Environment and Natural Resources: Climate Change

Climate change has been called the defining challenge of our time. Its impacts are already evident and will intensify over time if left unaddressed.

As part of the global array of networks of systems to monitor climate change, satellites now provide a vital and important means of bringing observations of the climate system together for a global perspective. Satellites contribute to the monitoring of greenhouse gases related to deforestation and industrial processes, the changing of ice in polar caps and glaciers, sea-level rise, temperature changes, as well as several essential climate variables.

Space technology is also crucial for the continued observations and long-term monitoring of the Sun's effects on Earth's environment and climate, for aiding climate change modelling, or for the observation of the change in the ozone layer and its effects on the environment and human health, to mention a few.

In this context, the Programme organizes a variety of awareness and training activities or thematic sessions with other partners, focusing on use of satellite-based data and information in support of climate change research or to highlight the connection between climate change and vulnerability to disasters.

The Office cooperates with UNFCCC, GCOS and other United Nations agencies in this work.

Upcoming Events

DLR Conference on Climate Change 2016 - Challenges for Atmospheric Research

As a way to contribute to the promotion of the use of satellites and of the International Space Station (ISS) in systematic observations, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will be conducting the "DLR Conference on Climate Change - Challenges for Atmospheric Research" from 5 to 7 April 2016 in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).  

Past Events

United Nations/Indonesia International Conference on Integrated Space Technology Applications to Climate Change, September 2013

The United Nations organized the United Nations/Indonesia International Conference on Integrated Space Technology Applications to address Climate Change under the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications. The Conference took place in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 2 to 4 September 2013, at Borobudur Hotel, hosted by the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space ( LAPAN ).

Report: A/AC.105/1049

19th United Nations/International Astronautical Federation Workshop on Integrated Space Technologies and Space-based information for Analysis and Prediction of Climate Change, October 2009

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UN-OOSA) and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) are jointly organizing a Workshop on the theme "Integrated Space Technologies and Space-based Information for Analysis and Prediction of Climate Change", from 9 to 11 October 2009. The Workshop will be held in conjunction with the 60 th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which will take place from 12 to 16 October 2009 in Daejeon, Republic of Korea. Workshop participants selected by the UN and IAF will also be invited to attend the IAC.

Report: A/AC.105/970

UN-SPIDER Vienna Workshop: "Building Capacities to Reduce Disasters" , June 2009

The workshop includes explicit discussions on the impacts of climate change on Small Island Developing States, and potential adaptation strategies.

Scientific Symposium, S&T Sub Committee: "The role of Earth's observation satellites in promoting understanding of and addressing climate change concerns", February 2009

A symposium on "The role of Earth observation satellites in promoting understanding of and addressing climate change concerns", organized by the International Astronautical Federation, was held on Monday, 9 February 2009 , from 15:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs in Conference Room III.

IISL/ECSL Symposium on "Legal Implications of Space Applications for Climate Change". March-April 2008

The IISL/ECSL Symposium on "Legal Implications of Space Applications for Climate Change" was held during the Forty-seventh session of the Legal Subcommittee (31 March-11 April 2008), and focused on legal aspects concerning the use of outer space for monitoring climate change (international treaties, coordination instruments, etc.).

United Nations/UNESCO/Saudi Arabia International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management, April 2008

The Conference addressed application of space technologies to water-related problems and issues induced by climate change.

Report: A/AC.105/921

United Nations/Indonesia Regional Workshop on Integrated Space Technology Applications to Water Resources Management, Environmental Protection and Disaster Vulnerability Mitigation, July 2008

The workshop included presentations and discussions on integrated applications of space technologies to address issues induced by climate change.

United Nations/Kenya/ESA Regional Workshop on Integrated Space Technology Applications for Monitoring Climate Change Impact on Agricultural Development and Food Security, December 2008

Promoting the use integrated space technologies such as remote sensing and GIS, navigation and positioning, telecommunications, satellite meteorology, and Earth observations in applications that could contribute to the prevention and mitigation of global climate change induced issues.

UN/Austria/ESA Symposium on Space Applications to Support the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development: "Space Tools and Solutions for Monitoring the Atmosphere in Support of Sustainable Development", September 2007

Promoting the use of space tools and solutions for monitoring the atmosphere in support of sustainable development, with the aim to support or enable participants to develop and implement projects in this area and to provide reliable data and information for policy- and decision-making related to such issues as air quality, climate change, ozone and ultra-violet monitoring.

Report: A/AC.105/904

United Nations/Argentina/European Space Agency Workshop on Sustainable Development in Mountain Areas of Andean Countries, November 2007

The Workshop included case studies in the application of remote sensing to mountain areas of Andean Countries, some of them targeting climate change (reduction of ice on glaciers used as sources of potable water by communities in mountainous areas).


Space and Climate Change related documents

See below recent documents relating to Space and Climate Change. For more documents, search the Documents Database.

Climate Change Docs

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