By Emma Okonji
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has stressed the need for informed global monitoring of the environment, including the use of space assets, in order to effectively address the growing exploitation of the earth’s natural resources through climate change.
According to ITU, the situation was fast degenerating, leading to a range of environmental problems that require immediate international action.
The Director of the ITU Radio Communication Bureau, Mario Maniewicz, who made the disclosure in a statement, said: “If humanity is going to respond effectively, many of the solutions will be informed by global monitoring of the environment, including the use of space assets.
“Indeed, space sensing observation is essential to help leaders and citizens make better decisions based on reliable data.
“Today, several dozen satellites contribute to the accumulation of critical knowledge about the earth’s system, enabling scientists to describe specific links between a major natural disturbance in the upper atmosphere, and changes in the weather thousands of miles away.”
According to him, as accurate weather predictions needed to start from the best possible estimate of the current state of the atmosphere, it was crucial that meteorologists have real-time, accurate global observations about what is happening in the earth’s atmosphere over land and oceans. And for this, they rely on space sensing.
Satellite data is today an indispensable input for weather prediction models and forecast systems used to produce safety warnings and other information in support of public and private decision-making, Maniewicz said.
Citing the Global Climate Observing System – A United Nations Framework, Maniewicz said the need for observations was formally addressed through the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change which has charged the Global Climate Observing System with the responsibility for defining requirements for observations relevant to climate change.
“It is crucial that meteorologists have real-time, accurate global observations about what is happening in the earth’s atmosphere,” Maniewicz advised.
He called on all concerned UN agencies to work together to ensure the sustained provision of reliable physical, chemical and biological observation and data records in order to contribute to the achievement of each one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their associated targets.
The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), is a co-sponsored programme which regularly assesses the status of global climate observations and produces guidance for its improvement.
Addressing the issue of spectrum frequency, Maniewicz said spectrum remained crucial for meteorological systems, and must be made availability and always protected, since it is important for the performance of meteorologist, while insisting that the potential economic and societal value of these systems deserve special attention from the ITU membership to the needs of the space science community.