Navigation Links
NASA launches airborne study of arctic atmosphere, air pollution
Date:4/1/2008

This month, NASA begins the most extensive field campaign ever to investigate the chemistry of the Arctic's lower atmosphere. The mission is poised to help scientists identify how air pollution contributes to climate changes in the Arctic.

The recent decline of sea ice is one indication the Arctic is undergoing significant environmental changes related to climate warming. NASA and its partners plan to investigate the atmosphere's role in this climate-sensitive region with the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) field campaign.

"It's important that we go to the Arctic to understand the atmospheric contribution to warming in a place that's rapidly changing," said Jim Crawford, manager of the Tropospheric Chemistry Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "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."

The campaign begins this week in Fairbanks, Alaska. NASA's DC-8, P-3 and B-200 aircraft will serve as airborne laboratories for the next three weeks, carrying instruments to measure air pollution gases and aerosols and solar radiation. Of particular interest is the formation of the springtime "arctic haze." The return of sunlight to the Arctic in the spring fuels chemical reactions of pollutants that have accumulated over the winter after travelling long distances from lower latitudes.

"The Arctic is a poster child of global change and we don't understand the processes that are driving that rapid change," said Daniel Jacob, an ARCTAS project scientist at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. "We need to understand it better and that's why we're going."

ARCTAS is NASA's contribution to an international series of Arctic field experiments that is part of the International Polar Year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Energy also are sponsoring research flights from Fairbanks this month in collaboration with NASA.

The wealth of data collected also will improve computer models used to study global atmospheric chemistry and climate. This ultimately will provide scientists with a better idea of how pollutants are transported to and around the Arctic and their impact on the environment and climate.

"We haven't looked at pollution transport in a comprehensive fashion," said Hanwant Singh, an ARCTAS project scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "We can see Arctic haze coming in but we dont 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."

The new aircraft observations also will help researchers interpret data from NASA satellites orbiting over the Arctic, such as Aura, Terra, and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO). Interpreting satellite data can be difficult in the Arctic because of extensive cloud cover, bright reflective surfaces from snow and ice, and cold surface temperatures. For example, it's difficult for researchers to look at satellite data and distinguish between light reflected by clouds and light reflected from white ice cover.

"NASA has invested a lot of resources in satellites that can be of value for diagnosing effects of climate change, Jacob said. "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."

The new airborne view of the Arctic atmosphere combined with satellite data will provide scientists with a better understanding of the atmospheric side of the climate question.

"We're interested in data that will help models better characterize the current state of the atmosphere, to set a benchmark for them so we can gain confidence in their ability to predict future warming in the Arctic," Crawford said.

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. 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.


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Cole
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov
202-358-0918
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Open-access tropical conservation journal launches
2. U. of I. librarian launches comprehensive Web database of field guides
3. University of Chicago launches research program in catastrophic deformation
4. Springer launches Tropical Plant Biology
5. NXG Strategies Launches Nations First Website Dedicated to Red Flag Compliance
6. Elsevier launches new journal: Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
7. NIH launches Human Microbiome Project
8. Forest Service launches Web-based forest threats viewing tool
9. EMD Serono launches easypod, new electronic growth hormone injection device
10. SLIM Search Launches Academic Pricing Program
11. UW launches cutting-edge DNA fin-printing project for salmon
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of ... today announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... their customers enhanced security to access and transact ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016  A new partnership announced today will ... decisions in a fraction of the time it ... high-value life insurance policies to consumers without requiring ... Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) ... pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid ... setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to ... leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track ... and body mass index, and, when they opt in, ... convenient visit to a local retail location at no ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Founder of the ... in surgery and surgery of the hand by the National Board of Physicians ... going above and beyond in his pursuit of providing the most comprehensive, effective ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the company’s orphan drug designation ... company’s second orphan drug designation granted by the FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 , ... The need for blood donations in ... this week by the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, blood donations are on the ... 30 years, and they are down 21 percent in South Texas in the last four ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... North Carolina (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 ... ... automation and building management solutions and services based in Aurora, Ohio, has broken ... of established business in the Research Triangle Park area, this new location solidifies ...
Breaking Biology Technology: