Posted on July 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New Horizons mission a big step in exploration of solar system
Pluto! Photo courtesy NASA.
FRISCO — After a 10-year, 3 billion mile voyage across the solar system, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew within 8,000 miles of Pluto today — the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.
“The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system,” Bolden said.
Federal officials also touted other NASA space efforts, including the Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. Continue reading
Filed under: world news | Tagged: NASA, New Horizons, Pluto, Pluto fly-by, science, space exploration | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Toxic algal blooms like this one in Lake Erie in 2011 can cause human and animal health risks, fish kills, and degrade drinking water supplies. Image Credit: USGS/NASA Earth Observatory.
NASA and partners to track developing algal blooms from space
FRISCO — As global warming threatens to make toxic algal blooms more frequent and more intense, NASA, NOAA, the EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have teamed up to try and develop an early warning system based on satellite data.
Algal blooms are a global environmental problem. They pose a health risk to people and animals and threaten drinking water supplies. In the United States, the cost of freshwater degraded by harmful algal blooms is estimated at $64 million annually. In August 2014, officials in Toledo, Ohio, banned the use of drinking water supplied to more than 400,000 residents after it was contaminated by an algal bloom in Lake Erie.
The new $3.6 million, multi-agency effort will use ocean color satellite data to develop an early warning indicator for toxic and nuisance algal blooms in freshwater systems and an information distribution system to aid expedient public health advisories. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, freshwater algae blooms, NASA, toxic algae, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Warmer atmosphere means more moisture, more rain
FRISCO — After carefully reviewing data from hundreds of stream gauges, University of Iowa scientists say they’ve identified a clear trend of increasing floods during the past 50 years.
“It’s not that big floods are getting bigger, but that we have been experiencing a larger number of big floods,” said Gabriele Villarini, a civil and environmental engineer and corresponding author on the paper, published Feb. 9 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, extreme weather, flooding, Midwest floods, NASA, University of Iowa | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Antarctic sea ice has expanded in the past few years, but overall, the planet is still losing an area of ice the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined each year. bberwyn photo.
Growth in Antarctic ice extent doesn’t cancel out Arctic decline
FRISCO — NASA researchers who took a close look at both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice say that, overall, Earth has been losing ice at an average rate of about 13,500 square miles per year since 1979, equivalent to an area about the size of Maryland. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: antarctic sea ice, climate change, global sea ice extent, global warming, NASA | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New NASA visual helps trace path of greenhouse gases
FRISCO — In a way, addressing global warming is like fighting a ghost. How do you tackle odorless and colorless heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide and methane?
NASA, the government agency that literally has the best global perspective on climate change, has just released a new computer generated animation that help show the source of greenhouse gases and how they disperse around the planet. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon dioxide animation, global warming, greenhouse gases, NASA | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A depiction of the ozone hole over Antarctica, courtesy NOAA.
Ozone-depleting chemicals decreasing in atmosphere, but weather plays big role in year-to-year variability
FRISCO — The ozone hole over Antarctica didn’t change much from last year, scientists said this week, pointing to weather and climate variability as key factors in year-to-year variability.
The single-day maximum area was similar to that in 2013, which reached 9.3 million square miles. The largest single-day ozone hole ever recorded by satellite was 11.5 million square miles) on Sept. 9, 2000. Overall, the 2014 ozone hole is smaller than the large holes of the 1998–2006 period, and is comparable to 2010, 2012, and 2013. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, Environment | Tagged: Antarctica, atmospheric science, climate change, environement, NASA, NOAA, ozone hole | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic cloud formation still a climate wild card
Sun glints off a sea ice lead in an otherwise heavily ridged ice pack, Canada Basin (Arctic Ocean). Credit: NASA/Sinead Farrell
FRISCO — The ongoing loss of Arctic sea ice is probably already affecting weather and climate in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Researchers aren’t exactly sure of how, but there’s been plenty of speculation, mostly focused around changes in the jet stream.
Climate scientists may know a bit more in a few years after they study the results of a new NASA field campaign studying the effect of sea ice retreat on Arctic climate. The Arctic Radiation IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment (ARISE) will conduct research flights Aug. 28 through Oct. 1, covering the peak of summer sea ice melt. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, climate, extreme weather, global warming, NASA | 1 Comment »