CNES and ISRO reaffirm in New Delhi satellites’ crucial role in climate monitoring
Preparations for space agenda of COP21
With the COP21 climate conference set to begin in a few days’ time, François Richier, France’s Ambassador to India, brought together CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar at a symposium on the crucial role of satellites in climate monitoring.
Speakers at the symposium underlined how India was one of the first nations to deploy high-quality satellite capabilities in response to the need to manage its water resources and address food security issues posed by the threat of climate change, as well as the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.
In a few months’ time, CNES and ISRO will be celebrating 15 years of space cooperation in the field of climate research. Their pioneering vision has produced two satellites that today are delivering precious operational data. Megha-Tropiques, launched in 2011, is helping scientists to map cloud cover in three dimensions, while SARAL-AltiKa, launched in 2013, measures the surface height of oceans, lakes and rivers with millimetre accuracy, heralding new prospects for management of water resources.
Satellites are the one and only continuous, global climate observatory. Echoing this fact, the heads of the world’s space agencies adopted the Mexico Declaration last September, the outline of which had been sketched in India at a conference organized in February by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) in Thiruvananthapuram.
After the symposium, Mr Le Gall and Mr Kiran Kumar got together for a bilateral meeting at which they discussed France and India’s continuing cooperation in space, especially in the field of climate research, for which several new joint missions are under study in the wake of the agreement signed in April in Paris in the presence of the French President and the Indian Prime Minister.
After his visit to India, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “ISRO is one of CNES’s main international partners. The particularly encouraging results of our work together portend new and even more ambitious partnerships in the future. French-Indian space cooperation on climate for the past 15 years is now coming into sharp focus as we prepare for the COP21 conference. Space agencies cannot provide the solutions to curb climate change, but without them, no one ever will.”