Posted: Feb 27, 2013 1:12 PM by Meteorologist Mike Heard
Updated: Feb 27, 2013 3:16 PM
Like a celestial version of Pixar's industrious robot Wall-E, environmental-monitoring satellites continually whiz overhead, quietly performing their allotted tasks of taking data and beaming the information down to climate researchers and weather forecasters.
But a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report highlights the fact that this monitoring network-which weather forecasters and climate researchers rely on-is in trouble.
That's because these U.S.-owned satellites are aging, and there are serious concerns about whether their replacements will be ready by the time they start to break down, said J. Marshall Shepherd, president of the American Meteorological Society and a professor at the University of Georgia in Athens. (Read about the history of satellites.)