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NOAA News Releases 2003
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Top officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) emphasized the need for international coordination of satellite observations to better understand planet Earth. The comments were made this week at the 17th Plenary of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“We have come to realize the many benefits of working together to use Earth observations from space to better understand the planet Earth,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and NOAA administrator. “Coordinated Earth observations enable us to more effectively address global challenges ranging from food and water security to natural disasters.”

Lautenbacher added: “CEOS has been a test bed for new directions in advancing collection, development and utilization of earth observations around the world. The important investments in strategic decisions made by CEOS have laid the foundation for decision makers to address critical international resource management issues.”

Other government leaders to speak at the CEOS meeting included Dr. Charles Groat, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Dr. Ghassem Asrar, associate administrator for Earth Science for the National Aeronautic and Space Administration.

Gregory W. Withee, assistant administrator of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, served as plenary chair and facilitated the work of the international body during the two-day meeting. NOAA served as the chair agency for CEOS for the past year, and Withee transferred the chair agency responsibilities to Minister Xu Guanhua of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology at the conclusion of the meeting.

Founded in 1984, CEOS is an international organization charged with coordinating international civil space borne missions designed to observe and study planet Earth. Comprising 23 member space agencies and 21 associated international organizations, CEOS is recognized as the major international forum for the coordination of Earth observation satellite programs and for interaction of these programs with users of satellite data worldwide.

NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service is the nation’s primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. It operates the nation’s environmental satellites, which are used for weather and ocean observation and forecasting, climate monitoring and other environmental applications.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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