The need for global atmospheric data has never been greater. The costs of natural disasters are soaring as extreme weather increases and population expands, putting more and more lives and property at risk. Meanwhile, smarter and more powerful weather and climate models are hungry for the data they need to produce more precise forecasts on time scales ranging from hourly to decadal.
Yet the traditional model for government-funded satellite programs has not kept up with today’s technology and the rising demand for data. Aging spacecraft, budget constraints and schedule delays threaten critical gaps in data crucial to monitoring and predicting day-to-day weather, hurricanes and winter storms, floods and drought, space weather and climate change.