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NASA begins Study into Rapid Climate Change in Alaska and Northwestern Canada

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As part of a broad effort to study the environmental and societal effects of climate change, NASA has begun a multi-year field campaign to investigate ecological impacts of the rapidly changing climate in Alaska and northwestern Canada, such as the thawing of permafrost, wildfires and changes to wildlife habitats.

The Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) will bring together on-the-ground research in Alaska and northwestern Canada with data collected by NASA airborne instruments, satellites and other agency programs, including the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), and upcoming Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) and NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) missions.

NASA's ABoVE campaign will combine field work, airborne surveys, satellite data and computer modeling to study the effects of climate change on Arctic and boreal ecosystems, such as this region at the base of the Alaska Range south of Fairbanks. (NASA/Ross Nelson)

NASA’s ABoVE campaign will combine field work, airborne surveys, satellite data and computer modeling to study the effects of climate change on Arctic and boreal ecosystems, such as this region at the base of the Alaska Range south of Fairbanks. (NASA/Ross Nelson)

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NASA studies the Oceans looking for answers to how fast they will rise in the future

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches (8 centimeters) since 1992, with some locations rising more than 9 inches (25 centimeters) due to natural variation, according to the latest satellite measurements from NASA and its partners.

An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.

The question scientists are grappling with is how quickly will seas rise?

Waves crash against rocks. (Franklin O'Donnell)

Waves crash against rocks. (Franklin O’Donnell)

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NASA reports Valley Land in California sinking due to Drought

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As Californians continue pumping groundwater in response to the historic drought, the California Department of Water Resources today released a new NASA report showing land in the San Joaquin Valley is sinking faster than ever before, nearly 2 inches (5 centimeters) per month in some locations.

“Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records,” said Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin. “As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage.”

Total subsidence in California's San Joaquin Valley for the period May 3, 2014 to Jan. 22, 2015, as measured by Canada's Radarsat-2 satellite. Two large subsidence bowls are evident, centered on Corcoran and south of El Nido. (Canadian Space Agency/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Total subsidence in California’s San Joaquin Valley for the period May 3, 2014 to Jan. 22, 2015, as measured by Canada’s Radarsat-2 satellite. Two large subsidence bowls are evident, centered on Corcoran and south of El Nido. (Canadian Space Agency/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite experiences instrument problem

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission managers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, are assessing an anomaly with the radar instrument on NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite observatory.

The radar is one of two science instruments on SMAP used to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed.

On July 7th, at about 2:16pm PDT, SMAP’s radar halted its transmissions. All other components of the spacecraft continued to operate normally, including the radiometer instrument that is collecting science data.

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA study reveals Oceans Temperature Rise Slowed

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA study of ocean temperature measurements shows that in recent years, extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Researchers say this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade.

Researchers Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis and Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, found a specific layer of the Indian and Pacific oceans between 300 and 1,000 feet (100 and 300 meters) below the surface has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized.

An Argo float, foreground. The new study included direct measurements of ocean temperatures from the global array of 3,500 Argo floats and other ocean sensors. (Argo program, Germany/Ifremer)

An Argo float, foreground. The new study included direct measurements of ocean temperatures from the global array of 3,500 Argo floats and other ocean sensors. (Argo program, Germany/Ifremer)

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NASA uses AVIRIS-NG instrument to map California Oil Pipeline Spill Beach Tar

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – When an on-land pipeline ruptured north of Santa Barbara, California, on May 19th — spilling 105,000 barrels of crude oil onto Refugio State Beach and about 21,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean in the north Santa Barbara Channel — it created an environmental nightmare for local beaches and wildlife.

In support of the response to the Refugio Incident, as it is known, NASA deployed a De Havilland Twin Otter aircraft carrying a unique airborne instrument developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, to study the spill and test the ability of imaging spectroscopy to map tar on area beaches. The work is advancing our nation’s ability to respond to future oil spills.

AVIRIS-NG red-green-blue (visible) aerial image of the Refugio Incident oil spill, showing oil on the water and on nearby Santa Barbara Channel beaches. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

AVIRIS-NG red-green-blue (visible) aerial image of the Refugio Incident oil spill, showing oil on the water and on nearby Santa Barbara Channel beaches. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s DC-8 Airborne Laboratory begins reseach into Nighttime Thunderstorms over the Great Plains

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has joined a multi-agency field campaign studying summer storm systems in the U.S. Great Plains to find out why they often form after the sun goes down instead of during the heat of the day.

The Plains Elevated Convection at Night, or PECAN, project began June 1st and continues through mid-July. Participants from eight research laboratories and 14 universities are collecting storm data to find out how and why storms form.

NASA Takes to Kansas Skies to Study Nighttime Thunderstorms

NASA Takes to Kansas Skies to Study Nighttime Thunderstorms

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NASA completes study of Louisiana Gulf Coast Levees and Wetlands

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA recently completed an intensive study of Louisiana Gulf Coast levees and wetlands, making measurements with three advanced imaging instruments on three research aircraft.

NASA instruments fly over the Gulf Coast one to three times per year to keep consistent records of ground subsidence — the gradual sinking of an area of land — which can compromise the integrity of roads, buildings and levee systems. Scientists also closely monitor vegetation changes in the coastal wetlands to better understand how to preserve them.

UAVSAR image of Wax Lake Delta at low tide captured during a flight on May 5, 2015. Research on the delta's growth through natural sedimentation processes can aid future work on restoring deltas worldwide. (NASA)

UAVSAR image of Wax Lake Delta at low tide captured during a flight on May 5, 2015. Research on the delta’s growth through natural sedimentation processes can aid future work on restoring deltas worldwide. (NASA)

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NASA’s QuikScat satellite finds Beijing China has Quadrupled in Size

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new study by scientists using data from NASA’s QuikScat satellite has demonstrated a novel technique to quantify urban growth based on observed changes in physical infrastructure.

The researchers used the technique to study the rapid urban growth in Beijing, China, finding that its physical area quadrupled between 2000 and 2009.

A team led by Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, and Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, used data from QuikScat to measure the extent of infrastructure changes, such as new buildings and roads, in China’s capital.

Data from NASA's QuikScat satellite show the changing extent of Beijing between 2000 and 2009 through changes to its infrastructure. Gray and black indicate buildings, with the tallest and largest buildings in the city's commercial core appearing lighter gray. Other colors show changes in areas not yet urbanized (for example, clearing land or cutting down trees), with the rate of change indicated by color. Blue-green indicates the least change, yellow-orange more change, and red the greatest change. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Data from NASA’s QuikScat satellite show the changing extent of Beijing between 2000 and 2009 through changes to its infrastructure. Gray and black indicate buildings, with the tallest and largest buildings in the city’s commercial core appearing lighter gray. Other colors show changes in areas not yet urbanized (for example, clearing land or cutting down trees), with the rate of change indicated by color. Blue-green indicates the least change, yellow-orange more change, and red the greatest change. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory starts three year mission

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed has begun science operations.

Launched January 31st on a minimum three-year mission, SMAP will help scientists understand links among Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles; reduce uncertainties in predicting climate; and enhance our ability to monitor and predict natural hazards like floods and droughts. SMAP data have additional practical applications, including improved weather forecasting and crop yield predictions.

High-resolution global soil moisture map from SMAP's combined radar and radiometer instruments, acquired between May 4 and May 11, 2015 during SMAP's commissioning phase. The map has a resolution of 5.6 miles (9 kilometers). The data gap is due to turning the instruments on and off during testing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC)

High-resolution global soil moisture map from SMAP’s combined radar and radiometer instruments, acquired between May 4 and May 11, 2015 during SMAP’s commissioning phase. The map has a resolution of 5.6 miles (9 kilometers). The data gap is due to turning the instruments on and off during testing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC)

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