National Aeronautics & Space Administration
As stated in the 2010 National Space Policy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plays a crucial role in conducting global change research, ensuring sustained monitoring capabilities, and advancing scientific knowledge of the global integrated Earth system through satellite observations and satellite system development. As such, NASA fully supports USGCRP’s National Global Change Research Plan 2012-2021 to advance science, inform decisions, conduct sustained assessments, and communicate and educate. NASA actively contributes to USGCRP’s National Climate Assessment and constitutes about half of the USGCRP budget.
NASA’s global change activities have four integrated foci: satellite observations; technology development; research and analysis; and applications. Satellites provide critical global atmosphere, ocean, land, sea ice, and ecosystem measurements. NASA’s seventeen on-orbit satellites measure numerous variables required to enhance understanding of Earth interactions. In 2013, NASA launched the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite to measure land cover and evapotranspiration and is developing other satellites for launch in 2014 and beyond. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission launched in February 2014. GPM is an international satellite mission that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space, providing the next-generation observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours. Applications projects extend the societal benefits of NASA's research, technology, and spaceflight programs to the broader U.S. public through the development and transition of user-defined tools for decision support.
NASA’s program advances observing technology and leads to new and enhanced space-based observation and information systems. Science research and analysis of satellite observations and model results improve predictability and knowledge of the global integrated Earth system. Airborne systems provide high resolution observations of variables relevant to global change research—including polar seas and ice sheets; atmospheric composition; carbon storage and flux in the Arctic; hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean; and root-zone soil moisture at different locales in North America.