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Climate observations are essential for understanding the complexities of the global climate system; indeed virtually all breakthroughs that have been made in understanding climate have come from observations. Observations provide critical benchmarks for testing and further developing our predictive capability through models.
Climate scientists warn that critical gaps in climate data could open up after the current generation of Earth-observation satellites comes to the end of its life, with the next generation nowhere near ready to take over.
The problem is exacerbated by the lack of an adequate replacement for a pair of Earth-observation satellites, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory, which failed on launch in the past two years.