NOAA 2004-062
Contact: John Leslie

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Bilateral Cooperation Improves Earth Observation

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA today outlined plans that would strengthen an existing agreement between the United States and India, an agreement which enables both nations share satellite data and other environmental research. Agency representatives attending meetings in India for the weeklong India-U.S. Conference on Space Science, Applications and Commerce in Bangalore laud the agreement for boosting an Earth observation program and improving weather and climate forecasting in India. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Our countries face similar challenges in protecting our populations from the ravages of floods, drought and other weather disasters,” said retired Brig. Gen. John J. Kelly, Jr., NOAA’s deputy undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. “We are working together to find ways both nations can work together toward the same goal, which is to save lives and shield the economies.”

“NASA has enjoyed a long standing and fruitful relationship with the Government of India,” says NASA Deputy Administrator Frederick Gregory. “Our purpose at this conference is to not only celebrate significant joint accomplishments but also to discuss future cooperation between India and the United States in space science and applications.”

This week senior officers from atmospheric space agencies in the U.S. and India are meeting to discuss collaborative projects ranging from research, development and deployment of satellite sensors to improvements in drought detection and mitigation.

Thirteen percent of the country of India experiences drought every year including widespread drought every 10 years. Floods and landslides, triggered by monsoon rains and tropical cyclones, pose deadly threats to the population. Floods killed 21 and displaced three million people in July 2002. Last July,150 people died in a flash flood.

NOAA, NASA and the government of India first signed the “Memorandum of Understanding for Science Cooperation in the Areas of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences with the Indian Department of Science and Technology and Department of Space” in 1997. The MOU, which was extended in 2002 for five more years, provides for the near-realtime exchange of U.S. and Indian geostationary and other satellite data within the context of cooperative activities in the Earth and atmospheric sciences.

“Having a sound Earth observation system is crucial,” Kelly said. “This MOU and the data our respective scientists are receiving from satellites will strengthen their collective information base and give them better tools to understand how the global climate is changing.”

The NOAA Satellites and Information Service is America’s primary source of space-based oceanographic, meteorological and climate data. It operates the nation’s environmental satellites, which are used for ocean and weather observation and forecasting, climate monitoring, and other environmental applications. Some of the oceanographic applications include sea-surface temperature for hurricane and weather forecasting and sea-surface heights for El Niño prediction.

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 the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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