every year that goes by without the system being addressed is a problem." Satellites Give Warning Before Disasters Strike Scientists say that neglecting the environmental satellites orbiting the Earth could have severe human consequences. If the environmental satellites aren’t there to provide up-to-date information about approaching natural disasters and threats from other severe climate and weather conditions, then scientists will be unable to warn the people most likely to be harmed and the public safety officials who must try to protect them. Yet, at a time when the United States is still recovering from the worst hurricane season on record, when Africa and South America are experiencing devastating droughts, and when regions worldwide are feeling the first effects of global warming, NASA is managing its budget as though extreme weather and natural disasters were passé. [____] Environmental satellites provide critical data on global warming. Larry West, Environmental journalist, finalist for the Pulitzer prize, 3/5/2006, “Budget Cuts and Mismanagement Place Environmental Satellites at Risk” In an effort to save money, NASA has canceled plans for at least three earth-observing satellites, and cost overruns have delayed a new generation of weather satellites until 2010 or 2012. The Government Accounting Office has called the entire U.S. environmental satellite effort “a program in crisis.” Balancing Budgets and Priorities NASAAdministrator Michael Griffin has the difficult job of trying to stretch his shrinking budgetto cover the cost of operating the space shuttle and the space station as well as space exploration and programs such as the environmental satellites. NASA’s proposed budget for 2007 includes $6.2 billion for space shuttle and space station operations, and $4 billion for planning future missions to the moon and Mars, but only $2.2 billion for satellites that help scientists observe the Earth and the sun. "We simply cannot afford all of the missions that our scientific constituencies would like us to sponsor," Griffin told members of Congress when he testified before the House Science Committee on Feb. 16, 2006. Perhaps not, but it seems as though humanity’s critical need for the information that environmental satellites provide should place them higher on NASA’s list of priorities.