Earth-observing systems operated by the United States have entered a steep decline, imperiling the nation’s monitoring of weather, natural disasters and climate change, a National Research Council report warned recently, reports Rachel Nuwer at the New York Times. Long-running and new missions are frequently delayed, lost or canceled because of budget cuts, launching failures, disorganization and changes in mission design and scope, the report said. “It’s likely our capabilities will decline fairly precipitously at just the time they’re most needed,” said Dennis Hartmann, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington and chairman of the committee that produced the report. He mentioned the continuing federal budget crisis, the aging of equipment, a severe shortage of medium-size satellite launchers, and some initiatives that cost billions of dollars without producing results. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is being hampered by budget shortfalls and cost overruns. The report notes that NASA’s, that is, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s earth science program needs to prioritize goals, create a viable mission list, and collaborate more on its missions. Meanwhile, climate change continues to create more consequences across our planet.