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NASA Study reveals reasons for Sea Ice Changes at the Arctic, Antarctica

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Why has the sea ice cover surrounding Antarctica been increasing slightly, in sharp contrast to the drastic loss of sea ice occurring in the Arctic Ocean? A new NASA-led study finds the geology of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are responsible.

A NASA/NOAA/university team led by Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, used satellite radar, sea surface temperature, land form and bathymetry (ocean depth) data to study the physical processes and properties affecting Antarctic sea ice.

Older, rougher and thicker Antarctic sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea in Oct. 2007, within the sea ice shield surrounding Antarctica. The ice in this region is approximately 33 feet (10 meters) thick. (M.J. Lewis)

Older, rougher and thicker Antarctic sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea in Oct. 2007, within the sea ice shield surrounding Antarctica. The ice in this region is approximately 33 feet (10 meters) thick. (M.J. Lewis)

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NASA uses satellite data to solve questions about Earth’s rotational wobbles

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Using satellite data on how water moves around Earth, NASA scientists have solved two mysteries about wobbles in the planet’s rotation — one new and one more than a century old. The research may help improve our knowledge of past and future climate.

Although a desktop globe always spins smoothly around the axis running through its north and south poles, a real planet wobbles. Earth’s spin axis drifts slowly around the poles; the farthest away it has wobbled since observations began is 37 feet (12 meters).

Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Earth Science Division launches new projects to advance our knowledge on how planet Earth works

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA is sending scientists around the world in 2016 – from the edge of the Greenland ice sheet to the coral reefs of the South Pacific – to delve into challenging questions about how our planet is changing and what impacts humans are having on it.

While Earth science field experiments are nothing new for NASA, the next six months will be a particularly active period with eight major new campaigns taking researchers around the world on a wide range of science investigations.

Eight major new NASA field research campaigns, from the Greenland ice sheet to Pacific coral reefs, get underway this year to provide scientists with a deeper view of how our home planet works that will complement what they've learned from space. (NASA)

Eight major new NASA field research campaigns, from the Greenland ice sheet to Pacific coral reefs, get underway this year to provide scientists with a deeper view of how our home planet works that will complement what they’ve learned from space. (NASA)

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NASA announces Jason-3 Satellite creates it’s first Global Ocean Map

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Jason-3, a new U.S.-European oceanography satellite mission with NASA participation, has produced its first complete science map of global sea surface height, capturing the current signal of the 2015-16 El Niño.

The map was generated from the first 10 days of data collected once Jason-3 reached its operational orbit of 830 miles (1,336 kilometers) last month. It shows the state of the ongoing El Niño event that began early last year. After peaking in January, the high sea levels in the eastern Pacific are now beginning to shrink.

The U.S./European Jason-3 satellite has produced its first map of sea surface height, which corresponds well to data from its predecessor, Jason-2. Higher-than-normal sea levels are red; lower-than-normal sea levels are blue. El Nino is visible as the red blob in the eastern equatorial Pacific. (NASA/JPL Ocean Surface Topography Team)

The U.S./European Jason-3 satellite has produced its first map of sea surface height, which corresponds well to data from its predecessor, Jason-2. Higher-than-normal sea levels are red; lower-than-normal sea levels are blue. El Nino is visible as the red blob in the eastern equatorial Pacific. (NASA/JPL Ocean Surface Topography Team)

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NASA Study finds Sea Level changes may be due to Climate Cycles

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The tropical Pacific Ocean isn’t flat like a pond. Instead, it regularly has a high side and a low side. Natural cycles such as El Niño and La Niña events cause this sea level seesaw to tip back and forth, with the ocean near Asia on one end and the ocean near the Americas on the other.

But over the last 30 years, the seesaw’s wobbles have been more extreme, causing variations in sea levels up to three times higher than those observed in the previous 30 years. Why might this be?

Higher Pacific sea levels increase coastal flooding risks. (Flickr user Alan Grinberg, "Coming Ashore!", CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Higher Pacific sea levels increase coastal flooding risks. (Flickr user Alan Grinberg, “Coming Ashore!”, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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NASA Study reveals Sierra Snow can be reduced by Atmospheric River Storms

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new study by NASA and several partners has found that in California’s Sierra Nevada, atmospheric river storms are two-and-a-half times more likely than other types of winter storms to result in destructive “rain-on-snow” events, where rain falls on existing snowpack, causing it to melt. Those events increase flood risks in winter and reduce water availability the following summer.

The study, based on NASA satellite and ground-based data from 1998 through 2014, is the first to establish a climatological connection between atmospheric river storms and rain-on-snow events. Partnering with NASA on the study were UCLA; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego; and the Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado.

Rain falling on snow. (Flickr user Malcolm Peacey, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Rain falling on snow. (Flickr user Malcolm Peacey, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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NASA’s Airborne Environmental Monitoring Instrument proves it can be used to monitor Water Quality

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Monitoring the quality of freshwater supplies is a global concern, especially in thirsty California, where the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and its watershed serve as a major freshwater source.

Now scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park and Sacramento, California, have successfully demonstrated how a NASA-developed airborne environmental monitoring instrument can be applied to help water managers monitor water quality not only in San Francisco Bay, but potentially in other inland and coastal water bodies around the world.

Maps of a) turbidity (water clarity), b) dissolved organic carbon and c) chlorophyll-a in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary's Grizzly Bay and Suisun Marsh in April 2014, derived from remote-sensing reflectance data from NASA's airborne Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer (PRISM) instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Maps of a) turbidity (water clarity), b) dissolved organic carbon and c) chlorophyll-a in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary’s Grizzly Bay and Suisun Marsh in April 2014, derived from remote-sensing reflectance data from NASA’s airborne Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer (PRISM) instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA helps maintain International Terrestrial Reference Frame

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The surface of Earth is constantly being reshaped by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods, changes in sea level and ice sheets, and other processes.

Since some of these changes amount to only millimeters per year, scientists must make very precise measurements of the landscape and ocean in space and time in order to study their evolution and help mitigate their impacts.

The foundation for these precision measurements is the terrestrial reference frame, which serves the same purpose as landmarks along a trail. Earth-orbiting satellites and ground-based instruments use this reference system to pinpoint their own locations and, in turn, those of the features they are tracking.

Sites around the world (yellow dots) contributed data and serve as "landmarks along a trail" for the newest update to a global standard called the International Terrestrial Reference Frame. Each site conducts precision measurements using at least one and up to four geodetic techniques. (NASA/Earth Observatory/GSFC)

Sites around the world (yellow dots) contributed data and serve as “landmarks along a trail” for the newest update to a global standard called the International Terrestrial Reference Frame. Each site conducts precision measurements using at least one and up to four geodetic techniques. (NASA/Earth Observatory/GSFC)

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NASA Satellite data reveals Earth’s land masses are absorbing Water and slowing Sea Level rise

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New measurements from a NASA satellite have allowed researchers to identify and quantify, for the first time, how climate-driven increases of liquid water storage on land have affected the rate of sea level rise.

A new study by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the University of California, Irvine, shows that while ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt, changes in weather and climate over the past decade have caused Earth’s continents to soak up and store an extra 3.2 trillion tons of water in soils, lakes and underground aquifers, temporarily slowing the rate of sea level rise by about 20 percent.

Earth's land masses have stored increasing amounts of water in the last decade, slowing the pace of sea level rise. (U.S. National Park Service)

Earth’s land masses have stored increasing amounts of water in the last decade, slowing the pace of sea level rise. (U.S. National Park Service)

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NASA Satellite data used to create maps to predict future Climate Change

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New, detailed maps of the world’s natural landscapes created using NASA satellite data could help scientists better predict the impacts of future climate change.

The maps of forests, grasslands and other productive ecosystems provide the most complete picture yet of how carbon from the atmosphere is reused and recycled by Earth’s natural ecosystems.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California; and Wageningen University, Netherlands, used a computer model to analyze a decade of satellite and field study data from 2001 to 2010.

Global map of the average amount of time that live biomass carbon and dead organic carbon spend in carbon reservoirs around the world, in years. (A. Anthony Bloom)

Global map of the average amount of time that live biomass carbon and dead organic carbon spend in carbon reservoirs around the world, in years. (A. Anthony Bloom)

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