Topic: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Pasadena, CA – New remote sensing data from NASA’s Jason-2 satellite show near-normal sea-surface height conditions across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
This neutral, or “La Nada” event, has stubbornly persisted for 16 months, since spring 2012. Models suggest this pattern will continue through the spring of 2014, according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
Washington, D.C. – A NASA-led team of scientists has uncovered strong evidence that soot from a rapidly industrializing Europe caused the abrupt retreat of mountain glaciers in the European Alps that began in the 1860s, a period often thought of as the end of the Little Ice Age.
The research, published September 3rd in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help resolve a longstanding scientific debate.
Pasadena, CA – The curtain has come down on a superstar of the satellite oceanography world that played the “Great Blue Way” of the world’s ocean for 11-1/2 years. The successful joint NASA and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Jason-1 ocean altimetry satellite was decommissioned this week following the loss of its last remaining transmitter.
Launched December 7th, 2001, and designed to last three to five years, Jason-1 helped create a revolutionary 20-plus-year climate data record of global ocean surface topography that began in 1992 with the launch of the NASA/CNES Topex/Poseidon satellite.
Pasadena, CA – Flying low and slow above the wild, pristine terrain of Alaska’s North Slope in a specially instrumented NASA plane, research scientist Charles Miller of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, surveys the endless whiteness of tundra and frozen permafrost below.
On the horizon, a long, dark line appears. The plane draws nearer, and the mysterious object reveals itself to be a massive herd of migrating caribou, stretching for miles. It’s a sight Miller won’t soon forget.
Pasadena, CA – Using an innovative satellite technique, NASA scientists have determined that a previously unmapped type of wildfire in the Amazon rainforest is responsible for destroying several times more forest than has been lost through deforestation in recent years.
In the southern Amazon rainforest, fires below the forest treetops, or “understory fires,” have been hidden from view from NASA satellites that detect actively burning fires. The new method has now led to the first regional estimate of understory fire damages across the southern Amazon.
Written by Karen C. Fox
Greenbelt, MD – Given a legitimate need to protect Earth from the most intense forms of space weather — great bursts of electromagnetic energy and particles that can sometimes stream from the sun — some people worry that a gigantic “killer solar flare” could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth, but this is not actually possible.
Solar activity is indeed currently ramping up toward what is known as solar maximum, something that occurs approximately every 11 years. However, this same solar cycle has occurred over millennia so anyone over the age of 11 has already lived through such a solar maximum with no harm.
Washington, D.C. – NOAA issued the three-month U.S. Spring Outlook today, stating that odds favor above-average temperatures across much of the continental United States, including drought-stricken areas of Texas, the Southwest and the Great Plains.
Spring promises little drought relief for most of these areas, as well as Florida, with below- average spring precipitation favored there. Meanwhile, river flooding is likely to be worse than last year across the country, with the most significant flood potential in North Dakota.
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Rewind to the late 1950s. The Soviet Union had just launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik. The United States, caught short, was scrambling to catch up, kick-starting a Cold War space race that would last for decades. Space was up for grabs, and it seemed like anything could happen.
Into this void stepped the United Nations. In 1958, the General Assembly “recognizing the common interest of mankind in furthering the peaceful use of outer space … and desiring to avoid the extension of present national rivalries into this new field….” established the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – In a clever reuse of hardware originally built to test parts of NASA’s QuikScat satellite, the agency will launch the ISS-RapidScat instrument to the International Space Station in 2014 to measure ocean surface wind speed and direction.
The ISS-RapidScat instrument will help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring, and understanding of how ocean-atmosphere interactions influence Earth’s climate.
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – NASA scientists say 2012 was the ninth warmest of any year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. With the exception of 1998, the nine warmest years in the 132-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the hottest years on record.
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated analysis Tuesday that compares temperatures around the globe in 2012 to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago.
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