Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




BLUE SKY
NASA Airborne Mission Climbs to Stratospheric Height for Better Climate Science
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 22, 2013


The ATTREX mission will fly over the tropical Pacific Ocean this winter when the region is coldest and extremely dry air enters the stratosphere. Image credit: NASA.

On Jan. 16, 2013, NASA will deploy the first experimental flight of a multi-year airborne science campaign to investigate unexplored regions of the upper atmosphere and how its chemistry is changing Earth in a warming climate. The Airborne Tropical TRopopause EXperiment (ATTREX) mission will give scientists the information they will need to better understand and predict this phenomenon.

Flying a NASA Global Hawk unmanned aerial system up to 65,000 feet above the tropical Pacific Ocean, the aircraft will carry a suite of specialized instruments to measure moisture and chemical composition, radiation levels, meteorological conditions, and trace gas levels. Scientists hope to collect unprecedented data from the tropopause, the boundary between the troposhere (where most weather occurs) and the stratosphere.

"Ultimately, we want to improve our mathematical models to predict climate change," said Eric Jensen, ATTREX principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "This is our first opportunity to sample the tropopause region during winter in the Northern Hemisphere when the region is coldest and extremely dry air enters the stratosphere."

A key focus of the mission is water vapor and its effect on Earth's energy budget, ozone layer and climate. Studies have shown that even small changes in stratospheric humidity may have significant climate impacts. Climate researchers believe that greenhouse gases cool the stratosphere, which allows a greater number of clouds to form. Water destroys ozone. Since clouds are controlled by moisture, their accumulation in certain parts of the lower stratosphere can greatly impact the presence of ozone.

To better understand these phenomena, data are needed about how the air circulates through the tropopause, where chemical compounds enter the stratosphere. Without this understanding of how water vapor circulates in this layer, researchers won't be able to build the climate models for accurate predictions.

Led by Jensen and project manager Dave Jordan, also from NASA Ames, six science flights will occur between Jan. 16 through Mar. 15, 2013 near the equator and off the coast of Central America. Last November, engineering test flights ensured the instruments' functionality and the aircraft's ability to operate at the very cold temperatures encountered at high altitudes in the tropics. The unmanned Global Hawk, which is capable of 24 to 30 hours of flight, is operated and managed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

The team consists of investigators from NASA (including Ames and Langley Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), three universities and private industry.

The science team is planning foreign deployments to Guam and Australia in 2014. Scientists hope to use the acquired data to improve global model predictions of stratospheric humidity and composition.

Jensen's proposal for ATTREX was competitively selected and is one of the first investigations in NASA's new Venture-class series of low-to-moderate cost projects. The Earth Venture missions are part of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program. These small, targeted science investigations complement NASA's larger science research satellite missions.

.


Related Links
ATTREX at NASA
The Air We Breathe at TerraDaily.com






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





BLUE SKY
PODEX Experiment to Reshape Future of Atmospheric Science
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jan 17, 2013
Satellite Earth science missions don't start at the launch pad or even in orbit. They start years before when scientists test their new ideas for instruments that promise to expand our view and understanding of the planet. NASA scientists and engineers are working now to lay the groundwork for the Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem (ACE) mission, a satellite that "will dramatically change what we can do fr ... read more


BLUE SKY
US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Mission would drag asteroid to the moon

BLUE SKY
US scientists find evidence of ancient Martian lake

Martian Crater May Once Have Held Groundwater-Fed Lake

Choosing the right people to go to Mars

ChemCam follows the 'Yellowknife Road' to Martian wet area

BLUE SKY
An Astronaut's Guide

Mathematical breakthrough sets out rules for more effective teleportation

Orion Teamwork Pays Off

Unilever Buys 22 Flights On XCOR Lynx Suborbiter For AXE Campaign

BLUE SKY
China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

BLUE SKY
ISS to get inflatable module

ESA workhorse to power NASA's Orion spacecraft

Competition Hopes To Fine Tune ISS Solar Array Shadowing

Embassy Gathers Elite Group of Space Policy Chiefs

BLUE SKY
Amazonas 3 in Kourou for Ariane 5 year-opening launch campaign

Suborbital Space Research and Education Conference Scheduled for June 2013

First Ariane 5 Launch For 2013 Ready With Two Birds

Africasat-1a to launch on first Ariane 5 launch in 2013

BLUE SKY
Glitch has space telescope shut down

Earth-size planets common in galaxy

NASA's Hubble Reveals Rogue Planetary Orbit For Fomalhaut B

NASA, ESA Telescopes Find Evidence for Asteroid Belt Around Vega

BLUE SKY
Computer breakthrough: Code of life becomes databank

Kim Dotcom apologises for Mega bugs

World's Most Complex 2D Laser Beamsteering Array Demonstrated

Record high radiation level found in fish: TEPCO




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal 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