Scientific Commission A: Space Studies of the Earth’s Surface, Meteorology, and Climate

symbol for SC A Space Studies of the Earth’s Surface, Meteorology and Climate

Scientific Commission is comprised of a Task Group on GEO and three subcommissions, A1 on Atmosphere, Meteorology and Climate, A2 on Ocean Dynamics, Productivity and the Cryosphere and A3 on Land Processes and Morphology.

Ralph Kahn, Chair, SC A


Ralph Kahn (USA), 2021 – 2024*

Jéröme Benveniste, Vice-Chair, SC A Vice-Chair:
Jérôme Benveniste (formerly, ESA/ESRIN), 2021 – 2024* (jerome – at –

Intercommission/Panel/Task Group Liaisons:

Panel on Capacity Building (PCB):  Ralph Kahn (USA), 2020 – 2024*
Panel on Capacity Building (PCB):  Jérôme Benveniste (ESA/ESRIN), 2022 – 2026
IDEA Initiative Task Group (IITG):  Severine Fournier (USA), 2022 – 2026

Terms of Reference: 

The principal goal of the Commission is to promote and enhance effective international co-ordination, discussion, and cooperation in areas of studies of the lower atmosphere-ocean-land system, where space observations can make unique and useful contributions. The immediate objective is to accelerate the progress in our understanding of the various physical, geochemical and biological aspects in the atmosphere and oceans and on the Earth’s surface using space capabilities. The three particular areas of concern are covered by the three Sub-Commissions. Particular emphasis is given to problems of developing countries.

The Sub-Commissions conduct special studies and publish appropriate reviews or technical reports, etc., organize symposia and special meetings to discuss relevant results, plans and opportunities for observational possibilities, and identify problems of current scientific interest and human importance that are ready for technological exploitation. They may also establish ad hoc task groups for carrying out any of these responsibilities.

Task Group on GEO (TG GEO)

Suresh Vannan (USA) 2022 – 2026
Jadunandan Dash (UK), 2022 – 2026*
Yasuko Kasai (Japan), 2021 – 2024
Chair and vice-chair of Scientific Commission A (see above) and Sub-Commissions chairs or their reps (see below).

Terms of Reference

  • To develop ways for COSPAR to contribute to GEOSS by advising 1) COSPAR Leadership of GEO Science and Technology Committee, 2) COSPAR Leadership of GEO Task ST-09-02, 3) COSPAR Delegation to annual GEO Plenary and biennial GEO Summit and by increasing the visibility of GEOSS at COSPAR Assemblies
  • To encourage GEOSS to advance fundamental discoveries and improved understanding of the global integrated Earth system
  • To promote the effective adoption and implementation of the GEOSS data sharing principle of free and open data distribution with minimum time delay and minimum cost
  • To promote education and outreach of sustained high accuracy, well calibrated, regional observing systems in developing countries for contributions to global data sets
  • To organize an event at COSPAR Assemblies
  • To provide an annual summary report to the COSPAR Bureau

    Other Informative and Related Links:
  • COSPAR was represented at the 2023 GEO Week and Ministerial Summit, 6-10 November 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa by COSPAR TG GEO Vice-Chair Yasuko Kasai. Read the transcript of her speech here.
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Sub-Commission A1: Atmosphere (including Troposphere and Stratosphere), Meteorology, and Climate

Yasuko Kasai (Japan), 2021 – 2024
S. Suresh Babu (India), 2021 – 2024 (s_sureshbabu – at –
Jean Christopher Lambert (Belgium), 2021 – 2024
Kaley Walker (Canada), 2021 – 2024

Terms of Reference

COSPAR Sub-Commission A1 promotes research and international cooperation in the area of space borne remote sensing observation with applications in climatology, meteorology, climate monitoring, surface processes and biosphere monitoring. It also supports the development of new space borne remote sensing technologies by providing an international forum for discussion and coordination.

The goals are mainly achieved through:

  • the organization of symposia and workshops at the regular COSPAR Scientific Assemblies;
  • the support and sponsoring of special workshops on relevant themes;
  • the editing and publishing of scientific papers presented at the COSPAR Scientific Assemblies. These papers appear in the COSPAR journal Advances in Space Research.

The Sub-Commission also provides, on request, reviews or technical reports of current activities in the area of space borne remote sensing to international organizations such as the United Nations.

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Sub-Commission A2: Ocean Dynamics, Productivity and the Cryosphere

Stefano Vignudelli (Italy), 2021 – 2024
Severine Fournier (USA), 2021 – 2024
Naoto Ebuchi (Japan), 2022 – 2026*
Martin Saraceno (Argentina), 2022 – 2026
C.K. Shum (USA), 2021 – 2024

Terms of Reference

This sub-commission’s role is to promote and encourage research activity and international cooperation in physical and bio-geochemical oceanography and in the cryosphere. Over the last 25 years these domains have passed a major turning point thanks to the arrival of new measurement techniques on-board satellites. The global and accurate view of the ocean and the cryosphere, acquired from many space missions used synergistically, has permitted a better understanding of the various mechanisms involved and their role in the Earth system. But studies and joint efforts are still needed at international level, to continue to improve our knowledge. Topics of particular interest, and requiring international cooperation, are:

  • The determination of mass, heat transport and fluxes over the ocean and their interaction with atmosphere.
  • The development of new space-based techniques to monitor surface and subsurface parameters of the open ocean and the coastal zone, as well as freshwater fluxes to the ocean.
  • The joint use of satellite, in situ data with models to provide analysis and forecasts of the ocean in 3D.
  • The preparation of future global ocean observation systems for monitoring the ocean circulation, its variability and the sea level trends (global and regional).
  • The carbon cycle in the ocean, the biological processes, and their impact on climate, biogeochemical cycles and productivity.
  • Cryospheric studies: ice sheet and mountain glaciers mass balance, sea-ice thickness and extent, snow depth and extent.
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Sub-Commission A3: Land Processes and Morphology

Kanako Muramatsu (Japan), 2022 – 2026*
Jadunandan Dash (UK), 2022 – 2026*
Linghua Guo (China), 2022 – 2026*

Terms of Reference

This Sub-Commission aims to develop a better understanding of biosphere, including artificial changes of the land surface (both physical and biological), and interactions of land surface with atmosphere, with due emphasis on the application of active and passive sensors’ data having varied spatial and temporal resolutions acquired from satellites. The processes of interest include heat, water, and carbon balance. The Sub-Commission will remain abreast of the advances in and endorse and encourage calibration and intercalibration of sensors for quantitative monitoring and quantifying changes in the Earth system.

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* (after officer term) = second and final term in the office indicated