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Topic: Pacific Ocean

NASA tracks Rainfall of Hurricane Earl over Mexico

 

Written by Hal Pierce and Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Hurricane Earl began as a tropical wave that was tracked by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) from the African coast to the Caribbean Sea. The tropical wave drenched the Dominican Republic, where it was blamed for the deaths of six people.

Southwest of Jamaica on August 2nd, 2016, the tropical wave developed a closed circulation, and Earl was upgraded to a tropical storm.

On August 3rd, Earl became a hurricane when it was located about 150 miles east of Belize. On August 4th Earl made landfall just southwest of Belize City, Belize, at about 2:00am EDT (6:00am UTC).

The analysis of rainfall from Aug. 2 through Aug. 8, 2016, showed the period from when Earl became a tropical storm until Earl's remnants interacted with an area of disturbed weather along the Pacific coast. Some areas in extreme southern Mexico received up to 43.3 inches (1,100 mm) of rain. Earl's locations and intensities, as defined by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), are shown overlaid in white. (NASA/JAXA/Hal Pierce)

The analysis of rainfall from Aug. 2 through Aug. 8, 2016, showed the period from when Earl became a tropical storm until Earl’s remnants interacted with an area of disturbed weather along the Pacific coast. Some areas in extreme southern Mexico received up to 43.3 inches (1,100 mm) of rain. Earl’s locations and intensities, as defined by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), are shown overlaid in white. (NASA/JAXA/Hal Pierce)

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NASA Researchers study how Microgravity affects Tiny Organisms in Space

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On May 11th, a sealed capsule containing fungi and bacteria fell from the sky and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Microbiologist Kasthuri Venkateswaran could hardly wait to see what was inside it.

At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Venkateswaran, who goes by Venkat, studies microbial life — the wild world of organisms too small for us to see with our eyes. Among his many research endeavors, Venkat has leading roles on two microbial experiments that recently returned from the International Space Station.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft nears the International Space Station during the CRS-8 mission to deliver experiments including two microbial investigations. (NASA)

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft nears the International Space Station during the CRS-8 mission to deliver experiments including two microbial investigations. (NASA)

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NASA’s Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer (PRISM) can observe Coastal Waters in detail never before possible

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A coastal scene with deep blue seas and a coral reef is beautiful to look at, but if you try to record the scene with a camera or a scientific instrument, the results are almost always disappointing. Most cameras can’t “see” underwater objects in such scenes because they’re so dim and wash out the glaring seashore.

These problems don’t just ruin vacation photos. They’re a serious hindrance for scientists who need images of the coastline to study how these ecosystems are being affected by climate change, development and other hazards.

To the rescue: the new Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer, created at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. PRISM is an airborne instrument designed to observe hard-to-see coastal water phenomena.

PRISM was designed to focus on hard-to-see phenomena in difficult coastal light conditions. (Flickr user Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0)

PRISM was designed to focus on hard-to-see phenomena in difficult coastal light conditions. (Flickr user Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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NASA tests Orion Capsule with Crash Test Dummies

 

Written by Sasha Ellis
NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – Upon re-entry from a deep space mission, NASA’s next generation spacecraft, more commonly known as Orion, will descend under its three main parachutes, swaying in the wind until its final splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

In that brief instant where capsule meets water, astronauts will experience the mission’s greatest deceleration and with that, some of the greatest forces on the human body. That’s where crash-test dummies come into the picture.

Crash-test dummies wearing modified Advanced Crew Escape System suits were installed into the crew seats of an Orion test capsule days before being dropped into NASA Langley Research Center’s Hydro Impact Basin. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

Crash-test dummies wearing modified Advanced Crew Escape System suits were installed into the crew seats of an Orion test capsule days before being dropped into NASA Langley Research Center’s Hydro Impact Basin. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

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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 to evaluate Crew Safety in Orion Spacecraft using Test Dummies

 

Written by Sasha Ellis
NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Hampton, VA – Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, are preparing for a series of water-impact tests to evaluate the Orion spacecraft and crew safety when they return from deep-space missions and touch down on Earth’s surface.

After venturing thousands of miles beyond Earth, Orion will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. At Langley, engineers are preparing to mimic various mission finale scenarios this year by dropping a mockup of Orion, coupled with the heat shield from the spacecraft’s first flight, into Langley’s 20-foot-deep Hydro Impact Basin.

NASA engineers install a male and female test dummy into a water landing Orion test article. Test dummies are used to collect data on the impact astronauts could experience when splashing down in the Pacific Ocean during a NASA space mission. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

NASA engineers install a male and female test dummy into a water landing Orion test article. Test dummies are used to collect data on the impact astronauts could experience when splashing down in the Pacific Ocean during a NASA space mission. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

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NASA prepares Orion Crew Module for Uncrewed Flight Test

 

Written by Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationKennedy Space Center, FL – The Orion crew module pressure vessel has arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is now secured in an upgraded version of a test stand called the “birdcage” inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building high bay. Orion will eventually take NASA on a journey to Mars, but first, the spacecraft is being prepared for a mission past the moon during Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).

The pressure vessel is the crew module’s underlying structure. Processing at Kennedy began February 3rd to prepare it for launch atop the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39B in 2018.

Inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, members of the news media get an up-close look at the Orion crew module pressure vessel on Feb. 3. Testing and assembly has begun, which will lead to Exploration Mission-1 in 2018. EM-1 will be an uncrewed flight test in which the spacecraft will launch atop NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. (NASA/Bill White)

Inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, members of the news media get an up-close look at the Orion crew module pressure vessel on Feb. 3. Testing and assembly has begun, which will lead to Exploration Mission-1 in 2018. EM-1 will be an uncrewed flight test in which the spacecraft will launch atop NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. (NASA/Bill White)

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NASA, NOAA data shows Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the highest in History

 

Written by Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much.

2015 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to a new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The record-breaking year continues a long-term warming trend — 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have now occurred since 2001. (Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center)

2015 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to a new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The record-breaking year continues a long-term warming trend — 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have now occurred since 2001. (Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA reports a strong, growing El Niño head to United States

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The current strong El Niño brewing in the Pacific Ocean shows no signs of waning, as seen in the latest satellite image from the U.S./European Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 mission.

El Niño 2015 has already created weather chaos around the world. Over the next few months, forecasters expect the United States to feel its impacts as well.

The latest Jason-2 image bears a striking resemblance to one from December 1997, by Jason-2’s predecessor, the NASA/Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Topex/Poseidon mission, during the last large El Niño event. Both reflect the classic pattern of a fully developed El Niño. The images can be viewed at:
http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/elnino2015/index.html

The latest satellite image of Pacific sea surface heights from Jason-2 (left) differs slightly from one 18 years ago from Topex/Poseidon (right). In Dec. 1997, sea surface height was more intense and peaked in November. This year the area of high sea levels is less intense but considerably broader. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The latest satellite image of Pacific sea surface heights from Jason-2 (left) differs slightly from one 18 years ago from Topex/Poseidon (right). In Dec. 1997, sea surface height was more intense and peaked in November. This year the area of high sea levels is less intense but considerably broader. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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