Nasa Begins the ACT-America campaign

Wednesday, July 6, 2016
By George Hatcher

Nasaphoto

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2016— NASA’s airborne experiment to improve scientists’ understanding of the sources of two powerful greenhouse gases and how they cycle into and out of the atmosphere begins now.The Atmospheric Carbon and Transport–America, or ACT-America campaign will measure concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in relation to weather systems. The study will gather real-time measurements from research aircraft and ground stations.

“Carbon dioxide and methane are the two most important long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” said Ken Davis, ACT-America principal investigator from Pennsylvania State University, University Park. “We have a very difficult time inferring important sources and sinks of these gases, including uptake of carbon dioxide by the biosphere, and emission of methane from a variety of human and biological sources. We hope to improve our ability to measure those sources and sinks today, which should enable improvements in the management and simulation of future climate.””

ACT-America employs new gen data analysis systems to convert regional observations of greenhouse gas concentrations and the meteorological conditions. The information will help scientists interpret long-term greenhouse gas observations.

The ACT-America campaign will bridge the gap between satellite and ground observations, look how weather patterns contribute the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. The campaign team includes researchers and flight crews collecting data in the air, and scientists on the ground synthesizing that information into computer models. The first flights will be based out of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, and Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia. Subsequent flights this summer will be based in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Shreveport, Louisiana.

ACT-America team members and the two NASA research aircraft will be available to the media at an event at Langley on Friday, July 15, from 9 to 11 a.m. EDT. This summer’s flights are the first of five field campaigns planned during the study. NASA collects data from space, air, land and sea to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future.
For more information about ACT-America, go to: http://act-america.larc.nasa.gov

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