UCAR trustee Busalacchi to co-chair decadal survey for Earth observations

Antonio Busalacchi will co-chair the Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space. (Photo courtesy Antonio Busalacchi.)

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) trustee Antonio Busalacchi has accepted appointment as co-chair of the National Research Council’s Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space. Busalacchi is a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Maryland.

The survey committee will develop priorities for NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey to bolster observations of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces with a new generation of U.S. satellites as well as supporting activities during the 2018-27 decade. It will also assess the progress that has been made in addressing the major scientific and application challenges outlined in the Earth Science Decadal Survey completed in 2007, which was co-chaired by then-UCAR President Richard Anthes.

Satellites and other Earth observing instruments are critical for safeguarding society from natural disasters. They are needed for issuing accurate weather forecasts, monitoring the effects of a changing climate, and assessing the impacts of solar storms.

“Tony is a perfect choice to co-chair this landmark survey, thanks to his expertise on Earth observations and his extensive experience on National Research Council committees,” said UCAR Interim President Michael Thompson. “His leadership will ensure that the academic community will have effective input on future satellite missions for observing Earth from space.”

Busalacchi is director of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Maryland, as well as chair of the university’s Council on the Environment. An oceanographer and climate expert, his extensive National Research Council service includes terms as chair of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and the BASC Climate Research Committee; chair of the Panel on Options to Ensure the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft; and co-chair of the Committee on National Security Implications of Climate Change on U.S. Naval Forces.

Busalacchi has served on the UCAR Board of Trustees since 2014.

“This study comes at a critical time for Earth System Science across NASA, NOAA, and the USGS, as the efforts of the past few decades have ushered in a golden era of Earth remote sensing, but we have yet to determine how best to sustain this enterprise across basic research, applied research, applications, and operations,” Busalacchi said. “A prime example of this challenge is space-based observations in support of weather monitoring and prediction.”