The Global Water Cycle and NEWS
The cycling of energy and water has obvious and significant implications for the health and prosperity of society. The availability and quantity of water is vital to life on earth and helps to tie together the Earth's lands, oceans and atmosphere into an integrated physical system. The global water cycle is driven by a multiplicity of complex processes and interactions at all time and space scales, many of which are inadequately understood and poorly represented in model predictions.
NASA is capable of and uniquely positioned to investigate the global climatic processes that govern precipitation and the replenishment of water resources. In 2003 NASA established the NASA Energy and Water cycle Study (NEWS), whose ultimate goal is a breakthrough improvement in the nation's energy and water cycle prediction capability. NEWS is expected to demonstrate advanced global observation, data assimilation, and improved representation of physical processes in climate models, better prediction systems that can be used to quantify the hydrologic consequences of climate change and produce useful seasonal and longer-range hydrologic predictions based on observed initial values and changing boundary conditions.
NEWS is therefore envisioned to be part of the broader NASA end-to-end Earth science program and thus includes the transition of research findings and new capabilities to academic/public education and to practical applications, through partnerships with the academic community-at-large, federal agencies.
Consistent with the ambitious NEWS challenge and ESE objectives, the timetable for the implementation of NEWS extends over a 15 year period. During this period, NEWS participants are expected to collect, analyze and interpret observational data from archived records and on-going observing systems, contribute to the preparation of new space-flight missions, advance predictive models of the global energy and water cycle, and lay the foundation for future developments (including potential new observing techniques). NEWS participants are also expected to examine and test new application practices in partnership with relevant operational agencies and industry.