The article “Predicting and managing extreme weather events” by Jane Lubchenco and Thomas Karl (Physics Today, March 2012, page 31) helps raise awareness of an important element critical to the US’s ability to manage weather- and climate-related risk: environmental intelligence. The term underscores the increasing need for timely and accurate environ-mental information as a decision-making tool for individuals, businesses, and governments.

The record-breaking weather events of 2011 and the extreme temperatures, active tornado season, and persisting drought in 2012 are sobering reminders that the declining ability of the US to monitor land, ocean, and atmospheric changes could have devastating consequences. With shrinking budgets threatening our ability to meet growing demand for environmental information, the Alliance for Earth Observations has focused its efforts on advocating for the development of a national strategy for environmental intelligence. See our website at