Satellite observations are a key element in an integrated and sustained climate observing system and have been critically important for monitoring and understanding the Earth’s climate system during the past several decades. The completion of the IPCC Fifth Assessment (AR5) in 2013-2014 made it timely to discuss these achievements, to assess future opportunities and challenges with satellite derived climate information, and to provide guidance on future priorities.
The symposium was an important step towards defining requirements, and the further development of an efficient and sustained international space-based Earth observing system. This symposium brought together the international experts in climate observations, research, analysis and modelling to present and discuss results from their studies, with a particular emphasis on the role of space-based Earth observations in improving our knowledge of the current climate at global and regional scales, and in the assessment of models used for climate projections.
The Symposium was entitled “Climate Research and Earth Observation from Space – Climate Information for Decision Making” and was organised around the six “Grand Science Challenges” of the WCRP, namely:
- Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity;
- The Changing Water Cycle;
- Cryosphere in a Warming World;
- Ocean Circulation and Regional Sea Level Rise;
- Prediction and Attribution of Extremes: from Climate to Weather;
- Regional Climate Variability and Change: Enabling Climate Services.
Based on the presentations and discussions, the Science Programme Committee identified findings and recommendations, which are organised according to the following themes: i) Research and Process Understanding; ii) Observations; and iii) Coordination and Integration of Observations.