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 24, 2014

Webster fall classes Webster University will be running the following classes this upcoming fall terms: FINC 5000 Finance, Aug. 17-Oct. 16, Wednesdays 5:30-9 p.m.; and FINC 5880 Advanced Corporate Finance; Oct. 19-Dec. 19, Wednesdays from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Each term/class will have the same 10 students for both classes. Call 661-258-8501 or visit Webster University at...
 
 
edwards-F35a

Joint Strike Fighter ITF ground testing F-35 gun

Lockheed Martin photograph by Darin Russell An F-35A, tail number AF-2, fires a burst of rounds down range at the Gun Harmonizing Range July 17. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force at Edwards AFB is in the proce...
 
 

The unseen leader

Over the years, I’ve seen many leaders come and go. The ones I admired, I took note of the traits I wished I had, as well as the ones I already possessed. It took me a long time to realize some of my personal and professional weaknesses were the very areas I gravitated toward in...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Patric Lovato

Outdoor Rec provides excursions, arsenal for summer activities

Air Force photograph by Patric Lovato Members of the Edwards AFB Outdoor Recreation staff pose with one of ODR’s new paddle boards. ODR offers anything from surfboards and wet suits to mountain bikes and kayaks for your s...
 
 

NASA’S American Eatery (Bldg. 4825)

July 27-30 Lunch Specials 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday Three pieces fried chicken Mashed potatoes and gravy Vegetables Tuesday Pork carnitas Refried beans and Spanish rice Wednesday Pepper steak over white rice Thursday Teriyaki chicken Fried rice and egg roll Friday Bake cod Macaroni and cheese Broccoli All Blue Plate Specials — $7.89 Drink...
 
 

Final rule puts more teeth into Military Lending Act

The Defense Department July 21 closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of the Military...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>