Climate change: earth system
Everything on our planet — the land, the water, the air, people — is connected by the various chemical, physical and biological processes that make up what we call the Earth system.
One of the key components of that huge system is the cryosphere, or all of Earth’s frozen water. This important “sphere” includes frozen soils in Alaska, the snow on top of the Himalayas, as well as all the ice in the polar regions.
Nowhere is the role of the cryosphere as evident as it is at high latitudes, where the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets cover most of the land, and where sea ice caps enormous sections of the polar waters. The vastness of that bright, white ice — in addition to the huge areas covered by winter snow beyond polar regions — helps control the global climate
NASA will design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes. With the Earth System Observatory, each satellite will be uniquely designed to complement the others, working in tandem to create a 3D, holistic view of Earth, from bedrock to atmosphere.
“I’ve seen firsthand the impact of hurricanes made more intense and destructive by climate change, like Maria and Irma. The Biden-Harris Administration’s response to climate change matches the magnitude of the threat: a whole of government, all hands-on-deck approach to meet this moment,” said NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson. “Over the past three decades, much of what we’ve learned about the Earth’s changing climate is built on NASA satellite observations and research.
NASA’s new Earth System Observatory will expand that work, providing the world with an unprecedented understanding of our Earth’s climate system, arming us with next-generation data critical to mitigating climate change, and protecting our communities in the face of natural disasters.”
The observatory follows recommendations from the 2017 Earth Science Decadal Survey by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which lays out ambitious but critically necessary research and observation guidance.
2.Climate change and Mitigation- Areas of focus for the observatory include:
Answering the critical question of how aerosols affect the global energy balance, a key source of uncertainty in predicting climate change.
Cloud, Convection, and Precipitation: Tackling the largest sources of uncertainty in future projections of climate change, air quality forecasting, and prediction of severe weather.
Mass Change: Providing drought assessment and forecasting, associated planning for water use for agriculture, as well as supporting natural hazard response.
Surface Biology and Geology:
Understanding climate changes that impact food and agriculture, habitation, and natural resources, by answering open questions about the fluxes of carbon, water, nutrients, and energy within and between ecosystems and the atmosphere, the ocean, and the Earth.
Surface Deformation and Change: Global Change
Quantifying models of sea-level and landscape change driven by climate change, hazard forecasts, and disaster impact assessments, including dynamics of earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, glaciers, groundwater, and Earth’s interior.
NASA is currently initiating the formulation phase for the observatory. Among its first integrated parts is NASA’s partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which brings together two different kinds of radar systems that can measure changes in Earth’s surface less than a half-inch.
This capability will be utilized in one of the observatory’s first missions intended as a pathfinder, called NISAR (NASA-ISRO synthetic aperture radar). This mission will measure some of the planet’s most complex processes such as ice-sheet collapse and natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides. NISAR can assist planners and decision makers with managing both hazards and natural resources in the future.
reference – NASA’s Earth science programs
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