Several former military and intelligence officials over the past year have drawn a link between climate research and national security.
One of the most recent examples is a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for a New American Security, two Washington think tanks, entitled "The Age of Consequences: the Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change."
The authors of the report, released Nov. 5, include James Woolsey, former director of central intelligence, and Leon Fuerth, who served as national security advisor.
The report says that if climate change follows current trends, it could result in conflicts sparked by resource scarcity, disease proliferation and population migrations.
If the trends worsen, those types of effects could lead to large-scale conflicts, potentially involving countries with nuclear weapons, according to the report.
Some of the variables that NPOESS will monitor as part of climate research include water surface levels and temperature, sea ice, snow cover and cloud properties.
The Nov. 5 report notes that snow levels can play into water supplies, particularly in mountainous areas where snow on a mountain can hydrate a region for agriculture when it melts in the springtime.
Rising water levels could play a key role in the disappearance of low-lying coastal areas, leading to a massive migration of hundreds of millions of people, with the most severe scenarios involving billions of people being forced to relocate, according to the report.
The NPOESS satellites are being built by Northrop Grumman Space Technology of
Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)