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…

Developing a Freshwater Health Index: Encompassing Earth Data, Community Concerns, and Climate Change

Earth's climate is changing, and one of the main impacts is on the water cycle. For example, there is an elevated risk of more frequent and intense flooding and droughts. Also, the amount of water flowing in individual streams and rivers is changing, and those changes affect water supplies to communities. NASA Earth science satellites and other remote-sensing techniques can fill in information gaps, but scientific data are just one piece of the larger puzzle when it comes to sustainable water…

NASA Finds Each State Has Its Own Climatic Threshold for Flu Outbreaks

A visualization of the AIRS instrument’s measurements of atmospheric water vapor around the globe during a few months of the flu study, which focused on data from 2003 to 2015. AIRS is on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/AIRS

In Brief:

NASA satellite data illuminates a critical relationship between low humidity and the outbreak of flu in the U.S.

What triggers an outbreak of the influenza virus? A new study of the flu in the 48 contiguous U.S. states, using data from the…

California Fire Led to Spike in Bacteria, Cloudiness in Coastal Waters

California Fire Led to Spike in Bacteria, Cloudiness in Coastal Waters

In Brief:

Scientists analyzed coastal water quality in the months following a major Southern California wildfire. Their results were eye-opening.

The November 2018 Woolsey Fire in Southern California’s Los Angeles and Ventura counties left more than a nearly 100,000-acre burn scar behind: It also left the adjacent coastal waters with unusually high levels of fecal bacteria and sediment that remained for months. For a new study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, scientists combined satellite imagery, precipitation data, and water quality reports to…

NASA Supports Research to Advance Earth Science

In Brief:

A prize competition is designed to engage underrepresented academic institutions in helping NASA make advancements in machine learning, AI, and developing of autonomous systems.

Through a new prize competition, NASA is engaging minority serving institutions (MSIs) to bring ideas for new information technologies that will help address climate change. The prize competition, the MSI Space Accelerator, comes from a new partnership between NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, the Minority University Research Education Project within the Office of STEM Engagement, NASA’s Jet…

Sea Level to Rise up to a Foot by 2050, Interagency Report Finds

In Brief:

NASA, NOAA, USGS, and other U.S. government agencies project that the rise in ocean height in the next 30 years could equal the total rise seen over the past 100 years.

Coastal flooding will increase significantly over the next 30 years because of sea level rise, according to a new report by an interagency sea level rise task force that includes NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other federal agencies. Titled Global and Regional Sea Level Rise…

New Space-Based Weather Instruments Start Gathering Data

In Brief:

Innovative mini instruments on the International Space Station have produced their first maps of global humidity and ocean winds.

After being installed on the International Space Station, two small instruments designed and built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California were powered up Jan. 7 and began collecting data on Earth’s ocean winds and atmospheric water vapor – critical information required for weather and marine forecasts. Within two days, the Compact Ocean Wind Vector Radiometer (COWVR) and Temporal…

Practice Makes Preparedness: NASA Participates in North Carolina Hurricane Exercise

Climate change is contributing to increasingly severe hurricanes, with expected increases in rainfall, flooding, and proportion of category 4 and 5 storms in the 21st century. A NASA Earth Applied Sciences team is working with North Carolina’s safety agencies to identify how NASA Earth observations can help inform early disaster response when hurricanes strike. The NASA Disasters program area team joined the state’s annual hurricane exercise to learn which NASA resources could be most useful during a hurricane or tropical storm…

NASA Greenland Mission Completes Six Years of Mapping Unknown Terrain

NASA Greenland Mission Completes Six Years of Mapping Unknown Terrain

In Brief:

To learn how ocean water is melting glaciers, NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission extensively surveyed the coastline of the world’s largest island.

The most important thing to remember about NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission, which ended Dec. 31, 2021, may be its name: OMG proved that ocean water is melting Greenland’s glaciers at least as much as warm air is melting them from above. Because ice loss from Greenland’s ice sheet currently contributes more to the global rise of the…