Average global temperatures are on the increase, ice and snow cover is disappearing fast and sea levels are rising. In addition, severe weather situations are becoming more frequent and more extreme. There is clear evidence that the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are warming: 11 of the 12 years in the period 1995-2006 were among the 12 warmest since 1850. Climate change is a reality and it is probably one of the biggest challenges in the history of humankind. The evolution of the Earth’s climate is characterised by a complex global interplay of influences, including the sun, atmosphere, land surface, snow and ice, oceans, seas, biosystems, and of course the human race.
To better understand the global climate system and especially to be able to anticipate its future evolution, not only do we need global data sets, we must also coordinate climate analysis, modelling and predictions on an equally global basis in order to establish the correct climate state and to create powerful modelling tools for climate prediction.
This detailed global climate record can only be obtained through continuous and sustained satellite monitoring over long periods of time. Furthermore, these monitoring activities need to be conducted systematically and regularly, like the regular global analysis of the weather for today’s weather forecast activities.