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Topic: Pacific Ocean

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 and FEMA conducts Asteroid Impacting Earth Simulation Exercise

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – What would we do if we discovered a large asteroid on course to impact Earth? While highly unlikely, that was the high-consequence scenario discussed by attendees at an October 25th NASA-FEMA tabletop exercise in El Segundo, California.

The third in a series of exercises hosted jointly by NASA and FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency — the simulation was designed to strengthen the collaboration between the two agencies, which have Administration direction to lead the U.S. response.

Artist's concept of a near-Earth object. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of a near-Earth object. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Clarksville Teacher Whitney Joyner chosen for Prestigious Overseas World War II Program

 

National History DayWashington, D.C. – Whitney Joyner of Northeast Middle School is one of only 18 middle and high school educators selected to participate in Understanding Sacrifice, a partnership between National History Day®, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA).

When the program kicks off in November 2016 every educator will select one American who is buried or memorialized at an ABMC or NCA cemetery in San Francisco, Honolulu, or Manila.

Participants will conduct in-depth research on the life of this Fallen Hero using local and national historical resources.

Northeast Middle School Teacher Whitney Joyner

Northeast Middle School Teacher Whitney Joyner

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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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