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Topic: National Center for Atmospheric Research

NASA Scientists use Global Hawk aircraft to track atmosphere changes that affect the climate of Earth

 

Written by Rachel Hoover
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – NASA’s uncrewed Global Hawk research aircraft is in the western Pacific region on a mission to track changes in the upper atmosphere and help researchers understand how these changes affect Earth’s climate.

Deployed from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA, the Global Hawk landed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam Thursday at approximately 5:00pm EST and will begin science flights Tuesday, January 21st. Its mission, the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), is a multi-year NASA airborne science campaign.

NASA's Global Hawk 872 on a checkout flight from Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, in preparation for the 2014 ATTREX mission over the western Pacific Ocean. (NASA/Tom Miller)

NASA’s Global Hawk 872 on a checkout flight from Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, in preparation for the 2014 ATTREX mission over the western Pacific Ocean. (NASA/Tom Miller)

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NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment spacecraft data reveals Australia had Biggest Role in Sea Level Drop

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A unique and complex set of circumstances came together over Australia from 2010 to 2011 to cause Earth’s smallest continent to be the biggest contributor to the observed drop in global sea level rise during that time, finds a new study co-authored and co-funded by NASA.

In 2011, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and the University of Colorado at Boulder reported that between early 2010 and summer 2011, global sea level fell sharply, by about a quarter of an inch, or half a centimeter.

Changes in Australia's mass as reported by data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites from June 2010 to February 2011. Areas in greens and blues depict the greatest increases in mass, caused by excessive precipitation. The contour lines represent various land surface elevations. (Credit: NCAR/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Changes in Australia’s mass as reported by data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites from June 2010 to February 2011. Areas in greens and blues depict the greatest increases in mass, caused by excessive precipitation. The contour lines represent various land surface elevations. (Credit: NCAR/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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National Research Council report shows more ways the Sun effects Earth’s Climate

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In the galactic scheme of things, the Sun is a remarkably constant star. While some stars exhibit dramatic pulsations, wildly yo-yoing in size and brightness, and sometimes even exploding, the luminosity of our own sun varies a measly 0.1% over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.

There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate. A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet.

These six extreme UV images of the sun, taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, track the rising level of solar activity as the sun ascends toward the peak of the latest 11-year sunspot cycle.

These six extreme UV images of the sun, taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, track the rising level of solar activity as the sun ascends toward the peak of the latest 11-year sunspot cycle.

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NASA study shows Climate change likely hotter than current Projections

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA-funded study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, finds climate model projections that show a greater rise in global temperature are likely to prove more accurate than those showing a lesser rise.

The findings, published today in the journal Science, could provide a breakthrough in the longstanding quest to narrow the range of global warming expected in coming decades and beyond.

Scientists used observations from two NASA satellite instruments, including relative humidity data similar to these, from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft, to analyze how well leading global climate models reproduce observed relative humidity in Earth's tropics and subtropics. The AIRS surface relative humidity data shown here are representative only and are not from the study. Areas shown in reds and yellows are the driest; blue areas the moistest. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Scientists used observations from two NASA satellite instruments, including relative humidity data similar to these, from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft, to analyze how well leading global climate models reproduce observed relative humidity in Earth’s tropics and subtropics. The AIRS surface relative humidity data shown here are representative only and are not from the study. Areas shown in reds and yellows are the driest; blue areas the moistest. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA uses data from multiple Observatories to study Coronal Cavities in the Sun’s Atmosphere

 

Written by Karen C. Fox
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The sun’s atmosphere dances. Giant columns of solar material – made of gas so hot that many of the electrons have been scorched off the atoms, turning it into a form of magnetized matter we call plasma – leap off the sun’s surface, jumping and twisting. Sometimes these prominences of solar material, shoot off, escaping completely into space, other times they fall back down under their own weight.

The prominences are sometimes also the inner structure of a larger formation, appearing from the side almost as the filament inside a large light bulb. The bright structure around and above that light bulb is called a streamer, and the inside “empty” area is called a coronal prominence cavity.

Scientists want to understand what causes giant explosions in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, such as this one. The eruptions are called coronal mass ejections or CMEs and they can travel toward Earth to disrupt human technologies in space. To better understand the forces at work, a team of researchers used NASA data to study a precursor of CMEs called coronal cavities. (Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO))

Scientists want to understand what causes giant explosions in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, such as this one. The eruptions are called coronal mass ejections or CMEs and they can travel toward Earth to disrupt human technologies in space. To better understand the forces at work, a team of researchers used NASA data to study a precursor of CMEs called coronal cavities. (Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO))

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NASA Study Solves Case of Earth’s ‘Missing Energy’

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Two years ago, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO, released a study claiming that inconsistencies between satellite observations of Earth’s heat and measurements of ocean heating amounted to evidence of “missing energy” in the planet’s system.

Where was it going? Or, they wondered, was something wrong with the way researchers tracked energy as it was absorbed from the sun and emitted back into space?

An international team of atmospheric scientists and oceanographers, led by Norman Loeb of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, and including Graeme Stephens of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, set out to investigate the mystery.

Clouds play a vital role in Earth's energy balance, cooling or warming Earth's surface depending on their type. This painting, "Cumulus Congestus," by JPL's Graeme Stephens, principal investigator of NASA's CloudSat mission, depicts cumulus clouds, which transport energy away from Earth's surface. (Image credit: Graeme Stephens)

Clouds play a vital role in Earth's energy balance, cooling or warming Earth's surface depending on their type. This painting, "Cumulus Congestus," by JPL's Graeme Stephens, principal investigator of NASA's CloudSat mission, depicts cumulus clouds, which transport energy away from Earth's surface. (Image credit: Graeme Stephens)

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NASA’s Antarctic 2011 IceBridge Campaign Concludes

 

Written by Alan Brown
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – NASA’s DC-8 airborne science laboratory has completed its 2011 Operation IceBridge science flights over Antarctica, and arrived home at its base in Palmdale, CA, November 22nd.

The IceBridge flight and science team flew a record 24 science flights during the six-week campaign, recording data from a suite of sophisticated instruments on the thickness and depth of Antarctic ice sheets and glacial movement.

The aircraft departed its deployment base at Punta Arenas, Chile, Tuesday morning November 22nd and after a refueling stop in Santiago, Chile, set course for Los Angeles International Airport for customs clearance. The flying lab continued on to the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, arriving about 8:30pm that evening after almost 15 hours in the air.

The frozen, inhospitable surface features of Alexander Island in Antarctica were viewed at close range during one of the final low-level flights by NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory during the 2011 Operation IceBridge mission. (NASA /Chris Miller)

The frozen, inhospitable surface features of Alexander Island in Antarctica were viewed at close range during one of the final low-level flights by NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory during the 2011 Operation IceBridge mission. (NASA /Chris Miller)

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