NASA Chases Climate Change Clues Into The Stratosphere | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 08.29.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 08.29.14 **
** Airborne 08.27.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 08.27.14 **
** Airborne 08.25.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 08.25.14 **

Mon, Jan 14, 2013

NASA Chases Climate Change Clues Into The Stratosphere

UAV To Be Flown To Altitudes Up to FL650 Over The Tropical Pacific For Research Purposes

Starting this month, NASA will send a remotely piloted research aircraft as high as 65,000 feet over the tropical Pacific Ocean to probe unexplored regions of the upper atmosphere for answers to how a warming climate is changing Earth.

The first flights of the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), a multi-year airborne science campaign with a heavily instrumented Global Hawk aircraft, will take off from and be operated by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Global Hawk is able to make 30-hour flights.

Water vapor and ozone in the stratosphere can have a large impact on Earth's climate. The processes that drive the rise and fall of these compounds, especially water vapor, are not well understood. This limits scientists' ability to predict how these changes will influence global climate in the future. ATTREX will study moisture and chemical composition in the upper regions of the troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere. The tropopause layer between the troposphere and stratosphere, 8 miles to 11 miles above Earth's surface, is the point where water vapor, ozone and other gases enter the stratosphere.

Studies have shown even small changes in stratospheric humidity may have significant climate impacts. Predictions of stratospheric humidity changes are uncertain because of gaps in the understanding of the physical processes occurring in the tropical tropopause layer. ATTREX will use the Global Hawk to carry instruments to sample this layer near the equator off the coast of Central America.

"The ATTREX payload will provide unprecedented measurements of the tropical tropopause," said Eric Jensen, ATTREX principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA. "This is our first opportunity to sample the tropopause region during winter in the northern hemisphere when it is coldest and extremely dry air enters the stratosphere."

Led by Jensen and project manager Dave Jordan of Ames, ATTREX scientists installed 11 instruments in the Global Hawk. The instruments include remote sensors for measuring clouds, trace gases and temperatures above and below the aircraft, as well as instruments to measure water vapor, cloud properties, meteorological conditions, radiation fields and numerous trace gases around the aircraft. Engineering test flights conducted in 2011 ensured the aircraft and instruments operated well at the very cold temperatures encountered at high altitudes in the tropics, which can reach minus 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Six science flights are planned between Jan. 16 and March 15. The ATTREX team also is planning remote deployments to Guam and Australia in 2014. Scientists hope to use the acquired data to improve global model predictions of stratospheric humidity and composition. ATTREX 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 managed by Langley. These small, targeted science investigations complement NASA's larger science research satellite missions.

(Images top NASA Global Hawk being configured for ATTREX mission. Bottom file photo)

FMI: http://espo.nasa.gov/missions/attrex

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 08.29.14: Google Drone!, Cessna's 10,000th, Bearhawk LODA

Also: Big Boeing Order, Napa Tower Quaked, Landsberg Retires, Galileo Falters Breaking News! Google has unveiled an exciting new UAV project, called Project Wing, which has been un>[...]

First Ever RQ-4 Global Hawk Hits 100th Flight On NASA Mission

Milestone Reached Nearly 16 Years After It First Flew In 1998 The first completed Global Hawk has made history again with its 100th flight in support of NASA environmental research>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (08.31.14)

“These aircraft work closely with other existing and future defense assets, and the Australian Customs and Border Protection aviation fleet, to secure our vitally important o>[...]

Australian Advanced Aircraft Contract Executed By The U.S. Navy

To Acquire Four P-8A Poseidon Aircraft Australian Minister for Defense Senator David Johnston announced Monday the United States Navy has executed an Advanced Acquisition Contract >[...]

HFI 2015 Scholarship Applications Open

Offers 19 Scholarships To Support Students In Aviation Studies The Helicopter Foundation International (HFI) has long recognized the need for qualified commercial helicopter pilots>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC