The number of satellite circling the Earth right now is approaching 5,000. The number that are not broken, and are being actually used, is just over 1,000. However, Space X, Elon Musk’s megacompany, is approved to launch well over 10,000 satellites over the next several years, to serve a single purpose: Give broadband internet to every human on Earth no matter where they are. Continue reading How many satellites are there, and will there be?
The US National Weather Service does a pretty good job at predicting weather, but there are problems. In fact, we are behind compared to other nations, and parts of our infrastructure is deteriorating. Paul Douglas has been telling people for some time that we need to pay attention to our aging satellite system, and here Kate Sheppard talks about the slow but steady development of legislation to advance our storm prediction abilities:
Two related things came across my desk this morning that should concern anyone who sees climate change as an important issue.
In Germany, the roads are buckling and breaking because of excessive heat, and there seems to be inadequate funding to re-engineer them. Here’s a photograph from Spiegel Online of what happens when the rubber meets the road (where the rubber is global warming):
Meanwhile, over at The Guardian, John Abraham has a post describing the decline in numbers of critically important instruments measuring climate data. This includes sea moorings that collect temperature data and satellites that collect all sorts of data. Funding to maintain these and other types of equipment is lacking, and we can expect that over just a few years from now large amounts of important data will be unavailable unless this situation is reversed.
John tells us that these data collection programs…
…require adequate funding for equipment and personnel. Presently, many systems – in particular satellite platforms – are headed for declines in coverage. This means we will be operating blindly, in an information deficit. If we are to make good decisions about how to react to greenhouse gas increases, we need good information. When the economic costs of climate change are compared with the very modest costs of measurement, it seems that maintaining a robust measurement capacity is a no-brainer.