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Topic: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NASA’s International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer instrument ends operations

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer (ISS-RapidScat) Earth science instrument has ended operations following a successful two-year mission aboard the space station. The mission launched September 21st, 2014, and had recently passed its original decommissioning date.

ISS-RapidScat used the unique vantage point of the space station to provide near-real-time monitoring of ocean winds, which are critical in determining regional weather patterns. Its measurements of wind speed and direction over the ocean surface have been used by agencies worldwide for weather and marine forecasting and tropical cyclone monitoring.

Artist's rendering of NASA's ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johnson Space Center)

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johnson Space Center)

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NASA reports new study sheds light on slowdown of Global Warming

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new multi-institutional study of the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature warming trend observed between 1998 and 2013 concludes the phenomenon represented a redistribution of energy within the Earth system, with Earth’s ocean absorbing the extra heat.

The phenomenon was referred to by some as the “global warming hiatus.” Global average surface temperature, measured by satellites and direct observations, is considered a key indicator of climate change.

A new multi-institutional study of the latest research into the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature increase seen between 1998 and 2013 concludes it represented a redistribution of heat/energy within the oceans. (Flickr user Brian Richardson, CC by 2.0)

A new multi-institutional study of the latest research into the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature increase seen between 1998 and 2013 concludes it represented a redistribution of heat/energy within the oceans. (Flickr user Brian Richardson, CC by 2.0)

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NASA launches Geostationary Weather Satellite for NOAA

 

Written by Sean Potter
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA successfully launched for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the first in a series of highly advanced geostationary weather satellites Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) lifted off at 5:42pm CST on its way to boost the nation’s weather observation capabilities, leading to more accurate and timely forecasts, watches and warnings.

The GOES-R satellite will be NOAA's most sophisticated weather observation spacecraft and is expected to improve forecasts and tracking substantially. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

The GOES-R satellite will be NOAA’s most sophisticated weather observation spacecraft and is expected to improve forecasts and tracking substantially. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

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NASA to launch Six Small Satellites in new approach to studying Earth

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Beginning this month, NASA is launching a suite of six next-generation, Earth-observing small satellite missions to demonstrate innovative new approaches for studying our changing planet.

These small satellites range in size from a loaf of bread to a small washing machine and weigh from a few to 400 pounds (180 kilograms). Their small size keeps development and launch costs down as they often hitch a ride to space as a “secondary payload” on another mission’s rocket — providing an economical avenue for testing new technologies and conducting science.

Artist's concept of the TROPICS mission, which will study hurricanes with a constellation of 12 CubeSats flying in formation. (MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

Artist’s concept of the TROPICS mission, which will study hurricanes with a constellation of 12 CubeSats flying in formation. (MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

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NASA Satellites and Airborne Instruments examine Hurricane Matthew

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Hurricane forecasters use many different types of data to forecast a storm’s intensity and track. NASA satellites and airborne instruments, including several developed and operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, contribute to scientists’ understanding of tropical cyclones and help improve forecasts.

Here are some of the latest data on Hurricane Matthew from JPL-developed satellites and instruments:

JPL’s HAMSR instrument flew above Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 7 aboard a NASA Global Hawk aircraft. Right: atmospheric temperatures overlaid atop ground-based radar and satellite visible images. Reds are areas without clouds; blues show ice and heavy precipitation. Upper left: Global Hawk visible image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech HAMSR team/NOAA SHOUT Team/NASA Global Hawk Team)

JPL’s HAMSR instrument flew above Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 7 aboard a NASA Global Hawk aircraft. Right: atmospheric temperatures overlaid atop ground-based radar and satellite visible images. Reds are areas without clouds; blues show ice and heavy precipitation. Upper left: Global Hawk visible image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech HAMSR team/NOAA SHOUT Team/NASA Global Hawk Team)

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NASA tracks Hurricane Matthew as it Heads for the Bahamas

 

Written by Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Satellites from NASA and NOAA have been tracking and analyzing powerful Hurricane Matthew since its birth just east of the Leeward Islands on September 28th.

On October 4th, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall on southwestern Haiti as a category-4 storm—the strongest storm to hit the Caribbean nation in more than 50 years. Just hours after landfall, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a natural-color image that showed the western extent over the eastern tip of Cuba and the eastern-most extent over Puerto Rico.

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall on southwestern Haiti as a category-4 storm—the strongest storm to hit the Caribbean nation in more than 50 years. Just hours after landfall, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image. At the time, Matthew had top sustained winds of about 230 kilometers (145 miles) per hour. Credits: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall on southwestern Haiti as a category-4 storm—the strongest storm to hit the Caribbean nation in more than 50 years. Just hours after landfall, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image. At the time, Matthew had top sustained winds of about 230 kilometers (145 miles) per hour.
Credits: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens

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NASA Scientists examine Methane Hot Spots in Four Corners area of United States

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In an extensive airborne survey, a NASA-led team has analyzed a previously identified “hot spot” of methane emissions in the Four Corners region of the United States, quantifying both its overall magnitude and the magnitudes of its sources. The study finds that just 10 percent of the individual methane sources are contributing half of the emissions.

Scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech, both in Pasadena, California; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder, Colorado; and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, used two JPL airborne spectrometers to identify and measure more than 250 individual sources of methane.

The Four Corners region of New Mexico and Colorado. Numerous light-colored spots are sites of gas and oil development. (Flickr user Doc Searls, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

The Four Corners region of New Mexico and Colorado. Numerous light-colored spots are sites of gas and oil development. (Flickr user Doc Searls, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

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NASA study shows during winter months Carbon Emissions in Arctic may go Unobserved

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA-led study has found that in at least part of the Arctic, scientists are not doing as good a job of detecting changes in carbon dioxide during the long, dark winter months as they are at monitoring changes during the short summer.

That’s a concern, because growing Arctic plants can act as a brake on global warming rates by removing carbon from the atmosphere, but increasing cold-season emissions could overwhelm the braking effect and accelerate global warming.

Even after the ground surface freezes in the fall, Alaskan soils can continue to emit carbon. (NOAA/Mandy Lindeberg)

Even after the ground surface freezes in the fall, Alaskan soils can continue to emit carbon. (NOAA/Mandy Lindeberg)

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NASA Satellites to help Airlines avoid delays caused by Volcanic Ash

 

Written by Audrey Haar
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A volcano erupting and spewing ash into the sky can cover nearby areas under a thick coating of ash and can also have consequences for aviation safety. Airline traffic changes due to a recent volcanic eruption can rack up unanticipated expenses to flight cancellations, lengthy diversions and additional fuel costs from rerouting.

Airlines are prudently cautious, because volcanic ash is especially dangerous to airplanes, as ash can melt within an operating aircraft engine, resulting in possible engine failure.

Volcano eruptions can wreak havoc on airplanes that fly through the clouds of ash and sulfur dioxide.

Volcano eruptions can wreak havoc on airplanes that fly through the clouds of ash and sulfur dioxide.

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NASA Satellite Data shows High Altitude Clouds shifting to Earth’s Poles

 

Written by Ellen Gray
NASA’s Earth Science News Team
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Washington, D.C. – A new NASA analysis of 30-years of satellite data suggests that a previously observed trend of high altitude clouds in the mid-latitudes shifting toward the poles is caused primarily by the expansion of the tropics.

Clouds are among the most important mediators of heat reaching Earth’s surface. Where clouds are absent, darker surfaces like the ocean or vegetated land absorb heat, but where clouds occur their white tops reflect incoming sunlight away, which can cause a cooling effect on Earth’s surface.

The Hadley cells describe how air moves through the tropics on either side of the equator. They are two of six major air circulation cells on Earth. (NASA)

The Hadley cells describe how air moves through the tropics on either side of the equator. They are two of six major air circulation cells on Earth. (NASA)

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