Sunday, March 15, 2009

UK centre to keep watch on Earth

The launch of Europe's Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (Goce) satellite set for Monday will be the first large-scale effort involving the UK's new National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) since its official inauguration earlier this month.

The exquisite precision of Goce's measurements is just one facet of the data crucial to fulfil the NCEO's mission of harnessing space technology and expertise to better inform studies into the environment and, in particular, climate change.

The £33m, five-year collaboration was set up by the Natural Environmental Research Council (Nerc) and draws together 100 scientists from 26 UK universities.

Nerc makes the UK's contribution to the European Space Agency's (Esa) Earth Explorer missions, of which Goce is the first to fly.

The NCEO hopes to unite satellite, remote sensing, and ground-based data, integrating it with environmental models to provide an overarching view of the systems of our planet.

UK Science Minister Lord Drayson, speaking at the launch, said that satellite technology provided a particularly valuable role in the centre's mission.

Science competition

The NCEO effort, he said, "reflects the UK's determination to ensure that we use the fantastic science that we have around satellite technology - and space technology in general - to make the most contribution that we can to environmental research around climate change".

The effort was first announced in August 2006, with the appointment of its science director Alan O'Neill, a professor at the University of Reading.

You can read the rest of the article at this link: Watch

The article mentioned the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)

I did a search and found this information:

NERC created a national centre on 1 April 2008, which will have an overall responsibility for our suite of Earth Observation Centres of Excellence.

This new initiative is a response by NERC to:

•The Earth Observation Sector review
•The Science Management Audits of the individual Earth Observation Centres of Excellence
The National Centre will build on the considerable expertise of the Centres of Excellence – which use data from earth observation satellites to monitor global and regional changes in the environment, developing a detailed understanding so that we might predict future environmental conditions. We have already highlighted significant environmental changes - for instance ozone depletion, atmospheric pollution, and melting sea ice.

NCEO will include wider, national earth observation activities such as technology development and mission support. It will also take into account NERC's considerable international investments. For example, NERC is responsible for the UK's subscription to a number of European Space Agency programmes, including the Earth Observation Envelope Programme.

The NCEO was announced in August 2006 together with the appointment of the new Science Director of NCEO, Alan O'Neill from the University of Reading, who took up his post on 1 September 2006.

Here is their offical website: NCEO

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