Space

August 15, 2014

NASA to investigate climate impacts of Arctic sea ice loss

NASA’s C-130 aircraft will carry scientists over the Arctic starting this month from northern Greenland and Fairbanks, Alaska.

A new NASA field campaign will begin flights over the Arctic this summer to study the effect of sea ice retreat on Arctic climate.

The Arctic Radiation IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment will conduct research flights Aug. 28 through Oct. 1, covering the peak of summer sea ice melt.

ARISE is NASA’s first Arctic airborne campaign designed to take simultaneous measurements of ice, clouds and the levels of incoming and outgoing radiation, the balance of which determines the degree of climate warming. The campaign team will fly aboard NASAís C-130 aircraft from Thule Air Base in northern Greenland the first week and from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska, through the remainder of the campaign.

In recent years the Arctic has experienced increased summer sea ice loss. Scientists expect the exposure of more open water to sunlight could enhance warming in the region and cause the release of more moisture to the atmosphere. Additional moisture could affect cloud formation and the exchange of heat from Earthís surface to space. Researchers are grappling with how these changes in the Arctic affect global climate.

“A wild card in what’s happening in the Arctic is clouds and how changes in clouds, due to changing sea-ice conditions, enhance or offset warming,” said Bill Smith, ARISE principal investigator at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

ARISE was planned over the last year to take advantage of NASAís existing capabilities for gathering data about ongoing changes in the Arctic. Satellites provided some information about clouds and the energy balance in the Arctic, but the multiple instruments flown during ARISE should provide further insight.

“The clouds and surface conditions over the Arctic as we observe them from satellites are very complex,” Smith said. “We need more information to understand how to better interpret the satellite measurements, and an aircraft can help with that.”

The array of instruments on ARISE should help scientists better observe how sea ice loss is affecting Arctic cloud formation and therefore the balance of incoming and outgoing radiation. Low-level clouds typically reflect more sunlight and offset warming, while higher clouds are typically less reflective and act to trap more heat in the atmosphere.

ìItís a complex business, but it depends on a lot of things we can, in fact, measure,î said Hal Maring, program manager for radiation sciences in the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

ARISE researchers will fly survey missions that target different cloud types and surface conditions, such as open water, land ice and sea ice. The missions will be timed to fly under the orbit paths of key satellite instruments, such as the Clouds and the Earthís Radiant Energy Systems instruments on multiple NASA satellites. Each morning, mission planners will look at satellite timings and weather forecasts to design flight plans that meet the most objectives of the campaign.

The NASA C-130, based at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, will carry instruments that measure solar (incoming) and infrared (outgoing) radiation, ice surface elevation and cloud properties such as cloud particle size. This will be the first time that many of these instruments, including the mission’s laser altimeter, have flown together.

The ARISE campaign is a joint effort of the Radiation Sciences, Cryospheric Sciences and Airborne Sciences programs of the Earth Science Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

NASA monitors Earth’s vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.




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


 
 

 

Headlines October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 

 
Boeing photographs

Boeing-built X-37B successfully completes third flight

Unmanned spacecraft concludes record-setting 674-day mission   Boeing photograph A third mission of the Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was completed on Oct. 17, 2014, when it landed and was recovered at Vandenberg...
 
 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 




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>