Polar regions and the cryosphere constitute unique, valuable, yet extremely sensitive components of the Earth system. Obtaining robust, routine information products for better scientific understanding and development of applications in these last frontiers requires collective action, which has been coordinated by the WMO Polar Space Task Group (PSTG) since 2011. Having made notable functional and scientific achievements from 2011 to 2015, that Group has issued a new strategic plan for the period from 2015 to 2018.
The PSTG strategy prioritizes the coordination of space-based observations on specific elements of the polar regions and cryosphere – permafrost, floating ice, snow, ice sheets, ice caps and glaciers, atmosphere and polar predictions – at the appropriate time and space scales, and where feasible collocated with airborne and/or ground based measurements. In the area of polar prediction, a basic pan-Arctic observing strategy will be developed to secure routine, regular and robust year-round all-weather active microwave acquisitions at resolutions greater than 50 metres, complemented by seasonal cloud-free coverage using optical systems. This strategy will support the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) in the mid 2017-mid 2018 timeframe, which aims to improve polar prediction capability.
The PSTG Strategic Plan 2015-1019, which also highlights achievements from 2011-2015, is available in the WMO Library.