Will NASA's New 'Glory' Spacecraft Silence Climate-Change Deniers?
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January 12, 2011

Will NASA's New 'Glory' Spacecraft Silence Climate-Change Deniers?

Clouds Glory is a low Earth orbit scientific research satellite designed to collect data on the properties of aerosols, including black carbon, in the Earth's atmosphere and climate system, and to collect data on solar irradiance for the long-term effects on the Earth climate record. The new robotic probe is headed to the launch pad, aiming for a spot aboard what is called the A-train -- a fleet of Earth-orbiting spacecraft keeping tabs on the planet's changing climate.

Coming to a topline conclusion about the treality of global warming will be a snap: Glory will measure the total amount of energy coming to Earth from the sun, subtract what gets reflected back or re-radiated from particles in the atmosphere and see what you have left. If more energy is coming in than going out, it's getting hotter.

To calibrate just how much is human-created is more complicated: Figure out what fraction of these atmospheric particles stems from natural phenomena, such as wind-blown dust and volcanic eruptions, and what is coming from things we can control -- our industrial processes, business pursuits and recreational past-times.

NASA hopes to tackle the question with Glory: part-solar monitor, part-atmospheric probe, Glory will join the quartet of Earth-orbiting satellites known as the Afternoon Constellation -- nicknamed the A-train -- which fly over the equator at roughly 1:30 p.m. local time every day so scientists can collect data from a variety of instruments tracking the same bit of real estate virtually simultaneously. That information is fed into computer models used to monitor and forecast climate change.

From a stationary position 438 miles above Earth, Glory will inventory atmospheric aerosols -- both naturally occurring and human-induced -- so scientists can determine each type's relative influence on global climate. The instrument used to do this, called the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor works by looking at the angles of the light waves bouncing off particles in the atmosphere. The patterns serve as fingerprints of a molecule's chemistry.

"The aerosols come in all shapes and sizes and chemical compositions," said Glory project scientist Michael Mishchenko, with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University in N.Y. "We can get a fairly good idea of the chemical composition and, thereby, of the origin of the particles -- is it a natural particle, or a manmade particle? The existing instruments can't do that."

Aerosols, which are basically everything that is suspended in the atmosphere besides clouds, can interact with sunlight directly by absorbing it or reflecting it back into space, both of which affect how much heat is in the atmosphere. Aerosols also have an indirect impact on climate by changing the properties of clouds, including how reflective they are and how much rain they produce.

Mishchenko suspects that the impact on the climate from aerosols is almost as significant in magnitude as the impact from greenhouse gases, but there is not yet enough information for an accurate assessment.

"The aerosols are a very important component of the climate system and the most unknown component of the climate system," Mishchenko said. "They represent one of a few climate components which are directly affected by human activities."

Opposite Glory's aerosol probe is a device to measure energy coming in from the sun, called the Total Irradiance Monitor or TIM. TIM will collect data about sunlight fluctuations across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from X-rays to far infrared light, information that scientists want to better understand the ebb and flow of energy to and from Earth.

"We need to be able to detect whether there's imbalance and we need to attribute this balance to specific causes," Mishchenko said.


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Comments

To learn how the measured output of solar radiation is declining and influencing the Earth's climate, try reading the extensive documentation and ongoing current research at: http://ncwatch.typepad.com/dalton_minimum_returns/ and http://wattsupwiththat.com/

How can it be stationary at 438 miles up? Don't you people understand how geostationary satellites work? If you don't understand that, how can we trust anything you say about science?

And why would it even make sense to be stationary over one spot, if it is trying measure the whole planet?

The aerosol research systems are primarily for geohacking which is not just for AGW and similar theories, and is in fact mostly for geoengineering projects in the aerial aerosol dispersion trials where thousands of deployments are made daily, randomizing, repeating, and varying the experiments in order to obtain a massive data set for understanding how the atmosphere works, and most importantly how we can make it work for us. These satellites, and there are more than this one, are required to help collect that data.

Atmospheric alterations are huge money, not just for the research funds, but for the success and patents they can derive from the experimentation. A hurdle was encountered in Oct 2009 where a Moratorium was passed by the UN as a Biodiversity Treaty due to the unknown or even unhealthy effects these trials have on the people and plant life below, however the United States has abstained from the treaty citing profit as the booming economies and population in arid nations are investing HUGE monies into the ability to increase or decrease rain, essentially create rain, redirect rain, or even just alter cloud cover.

It was -10 yesterday here. Now its -1. Yea, Global Warming!!!!!!

the answer to the question posed at the top of this post is: NO. because the better measurements we get the less serious AGW seems to be. after all wasn't one of the biggest demonstrations of AGW the spurious hockey stick ( now discredited based on badly compiled historical data). satellite data that we now have shows nothing very alarming.

The answer to the title question is "No." You can't silence the truth. Whereas anti-climate change claims have been corroborated for years by various studies, they can only find evidence of global warming when they find 'incentive' to do so.

For example, NASA concluded a couple of years ago that there was not sufficient evidence to prove global warming. Not a week after the announcement, Congress (then with a Democratic super-majority) cut funding across the program, except for in areas pertaining to climatological research. What does that look like, except for an 'incentive' for them to find the 'right answer'? Anybody else care to venture an opinion on why the government pulled every penny out from under the national AERONAUTICS and SPACE Administration, except for money set aside for CLIMATE research? There's no "C" in NASA, and there was never supposed to be.

Aside from that, NASA's modus operandi for the next few years (as set by President Obama) is now to "Reach out to Muslim nations and make them feel like part of the space program." Those are his exact words. There's also no "M" in NASA.

If you go to www.drroyspencer.com you can read the words of Ph.D. Roy Spencer, who used to work for NASA and was instrumental in building the "Aqua" climate monitoring probe, which observed changes in temperatures over oceans. Dr. Spencer is a die-hard skeptic on climate change, and his Ph.D. is in Climatology... he's an expert...

Bob's right. My little piece of the U.S. has been running about 20 degrees Fahrenheit below normal temperatures for about three months now. We're supposed to make it up to the freezing point next week, and it's a highly anticipated warm-up here.

For me, the answer to the title question is "No"; and, like Alex, said, you can't silence the truth. But my reasoning is somewhat different.

Generally, I recommend the book "Physics for Future Presidents" by Richard A. Muller. The short form of it is: we won't feel the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and other aerosols for quite some time.

Based on information in the same source, we do need to tone down our carbon emissions; there's already more CO2 in the atmosphere now than there has been in the past 20 million years (according to the geological record). That may or may not cause an increase in the global temperature, but it almost certainly will have an effect on the acidity of the oceans and affect life there.

What Glory may help us to understand is the role of water vapor in increasing or decreasing the greenhouse effect. Right now we know too little about that to be entirely certain what effect we're having on the global temperatures.

(Dr. Muller explains this much better than I ever could.)

Thank you so much for this post. I learned more in reading all this info in one place than a month of scouting through the internet.

If I don't trust my government to begin with so... why should I trust them to tell me the truth about the sat data?

There is a serious unreliability factor here. We seriously can't reply on our elected representative government. They are proven liars that do pretty much as they please without a whit of concern about those who hired them.

They could tell me that the stop sign at the corner was red and I'd still have to go look to see if they hadn't repainted it purple.

Oh... if you need an example, it's that you can't have a geostationary orbit at 438 miles.

No sale.

I don't get it. Even if climate change isn't "real," there are many other reasons to seriously consider reducing CO2 and other air pollutants. Not only do we have unprecedented levels of "greenhouse"(pertaining to increasing temperatures due to trapped solar energy)gasses, we also find UNARGUABLE, physical evidence that we are having a massive negative impact on our environment through pollution, from ocean seabeds to rainforest treetops. It cannot possibly be good to breathe in all that toxic crap that is put into the air; just look at the increase of respiratory ailments correlated with increasing levels of air pollutants. Talk about health care reform! Also, a major source of such greenhouse gasses are from fossil fuels. Right now, America is at the mercy of its energy suppliers and companies who peddle black gold. Isn't it in our national security to explore other forms of non-polluting energy? If not now then when? An energy revolution could lift the world in ways previously unknown, while reducing emissions and CREATING JOBS. Our greatness and downfall is what we can achieve through collaborative civilization, i.e. government. But if we don't work together, we might as well go back to living in caves again!

Sorry, that moratorium was OCT 2010.

And atmospheric geoengineering was not the only geoengineering paused if I accidentally gave that impression.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/29/AR2010102906361.html

Governments scaring their populaces to sacrifice their most important assets due to weather/climate is the oldest trick in the book.

Carbon regulation will redistribute billions of dollars to entities such as Goldman Sachs, GE, Al Gore, and other undeserving charlatans. In my opinion, AGW hype has nothing to do with curbing pollution and everything to do with enrichment through control.

What if it gets colder or a glaciation comes? Will we be prepared with windmills, ethanol, and bio? I don't think so.

i will keep good work
!

A bunch of bloggers here who ought to be on Alex Jones' site (it's set up for paranoid delusionals).
OTOH, of course nothing will silence the deniers -- there is too much to lose. Both $ and philosophical outlook.

It does not matter if people believe in climate change or not. They will finally believe in it when the people of the Earth can't breathe the atmosphere of Earth, then they may do something about it (Co2 level - 391.39ppm -January 2011). If we don't do anything about it, we look forward to becoming like Venus 900 Degrees F. In the final end Big business and the doubters as well as the people who are trying to stop climate change will all be dead. Imagine no life on Earth because human beings fail to act. The laugh is on the human race. Believers or not.

LOL, somebody plagiarized some of our posts.

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110120/full/news.2011.32.html


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