One Home of Water and Ice

Over the course of several years, turbulent water overflow from a large melt lake carved this 60-foot-deep (18.3 meter-deep) canyon (note people near left edge for scale).

Over the course of several years, turbulent water overflow from a large melt lake carved this 60-foot-deep (18.3 meter-deep) canyon (note people near left edge for scale).

NASA has been on a mission with GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) for the last 10 years,  the data is in.


Mission Overview:

The GRACE mission was selected as the second mission under the NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program in May 1997. Launched in March of 2002, the GRACE mission is accurately mapping variations in Earth’s gravity field. Designed for a nominal mission lifetime of five years, GRACE is currently operating in an extended mission phase, which is expected to continue through at least 2015.

Image credit NASAJPL Caltech Artists concept of Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment

GRACE, twin satellites launched in March 2002

GRACE consists of two identical spacecraft that fly about 220 kilometers (137 miles) apart in a polar orbit 500 kilometers (310 miles) above Earth. GRACE maps Earth’s gravity field by making accurate measurements of the distance between the two satellites, using GPS and a microwave ranging system. It is providing scientists from all over the world with an efficient and cost-effective way to map Earth’s gravity field with unprecedented accuracy. The results from this mission are yielding crucial information about the distribution and flow of mass within Earth and its surroundings.

The gravity variations studied by GRACE include: changes due to surface and deep currents in the ocean; runoff and ground water storage on land masses; exchanges between ice sheets or glaciers and the ocean; and variations of mass within Earth. Another goal of the mission is to create a better profile of Earth’s atmosphere. GRACE results are making a huge contribution to the goals of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Earth Observation System (EOS) and global climate change studies.

GRACE is a joint partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States and Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR) in Germany. Dr. Byron Tapley of The University of Texas Center for Space Research (UTCSR) is the Principal Investigator (PI), and Frank Flechtner of the GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) Potsdam is the Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI). Project management and systems engineering activities are carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) has measured significant groundwater depletion around the world in recent years.

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Global Ice Mass Changes

Global Sea Level 1992 thru 2012 NASA

This figure shows changes in global mean sea level as measured by satellite altimetry (NASA/CNES Topex/Poseidon and Jason-1; and NASA/CNES/NOAA/EUMETSAT Jason-2) between 1992 to 2012. The data have been averaged to account for long time scale variations in sea level. The average annual increase in sea level over this timeframe, depicted by the blue line, is 3.2 millimeters per year. The inset shows changes in Earth’s water mass from the beginning of 2010 to mid 2011. Blue colors indicate an increase in water mass over the continents. A new NASA study shows that most of the sea level drop in 2010-11 [red circle] was related to the mass transport of water from the ocean to the continents (primarily Australia, northern South America and Southeast Asia [blue arrows]). While the ocean “lost” water, the continents experienced a gain because of increased rainfalls brought on by the 2010/11 La Nina. By mid-2012, global mean sea level had recovered by more than the 5 millimeters it dropped in 2010/11.

Animation shows the location of mountain glaciers and ice caps around the world with data from the GRACE mission to show recent trends in ice mass loss or gain.

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Alaska’s Big Thaw

Journeyman Pictures:

Climate change scientists say that Alaska is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet.  Erosion, flooding and a drastically changing landscape is putting locals at the forefront of a crisis.

“It’s changing. The ice is getting thinner. Warming up early. Getting cold late. Summer is snowing, winter is raining.” The native Alaskan community of Newtok is predicted to be underwater by 2017 and locals like Reppi Swan say it’s getting harder and harder to hunt because of the rapidly disappearing ice. There are 23,000 glaciers in Alaska, and glaciologist Tad Pfeffer believes they are all shrinking. “Every day I wake up and look out my window and think, ‘wow this is scary'”, says Robin Bronen, a local of 25 years. As the imperative to relocate whole communities grows stronger, anxieties over lack of government funds or action is causing growing anger. In response locals have started filing law suits against the oil companies they hold responsible for the rising temperatures. “The government aren’t dealing with the problem. Our lawsuit is going to the source”, argues local resident Colleen Swan. Has Alaska already reached the tipping point?

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Earth NASA Science

Earth Day Every Day at NASA

How’s your day going?

NASA’s Earth Science Mission seeks to understand Earth’s systems and their responses to natural and anthropogenic (human-made) changes.  A fleet of satellites in NASA’s Earth Observing System gives scientists the global, long-term measurements they need to connect the atmosphere (air), lithosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), cryosphere (snow/ice), and biosphere (life) as a single system.

Earth is currently in a period of warming. Over the last century, Earth’s average temperature rose about 1.1°F (0.6°C).  In the last two decades, the rate of our world’s warming accelerated and scientists predict that the globe will continue to warm over the course of the 21st century. Is this warming trend a reason for concern?  After all, our world has witnessed extreme warm periods before, such as during the time of the dinosaurs.  Earth has also seen numerous ice ages on roughly 11,000-year cycles for at least the last million years. So, change is perhaps the only constant in Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history.

NASA's Fleet

NASA’s Fleet

The greatest minds of the last century perceived wondrous things about the universe itself—the Big Bang and black holes, dark matter and dark energy, and the nature of space and time.  Their theories challenge NASA to use its presence in space to put them to the test.  NASA’s Great Observatories are taking us to the limits of the theories proposed by Einstein, Hubble, Spitzer and Chandrasekhar.  We are now poised to move beyond.  Having measured the age of the universe, we now seek to explore its ultimate extremes—its stupendous birth, the edges of space and time near black holes, and the darkest space between galaxies.  Having exploited nearly the full spectrum of light, we will explore using gravitational waves in space-time.  Seeking to understand the relationship between the smallest of subatomic particles and the vast expanse of the cosmos.  Having discovered more than a hundred giant planets around other stars, we now seek to find Earth-like planets in other solar systems.  This is NASA’s science vision: the scientific exploration of our planet, other planets and planetary bodies, our star system in its entirety, and the universe beyond.  In so doing, we lay the intellectual foundation for the robotic and human expeditions of the future.  What follows is NASA’s plan for turning this vision into scientific discovery.

The Mission

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Earth-The Wonderful World

The neighborhood is the planet and having a better understanding of knowing how she functions,  is just more ways to loving her.  The Discovery Channel Song  “Bom de Ada bom de Ada”  is going to kick this post off with how the Sun, Water,  Ice Water,  Fire,  Air,  and the rotation it’s self,  fuels all life on Earth,  “Bom de Ada bom de Ada”.

Some comments on this video:

Anyone else find the voice of the women who says “I love the lemur eye’s” beautiful?

Xepler 3 months ago

Am I the only one who wishes they still aired this ad?

theg432 1 week ago

Ever once in a while this song just pops in my head for no reason.

JunsnipesS266 1 week ago

The world is just plain awesome! Bom de Ada bom de Ada … 😀

HunterPayne4 3 weeks ago

I like sandwiches

ultracetnic2711 8 months ago

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What A Wonderful World

Originally uploaded by the BBC on Dec 7, 2011 a celebration of Natural History on BBC One with David Attenborough.

Sir David at his very best – To honor the 85-year-old national treasure who just concluded narrating his final series on the BBC, a UK ad agency mashed up footage from his BBC shows with his spoken-word recording of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”

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Understanding Earth From Space

Venture on an epic quest to discover the invisible forces and occurrences that sustain life on this planet and  for the first time  see these processes in action.   A 10 part series,  I know it’s long but once you start watching this you can’t stop,  you’ll want to see more!

Earth Science include the near-term launches of the Ocean Surface Topography Mission in June 2008 and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory in December 2008, and the initiation of a new funding wedge to accelerate the implementation of the satellite missions called for by the NRC in its first decadal survey for Earth Science (“Earth Science and Applications from Space, National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond”).

The budget request continues full funding for the Glory (launch date early 2011),  NPOESS Preparatory Project (5/2010),  Aquarius (5/2010),  Landsat Data Continuity Mission (7/2011),  and Global Precipitation Missions (2 launches,  6/2013 and 6/2014),  each of which has an associated NASA-funded science team.

All in all in geostationary orbit,  the UCS Satellite Database is a listing of the more than 900 operational satellites currently in orbit around Earth  and NASA has its own fleet.

UCS Satellite Database

From NASA Science Earth:

Earth is a complex, dynamic system we do not yet fully understand.  The Earth system, like the human body, comprises diverse components that interact in complex ways.  We need to understand the Earth’s atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere as a single connected system.  Our planet is changing on all spatial and temporal scales.  The purpose of NASA’s Earth science program is to develop a scientific understanding of Earth’s system and its response to natural or human-induced changes, and to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards.

Now that some data is in,  we begin to really know home.  Which in turn will help us be a better steward,  so we fit into this Matrix of Earth. 

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Dance to the pulse of Home

That was a great series,  what you just learned none of the teachers’ and professors’ knew of this when I was in school.  The planet orbits around the Milky Way which takes about 26,000 years,  we’re going to go through the Dark Rift and maybe with that we are going to have a better idea of what it is to be human as in humane.  A little help from our friends, Mother Earth, what a ride!

We all have something in common and that is we love something,  so let’s dance.   Bom de Ada bom de Ada … 😀

The dancers in Syria are blurred for their safety.

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Walking On Air

A wonderful world indeed and look at all the happy feet that walks, crawls, slithers, swims and flies, with that I would just like to say,  “to all a good night and sleep tight”.

Mark-mb productions

This video features a series of time-lapse sequences photographed by the Expedition 30 crew aboard the International Space Station. Set to the song “Walking in the Air,” by Howard Blake, the video takes viewers around the world, through auroras, and over dazzling lightning displays.

Song lyrics:

We’re walking in the air
We’re floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below are sleeping as we fly

I’m holding very tight
I’m riding in the midnight blue
I’m finding I can fly so high above with you

Far across the world
The villages go by like dreams
The rivers and the hills
The forests and the streams

Children gaze open mouth
Taken by surprise
Nobody down below believes their eyes

We’re surfing in the air
We’re swimming in the frozen sky
We’re drifting over icy
Mountain floating by

Suddenly swooping low on an ocean deep
Arousing of a mighty monster from its sleep

We’re walking in the air
We’re floating in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly

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