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Editorial, Issue 3

The last few weeks have seen an accumulation of natural disasters. In particular the tropical storms KATRINA, RITA, WILMA and the like have left tremendous amounts of death and destruction on the American continent. But this is only the most visible consequences of a general trend. Humankind has now to face the fact that Global Change is not a remote scientific concept. It is here all around us from tropical storms to desertification, from receding glaciers to sea level change, from atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increase to global temperature changes and with a variety of other observations.
Although remote sensing is recognised as the most suitable
technique to make global observations of our planet a lot remains to be
done to gather, process and exploit enough data to give us a clear
picture of what the future has in stock for us. It is thus a core
strategic objective of our association to raise awareness on the needs,
and to do everything possible to foster the development of new Earth
observation systems as well as the development of large scale data
processing and exploitation. This objective is being implemented
through implication in GMES and GEOSS in particular. Thus the present
period of emergence of GMES and GEOSS is a unique opportunity for our
members to take an active part in the exploration of our own planet and
to help prepare a better future. This can be done through participation
in our working groups, through preparation of position papers, through
implementation of workshops and through any other relevant means.
EARSC, together with its institutional partners, must be at the
forefront of the struggle to help mankind reap the full benefits that
Earth Observation can bring in improving the life of the citizen. The
increase in the number of our members in 2005 is showing that this role
of EARSC is taking a stronger shape. Do not wait anymore to suggest and
start new initiatives within our association, or to join it if this is
not yet done, and play your part in what is certainly one of the most
exciting challenges of the coming century: the understanding of our own
planet and the protection of life on it.
EARSC Chairman
(Photo credits ESA)