Image from TERRA
Mon, 30 Oct 2017 12:25 EDT

Former Tropical Storm Saola transitioned into an extra-tropical storm on Oct. 29 as it tracked southeast of the big island of Japan.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 24 Oct 2017 11:36 EDT

When Typhoon Lan made landfall in Japan on Oct. 22, the Global Precipitation Measurement mission core satellite or GPM analyzed the storm and added up the high rainfall that it generated.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:22 EDT

A new image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite shows the growing fire scar on the landscape.

Category: News and Events

News and Events

Balancing Terra’s Fuel Supply and Science Needs


The excellent health and longevity of the Terra platform and its five instruments has led to the enviable problem of deciding how best to manage fuel usage of the platform over the next five years.  The decision will directly impact both the continuity of the Terra science record and the length of time that Terra will remain on orbit.  The Project is looking to better understand the possible benefits to the science community from different fuel use scenarios and welcomes feedback.

The question that poses itself now is whether to use all of the remaining maneuvering fuel to maintain Terra’s current orbit and keep the equator crossing-time at 10:30 AM (within a tight time window of 10:29 AM to 10:31AM local time) which will lead to nearly 3 more years of continuous climate quality data or to use some of the fuel to lower the orbit leading to an earlier re-entry of Terra.  The earlier re-entry decreases the probability that Terra will be impacted by space debris, although all orbiting satellites are at risk of being hit by debris and rely on collision avoidance maneuvers to minimize this risk.  Terra will maintain fuel reserve to perform these maneuvers after lowering or exiting the constellation to minimize risk of collision.

A major impact of lowering Terra’s orbit is a change in its crossing time.  A body of scientists acquainted with Terra’s instruments concluded that a “change in the crossing-time would mark the end of Terra’s ‘climate quality’ data record for trend analysis”. The panel stipulated that the magnitude of the impact would be of the same order as the trends projected by climate models.  The fact that Terra still has five healthy instruments providing a continuous well-calibrated, inter-calibrated, data record led the panel to conclude “that it is of utmost importance to continue this data record while the Terra instruments are performing nearly optimally.”

In order to provide a data set of the best quality for the science community, the Terra Project Science Office, including the five instrument teams, recommended that the current crossing-time be held until fall 2020.  Doing so, would sustain an equatorial crossing time within a two-minute window for an unprecedented 18 years while still allowing a safe exit from the Earth Science Constellation.  The use of fuel to maintain Terra’s crossing-time until fall 2020 leads to a predicted additional 18 years on orbit and a corresponding marginal increase in the probability of a debris impact.  The science possible from a near-constant crossing time for 18 years is unique and viewed to offset the added risks involved from the additional time on orbit.  What is not clear to the Terra Mission, however, is whether there are science applications that would benefit from either a shift in crossing time or an orbit lowering.  The Project is currently searching for possible science benefits from the orbit lowering and plans to hold a panel discussion at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in December, 2017.

The Terra Science Team welcomes any feedback or suggestions as to whether to maintain the current orbit and the long-term data continuity, or lower the orbit, and therefore, shifting the crossing time.

** Note that Terra did not come to maintain a consistent 10:30 am crossing time until 2 years after its launch.

Please leave any feedback or suggestions by contacting us. All comments will be considered in our panel discussion on December 10. Comments left after December 10 will be considered prior to Terra’s next planned inclination maneuver.

Contact us – Your feedback is important


MISR Where on Earth…?

Are you ready for a challenge? Become a geographical detective and solve the latest mystery quiz from NASA’s MISR (Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer) instrument onboard the Terra satellite. Prize submissions for perfect scores accepted until Wednesday, June 28, at 4:00 p.m. PDT. Happy sleuthing!

 

Take the quiz here: http://climate.nasa.gov/quizzes/misr_quiz_29

NASA’s MISR Spots Alaskan Volcano’s Latest Eruption

The tiny Aleutian island of Bogoslof in Alaska, erupting regularly since December 2016, produced fresh activity on Sunday, May 28, 2017. Bogoslof is a stratovolcano fueled by the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the North American Plate and forms part of the larger Aleutian Arc, which includes more than 60 volcanoes on the Aleutian Islands and the Aleutian Range on the Alaska mainland. Previous to its recent period of activity, Bogoslof had last erupted in 1992, and its above-water surface area was a mere 0.11 square miles (0.29 square kilometers). As of March 11, the most recent data available, the area of the island had tripled to 0.38 square miles (0.98 square kilometers). The event on May 28 produced an ash cloud that reached 40,000 feet (12 km) in altitude, causing the Alaskan Volcano Observatory to issue a red alert for air travel in the area. Volcanic ash can cause major damage to aircraft engines, and the region is close to several major air routes between North America and Asia.

On May 28, 2017, at approximately 2:23 p.m. local time, NASA’s Terra satellite passed over Bogoslof, less than 10 minutes after the eruption began. MISR has nine cameras that view Earth at different angles. It takes slightly less than seven minutes for all nine cameras to view the same location on Earth. On the left, an animation made from the images from the nine MISR cameras, captured between 2:19 and 2:26 p.m., demonstrates how the angled views give a glimpse of the underside of the growing plume of volcanic ash, showing the eruption column widening into the cloud at the top.

Data from MISR’s nine cameras can also be used to calculate the height of the plume, based on the apparent movement of the cloud from one camera to another. On the right, a map of plume height is plotted over the downward-looking image. The top of the cloud was approximately 10,000 feet (3 kilometers) high at this time. Below the image is a scatterplot of the heights, with blue points representing heights corrected by the northwesterly winds reported by the Alaskan Volcano Observatory during the eruption, and red points representing uncorrected heights. Lower points at either side of the plume represent retrievals of the eruption column.

These data were captured during Terra orbit 92786. The stereoscopic analysis was performed using the MISR INteractive eXplorer (MINX) software tool, which is publicly available through the Open Channel Foundation at https://www.openchannelsoftware.com/projects/MINX. Other MISR data are available through the NASA Langley Research Center; for more information, go to https://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/project/misr/misr_table. MISR was built and is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. The Terra spacecraft is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center in Hampton, Virginia. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team, article by Abbey Nasten

NASA’s MISR Views America’s National Parks in 3-D

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NASA  Image from NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team. Originally posted on JPL’s photojournal.

 

Just in time for the U.S. National Park Service’s Centennial celebration on Aug. 25, NASA’s Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite is releasing four new anaglyphs that showcase 33 of our nation’s national parks, monuments, historical sites and recreation areas in glorious 3D.

Shown in the annotated image are Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, San Juan Island National Historic Park, North Cascades National Park, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, and Ross Lake National Recreation Area (also Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, administered by the U.S. Forest Service).

MISR views Earth with nine cameras pointed at different angles, giving it the unique capability to produce anaglyphs, stereoscopic images that allow the viewer to experience the landscape in three dimensions. The anaglyphs were made by combining data from MISR’s vertical-viewing and 46-degree forward-pointing camera. You will need red-blue glasses in order to experience the 3D effect; ensure you place the red lens over your left eye. The images have been rotated so that north is to the left in order to enable 3D viewing because the Terra satellite flies from north to south. All of the images are 235 miles (378 kilometers) from west to east.

View the rest of the 33 national parks, monuments, historical sites and recreation areas in these other 3 images provided by MISR.

Southwest Splendor

Wyoming Wonders

California Dreaming

Long Smoke Plumes from California’s Destructive Blue Cut Fire Spotted by NASA’s MISR

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NASA  Image from NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team. Originally posted on JPL’s photojournal.

On Aug. 16, 2016, at around 10:30 a.m., a brush fire ignited in the Cajon Pass east of Los Angeles, just to the west of Interstate 15. Within a matter of hours, extreme temperatures, high winds and low humidity allowed the fire to spread rapidly, burning through brush left tinder-dry by years of drought. Firefighters quickly responded, ordering the evacuation of about 83,000 people in and around the Cajon Pass, Wrightwood, Lytle Creek, Oak Hills and surrounding areas. An as-yet uncounted number of homes and structures have burned, and Interstate 15 remains closed to downed power lines and barrier damage. By Aug. 17, the fire had expanded to more than 30,000 acres and remains zero percent contained as some 1,300 firefighters continue to battle to save homes and evacuate residents.

The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite passed over the region on Aug. 17 around 11:50 a.m. PDT and captured this natural-color image from MISR’s 70-degree forward-viewing camera, which covers an areas about 257 miles (414 kilometers) wide. The oblique view angle makes the smoke more apparent than it would be in a more conventional vertical view. The Los Angeles metropolitan area is the large gray area on the coast in the center of the image. Three plumes from the Blue Cut Fire are clearly visible in the mountains to the north. This oblique view also shows an enormous cloud of smoke spreading northeastward over a significant portion of eastern California and Nevada. This smoke probably originated from the fire as it consumed almost 20,000 acres on the evening of the 16th and traveled north overnight.

Also visible from this oblique view is considerable haziness filling California’s Central Valley, to the northwest of the Blue Cut Fire. This haziness is most likely due to smoke from several other fires burning in California, including the Soberanes Fire near Monterey, the Clayton Fire that has destroyed 175 structures north of San Francisco, the Chimney Fire and the Cedar Fire, which is visible in the image in the southern Sierra Nevada. The total number of acres burned in California this year has tripled in just the past week.