Observing Earth's surface and atmospheric processes has always posed a challenge to scientists. Ground-based observations are point-based and do not quantify the spatial variability Such measurements are also expensive and difficult to maintain. Space-based observation solves this problem by affording spatial coverage with a specific temporal repeat. Satellite remote sensing in the Earth sciences has come of age in the last 10–20 years with the launch of numerous satellites with Earth-observing sensors.
Observations of the Earth and Its Environment is a carefully constructed book with sections emphasizing different aspects of remote sensing in the Earth sciences. It begins with history of Earth observations; this important section helps to put missions and sensors in their proper chronological and scientific perspective. Rather than presenting missions as stand-alone, the book confers an understanding of the scientific and sometimes technological purpose associated with sensors and missions. The interconnections between missions and the physical variables/processes observed in these missions are expressed clearly.