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Tracking shuttle exhaust reveals more information about atmospheric winds
Date:8/28/2012

osphere gives us new information for our models," says Stevens. "As you get higher up in the atmosphere, we just don't have as many measurements of wind speeds or temperatures. The take-away message here is that we need to improve the models of that region."

Since observations of PMCs may be connected to global climate, it's important to subtract out sporadic effects such as shuttle exhaust from other consistent, long-term effects.

"One of AIM's big goals is to find out how much of the cloud's behavior is naturally induced versus man-made," says Jackman. "This last shuttle launch will help researchers separate the shuttle exhaust from the rest of the observations."

Indeed, the AIM observations showed a clear difference between typical PMCs and this shuttle-made one. Normally smaller particles exist at the top, with larger ones at the bottom. The shuttle plume PMC showed a reversed configuration, with larger particles at the top, and smaller at the bottom offering a way to separate out such clouds in the historical record.


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Contact: Susan Hendrix
Susan.m.hendrix@nasa.gov
301-286-7745
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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