NASA satellite image of Antarctica showing melted regions

NASA satellite image of Antarctica showing melted regions

The C.I.A is now working in cooperation with the U.S.’s top scientists, which include mainly academics, but also some from industry. The National Academy of Sciences, an ‘elite body that advises the federal government’, will be guiding the project, according to an article in the New York Times. The project gives the scientists access to government intelligence assets, such as satellite imagery, to assess environmental information. ‘Insights from natural phenomena like clouds and glaciers, deserts and tropical forests’ should provide a clearer and more complete view about the phenomena related to climate change.

In July, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences released a report that praised the monitoring…“There are no other data available that show the melting and freezing processes,” the report said. “Their release will have a major impact on understanding effects of climate change.”

–New York Times

In October of 2009 the C.I.A. announced plans to open a center to provide leaders with information on the link between security and climate change. The same Times article quotes Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming as criticizing the agency for ‘spying on sea lions’ instead of fighting terrorism. Such simplistic politicized sentiments may be misplaced for the Republicans however, as ‘Arctic thaws will open new fisheries and sea lanes for shipping and spur the hunt for undersea oil and gas worth hundreds of billions of dollars’ according to Dr. Norbert Untersteiner of the University of Washington. So, in an ironic twist, mapping climate change may in fact help to facilitate those industries that most contribute to it.