NASA’s new mission studies how intense thunderstorms may influence climate change

7/28/2021 4:24:00 PM

NASA’s new mission studies how intense thunderstorms may influence climate change

NASA recently began new research to investigate how extreme summer weather may be affecting the upper layers of earth's atmosphere.

NASA’s new mission studies how intense thunderstorms may influence climate change

may be affecting the upper layers of earth's atmosphere.♬ original sound - FullMetalJackie The Facts The TikTok video does not show a NASA cloud machine, as the hashtag and text on the video imply..the first crewed New Shepard rocket flight , a project of his Blue Origin company.

Kenneth Bowman, Ph.D.The original footage shared on NASA's YouTube channel can be seen below., the principal investigator for the Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) research project, spoke to reporters about the project during a press briefing on Tuesday.He said their goal is to understand how intense summer thunderstorms over the U.Contrary to the TikTok post's implication, the video footage does not show a NASA cloud machine deliberately influencing the weather.S.Yet its high profile means it has a powerful and widespread influence over the space industry, with investors often pointing to astronaut flights as driving excitement about the broader consequences of the extraterrestrial marketplace.

affect the stratosphere -- the second layer of earth’s atmosphere as you move toward space -- especially as climate change causes severe thunderstorms to occur more often.The RS-25 engine uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as fuel.“Most thunderstorms occur in the lower layer of the atmosphere, which we call the troposphere.But when we get particularly intense thunderstorms, the updrafts -- the rising air in the storm -- can actually overshoot into the layer above, which is the stratosphere,” Bowman said.So it is not inaccurate to say that the RS-25 produces clouds.Courtesy of NASA Overshooting top of a thunderstorm as seen from NASA's ER-2 aircraft.He said that when this happens, the air in the troposphere can rise up to the stratosphere in as little as 20 to 30 minutes.An example of this water pump in action can be seen more clearly in the video below of an RS-25 engine test published by NASA in May, before the engine switches on.Michael Sheetz, CNBC.

Those updrafts can transport pollutants and water that might not normally reach this level of the atmosphere in such a short amount of time.The stratosphere is usually dry, according to the project’s website , and the water and pollutants may"have a significant impact on radiative and chemical processes" in the atmospheric layer..David Wilmouth, Ph.D., a scientist at Harvard University who is working on the project, said the updrafts could potentially “change the chemical composition of the stratosphere, a process that would not otherwise happen.

” Their work will determine if that’s the case.Courtesy of NASA This photo from the International Space Station explains where NASA's ER-2 aircraft flies in the atmosphere to study thunderstorms.Bowman explained that the stratosphere is important because it contains the Earth’s ozone layer, which protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun.About 90% of the world’s ozone layer exists within the stratosphere, according to Wilmouth.Wilmouth said the ozone layer is “critical” for protecting life on earth.

If its protective shield was to weaken, humans would be more susceptible to skin cancer, cataracts disease and an impaired immune system, according to NASA.Dan Csziczo, Ph.D., a professor and head of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University, said during the briefing that their goal is specifically to understand the composition and size of the particles that make their way up to the stratosphere, and how they might influence the earth’s climate.Csziczo said the research would also help scientists understand the process of cloud formation and subsequent precipitation.

MORE: What we can learn from the pandemic's effect on the environment and what can change Understanding the relationship between climate change and particulate matter in the air is critical because, ultimately, each of them might exacerbate the impact of the other on humans’ health and way of life."What we don't so often think about is that the atmosphere also contains a lot of particulate matter, and this was reinforced for us all over the last few weeks, when we learned about the wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest, both in the U.S and Canada,” Csziczo said.“That had a huge impact, especially on things like air quality and human health.… Particulate matter, particularly in high concentrations, can cause a lot of premature deaths around the world.

” Courtesy of NASA The overshooting top of a thunderstorm as seen from NASA's ER-2 aircraft.For the project, NASA is working with several universities across the country, as well as the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The mission consists of three eight-week-long deployments over the course of the 2021 and 2022 summer seasons.The DCOTSS will be using NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude research aircraft for the mission.MORE: From the Atlantic hurricane season to wildfires in the West: How 2020 weather shattered records DCOTSS will be operated out of Salina, Kansas, a site chosen by the researchers due to its central location within the U.

S.It’s also a region of the country that’s particularly prone to severe and intense thunderstorms during the summer.Courtesy of NASA NASA's ER-2 high-altitude research aircraft will be used for the Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere research project.The ER-2 aircraft is equipped with fully robotic, pre-programmed instruments that can measure the gases and particles that come out of the overshooting tops of the thunderstorms, as well as meteorological information, such as water vapor, Wilmouth said.The aircraft can only transport its pilot, who must wear a pressurized suit to withstand the high altitudes, which can go as high as 70,000 feet -- about twice the altitude of typical commercial airlines, according to the project’s website.

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