Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA airborne expedition chases climate, ozone questions

28.06.2007
NASA's Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling (TC4) field campaign will begin this summer in San Jose, Costa Rica, with an investigation into how chemical compounds in the air are transported vertically into the stratosphere and how that transport affects cloud formation and climate.

The study will begin the week of July 16 with coordinated observations from satellites, high-flying NASA research aircraft, balloons and ground-based radar. The targets of these measurements are the gases, aerosols and ice crystals that flow from the top of the strong storm systems that form over the warm tropical ocean. These storm systems pump air more than 40,000 feet above Earth’s surface, where it can influence the composition of the stratosphere, home of our planet’s protective ozone layer.

The outflow of these storms also produces vast swaths of icy cirrus clouds that play an important role in how much infrared energy is trapped in Earth's atmosphere. Scientists want to document the full life cycle of these widespread clouds -- down to the size and shape of their tiny ice crystals -- to better understand how Earth will react to a warming climate.

"This campaign is an unprecedented opportunity to use NASA's complete suite of satellite and airborne Earth-observing capabilities to investigate a largely unexplored region of the atmosphere," said Michael J. Kurylo, a TC4 program scientist at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "This tropical transitional layer of the atmosphere between the troposphere and the stratosphere plays a key role in both climate change science and atmospheric ozone chemistry. The data will yield new insights into the composition of this layer and the impact of the deep clouds that penetrate the atmosphere up into this layer."

The effort runs through Aug. 8. It is NASA's largest Earth science field campaign of the year.

"A mission this complex, with three aircraft, deployment sites in Costa Rica and Panama, and more than 400 people involved, can be a real challenge," said Mission Project Manager Marilyn Vasques of NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Soaring high above the cloud systems will be a NASA ER-2 aircraft, which can reach an altitude of 70,000 feet, or 3 miles into the stratosphere. A NASA WB-57 aircraft will fly into the cirrus clouds and sample the chemical make-up of the storm systems’ outflow. NASA's DC-8 aircraft will probe the region between the troposphere and the stratosphere (known as the tropopause transitional layer) with remote-sensing instruments. It also will sample cloud particles and air chemistry at lower altitudes. A weather radar and meteorological balloons will be deployed in Panama to support the campaign. Additional balloons will be launched from Costa Rica and San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos Archipelago.

Observations from seven satellites will complement the aircraft measurements with large-scale views of many different features of the atmosphere. For example, the Aura spacecraft will focus on the chemical composition of the tropopause transitional layer and measure ozone, water vapor, carbon monoxide and particles. NASA's Aqua satellite will map thin cirrus clouds, some of which are so faint they are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Instruments on the CALIPSO and CloudSat satellites will pierce the atmosphere to provide vertical profiles of clouds and aerosol particles that can change how clouds form.

Along the coasts of Colombia and Panama south of Costa Rica, the warm summer waters of the Pacific Ocean are a fertile breeding ground for the type of heat-driven, or convective, storm systems the mission is targeting. Clouds produced by these maritime systems produce heavy rainfall and cloud tops that can reach into the transitional layer.

Mission scientists want to know what effect a warming climate with rising ocean temperatures will have on the intensity of these storm systems. Another unknown is how aerosol particles swept up in these systems change the clouds and are, in turn, affected by the clouds.

These tropical convective systems also may play a role in the recovery of the ozone layer. Estimates of ozone destruction in the stratosphere typically minimize the impact of short-lived chemical compounds that presumably could not survive the long journey there. Mission scientists will investigate whether the rapid movement of air in these strong convective systems provides an express route for ozone-destroying compounds to reach the stratosphere.

Tabatha Thompson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2007/jun/HQ_07144_TC4_Mission.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle
21.06.2018 | University of Chicago

nachricht The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon
21.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

What are the effects of coral reef marine protected areas?

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>