December 2009 - Reston, Va. - The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) today announced the formation of a new task force to assist in development of a national roadmap and strategy for the United States to address changes to the Earth’s climate. Such a plan would support informed national decisions for investment in critical climate-change understanding, mitigation, and adaptation by using technology to monitor the environment and analyze the information collected. This critical objective can best be achieved by fully leveraging the combined strengths of the government and private sectors. To enable this, the task force membership is drawn from leading experts on climate monitoring technology and policy from within AIAA and in collaboration with others.
AIAA president David Thompson stated: “As President Obama prepares to go to Copenhagen for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Negotiations, and as Congress works on legislation to address climate change, it is important to recognize the existing capabilities and the associated track record of innovation and achievement. The AIAA membership has developed aerospace system capabilities and solutions for decades. These have been applied to national security and military missions, but can now be applied to civil needs for climate and related environmental information and decision support.
He added: “AIAA’s 36,000 members represent a national and international constituency that has contributed over the last several decades to the science for understanding climate. They have carried out the R&D, built and operated weather and climate satellites for environmental monitoring, and emplaced the information infrastructure that underpins delivery of diverse, global environmental information to benefit all sectors of the economy. We recently updated the Institute’s strategic plan to put this issue front and center in our broad set of activities and include reaching out and collaborating with other organizations on this national priority. The new task force will play a critical role in spearheading this effort.”
AIAA will engage with its membership, other expert organizations, and the government through its established and respected events and publications to contribute to climate solutions in three areas of need: understanding, mitigation, and adaptation. Data gathered by space- and air-based assets are central to our understanding of global climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has noted that the current scientific confidence regarding climate change has been enabled by space-based monitoring assets. However, over the next few years, a large number of monitoring systems that have been instrumental in establishing the current knowledge baseline will reach the end of their service life. To sustain both R&D and operational monitoring the U.S. must extend existing capabilities and also develop more advanced aerospace-based technical monitoring capabilities.
AIAA believes that a national strategy to establish a sustained monitoring capability is crucial to furthering our understanding of climate change, providing greater fidelity in tracking the effectiveness of mitigation efforts aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and carbon, improving environmental intelligence for guiding adaptation, and delivering information critical to international treaty verification.
AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 36,000 individual members worldwide, and 90 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit their site http://www.aiaa.org/