Air Force

June 14, 2013

NASA flights target how pollution, storms, climate mix

NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory will carry a team of scientists and their sensors for the Studies of Emissions, Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) campaign. SEAC4RS will investigate how pollution and natural emissions affect atmospheric

NASA aircraft will take to the skies over the southern United States this summer to investigate how air pollution and natural emissions, which are pushed high into the atmosphere by large storms, affect atmospheric composition and climate.

NASA will conduct its most complex airborne science campaign of the year from Houston’s Ellington Field, which is operated by the agency’s Johnson Space Center, beginning Aug. 7 and continuing through September.

The field campaign draws together coordinated observations from NASA satellites, aircraft and an array of ground sites.

More than 250 scientists, engineers, and flight personnel are participating in the Studies of Emissions, Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) campaign. The project is sponsored by the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Brian Toon of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is SEAC4RS lead scientist.

Steve Durden, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, checks out the Airborne Precipitation Radar or APR-2 that will be one of a suite of sensors installed on NASA’s DC-8 airborne science laboratory for the SEAC4RS mission.

Aircraft and sensors will probe the atmosphere from top to bottom at the critical time of year when weather systems are strong enough and regional air pollution and natural emissions are prolific enough to pump gases and particles high into the atmosphere. The result is potentially global consequences for Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

“In summertime across the United States, emissions from large seasonal fires, metropolitan areas, and vegetation are moved upward by thunderstorms and the North American Monsoon,” Toon said. “When these chemicals get into the stratosphere they can affect the whole Earth. They also may influence how thunderstorms behave. With SEAC4RS we hope to better understand how all these things interact.”

SEAC4RS will provide new insights into the effects of the gases and tiny aerosol particles in the atmosphere. The mission is targeting two major regional sources of summertime emissions: intense smoke from forest fires in the U.S. West and natural emissions of isoprene, a carbon compound, from forests in the Southeast.

NASA’s high-altitude ER-2 aircraft, carrying a suite of specialized science instruments, will fly into the stratosphere over the Southern U.S. during the SEAC4RS mission to investigate how air pollution and emissions affect the atmosphere.

Forest fire smoke can change the properties of clouds. The particles in the smoke can reflect and absorb incoming solar energy, potentially producing a net cooling at the ground and a warming of the atmosphere. The addition of large amounts of chemicals, such as isoprene, can alter the chemical balance of the atmosphere. Some of these chemicals can damage Earth’s protective ozone layer.

The mission will use a number of scientific instruments in orbit, in the air, and on the ground to paint a detailed picture of these intertwined atmospheric processes. As a fleet of formation-flying satellites known as NASA’s A-Train passes over the region every day, sensors will detect different features of the scene below. NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude aircraft will fly into the stratosphere to the edge of space while NASA’s DC-8 aircraft will sample the atmosphere below it. A third aircraft from SPEC Inc., of Boulder, Colo., will measure cloud properties.

One benefit of this thorough examination of the region’s atmosphere will be more accurate satellite data.
“By using aircraft to collect data from inside the atmosphere, we can compare those measurements with what our satellites see and improve the quality of the data from space,” said Hal Maring of the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters.

The SEAC4RS campaign is partly supported by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. NASA scientists involved in the mission come from NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt., Md.; Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.; and Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

NASA’s Earth Science Project Office at Ames manages the SEAC4RS project. The DC-8 and ER-2 research aircraft are managed by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center and based at Dryden’s Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Focus group Here’s your chance to be heard. The Edwards Commissary is looking for volunteers to participate in a group discussion about your Commissary. They will be conducting focus groups July 29 from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. If you would like to participate, send an e-mail to...
 
 
aafes-school

Exchange moves to the head of the class with extra back-to-school savings

With the first bell about to ring on a new school year, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is giving lessons in savings. The Exchange is helping military shoppers make the grade with competitive prices and tax savings on...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit

Major wins major bucks on ‘Price Is Right’

Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit Maj. Kevin Van Stone, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Detachment 5, and his wife, Melinda (right), speak to a representative from CBS after being handed a giant check for...
 

 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

NASA Armstrong Support Center receives LEED platinum certification

NASA photograph by Tom Tschida Large expanses of windows and curved rooflines highlight NASA Armstrong’s new Facilities Support Center. The 38,000-square-foot structure has been certified that it met the Leadership in Ene...
 
 

Exchange shoppers can keep on ticking with Hello Kitty sweepstakes

Military shoppers can keep time with Hello Kitty thanks to the latest sweepstakes from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. Twenty-five winners will take home a Hello Kitty watch, valued at $85. From July 25 to Aug. 22, Exchange shoppers can enter to win by emailing patriotfamily@aafes.com and putting “Hello Kitty Sweepstakes” in the...
 
 

Leadership Lessons: Who would you follow?

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D.†-†Over the last year I have enjoyed reading articles from our wing leadership on their perspectives and experiences which have made them better leaders. I have great admiration for their words of wisdom and have benefited from their shared experiences. When I was asked to write a leadership piece I...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>