Polar Space Task Group (PSTG)
List of Members (September 2016)
Meeting documents and reports are available here:
Meeting documents of the PSTG predecessor, the International Polar Year Space Task Group (IPY-STG), are available here (.zip):
Terms of Reference (March 2017)
The Polar Space Task Group (PSTG) operates under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Executive Council Panel of Experts on Polar and High Mountain Observations, Research and Services (EC-PHORS). The group’s mandate is to provide coordination across Space Agencies to facilitate acquisition and distribution of fundamental satellite datasets, and to contribute to or support the development of specific derived products for cryospheric, polar, and high-mountain(1) scientific research and applications.
The PSTG shall actively seek realisation of benefits from the growing constellation of polar orbiting satellites by mobilising the unique and complementary capabilities of each of the respective participating Agencies, whether research and development or operationally oriented. In the case of the latter, the role is to support the scientific activities that may lead to improved numerical weather and climate forecasting, or development of improved operational polar products and services, to the extent that these activities fall within each Agency’s mandate.
The PSTG is a successor of the successful International Polar Year Space Task Group (IPY-STG), established for the purpose of Space Agency planning, processing and archiving of the IPY Earth Observation legacy dataset. PSTG is an independent working group which reports to the EC-PHORS via common membership of its Observational Task Team. A suitable reporting mechanism shall be established to inform CEOS, CGMS and WMO Consultative Meetings on High-Level Policy on Satellite Matters on relevant PSTG progress and issues.
Membership of the PSTG is established by invitation from the WMO Secretary General and nomination by the respective Space Agency.
(1) In the EC-PHORS context, “high mountains” are alpine areas where seasonal or perennial cryosphere is present and poses potential and serious risks to society related to water security and disaster resilience.
The EC-PHORS Panel of Experts reports annually, via the WMO Secretariat, to the Executive Council (EC) of WMO. The EC consists of 37 Members, including the President, three vice-Presidents and the presidents of the six regional associations (each ex-officio members). The Executive reports to WMO Congress every four years (2015, 2019, etc.), on which all members of WMO are represented.
The PSTG shall informally report to WMO via the EC-PHORS in the context of its Observations Framework. EC-PHORS will take responsibility for establishing the scientific needs of its research framework and identify observation gaps or specific science and data requirements originating from the GCW which are relevant to PSTG.
Observational requirements assembled by PSTG shall be provided as an input to the Rolling Review of Requirements (RRR) process of the WMO Inter-Programme Expert Team on the Observing System Design and Evolution (IPET-OSDE).
Representatives of GCOS and WCRP (particularly, the Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) Project) will be invited to participate in the PSTG meetings to facilitate coordination. Other groups with polar interests may also be invited to participate, as appropriate.
The PSTG (through an agency liaison) shall provide a report on an annual basis to the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), particularly at their Strategic Implementation Team (SIT) meetings, and the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) (through WMO), as well as to the WMO Consultative Meetings on High-level Policy on Satellite Matters, where Actions and Recommendations can be brought to the attention of the Space Agency members.
The group’s Secretariat shall be provided by the WMO Space Programme (SAT) within the Observing and Information Systems (OBS) Department of the WMO Secretariat.
The Secretariat will prepare meeting invitations, assemble, post and/or distribute documents, convene intersessional teleconferences, prepare, review and distribute meeting minutes, ensure action items are communicated to members and followed up, and necessary mail and email exchanges with members, and hosting of meetings.
ANNEX to PSTG Terms of Reference
Key Functional Requirements
The PSTG activity shall:
i) Efficient use of the international constellation of satellites;
ii) Operating mandates of each Space Agency;
iii) Satisfying science objectives best served by coordinating agency activities;
Members may be requested to contribute to meeting presentations or periodic reports to EC-PORS or WMO Consultative Meetings on High-Level Policy on Satellite Matters, identifying progress and successes, or key Actions and Recommendations.
PSTG has established a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Coordination Working Group (PSTG SAR-CWG), which is tasked with the technical implementation of coordinated PSTG activities that involve SAR satellite missions. The SAR-CWG reports to PSTG and consists of representatives from PSTG Agencies and associated partner organizations and experts.
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