Formed in 1958, the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) is an international organization charged with promoting space research. It serves chiefly as a forum for information exchange, preparation of scientific and technical standards, and the presentation and publication of scientific papers in the field of space research.
In his speech at the opening of the âWater and Life in the Universeâ symposium, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall underlined spaceâs key role in climate monitoring and CNESâs very close involvement in this field, listing the climate monitoring space missions the agency is pursuing with its international partners: IASI with Eumetsat, SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) with ESA, the Jason series of ocean altimetry satellites and Calipso (study of clouds and aerosols) with NASA, and Megha-Tropiques to study ocean-atmosphere energy exchanges in the tropics and SARAL-AltiKa to measure sea-surface height with ISRO.
He then turned his attention to future projects set to deliver new insights into climate mechanisms: IASI New Generation, Biomass (to measure carbon stored in forests), MERLIN with DLR (to measure atmospheric methane), SWOT (Surface Water and Ocean Topography) with NASA and CFOSat (ocean surface winds and waves) with China. He also mentioned other satellite programmes in which France is actively involved, such as Pleiades and Sentinel, which are helping to manage natural disasters, in particular through the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters.
Lastly, he reminded the audience of CNESâs involvement in preparing for the COP21 climate conference in Paris in December and the success of the Mexico Summit where the worldâs Heads of Space Agencies committed to supporting climate monitoring. Insisting on the need to reach agreement at COP21, he concluded his speech with the words of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon: âThere is no Plan B because there is no Planet Bâ.
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