Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


NASA satellite flies high to monitor sun’s influence on ozone


In October, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) completed the first measurement of the solar ultraviolet radiation spectrum over the duration of an 11 year solar cycle, a period marked by cyclical shifts in the Sun’s activity. This long measurement record by two instruments aboard UARS will give researchers better insight into how fluctuations in the Sun’s energy affect ozone and the Earth’s climate. In turn, the dataset gives scientists tools to document the influence of man-made chemicals on ozone loss.

Though mission success was initially declared only 18 months after its launch in September 1991, UARS has continued to track ozone levels and atmospheric gases that react with ozone. The satellite has now also recorded the Sun’s influence on ozone and other gases over an entire solar cycle.

During the 11-year solar cycle the Sun undergoes periodic changes in activity from the "solar maximum," to a period of quiet called the "solar minimum." During the solar maximum there are many sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections, which can affect communications and the atmosphere here on Earth.

"Having a complete solar cycle of data provides information necessary to distinguish the natural variations in the Earth’s atmosphere from man-made variations," said Charles Jackman, UARS Project Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

"UARS has lasted so long that we now have an 11 year mission with a single set of observations spanning the entire solar cycle," said Gary Rottman, a senior scientist at the University of Colorado and Principal Investigator for the SOLar Stellar InterComparison Experiment (SOLSTICE) instrument on UARS.

This complete solar cycle UV radiation dataset provides key measurements toward better determination of the roles of natural and man-made influences on ozone.

Also, by observing a full solar cycle, scientists hope to use the additional data to better understand the Sun’s behavior.

Observatories on the Earth have found fewer sunspots in this solar cycle than the last one, but UARS measurements indicate the amount of UV radiation that struck Earth’s atmosphere during each solar maximum was about the same.

"The expected correlation between sunspot activity and UV irradiance over the long term was not found," said Linton Floyd, a researcher working at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, and Project Scientist for the Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM) instrument on UARS. Floyd hopes that more long-term records will help clear up such mysteries about the Sun.

UARS includes ten instruments designed to understand the radiation, chemistry, and dynamics of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Of those ten, seven instruments still work.

The SUSIM and SOLSTICE instruments measure UV light from the Sun and provide insights into the relationship between UV radiation and atmospheric ozone. These two instruments were independently calibrated, each providing a check on the other. Another set of instruments measure gases like ozone, methane, water vapor, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in Earth’s atmosphere. The third group measures winds in the stratosphere, mesosphere, and the lower thermosphere and help researchers understand the global movement of gases.

In January 2003, NASA will launch the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite, which will provide further measurements of the Sun. By having an overlap with UARS, NASA will have two satellites making essentially the same measurements simultaneously, thereby providing a "truthing" for comparisons and an even longer term data record, Floyd said.

Krishna Ramanujan | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>