ceos   eesa
It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), to present the CEOS Earth Observation Handbook, prepared under the auspices of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The report presents the main capabilities of satellite Earth observations, their applications, and a systematic overview of present and planned CEOS agency Earth observation satellite missions and their instruments. It also explores society’s increasing need for information on our planet.
Recognising that no single country can satisfy all of the observational requirements which are necessary for monitoring of the Earth System, governments are taking steps to harmonise and integrate their observing networks and satellite observing systems to be able to address common problems of global concern.

The major aims of CEOS are to achieve international coordination in the planning of these Earth observing satellite programmes and to maximise utilisation of their data, in order to effectively address the most critical requirements.

I hope that the CEOS Earth Observation Handbook will continue to serve as a valuable reference source for a variety of readers, including those with needs in climate studies, and decision-makers in political and socio-economic sectors. I further hope that it can help improve optimisation of the overall Earth observation strategy, which is central to our future success.

Volker Liebig
Director of Earth Observation Programmes
European Space Agency


This edition has a particular focus on climate change, on the information we need to detect, monitor and adapt to it, and on the role for satellite Earth observations – which are emerging as the single most important contribution to global climate observations, potentially contributing to 25 of the 45 Essential Climate Variables recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The nature of climate change issues presents special challenges in terms of the need for global information and data on key planetary indicators which can provide the information required for governments and policy makers to make well-informed decisions.




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