Two NASA Studies Find Lower Methane Emissions in Los Angeles Region

Two NASA Studies Find Lower Methane Emissions in Los Angeles Region

In Brief

Researchers found that emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas dropped for several years near the nation’s second-largest metropolitan area.

VISIONS: The EMIT Open Data Portal Two recent studies by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California used contrasting approaches to measure drops in human-caused emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane in recent years in the Los Angeles region. In the first study, published in February in Environmental Research Letters, scientists analyzed data from ground-based sensors scattered…Source: NASA’s Global Climate Change – Vital Signs of The Planet

A Global Biodiversity Crisis: How NASA Satellites Help Track Changes to Life on Earth

In Brief:

Climate change plays an increasing role in the global decline of biodiversity—the variety of life on Earth. Scientists use NASA data to track ecosystem changes and to develop tools for conserving life on land, in our ocean, and in freshwater ecosystems.

Many of us associate the sound of a singing bird with the beauty of nature. In recent years, though, fewer chirps, tweets, and birdsong have been heard. It isn’t because birds have stopped singing, but because there are fewer…Source: NASA’s Global Climate Change – Vital Signs of The Planet

Tracking the West's Growing Wildfires

Tracking the West’s Growing Wildfires

Across the western United States, climate change has caused temperatures to rise, droughts to drag on, and vegetation to go thirsty. As a result, wildfires are occurring more frequently and over a longer time period each year. This phenomenon was exemplified recently in the Washburn Wildfire, which burned through the Eastern Sierras in California, including Yosemite National Park, for over three weeks in July 2022. Roads closed around and inside the park, and access was cut off to the Mariposa…

NASA Launches International Mission to Survey Earth’s Water

In Brief:

Led by NASA and the French space agency CNES, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission will provide high-definition data on the salt- and fresh water on Earth’s surface.

A satellite built for NASA and the French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) to observe nearly all the water on our planet’s surface lifted off on its way to low-Earth orbit at 3:46 a.m. PST on Friday. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft also has contributions from…

2022 Arctic Summer Sea Ice Tied for 10th-Lowest on Record

According to satellite observations, Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum extent (lowest amount of ice for the year) on Sept. 18, 2022. The ice cover shrank to an area of 4.67 million square kilometers (1.80 million square miles) this year, roughly 1.55 million square kilometers (598,000 square miles) below the 1981-2010 average minimum of 6.22 million square kilometers (2.40 million square miles).

This visualization of sea ice change in the Arctic uses data provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s…

NASA Software Maps Changes in Current and Future Animal Movements

In the face of growing environmental pressures, changing climates, and ecological damage, organisms around the globe have been forced to move from their historic ranges to find more suitable habitats. As these changes continue, the long-term survival of many species depends on their ability to safely traverse the landscape to find more optimal habitats. To improve animal connectivity and conservation strategies, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) climate change ecologist and NASA-funded principal investigator Kimberly Hall and her team of scientists updated the…

US-European Satellite Will Make World’s First Global Freshwater Survey

In Brief:

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission will make measurements of over 95% of Earth’s lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.

Water is life, but for all its importance, humanity has a surprisingly limited view of Earth’s freshwater bodies. Researchers have reliable water level measurements for only a few thousand lakes around the world, and little to no data on some of the planet’s important river systems. The upcoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite will fill that enormous gap….

Arctic Sea Ice Maximum at Tenth Lowest in Satellite Record

On February 25, 2022, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, coming in at the tenth lowest in the satellite record. The wintertime extent peaked at 5.75 million square miles (14.88 million square kilometers) and is roughly 297,300 square miles (770,000 square kilometers) below the 1981-2010 average maximum – equivalent to missing an area of ice slightly larger than Texas and Maine combined. This maximum ties with 2015 as the third earliest on record. Read the full…

Thawing Permafrost Could Leach Microbes, Chemicals Into Environment

In Brief:

Scientists are turning to a combination of data collected from the air, land, and space to get a more complete picture of how climate change is affecting the planet’s frozen regions.

Trapped within Earth’s permafrost – ground that remains frozen for a minimum of two years – are untold quantities of greenhouse gases, microbes, and chemicals, including the now-banned pesticide DDT. As the planet warms, permafrost is thawing at an increasing rate, and scientists face a host of uncertainties when…