Earth Systematic Missions

The Earth Systematic Missions (ESM) Program includes a broad range of multi-disciplinary science investigations aimed at developing a scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response to natural and human-induced forces. Understanding these forces will help in determining how to mitigate them, appropriately and where possible, to avoid climate changes.

The regional consequences of these forces--e.g., changes in precipitation patterns, length of growing seasons, severity of storms, change of sea level--must be understood to determine which aspects of climate change are most harmful and how to adapt to those changes that cannot be mitigated.

Anticipated outcomes of the ESM program include:

  • Progress in understanding and improving predictive capability for changes in the ozone layer, climate forcing, and air quality associated with changes in atmospheric composition.
  • Progress in enabling improved predictive capability for weather and extreme weather events.
  • Progress in quantifying global land cover change and terrestrial and marine productivity, and in improving carbon cycle and ecosystem models.
  • Progress in quantifying the key reservoirs and fluxes in the global water cycle and in improving models of water cycle change and fresh water availability.
  • Progress in understanding the role of oceans, atmosphere, and ice in the climate system and in improving predictive capability for its future evolution.
  • Progress in characterizing and understanding Earth surface changes and variability of the Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields.
  • Progress in expanding and accelerating the realization of societal benefits from Earth system science.

The ESM program includes missions from the former Earth Observing System (EOS) and the future Earth Science Decadal Survey (ESDS) missions.

Missions supporting this program: