Scientists are collecting new data in the effort to answer one of the most urgent – and most widely debated – questions facing humanity: How fast is the world’s ice going to melt? Many now believe that sea level is likely to rise perhaps three feet by 2100 – an increase that, should it come to pass, would pose a threat to coastal regions the world over.
A nice long article about the current science. An interesting aspect is that the satellites that could have helped researchers understand the changes better have not been replaced. Agencies during the Bush Admininstration removed key climate and space weather instruments from several satellites, resulting in data gaps of from 1 to 11 years.
The General Accounting Office Report stated “Until these capabilities are in place, the agencies will not be able to provide key environmental data that are important for sustaining climate and space weather measurements.[…]Without a strategy for continuing environmental measurements over the coming decades and a means for implementing it, agencies will continue to independently pursue their immediate priorities on an ad hoc basis, the economic benefits of a coordinated approach to investments in earth observation may be lost, and our nation’s ability to understand climate change may be limited. While federal agencies have taken steps to plan for continued space weather observations in the near-term, they lack a strategy for the long-term provision of space weather data.”
The Obama Administration has still not released any strategy, even though it received reports from NASA and NOAA last Fall. Without a longterm strategy, the collection of climate data will be left to the vagaries of political appointees and partisan politics. Meaning we will have even less understanding of things as more satellites fail.