DETR receives climate change satellite instrument

A new £18 million satellite instrument, designed to detect and measure climate change, has been delivered to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) by Matra Marconi Space UK.

The state-of-the-art instrument, known as the Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR), is due to be launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) next year as part of the ENVISAT satellite. It is designed to measure sea temperatures globally where the signs of climate change are expected to be clearer.

Built mainly in the UK with collaboration from Australia, the instrument has cost the DETR some £11 million with Australia providing £5 million of component systems and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) £2 million. The Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, based at the Met. Office, will be involved in interpreting the data sent back to Earth.

Environment Minister Michael Meacher said: “This is a demonstration of the seriousness with which the government treats the subject of climate change and its continuing commitment to bringing the best available science to bear on the problem.

“The delivery of AATSR comes as we are seeing increasing signs of a changing climate. Last year, for example, was again the warmest on record. This reinforces how essential it is that the agreement on limiting greenhouse gases emissions reached at Kyoto is made to work. In the UK, we are currently consulting on the ways in which we can meet our climate change targets.

“Dealing with climate change is not a task that can be completed overnight and this is an important contribution to assessing the problem.”

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