Printer Friendly

Advice on global change studies.

Advice on global change studies

In a report released last month, a panel of prominent earth scientists largely gives thumbs up to the Bush administration's research program on global change. But the report also highlights some problem areas that could hamper future efforts to understand and predict global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion and other environmental threats.

In general, the report concludes that the program is heading in the right direction, says panel member D. James Baker Jr. of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

The panel of outside experts, assembled by the National Research Council, focuses many of its recommendations on NASA's proposed Earth Observing System (EOS), a group of satellite-borne instruments designed to monitor Earth's vital signs for 15 years starting in 1998. NASA plans to launch two large orbiting platforms that would hold about a dozen instruments each. Platforms and instruments would be replaced with identical models every five years.

The panelists recommend that NASA rethink its EOS plans. They agree that one of the platforms is necessary because several EOS instruments must observe Earth simultaneously from the same point in orbit. But they suggest that the remaining instruments could fly separately on a sequence of smaller satellites. This might allow NASA to launch some of the instruments sooner than would be possible with one large platform, they say. Moreover, putting these "eggs" in several different "baskets" would safeguard against losing them all in the event of some mishap -- a concern that seems all the more real after NASA's mechanical problems this summer.

The report also stresses that EOS should not take precedence over some smaller but critical instruments planned for launch in the next few years to make important global measurements. "If budgetary constraints arise, it would be more desirable to delay the launch of EOS spacecraft than to forego or diminish the effectiveness of near-term missions," the report states.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:report by panel of experts
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 8, 1990
Previous Article:Oily end to leaf cuticle and algal walls.
Next Article:Volcanic warming during dinosaur days.

Related Articles
Mapping gaps in environmental data.
Panel frets over cash-short climate studies.
Global warming: politics muddle policy.
Nay-sayers play down greenhouse threat.
Warming will hurt poor nations most.
Temperature rising.
Gunning for the UN.
Global Warming Likely to Cause Heavy Rains, Higher Sea Levels.
Undisclosed industry ties of scientific authors undercut credibility.
Listen to the scientists.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters