America will lose much of its ability to monitor global warming from space unless the Bush administration reverses course and restores funding for the next generation of climate instruments, according to a confidential report prepared by government scientists.My predicted scenario - as monitoring climate change becomes an increasing priority (and the War on Terror™ moves to the back burner), intelligence customers will demand more data on the environment. In order to compensate for the shortfall of satellites designed to monitor the environment, Defense and Intelligence Community (IC) satellites will be taken off their original targets and retasked to monitor environmental factors. This will result in poor environmental data (the satellites probably weren't designed with this mission in mind) as well as a lack of data on traditional intelligence targets.
Cost overruns and technology problems recently caused the federal government to cut the number of planned monitoring satellites from six to four. Those four will focus on weather prediction rather than climate research, according to the report.
"The recent loss of climate sensors … places the overall climate program in serious jeopardy," said the report, which was drafted by government atmospheric and space scientists for the White House Office of Science and Technology.
Customer: "Why didn't you warn me Luxumbourg was going to invade Belgium!?"
IC: "You told us not to monitor militaries and to instead monitor the environment."
Customer: "The intelligence agencies are a big waste of money. Now I will cut your budget even more because you clearly can't do your job."