NASA Mission to Study Ice Clouds, Help Observe Our Dynamic Atmosphere
NASA has selected a new mission to help humanity better understand Earth’s dynamic atmosphere – specifically, ice clouds that form at high altitudes throughout tropical and sub-tropical regions. The PolSIR instrument – short for Polarized Submillimeter Ice-cloud Radiometer – will study such ice clouds to determine how and why they change throughout the day. This will provide crucial information about how to accurately simulate these high-altitude clouds in global climate models.
The investigation consists of two identical CubeSats – each small satellite is just a little over a foot tall – flying in orbits separated by three to nine hours. Over time, these two instruments will observe the clouds’ daily cycle of ice content.
“Studying ice clouds is crucial for improving climate forecasts – and this will be the first time we can study ice clouds in this level of detail,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Every NASA mission is carefully chosen to better understand our home planet.”
The award is for for lifecycle costs no more than $37 million, which does not include launch costs. The radiometer is an Earth Venture instrument – lower-cost instruments with a targeted research goal, which typically catch a ride along with another mission or commercial satellite in order to minimize launch costs. The Earth Venture class also focuses on providing frequent flight opportunities, so innovative science investigations can be flown relatively quickly, generally within five years or less. Missions like this provide key targeted research opportunities, which help us improve our understanding of what’s driving change in the entire Earth system.
“Understanding how these ice clouds respond to a changing climate – and then, in turn, contribute to further changes – remains one of the great challenges to predicting what the atmosphere will do in the future,” said Karen St. Germain, who leads NASA’s Earth Sciences Division. “The radiometers, which measure the radiant energy emitted by clouds, will significantly improve our understanding of how ice clouds change and respond throughout the day.”
The mission is led by Ralf Bennartz, principal investigator at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and by Dong Wu, deputy principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
NASA Goddard will provide the project management team that builds the two instruments, while science operations will be conducted by the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The two spacecraft will be built by Blue Canyon Technologies in Lafayette, Colorado.
For more information about NASA’s Earth science missions, visit:
“Turtle Day: Celebrating and Protecting These Fascinating Creatures”
“Turtle Day raises awareness about the importance of conserving these ancient and fascinating creatures. Learn how you can help protect them.”
Turtle Day is a special day dedicated to the appreciation and protection of turtles and tortoises. Observed annually on May 23rd, this day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of preserving these ancient and fascinating creatures.
Turtles have been around for over 200 million years, making them one of the oldest living groups of reptiles. They play a vital role in the ecosystem, as they help to maintain the balance of aquatic and terrestrial environments. Turtles also serve as a source of food for other animals, and some species help to control the spread of invasive plant species.
Despite their importance, turtles are facing numerous threats, including habitat loss, pollution, and the illegal pet trade. Many species are also hunted for their meat and shells, which are used in traditional medicines and for decorative purposes.
On Turtle Day, people all over the world come together to celebrate these remarkable creatures and to raise awareness about their plight. This day offers a chance to learn more about turtles and what we can do to help protect them.
One way to get involved is to support organizations that are working to conserve turtle populations and their habitats. These organizations may conduct research, monitor turtle populations, and work with local communities to promote conservation efforts. Donating to these organizations or volunteering your time can make a big difference in helping to protect turtles.
Another way to celebrate Turtle Day is to learn more about these fascinating creatures. There are over 300 species of turtles and tortoises, each with its unique characteristics and adaptations. Taking the time to learn about the different species of turtles can help you appreciate the diversity of these amazing animals.
If you live near a body of water, you may even have the opportunity to see turtles in their natural habitat. Observing these creatures in the wild can be a memorable experience, but it’s important to remember to keep a safe distance and not disturb their natural behavior.
Finally, you can celebrate Turtle Day by making small changes in your daily life that can have a big impact on turtle conservation. Simple actions like reducing your use of plastic, properly disposing of trash, and avoiding products made from turtle shells can all help to protect these creatures and their habitats.
Turtle Day is an important occasion to celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises. By learning more about these amazing creatures and taking action to support their conservation, we can help to ensure that turtles will be around for generations to come.
“Protecting Our Food Supply: The Importance of World Bee Day”
“World Bee Day raises awareness about the vital role of bees in our ecosystem and the need to protect them.”
This past Saturday, May 20, 2023, was the observance of World Bee Day. We should take the time to acknowledge the benefits and the importance of these tiny workers and recognize their vital role to the survival all life on this planet! Everyday is World Bee Day! Rod W
World Bee Day is celebrated annually on May 20th to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators for our ecosystem. The day was established by the United Nations in 2018 in response to a growing concern about the decline of bee populations worldwide. Bees play a crucial role in the pollination of crops and wildflowers, which is essential for the production of food and the preservation of biodiversity.
The decline of bee populations is a global issue that affects both developed and developing countries. The main factors that contribute to this decline include the use of pesticides, habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, and diseases and pests. These factors have resulted in a decline in the number of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, which has a direct impact on food production and the environment.
It is estimated that one-third of the food that we consume is pollinated by bees and other pollinators. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Without bees, our food supply would be severely impacted, leading to food shortages and higher prices. The decline in bee populations also affects the environment by reducing the number of plant species and disrupting ecosystems.
The importance of bees and other pollinators has been recognized by governments and organizations around the world. Many countries have implemented measures to protect bees and their habitats, such as banning certain pesticides and creating protected areas for pollinators. Organizations like the World Bee Project and the Pollinator Partnership are working to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators and to promote their conservation.
Individuals can also take action to help protect bees and other pollinators. Planting native flowers and avoiding the use of pesticides in gardens and on lawns can provide a habitat for bees and other pollinators. Supporting local farmers who use sustainable farming practices can also help to protect pollinators and promote biodiversity.
World Bee Day is an important reminder of the vital role that bees and other pollinators play in our ecosystem. It is a call to action for governments, organizations, and individuals to take steps to protect these important species and promote biodiversity. By working together, we can ensure a healthy and sustainable future for bees and other pollinators, and for ourselves.
Visit the Planet Bee Foundation
If you’re interested in science and technology, be sure to check out our Science section. You’ll find the latest news and insights on a wide range of topics, from space exploration to medical breakthroughs and more. Visit us now at https://stmdailynews.com/category/science/ for more information.
Exploring Fallstreak Holes in Clouds.
Fallstreak holes are circular/elliptical gaps in clouds caused by supercooled water suddenly freezing or evaporating. #meteorology #clouds
Fallstreak holes, also known as hole-punch clouds, are a fascinating meteorological phenomenon that occur when supercooled water in the clouds suddenly freezes or evaporates.
These circular or elliptical holes are most often observed in cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds. They are created by the Wegener-Bergeron-Findeisen process when ice crystals form and initiate a domino effect of fusion that causes water droplets to evaporate, leaving a hole in the cloud.
Passing aircraft can also contribute to the formation of these holes by introducing ice crystals into the cloud layer which then grow quickly by the Bergeron process, causing droplets to evaporate and creating a hole.
These holes have been mistaken for UFOs due to their rarity and unusual appearance, but they are a natural occurrence.
Fallstreak holes are not unique to any one geographic area and have been photographed from many places.
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