New Earth Science Decadal Survey To Be Released Friday

New Earth Science Decadal Survey To Be Released Friday

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will release its new Decadal Survey on Earth Science and Applications from Space (ESAS) at an event on Friday, January 5.  The much-awaited study will lay out priorities in space-based earth science research for NASA, NOAA and the U.S. Geological Survey.  The event will be livestreamed.

The National Academies organize Decadal Surveys every 10 years (a decade) for each of NASA’s space and earth science disciplines.  In some cases, like earth science, they include other agencies with applicable activities.  The first ESAS Decadal Survey was published in 2007.

The study’s purpose is to generate consensus recommendations on an “integrated and sustainable approach to the conduct of the U.S. government’s civilian space-based Earth system science programs.”  The study began in January 2016.

Decadal Surveys are conducted by committees of experts who volunteer their time over what is typically a two-year period to determine the top scientific priorities in that discipline.  This Decadal Survey is co-chaired by Waleed Abdalati of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Bill Gail, of the Global Weather Corporation.  They and Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences, will speak at Friday’s event, which begins at 11:00 am ET at the Academies’ Keck Center in Washington, DC.

Abdalati, a former NASA Chief Scientist, and Gail co-chair a steering committee of 20 scientists and engineers.  Five panels of experts on specific topics provided input to the steering committee:

  • Global Hydrological Cycles and Water Resources (co-chaired by Ana Barros, Duke University, and Jeff Dozier, UC-Santa Barbara)
  • Weather and Air Quality: Minutes to Subseasonal (co-chaired by Steven Ackerman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Nancy Baker, Naval Research Laboratory)
  • Marine and Terrestrial Ecosytems and Natural Resources Management (co-chaired by Compton Tucker, NASA/Goddard, and James Yoder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution — WHOI)
  • Climate Variability and Change: Seasonal to Centennial (co-chaired by Carol Anne Clayson, WHOI, and Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, NOAA GDFL)
  • Earth Surface and Interior: Dynamics and Hazards (co-chaired by Douglas Burbank, UC-Santa Barbara and David Sandwell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

The Academies use a consensus-based approach to its studies, which are written by the committee members and then peer-reviewed by other experts in the field through a process governed by members of the Academies.

The goal had been for the Decadal Survey to be completed in time for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting last month.  It missed that deadline, but will be out in time for next week’s meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Austin.  Abdalati, Gail, and Study Director Art Charo will brief the results at an AMS Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, January 10, at 12:15 pm Central Time.

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