New technology doubles scientists’ view of ocean-air interactions

Source: NASA Climate News New technology doubles scientists’ view of ocean-air interactions NASA scientists are hard at work trying to unlock mysteries of our planet’s ocean surface currents and winds using a new Earth science radar instrument called DopplerScatt. Engineers Raquel Rodriguez Monje and Fabien Nicaise discuss placement of the DopplerScatt radar instrument on the NASA B200 before its final installation onto the aircraft’s fuselage. Credit: NASA Photo / Ken Ulbrich Ocean currents and winds form a never-ending feedback loop: winds blow over the ocean’s surface, creating currents. At the same time, the hot or cold water in these currents influences the wind’s speed. Understanding the relationship between the two phenomena is crucial to understanding Earth’s changing climate. Gathering data on this interaction can also help people track oil spills, plan shipping routes and understand ocean productivity in relation to fisheries. NASA has been studying winds for decades using NASA’s NSCAT, QuickScat and RapidScat instruments. However, DopplerScatt, developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, provides a new capability to measure both winds and currents simultaneously. Radar operator Alexander Winteer monitors incoming wind data from the DopplerScatt radar instrument during a science flight off the California Coast on March 5, 2018. Credit: NASA Photo / Carla Thomas Flying aboard a B200 King Air aircraft, DopplerScatt is a spinning radar that “pings” the ocean’s surface, allowing it to take...

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Springing back into the hunt for greenhouse gases

Source: NASA Climate News Springing back into the hunt for greenhouse gases April showers bring May … carbon dioxide? Ok, so that’s not quite how the old adage goes, but for a team of researchers from NASA and academia, it’s close to the truth. The researchers are part of a study to understand with more clarity the transport of greenhouse gases in Earth’s changing climate. Atmospheric Carbon and Transport-America (ACT-America) is a five-year NASA look at concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in relation to weather systems in the eastern half of the U.S. According to Ken Davis, ACT-America principal investigator, spring science flights could find that big storms are pushing around quite a bit of carbon dioxide that accumulated in the biosphere over the winter. Credit: NASA/Joe Atkinson The study just began a fourth round of science flights, which may reveal that big spring storms are pushing around quite a bit of carbon dioxide. “The respiration from the biosphere has been accumulating all winter. Photosynthesis is just starting to get going,” said ACT-America Principal Investigator Ken Davis of Pennsylvania State University, University Park. “So we may have the most buildup of carbon dioxide in the northern latitude, lower atmosphere at this time of year. As storms move through, that gets transported from north to south.” Flying into spring storms Previous measurements, largely from stationary ground-based tower stations, have...

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IMO Members Agree to Cut Emissions from International Shipping in Half by 2050

By IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub 13 April 2018: Members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have agreed to an initial strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, including a long-term vision to cut emissions by 50% compared to 2008 levels by 2050. GHG emissions from international shipping currently contribute an estimated 2.2% of global GHG emissions; however emissions are projected to increase between 50% and 2050% by 2050 to accommodate raising volumes of international trade in goods and resources. Reducing emissions from international shipping is therefore crucial to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement....

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APA Co-Chairs Detail Expectations for Bonn Climate Change Conference

By IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub 10 April 2018: The Co-Chairs of the UNFCCC Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) have released a reflections note on the fourth part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-4) to facilitate preparations for APA 1-5, highlighting that deliberations during APA 1-4 enabled Parties to transition from broad conceptual debates to more specific technical discussions and the elaboration of substantive elements. APA 1-5 will convene during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, from 30 April to 10 May 2018. In...

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Population and Development Commission Addresses Urbanization, Migration

By IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub 13 April 2018: The 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development considered ways to protect people on the move, address urban challenges and support the creation of sustainable cities. The Commission failed to reach consensus on an outcome document on its session theme, ‘sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration,’ but delegates reiterated their commitment to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the International Conference on Population and Development. The 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD 51) convened at UN Headquarters in New...

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UN Member States Discuss First Draft of Refugee Global Compact

By IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub 6 April 2018: UN Member States have conducted several rounds of consultations on a global compact on refugees, and a second draft is being prepared by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The global compact on refugees aims to: ease pressures on countries that welcome and host refugees; build self-reliance of refugees; expand access to resettlement in third countries and other complementary pathways; and foster conditions that enable refugees voluntarily to return to their home countries. Adopting the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016, the UN...

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NASA’s new space ‘botanist’ arrives at launch site

Source: NASA Climate News NASA’s new space ‘botanist’ arrives at launch site “ECOSTRESS arrives at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for launch to the space station this summer. Image credit: NASA › Full image and caption” “ECOSTRESS is inspected after arrival at Kennedy Space Center. Image credit: NASA › Full image and caption” “ECOSTRESS will be installed on International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module – External Facility (JEM-EF) site 10. The investigation will take advantage of the space station’s orbit to measure plant surface temperatures at different times of day, allowing scientists to see how plants respond to water stress throughout the day. Image credit: NASA › Full image and caption”   A new instrument that will provide a unique, space-based measurement of how plants respond to changes in water availability has arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin final preparations for launch to the International Space Station this summer aboard a cargo resupply mission. NASA’s ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) left NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on April 6 by ground transport and arrived at Kennedy Space Center on April 9. A few days after it reaches the space station, ECOSTRESS will be robotically installed on the exterior of the station’s Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit. ECOSTRESS will give us new insights into plant health by quantifying the...

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