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  • richardmitnick 7:52 am on October 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ESA SMOS,   

    From ESA: “SMOS meets ocean monsters” 

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    European Space Agency

    30 September 2015

    ESA SMOS
    SMOS

    ESA’s SMOS and two other satellites are together providing insight into how surface winds evolve under tropical storm clouds in the Pacific Ocean. This new information could to help predict extreme weather at sea.

    This year, a particularly strong El Niño is resulting in much higher surface ocean temperatures than normal. The surplus heat that is being drawn into the atmosphere is helping to breed tropical cyclones – Pacific Ocean monsters. With eight major hurricanes already, this year’s hurricane season is the fifth most active in the Eastern Tropical Pacific since 1971.

    At the end of August, three category-4 hurricanes developed in parallel near Hawaii.

    2
    Hurricane triplets

    A collage from NASA’s Terra satellite captured the Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena hurricanes beautifully.

    NASA Terra satellite
    NASA/Terra

    However, a special set of eyes is needed to see through the clouds that are so characteristic of these mighty storms so that the speed of the wind at the ocean surface can be measured.

    This information is essential to forecast marine weather and waves, and to predict the path that the storm may take so that mariners receive adequate warning of danger.

    The microwave detector on SMOS yields information on soil moisture and ocean salinity. Going beyond its original scientific objectives, ESA pioneered the application of SMOS measurements to study wind speeds over the ocean.

    3
    Hurricanes change temperature of sea surface

    Taking this even further, measurements from two other satellites, NASA’s SMAP and Japan’s GCOM-W, which carry differing low-frequency microwave instruments, are being used with readings from SMOS to glean new information about surface winds under hurricanes.

    NASA SMAP
    NASA/SMAP

    JAXA GCOM-W
    JAXA/GCOM-W

    Combining data from multiple satellites in this way provides a unique view of how the surface wind speed evolves under tropical storms in unprecedented detail. This will greatly improve the information on the initial conditions of tropical cyclones fed into weather forecasting, and hence their prediction.

    Scientists from Ifremer in France and the Met Office in the UK are assessing these new data and how they could be integrated into hurricane forecasting.

    Measurements of sea-surface temperatures reveal cold-water wakes trailing the three recent hurricanes, highlighting the power these winds have in stirring the upper ocean and bringing cooler deep waters to the surface.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 9:19 am on February 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ESA SMOS,   

    From ESA: “SMOS on Acid” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    1
    Ocean alkalinity

    17 February 2015

    Ocean alkalinity
    17 February 2015

    With fundamental changes happening to the chemistry of the world’s oceans, salinity information from ESA’s SMOS mission is being used with other Earth observation data to obtain information on ‘the other carbon dioxide problem’ – ocean acidification.

    This new step is set to advance the way ocean biologists and climatologists study the oceans.

    More than a quarter of the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere every year is soaked up by the oceans.

    Initially, this may appear to be a good thing, tempering global warming, but there is a downside.

    As more carbon dioxide dissolves into the oceans, the more acidic the seawater becomes – with extremely damaging effects.

    Over the next century, ocean acidification has the potential to alter many marine ecosystems so that sea life is affected as well as fisheries – a basic food source on which many rely.

    Carefully assessing changes in ocean acidity is essential, and particularly because these changes are not uniform around the world.

    Surface ocean pH

    Until now, this information has only been available from measurements taken from research vessels and laboratory experiments, which is clearly limited.

    Researchers at the University of Exeter, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Ifremer, ESA and a team of international collaborators are developing new methods that allow ocean acidity around the globe to be quantified using satellite measurements.

    Piecing together salinity data from SMOS [Soil Moisture, Ocean Salinity] with satellite sea-surface temperature measurements and additional auxiliary data, it is possible to work out the pH of seawater and therefore provide accurate information to help address the growing problem of ocean acidification.

    ESA SMOS
    SMOS

    Roberto Sabia, Earth observation data engineer at ESA, explains, “By unifying various different efforts, for the first time we are now able to use satellites to systematically determine the pH of surface seawater.

    “In particular, by capitalising on salinity measurements from SMOS, we aim to routinely generate a novel value-added data product: a global surface ocean pH atlas.”
    Under threat

    Jamie Shutler from the University of Exeter, who is leading the research, added, “Satellites are likely to become increasingly important for monitoring ocean acidification, especially in remote waters.

    “We are pioneering this data fusion approach so that we can observe large areas of Earth’s oceans, allowing us to quickly and easily identify those areas most at risk from the increasing acidification.”

    This research, which is being carried out through ESA’s Earth Observation Support to Science Element (STSE), was published today in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

    Lead author Peter Land, from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, said, “It is now time to evaluate how to make the most of satellite and in situ data to help us understand ocean acidification, and to establish where remotely-sensed data can make the best contribution.”

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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