×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 1543
Monday, 07 April 2008 20:00

NASA studies Arctic atmospheric warming with ARCTAS

By
The Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) is a NASA project to study the chemistry of the lower atmosphere of the Arctic. Specifically, NASA scientists want to learn more about air pollution and climate change in the Arctic.


The environment of the Arctic is warming just like other places on Earth. In fact, climate warming has been fastest in the Arctic, when compared to all other places on Earth for the past one hundred years.

NASA’s Earth Science Project Office (ESPO) and other participating organizations want to investigate the atmosphere of the Arctic region to learn more about how global warming is affecting the planet.

The manager of ARCTAS, Jim Crawford, of NASA Headquarters (Washington D.C.)  and NASA's Langley Research Center, states, “It's important that we go to the Arctic to understand the atmospheric contribution to warming in a place that's rapidly changing. We are in a position to provide the most complete characterization to date for a region that is seldom observed but critical to understanding climate change." [National Aeronautics and Space Administration: "NASA Launches Airborne Study of Arctic Atmosphere, Air Pollution "]

The ARCTAS program begins in Fairbanks, Alaska (U.S.A.) where three aircraft, a NASA/Douglas DC-8, NASA/Lockheed P-3, and DOE (Department of Energy) B-200, will be launched as airborne laboratories for three weeks of observation.

The Spring Phase of ARCTAS, in Alaska, will be conducted from April 1-21, 2008.

Instruments aboard each airplane will measure gases that cause air pollution, aerosols, solar radiation, and other entities. The scientists hope to learn more about how pollutants move from lower latitudes to the Arctic region, and once they get to the Arctic how they move about and what their effect is on the environment and climate in general.

ARCTAS project scientist, Daniel Jacob, with Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) states, “The Arctic is a poster child of global change and we don't understand the processes that are driving that rapid change. We need to understand it better and that's why we're going." [NASA]

The scientists with the ARCTAS project state that they are especially interested in “arctic haze,” or the reaction of additional spring-time sunlight with thick aerosol layers of pollutants that have gathered over the Arctic during the winter months after traveling from lower mid-latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

ARCTAS project scientist Hanwant Singh, of NASA Ames Research Center (Moffett Field, California), states "We haven't looked at pollution transport in a comprehensive fashion. We can see Arctic haze coming in but we don't know its composition or how it got there. One goal of ARCTAS is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the aerosol composition, chemistry and climate effects in the Arctic region." [NASA]

ARCTAS is part of an international series of Arctic field experiments, which is all part of the Third International Polar Year . The IPY is a large scientific program that is investigating the Arctic and the Antarctic from March 2007 to March 2009.

The three aircraft for the ARCTAS project will be assisted by space satellites. Learn more about them, and the second phase of the project, on the next page.




The three NASA aircraft will be assisted in their investigation with numerous NASA satellites in orbit about the Earth.

Some of the Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites used for ARCTAS include Aura and Terra, along with the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO), a joint project of NASA and the French space agency CNES (Centre National d'Études Spatiales).

Dr. Jacob adds, “NASA has invested a lot of resources in satellites that can be of value for diagnosing effects of climate change. Satellites orbit over poles with good coverage and good opportunity, but you really need to have aircraft observations supporting those to make good interpretations of what satellites are telling you." [NASA]

A second phase of the ARCTAS campaign takes place this summer from Cold Lake in Alberta, Canada, where flights will focus on measurements of emissions from forest fires especially in Eurasia and North America.

The Summer Phase of ARCTAS includes DC-8 flights from Palmdale, California, June 18-25, 2008, and from Cold Lake, Alberta, between June 26 and July 14, 2008.

Researchers want to know how the impact of naturally occurring fires in the region compares to the pollution associated with human activity at lower latitudes.

Understanding the relative influence of each is important to predictions of the Arctic's future climate.

For more information about the ARCTAS field campaign on the Web, go to NASA ARACTAS field campaign.


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

Active Vs. Passive DWDM Solutions

An active approach to your growing optical transport network & connectivity needs.

Building dark fibre network infrastructure using WDM technology used to be considered a complex challenge that only carriers have the means to implement.

This has led many enterprises to build passive networks, which are inferior in quality and ultimately limit their future growth.

Why are passive solutions considered inferior? And what makes active solutions great?

Read more about these two solutions, and how PacketLight fits into all this.

CLICK HERE!

WEBINAR INVITE 8th & 10th September: 5G Performing At The Edge

Don't miss the only 5G and edge performance-focused event in the industry!

Edge computing will play a critical part within digital transformation initiatives across every industry sector. It promises operational speed and efficiency, improved customer service, and reduced operational costs.

This coupled with the new capabilities 5G brings opens up huge opportunities for both network operators and enterprise organisations.

But these technologies will only reach their full potential with assured delivery and performance – with a trust model in place.

With this in mind, we are pleased to announce a two-part digital event, sponsored by Accedian, on the 8th & 10th of September titled 5G: Performing at the Edge.

REGISTER HERE!

BACK TO HOME PAGE

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News