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Topic: Climate

NASA to study Venus with Two New Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected two new missions to Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor.

Part of NASA’s Discovery Program, the missions aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world when it has so many other characteristics similar to ours – and may have been the first habitable world in the solar system, complete with an ocean and Earth-like climate.

These investigations are the final selections from four mission concepts NASA picked in February 2020 as part of the agency’s Discovery 2019 competition.

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA's JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet's extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA’s JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet’s extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Scientists reports Ocean Currents are changing due to Arctic Ice Melt

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A major ocean current in the Arctic is faster and more turbulent as a result of rapid sea ice melt, a new study from NASA shows. The current is part of a delicate Arctic environment that is now flooded with fresh water, an effect of human-caused climate change.

Using 12 years of satellite data, scientists have measured how this circular current, called the Beaufort Gyre, has precariously balanced an influx of unprecedented amounts of cold, fresh water – a change that could alter the currents in the Atlantic Ocean and cool the climate of Western Europe.

Arctic sea ice was photographed in 2011 during NASA's ICESCAPE mission, or "Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment," a shipborne investigation to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean's chemistry and ecosystems. The bulk of the research took place in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in summer 2010 and 2011. (NASA/Kathryn Hansen)

Arctic sea ice was photographed in 2011 during NASA’s ICESCAPE mission, or “Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment,” a shipborne investigation to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean’s chemistry and ecosystems. The bulk of the research took place in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in summer 2010 and 2011. (NASA/Kathryn Hansen)

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NASA uses Earth Climate Models to Picture Life on Unimaginable Worlds

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – In a generic brick building on the northwestern edge of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center campus in Greenbelt, Maryland, thousands of computers packed in racks the size of vending machines hum in a deafening chorus of data crunching. Day and night, they spit out 7 quadrillion calculations per second.

These machines collectively are known as NASA’s Discover supercomputer and they are tasked with running sophisticated climate models to predict Earth’s future climate.

Illustration of an exoplanet. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith)

Illustration of an exoplanet. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith)

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NASA Observes Australia’s Bushfires, From Smoke Going Round the World to Aerosol Levels

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA scientists using data from its NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite, has traced the movement of the smoke coming off the Australian fires across the globe showing that it has circumnavigated the Earth.

In an image created from data gathered by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) Nadir Mapper on Suomi NPP, a black circle shows the smoke which had been traced from its origins coming back to the eastern region of Australia after having traveled around the world.

This image of the UV aerosol index from the Suomi NPP satellite OMPS Nadir Mapper instrument showing a "close-up" from Jan. 13, 2020 (specifically orbit 42546). The image reveals that the smoke has now made its all the way back to eastern Australia (black circle). The red circle shows "newly formed" (or current) smoke that has just been emitted from the fires. The green circle shows the dust from an intense dust storm. (NASA/Colin Seftor)

This image of the UV aerosol index from the Suomi NPP satellite OMPS Nadir Mapper instrument showing a “close-up” from Jan. 13, 2020 (specifically orbit 42546). The image reveals that the smoke has now made its all the way back to eastern Australia (black circle). The red circle shows “newly formed” (or current) smoke that has just been emitted from the fires. The green circle shows the dust from an intense dust storm. (NASA/Colin Seftor)

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NASA reports Seals used to study how heat moves through Ocean Layers

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the Antarctic Circumpolar Current flows in a loop around Antarctica, connecting the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. It is one of the most significant ocean currents in our climate system because it facilitates the exchange of heat and other properties among the oceans it links.

But how the current transfers heat, particularly vertically from the top layer of the ocean to the bottom layers and vice versa, is still not fully understood. This current is very turbulent, producing eddies – swirling vortices of water similar to storms in the atmosphere – between 30 to 125 miles (50 to 200 kilometers) in diameter.

A tagged elephant seal basks on Kerguelen Island, a French territory in the Antarctic. Elephant seals are tagged as part of a French research program called SO-MEMO (Observing System - Mammals as Samplers of the Ocean Environment), operated by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). (Sorbonne University/Etienne Pauthenet)

A tagged elephant seal basks on Kerguelen Island, a French territory in the Antarctic. Elephant seals are tagged as part of a French research program called SO-MEMO (Observing System – Mammals as Samplers of the Ocean Environment), operated by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). (Sorbonne University/Etienne Pauthenet)

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NASA says Tracking Rising Oceans will be done by New Earth Mission

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the Earth’s climate is changing, and the study of oceans is vital to understanding the effects of those changes on our future. For the first time, U.S and European agencies are preparing to launch a 10-year satellite mission to continue to study the clearest sign of global warming – rising sea levels.

The Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission (short for Jason-Continuity of Service), will be the longest-running mission dedicated to answering the question: How much will Earth’s oceans rise by 2030?

The Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 mission that will track sea level rise, one of the clearest signs of global warming, for the next 10 years. Sentinel-6A, the first of the mission's two satellites, is shown in its clean room in Germany and is scheduled to launch in November 2020. (IABG)

The Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 mission that will track sea level rise, one of the clearest signs of global warming, for the next 10 years. Sentinel-6A, the first of the mission’s two satellites, is shown in its clean room in Germany and is scheduled to launch in November 2020. (IABG)

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NASA Study reveals Amazon Drying Out due to Human Activities

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA study shows that over the last 20 years, the atmosphere above the Amazon rainforest has been drying out, increasing the demand for water and leaving ecosystems vulnerable to fires and drought. It also shows that this increase in dryness is primarily the result of human activities.

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, analyzed decades of ground and satellite data over the Amazon rainforest to track both how much moisture was in the atmosphere and how much moisture was needed to maintain the rainforest system.

The Amazon rainforest. (Marcio Isensee e Sa, Adobe Stock)

The Amazon rainforest. (Marcio Isensee e Sa, Adobe Stock)

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NASA’s Grace satellites data reveals how Water moves on Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says when you hear news about an aquifer in California that is getting depleted, ice loss from Greenland or Antarctica,  or a new explanation for a wobble in Earth’s rotation, you might not realize that all these findings may rely on data from one single mission: the U.S.-German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).

GRACE data, collected from 2002 to 2017 while the mission was active, are still being used to improve our understanding of water in motion and its sometimes surprising effects on our planet.

Illustration of the twin GRACE satellites. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Illustration of the twin GRACE satellites. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA study shows Warming Oceans could increase Frequency of Extreme Rain Storms

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA study shows that warming of the tropical oceans due to climate change could lead to a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme rain storms by the end of the century.

The study team, led by Hartmut Aumann of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, combed through 15 years of data acquired by NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument over the tropical oceans to determine the relationship between the average sea surface temperature and the onset of severe storms.

An "anvil" storm cloud in the Midwestern United States. (UCAR)

An “anvil” storm cloud in the Midwestern United States. (UCAR)

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NASA’s Langley Research Center studies interaction between the Sun and Earth’s upper atmosphere

 

NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – Chill out. That’s the current message from the Sun to Earth’s upper atmosphere says NASA.

To be more precise, as the Sun settles into a cyclical, natural lull in activity, the upper atmosphere, or thermosphere — far above our own climate system — is responding in kind by cooling and contracting.

Could that have implications for folks down here on the surface? Absolutely not. Unless, that is, you’re someone with a vested interest in tracking an orbiting satellite or space debris.

The Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, or SABER, instrument on the Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics, or TIMED, satellite looks at the interaction between the Sun and Earth's upper atmosphere. (NASA/JHU/APL)

The Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, or SABER, instrument on the Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics, or TIMED, satellite looks at the interaction between the Sun and Earth’s upper atmosphere. (NASA/JHU/APL)

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