New Satellite's Lasers Will Track Tiny Changes in Polar Ice

New Satellite's Lasers Will Track Tiny Changes in Polar Ice

Once it settles into orbit 310 miles above the Earth, the satellite will start collecting data using a specially designed laser device that will give scientists more data about exactly where ice is melting and how fast.The NASA satellite will scan the Earth’s surface using six green laser beams to measure glaciers and floating sea ice.

Flood detection is a surprising capability of microsatellites mission – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Flood detection is a surprising capability of microsatellites mission – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

"When I saw the first land images of inland water bodies, I was amazed at their quality," said Chris Ruf, CYGNSS's principal investigator at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The CYGNSS satellites measure wind speed by determining how choppy the water is from a microwave signal bounced off the ocean surface.

NASA's MISR views raging fires in California – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

NASA's MISR views raging fires in California – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite passed over California on July 27 and July 29, observing the Carr Fire on July 27 and the Ferguson Fire on July 29.

NASA's 'space botanist' observes California, Nevada wildfires – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

NASA's 'space botanist' observes California, Nevada wildfires – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

NASA's Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station(ECOSTRESS) has captured new imagery of three wildfires burning in California and Nevada -- the first image of its kind to be taken by the agency's newest Earth-observing mission.

Carbon monoxide from California wildfires drifts east – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Carbon monoxide from California wildfires drifts east – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

New images made with data acquired by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA's Aqua satellite show the high concentrations of carbon monoxide emitted from the fires (in orange/red) between July 29 and August 8.

NASA to host media briefing on new ice-monitoring mission – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

NASA to host media briefing on new ice-monitoring mission – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 22, to discuss the upcoming launch of the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2), which will fly NASA’s most advanced laser altimeter to measure Earth’s changing ice.

Unexpected future boost of methane possible from Arctic permafrost – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Unexpected future boost of methane possible from Arctic permafrost – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

"The mechanism of abrupt thaw and thermokarst lake formation matters a lot for the permafrost-carbon feedback this century," said first author Katey Walter Anthony at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who led the project that was part of NASA’s Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), a ten-year program to understand climate change effects on the Arctic.

NASA launching advanced laser to measure Earth’s changing ice – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

NASA launching advanced laser to measure Earth’s changing ice – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will provide scientists with height measurements that create a global portrait of Earth's third dimension, gathering data that can precisely track changes of terrain including glaciers, sea ice, and forests.

A world on fire – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

A world on fire – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

The red points overlaid on the image designate those areas that by using thermal bands detect actively burning fires. NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application provides the capability to interactively browse over 700 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers and then download the underlying data.

Counting on NASA's ICESat-2 – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Counting on NASA's ICESat-2 – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Hundreds of people at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, worked to build this smart-car-sized instrument to exacting requirements so that scientists can measure minute changes in our planet’s ice.