Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA Airborne Campaigns Focus on Climate Impacts in the Arctic
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 18, 2014


Changes in more than 130 Alaskan glaciers are being surveyed by scientists at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in a DHC-3 Otter as part of NASA's multi-year Operation IceBridge. Image courtesy Chris Larsen, University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Over the past few decades, average global temperatures have been on the rise, and this warming is happening two to three times faster in the Arctic. As the region's summer comes to a close, NASA is hard at work studying how rising temperatures are affecting the Arctic.

NASA researchers this summer and fall are carrying out three Alaska-based airborne research campaigns aimed at measuring greenhouse gas concentrations near Earth's surface, monitoring Alaskan glaciers, and collecting data on Arctic sea ice and clouds. Observations from these NASA campaigns will give researchers a better understanding of how the Arctic is responding to rising temperatures.

The Arctic Radiation - IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment, or ARISE, is a new NASA airborne campaign to collect data on thinning sea ice and measure cloud and atmospheric properties in the Arctic. The campaign was designed to address questions about the relationship between retreating sea ice and the Arctic climate.

Arctic sea ice reflects sunlight away from Earth, moderating warming in the region. Loss of sea ice means more heat from the sun is absorbed by the ocean surface, adding to Arctic warming.

In addition, the larger amount of open water leads to more moisture in the air, which affects the formation of clouds that have their own effect on warming, either enhancing or reducing it.

"ARISE will link clouds and sea ice in a way that improves our computer models of the Arctic," said Tom Wagner, cryospheric sciences program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Our goal is to better understand both the causes of Arctic ice loss and the connections to the overall Earth system."

The ARISE campaign, using NASA's C-130 Hercules aircraft from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, had its first science flight on Sept. 4 and has already carried out several surveys of sea ice and cloud conditions. The campaign is based in Fairbanks, Alaska.

"We are off to a great start collecting a timely and unique dataset to help better understand the potential influence of clouds on the Arctic climate as sea ice conditions change," said William Smith, ARISE principal investigator at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

CARVE, or Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment, is a five-year airborne research campaign that uses instruments aboard NASA aircraft to measure air and surface conditions and concentrations of gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane.

Using NASA's C-23 Sherpa aircraft, CARVE flies approximately two weeks per month from May to November. Now that the mission is in its fourth year, researchers are building a detailed picture of how the land and atmosphere interact in the Arctic.

In high-latitude areas like Alaska, frozen ground known as permafrost can trap large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane produced by layers of decayed plant and animal matter. As permafrost temperatures have been increasing faster than air temperatures in the Arctic, scientists have questioned whether these heat-trapping gases could be released into the atmosphere, increasing their global concentrations.

"The exchange of carbon between the land and the atmosphere is very important - but uncertain," said Charles Miller, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and principal investigator of CARVE.

Another area of interest in Alaska is its glaciers. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have been taking airborne measurements of glacier surface height using a laser altimeter, an instrument that bounces a laser off of the ice surface and measures how long it takes to return.

These flights are part of NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne campaign that studies changes to land and sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic.

University researchers observe Alaskan glaciers twice a year, before and after the melt season, to determine how much ice they have lost or gained. The scientists have surveyed between 130 and 140 glaciers going back to the mid-1990s. IceBridge's Alaska flights have found that glaciers across the state are declining rapidly, with those terminating on land and in lakes losing mass faster than expected.

Researchers are also finding that there is considerable variation in mass loss throughout Alaska. "One glacier might be doing better than the one next to it," said Evan Burgess, University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist and member of the IceBridge Alaska team.

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.

.


Related Links
NASA Earth science activities in 2014
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EARTH OBSERVATION
Severe flooding in Northern Pakistan photographed by NASA
Washington (UPI) Sep 12, 2014
Torrential rains led to massive flooding in northeastern Pakistan this week. The monsoons dropped more than foot of rain in just a few days, devastating more than a thousand villages, killing several hundred people, and displacing some two million residents in the India-Pakistan border region of Jammu and Kashmir. NASA captured the transformation of the floodplains in a series of snapsh ... read more


EARTH OBSERVATION
Year's final supermoon is a Harvest Moon

China Aims for the Moon, Plans to Bring Back Lunar Soil

Electric Sparks May Alter Evolution of Lunar Soil

China to test recoverable moon orbiter

EARTH OBSERVATION
Martian meteorite yields more evidence of the possibility of life on Mars

MAVEN on course for Mars Arrival Sept 21

Flash-Memory Reformat Successful

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover reaches 'far frontier'

EARTH OBSERVATION
Space: China's final tourism frontier

NASA Chooses American Companies to Transport US Astronauts to ISS

The long descent

NASA's Orion Spacecraft Nears Completion, Ready for Fueling

EARTH OBSERVATION
China eyes working with other nations as station plans develop

Astronauts eye China's future space station

China completes construction of advanced space launch facility

China to launch second space lab in 2016: official

EARTH OBSERVATION
CASIS Research Set for Launch Aboard SpaceX Mission to ISS

SpaceX To Deliver Science Experiments To ISS For Ames

Boeing, SpaceX to send astronauts to space station

4th SpaceX Cargo Mission to ISS Dragon Scheduled for Sep 20

EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA's Wind-Watching ISS-RapidScat Ready for Launch

Elon Musk gets fresh challenge with space contract

Proton Launches May Compete on Price With US Falcons

SpaceX's next cargo launch set for Sept 20

EARTH OBSERVATION
Solar System Simulation Reveals Planetary Mystery

Chandra Finds Planet That Makes Star Act Deceptively Old

'Hot Jupiters' provoke their own host suns to wobble

First evidence for water ice clouds found outside solar system

EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA Awards Cross-track Infrared Sounder For JPS System-2 Bird

Not just cool - it's a gas

Microsoft powers up game platform with 'Minecraft'

Researchers control surface tension to manipulate liquid metals




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.