Heads of space agencies are meeting today in Marrakesh, Morocco at the COP22 climate change summit to reaffirm their commitment to a coordinated approach for monitoring Earth's climate, with particular focus on the water cycle.
In the meeting hosted by Morocco's Royal Centre for Remote Sensing and France's CNES space agency, the heads of space agencies noted climate change is set to alter the water cycle, causing changes in precipitation and evaporation regimes and the acceleration of glacier melting. This will have direct effects on both ecosystems and societies across the globe.
It is therefore imperative to have operational observing methods to quantify current shifts in the water cycle and their effects, as well as develop predictive models to improve forecasting capabilities. The frequent, global coverage provided by satellites is necessary to monitor and quantify the different elements of our planet in general, and specifically for the water cycle.
A number of ESA's Earth observation missions already provide a wealth of data on this topic. In addition, the Sentinel missions for Europe's Copernicus programme are providing daily information on ice, water bodies and atmosphere.