On 16 –17 July the Earth observation science community gathered at Robinson College, University of Cambridge, UK, for ESA’s Earth Explorer 9 User Consultation Meeting to discuss the merits of the FORUM and SKIM mission concepts before one is finally selected to be built as ESA’s ninth Earth Explorer mission.
The philosophy of developing Earth Explorer missions centres on the involvement of the scientific community from the very beginning of a mission’s life. Being proposed by the scientific community and realised through the user-driven selection process ensures that this series of state-of-the-art missions addresses the most urgent Earth science questions of our time.
This meeting provides the opportunity for the scientific community to debate the new mission concepts – each of which promises to deliver novel information on how our planet works and bring benefits to society.
The Far-infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM) mission would measure radiation emitted from Earth across the entire far-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. These benchmark measurements would improve our understanding of the greenhouse effect and, importantly, contribute to the accuracy of climate change assessments that form the basis for policy decisions.
The Sea-surface Kinematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) candidate would carry a novel wide-swath scanning multibeam radar altimeter to measure ocean-surface currents. These new measurements would improve our understanding of vertical and horizontal ocean–surface dynamics over the global ocean every few days. This would lead to better knowledge of how the ocean and atmosphere interact – for example, how atmospheric carbon dioxide is drawn down into the ocean.
The replay of the meeting can be seen in several parts
Part 1: Opening addresses and presentations FORM
Part 2: Presentations on FORUM, and questions and answers
Part 3: Presentations on SKIM
Part 4: Presentations on SKIM, and questions and answers
Part 5: Discussions on FORUM and SKIM
Part 6: Discussions on FORUM and SKIM, and close of meeting
Credits: Robinson College, Cambridge University/ESA