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Topic: Himalayas

NASA studies effects of Dust, Warm Weather on Melting Snow and Spring Runoff

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A new study has found that dust, not spring warmth, controls the pace of spring snowmelt that feeds the headwaters of the Colorado River. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the amount of dust on the mountain snowpack controls how fast the Colorado Basin’s rivers rise in the spring regardless of air temperature, with more dust correlated with faster spring runoff and higher peak flows.

The finding is valuable for western water managers and advances our understanding of how freshwater resources, in the form of snow and ice, will respond to warming temperatures in the future.

A coating of dust on snow speeds the pace of snowmelt in the spring. (NASA)

A coating of dust on snow speeds the pace of snowmelt in the spring. (NASA)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft examines highest mountain on Saturn’s moon Titan

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’a Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In a nod to extraterrestrial mountaineers of the future, scientists working on NASA’s Cassini mission have identified the highest point on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Titan’s tallest peak is 10,948 feet (3,337 meters) high and is found within a trio of mountainous ridges called the Mithrim Montes. The researchers found that all of Titan’s highest peaks are about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in elevation. The study used images and other data from Cassini’s radar instrument, which can peer through the obscuring smog of Titan’s atmosphere to reveal the surface in detail.

The trio of ridges on Titan known as Mithrim Montes is home to the hazy Saturnian moon's tallest peak. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI)

The trio of ridges on Titan known as Mithrim Montes is home to the hazy Saturnian moon’s tallest peak. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI)

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NASA Satellite Obervations helps determine how Glacier Mass reductions effect Sea Level Rise

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new study of glaciers worldwide using observations from two NASA satellites has helped resolve differences in estimates of how fast glaciers are disappearing and contributing to sea level rise.

The new research found glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, repositories of 1 percent of all land ice, lost an average of 571 trillion pounds (259 trillion kilograms) of mass every year during the six-year study period, making the ocean rise 0.03 inches (0.7 millimeters) per year.

The Aletschglacier in Switzerland is the largest valley glacier in the Alps. Its volume loss since the middle of the 19th century is well visible from the trimlines to the right of the image. (Credit: Frank Paul, University of Zurich)

The Aletschglacier in Switzerland is the largest valley glacier in the Alps. Its volume loss since the middle of the 19th century is well visible from the trimlines to the right of the image. (Credit: Frank Paul, University of Zurich)

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