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Science community invited to ESA's Living Planet Programme Strategy Workshop

Since the 1990‘s, ESA‘s approach to observing the Earth from space has
been dedicated to furthering our understanding of how Earth processes
work, monitoring climate change indicators, testing new observational
techniques and making contributions to operational meteorology. It is
now time to take stock of what has been achieved, but more importantly
look to the future to ensure that ESA continues to provide the best
possible service to its users.

To this end, a framework for a new Earth observation strategy has
been developed and follows on from the previous guideline strategy the
“Science & Research Elements of the Living Planet Programme” (ESA
SP-1227) established in 1998. The new strategy will be presented to the
science community at a meeting entitled ‘The Changing Earth, Scientific
Challenges for ESA’s Living Planet Programme Strategy Workshop’.
The aim of the workshop, which will be
held at ESA-ESRIN, in Frascati, Italy on 15-16 February 2006, is to
open the forum to the science community to provide their feedback on
research areas to focus on in the next phases of the Programme. This
approach is fundamental to the Living Planet Programme, which aims at
the development of Earth Observation Missions in close cooperation with
the scientific community.
Over the last 8 years, six Earth Explorer
mission concepts have been developed to provide us with a wealth of
invaluable data about the Earth, its climate and changing environment.
Despite the loss of the CryoSat mission in October last year, the Earth
Explorer missions are still on track to help satisfy our quest for
knowledge about the Earth. In addition to this research component, the
Living Planet Programme incorporates an Earth Watch element designed to
facilitate the delivery of data for use in operational services – such
as meteorological missions and new missions focusing on the environment
and civil security under GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and
Although the framework for the new Living
Planet strategy addresses the scientific challenges through the areas
of oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere and the Earth interior, it is
apparent that none of these areas can be dealt with in isolation. None
of the major Earth science disciplines, when studied at global scales
and over different timescales, can be separated from other disciplines.
Real understanding of the Earth system must come from connecting
different processes. In addition, understanding and monitoring the
impact that nature and human activity are having on the Earth system is
vital if we are to ever correctly predict the effect of a changing
The workshop will be a cornerstone in the
evolution of what is already a successful programme, and will help in
consolidating the strategy. It shall assure that the future of
observing the Earth from space is as meaningful and useful as possible,
providing the answers to the many questions we have about our
For more information about attending the workshop please click here