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Topic: NASA’s Aura Spacecraft

NASA ends Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer instrument’s mission

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On January 31st, NASA ended the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer’s (TES) almost 14-year career of discovery. Launched in 2004 on NASA’s Aura spacecraft, TES was the first instrument designed to monitor ozone in the lowest layers of the atmosphere directly from space. Its high-resolution observations led to new measurements of atmospheric gases that have altered our understanding of the Earth system.

TES was planned for a five-year mission but far outlasted that term.

TES collected spectral "signatures," illustrated here, of ozone and other gases in the lower atmosphere. (NASA)

TES collected spectral “signatures,” illustrated here, of ozone and other gases in the lower atmosphere. (NASA)

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NASA study reveals reasons for Earth’s Atmospheric Methane Increase

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A new NASA-led study has solved a puzzle involving the recent rise in atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, with a new calculation of emissions from global fires. The new study resolves what looked like irreconcilable differences in explanations for the increase.

Methane emissions have been rising sharply since 2006. Different research teams have produced viable estimates for two known sources of the increase: emissions from the oil and gas industry, and microbial production in wet tropical environments like marshes and rice paddies.

A reduction in global burned area in the 2000s had an unexpectedly large impact on methane emissions. (NASA/GSFC/SVS.)

A reduction in global burned area in the 2000s had an unexpectedly large impact on methane emissions. (NASA/GSFC/SVS.)

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NASA identifies alternate way to collect data from Aura spacecraft’s TES instrument

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission managers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, are evaluating an alternate way to collect and process science data from the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument on NASA’s Aura spacecraft following the age-related failure of a critical instrument component.

TES is an infrared sensor designed to study Earth’s troposphere, the lowermost layer of Earth’s atmosphere, which is where we live. Launched in July 2004 and designed to fly for two years, the TES mission is currently in an extended operations phase.

NASA's Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument, one of four instruments on NASA's Aura spacecraft. (Northrop Grumman)

NASA’s Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument, one of four instruments on NASA’s Aura spacecraft. (Northrop Grumman)

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NASA’s Aura spacecraft data reveals Background Ozone in U.S. West a real problem

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Levels of “background ozone” — ozone pollution present in a region but not originating from local, human-produced sources — are high enough in Northern California and Nevada that they leave little room for local ozone production under proposed stricter U.S. ground-level ozone standards, finds a new NASA-led study.

The researchers, led by Min Huang of George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, used a novel technique that combined data acquired from two instruments on NASA’s Aura spacecraft in the summer of 2008.

In parts of Northern California, background ozone levels already account for more than three-quarters of total ozone, leaving little room for local ozone production if stricter standards go into effect. (Flickr user Lisa Brettschneider, CC BY-NC 2.0)

In parts of Northern California, background ozone levels already account for more than three-quarters of total ozone, leaving little room for local ozone production if stricter standards go into effect. (Flickr user Lisa Brettschneider, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 achieves final orbit and begins sending data

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Just over a month after launch, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) — NASA’s first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide — has maneuvered into its final operating orbit and produced its first science data, confirming the health of its science instrument.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas responsible for warming our world.

Artist's rendering of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, one of five new NASA Earth science missions set to launch in 2014, and one of three managed by JPL. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, one of five new NASA Earth science missions set to launch in 2014, and one of three managed by JPL. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA study gives glimpse into Earth’s Future Climate

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – If we had a second Earth, we could experiment with its atmosphere to see how increased levels of greenhouse gases would change it, without the risks that come with performing such an experiment. Since we don’t, scientists use global climate models.

In the virtual Earths of the models, interlocking mathematical equations take the place of our planet’s atmosphere, water, land and ice. Supercomputers do the math that keeps these virtual worlds turning — as many as 100 billion calculations for one modeled year in a typical experiment. Groups that project the future of our planet use input from about 30 such climate models, run by governments and organizations worldwide.

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NASA Study shows Ancient Antarctica Warmer and Wetter than Expected

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new university-led study with NASA participation finds ancient Antarctica was much warmer and wetter than previously suspected. The climate was suitable to support substantial vegetation — including stunted trees — along the edges of the frozen continent.

The team of scientists involved in the study, published online June 17th in Nature Geoscience, was led by Sarah J. Feakins of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and included researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Antarctic Postcard From the Past - This artist's rendition created from a photograph of Antarctica shows what Antarctica possibly looked like during the middle Miocene epoch, based on pollen fossil data. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Dr. Philip Bart, LSU)

Antarctic Postcard From the Past – This artist’s rendition created from a photograph of Antarctica shows what Antarctica possibly looked like during the middle Miocene epoch, based on pollen fossil data. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Dr. Philip Bart, LSU)

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