Trump Proposes Shutting off DSCOVR’s Cameras

This image shows the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera and telescope, and the Earth – one million miles away. (Credits: NASA/NOAA)

Donald Trump’s first budget proposal terminates three NASA Earth science missions now under development: Orbiting Carbon Observatory – 3 (OCO-3), Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder, and the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE).

It also “terminates” the “Earth-viewing instruments” on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft, a joint NASA-NOAA project that monitors the Earth, the solar wind and space weather from a location 1 million miles from Earth.

The table below shows the instruments aboard the DSCOVR, which was launched two years ago.

“NOAA will operate DSCOVR from its NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland and distribute the data to its users and partner agencies,” according to a NOAA fact sheet. “NOAA will process the space weather data, providing products and forecasts through the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, and archive the data at the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. NASA is responsible for processing the Earth sensor data.”

DSCOVR was launched in February 2015 after a long development period. Al Gore proposed the satellite — originally named Triana — in 1998. Congressional Republicans dubbed the spacecraft “Goresat” and questioned its scientific value. A subsequent review by the National Academy of Sciences found the project to be “strong and scientifically vital.”

The George W. Bush Administration removed the $100 million spacecraft from the space shuttle manifest and placed it in storage in 2001. DSCOVR was removed from storage in November 2008 and refurbished for launch.

The OCO-3 mission involves the installation of a spare carbon dioxide monitoring instrument from the stand-alone OCO-2 satellite on to the exterior of the International Space Station. It would be launched aboard a cargo ship headed for the station.

“The OCO-3 instrument “consists of three high resolution grating spectrometers which collect space-based measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to assess the spatial and temporal variability of CO2 over an annual cycle,” according to NASA’s website. “After launch and docking with the International Space Station, the OCO-3 instrument will be installed on the ISS Japanese Experiment Module- Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) where it will be operating for the duration of the mission.”

CLARREO Pathfinder is another space station mission. It is designed to test instruments that would allow scientists to refine climate modeling on a larger, stand-alone spacecraft.

“The allocated funds support the flight of a Reflected Solar (RS) spectrometer, hosted on the International Space Station (ISS) in the 2020 time frame. The key features of the CLARREO Pathfinder (CPF) mission-integration of CPF payload with the ExPA, slotted on the ExPRESS logistics carrier (ELC-1). The CPF is a Class D mission with 1 year of operations on orbit and 1 year for analysis of acquired data,” according to the agency’s website.

“The foundation of CLARREO is the ability to produce highly accurate climate records to test climate projections in order to improve models and enable sound policy decisions,” the website states. “The CLARREO mission accomplishes this critical objective through accurate SI-traceable decadal observations that are sensitive to many of the key climate parameters such as radiative forcings, climate responses, and feedbacks. Uncertainties in these parameters drives uncertainty in current climate model projections.”

NASA’s PACE mission “will deliver the most comprehensive look at global ocean color measurements in NASA’s history. Not only will PACE monitor the health of our ocean, its science data will expand atmospheric studies by sensing our skies over an exceptionally broad spectrum of wavelengths.”

“Being built and tested at the Goddard Space Flight Center, PACE will expand our knowledge of key climate variables such as aerosol particles and clouds,” according to the space agency. “It will extend NASA’s long-term record of the phytoplankton pigment, chlorophyll, while providing new insights on ocean biodiversity.”

  • Douglas Messier

    I could show you innumerable reports, studies and analyses to demonstrate this point. You are not interested in accepting any of it.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Or to private groups. The insurance industry would profit from better models to build their predictions of risk for insurance. They would be a market for a startup providing this information.

  • Kapitalist

    So you really ARE as political doomsday believer? You claim that Al Gore’s doomsday forecast from the 1990s has happened. That there doesn’t exist any ice in the world anymore, that all the polar bears have died, that all cities are flooded, that famine reigns the world because of the droughts, that violent storms millions everyday. You actually believe that is the reality we are living in now, just because an obviously psychopathic politician lied about it 20 years and you believe politics more than reality.

    Climate science has failed miserably. But the real issue here is the politics and economics, about which climate science has nothing at all to contribute to. Fanatic climate communists are abolishing all industry, all energy production, all transports and all agriculture while claiming that this intentional mass death is necessary in order to conserve the climate forever exactly as it was in 1998. The one and only survivable climate, according to you liars, and at least for those who own a beach bungalow (aren’t the epidemic floodings everywhere a real pain to you too?)

    Human CO2-emissions have been very very good, not only for the economy, but also for the wild nature. Harvests are skyrocketing, so that less land is needed in order to feed more people better. Wild life is getting much more living space, the world is greening! Fossil fuel will soon be abandoned, left worthless in the ground, because better technologies will emerge. But we should keep on pumping it up and burn it even without any energy of economic benefit from it, because the environmental good of fossil fuel burning is so overwhelmingly positive. CO2 is the gas of life from which all life originates.

    Climate science is a very immature science that is unable to produce any kind of information that is useful for any kind of decision making. I think that most climate scientists are serious and aware of this, but hijacked and corrupted by a few communists who again, just like in the Soviet, uses science as an argument for their politics, as if moral and human choice didn’t matter.

  • Flatley

    Since you didn’t provide any sources, I am going to ignore that wall of text and move on with my day. Feel free to provide a source to counter my factually based claim that the Earth is warming. Otherwise, it’s clear that you have interest in fact-based debate, and that your opinions are merely that: Worthless opinions.

  • Chuck Lauer

    OK now you have crossed over into neck deep bullsh*t land. You have absolutely no clue on any of the science issues you are ranting and raving about. The melting of the arctic permafrost is one of the MOST serious risk elements for global warming because a large fraction of the tundra is frozen peat. It is NOT habitable in any sense of the word, but that is not the major problem. It is a layer cake of dead and rotting vegetation that is currently stable because it is frozen. Guess what happens when it thaws out? IT STARTS TO DECOMPOSE AGAIN. This creates untold millions of tons of methane, which is on the order of 20X more disruptive as a greenhouse gas than CO2. If you really want a runaway warming of the planet you would be hard pressed to find a better way to do it than thaw the Alaskan / Canadian / Russian tundra ecosystems.

  • duheagle

    I can start by referring you to Mark Steyn’s recent book about Michael Mann and his Hockey Stick graph, A Disgrace to the Profession. The book is a compendium of writings by other scientists about Michael Mann’s serial offenses against science.

  • duheagle

    I don’t doubt you could. And most, if not all, would be based on some half-assed piece of software engineering malpractice called a climate model. No sale.

  • Flatley

    Mark Steyn is a funny guy but he’s not a scientist, he’s an entertainer, and a partisan entertainer at that. If you get your information from a source like Mark Steyn, it’s a sign you are being led by the nose, no matter how many scientists he happens to cite (apparently the book is full of misquotations.)

    So no, I’m not going to read that. Regardless, I don’t think it’s often well understood that nobody is disputing the “blade” of the hockey stick — that massive and unnerving spike in temperature since the 1970’s. No, all of this noise and nonsense has to do with the “shaft,” which is why you see more variability in the reconstructions above prior to 1500. Books like Steyn’s serve mostly to distract from the fact that the Earth is warming and we’re responsible for it.

    ETA: Here’s a question for you: Does an appreciable portion of the book focus on the 2005 paper by McIntyre & McKitrick, and the questions they raised regarding use of PCA?

  • duheagle

    Mr. Steyn doesn’t claim to be a scientist and his lack of scientific credentials is irrelevant to this book. It’s not Mr. Steyn who makes the statements contained within, but other parties who do happen to be scientists. Mr. Steyn’s contribution was to collect and arrange the material, not compose it.

    Schollenberger comes across as a tad, shall we say, anal retentive. His objections to Steyn’s book seem to consist mostly of what can most charitably be called quibbles about copy editing. Steyn, for instance, is indicted for quoting someone as though he had written something when only part of it was text from a PowerPoint presentation and the rest was what the person said aloud at said presentation when the slide was displayed. He also goes on for an entire paragraph about how awful it was that Steyn changed an uppercase “S” to a lowercase “s” at the start of one quote.

  • duheagle

    No it isn’t. It’s from orbiting satellites and it’s global. The Warmists are free to screw with surface temperature readings – especially those for the U.S. and its possessions – because they control the NOAA, through which said data is collected and archived. Satellites, though, transmit their data via radio and anyone with suitable equipment can grab the data as it comes down. If the Warmists try screwing with that, there are people who can call them on it.

  • Flatley

    This is good, because now we’re getting towards some concrete claims. Let’s focus on this:

    The scary-looking “blade” at the right end only looks scary if you accept that the Earth has never, in the current Ice Age interstitial, been anywhere near as warm as it is now.

    This is 100% incorrect. As with many things in life, the problem is not the value of the current temperature anomaly, it’s the rate of change. Even if you accept that global temperatures were comparable during the MWP to what we see today — and I am not going to just roll over on that, because you have still not provided evidence to that effect — you cannot claim that the MWP ever saw temperature swings of the magnitude that we’ve observed since the 1980s. Moreover, the warming trends have shown no signs of slowing — if anything, they are accelerating. Per NASA:

    As the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature has climbed 0.7 degrees Celsius, roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

    The fact that the Earth is extremely hot right now isn’t really the issue. The issue is that it’s been heating up very quickly, continues to do so, and shows no signs of slowing. Like I said earlier, statistical quibbles about the shaft of the hockey stick are intended to obscure those simple facts.

    For the last time, if you are going to make specific claims in your response, then back them up with specific citations. I will take failure to do so on your part as a sign that you are not interested in informed discussion, but would prefer to try and bludgeon others with your unsupported opinions.

  • Kapitalist

    The organic materials in the permafrost returns to enrich life. Methane is very unstable in our oxygen atmosphere and cannot have any lasting greenhouse gas effect.

    And the arctic is NOT melting since there’s NO warming. But it is GREENING because the life-giving CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increases globally, thanks to humans pumping and burning fossil fuel! The most environmentally friendly recycling that ever happened. From life to life. We should pump and burn fossil fuel even if we have no immediate economic use of it as energy, because it is stimulating all wild life on Earth and indirectly benefits us a great deal.