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Joint Polar Satellite System

Science Objectives

The objectives set by the Earth Science Enterprise can will be achieived by answering these questions about the workings of the global Earth system. To be answered, the questions require scientific measurements from various satellites and sensors to be answered. The following section shows highlights the what questions are asked to fulfill each objective, and the measurements the mission will take to answer the each question.

1: Discern and describe how the global Earth system is changing

Hurricane Helen measured by the VIIRS instrument

How are global precipitation, evaporation, and the cycling of water changing?

How is the global ocean circulation varying on inter-annual, decadal, longer time scales?

How are global ecosystems changing?

2: Identify and measure primary causes of change in the Earth system

What trends in the atmospheric constitutents and solar radiation are driving climate change??

What are the changes in global land cover and land use, and what are their causes?

What are the effects of clouds and surface hydrologic processes on Earth's climate??

How do ecosystems respond to and affect global environmental change and the carbon cycle??

4: Identify the consequences of changes for human civilization

Night lights over the United States

What are the consequences of land cover and land use?

5: Enable the prediction of Earth system changes that will take place in the future

How can weather forecast duration and reliability be improved by new space-based observations, data assimilation, and modeling?

How well can transient climate variations be understood and predicted?

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Goddard Space Flight Center