From volcanic eruptions to ozone holes, a NASA instrument that monitors Earths upper atmosphere marks twenty years in orbit.
The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II (SAGE II) instrument was deployed October 5, 1984, from the Space Shuttle Challenger aboard the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS.) Originally scheduled for a two-year mission, SAGE II continues to give scientists a wealth of data on the chemistry and motions of the upper troposphere and stratosphere. "The importance of the SAGE II data is helping to solve some exceedingly important societal issues like ozone depletion and greenhouse warming," said SAGE II principal investigator Dr. M. Patrick McCormick, Co-Director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Hampton University, Hampton, Va. "SAGE II has been a defining experience for my career and me."
Managed by NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., SAGE II is part of NASAs Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE.) The series of satellites launched in the mid -1980s were designed to investigate how energy from the Sun is absorbed and re-emitted by the Earth – one of the main processes that drive weather patterns. Observations from the ERB satellite are also used to study the effects on the Earths radiation balance from human activities -- burning fossil fuels and the use of chemicals -- and natural occurrences such as volcanic eruptions.
Chris Rink | EurekAlert!
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