Thawing Permafrost Could Leach Microbes, Chemicals Into Environment

Thawing permafrost can result in the loss of terrain, as seen in this image where part of the coastal bluff along Drew Point, Alaska, has collapsed into the ocean. (Credits: Benjamin Jones, USGS)

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.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — 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 trying to determine the potential effects of the thaw.

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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NASA, FEMA to Host Alliance for Climate Action Series in October

NASA supercomputer model shows how greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) – a key driver of global warming – fluctuate in Earth’s atmosphere throughout the year. Higher concentrations are shown in red. (Credits: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio / NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will co-host the Alliances for Climate Action, a virtual series to address rising demand for accurate, timely, and actionable information at a time of rapid global climate change. The first event, featuring NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, will take place noon EDT Wednesday, Oct. 6, and will livestream on the agency’s website.

Attendees throughout the series will learn about progress in climate research, engage with industry peers, and identify opportunities for collaboration. The series is free an open to the public.

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NASA, ESA Partner in New Effort to Address Global Climate Change

To measure water depth and salinity, the OMG project dropped probes by plane into fjords along Greenland’s coast. Shown here is one such fjord in which a glacier is undercut by warming water. The brown water is caused by sediment being dredged up from the base of the glacier by meltwater plumes. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) have formed a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership to observe Earth and its changing environment. The global climate is rapidly changing and the demand for accurate, timely, and actionable knowledge is more pressing than ever. Recognizing that climate change is an urgent global challenge, the timing is right for NASA and ESA, as partners in space, to join forces to lead and support a global response to climate change. The partnership is an effort to help address and mitigate climate change through monitoring Earth with combined efforts of both agencies in Earth science observations, research, and applications.

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NASA Science Budget Request Fact Sheet

Europa Clipper in orbit around Europa. (Credit: NASA)

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Science
($ Millions)

NASA’s Science budget, managed by the Science Mission Directorate, includes five major science areas as well as the James Webb Space Telescope which is funded separately from Astrophysics. These areas include:

  • Earth Science to enhance understanding of Earth systems and to observe the effects of climate change. The Budget invests heavily in climate and applications research, begins formulation of the first four Designated Observable missions, and initiates the Earth System Explorers program (consistent with Decadal Survey recommendations). The Budget also supports the ongoing development of the Earth System Observatory including PACE, CLARREO Pathfinder, NISAR, SWOT, and Landsat 9.
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New NASA Earth System Observatory to Help Address, Mitigate Climate Change

NOAA-12 image of Hurricane Emily in 1993. (Credit: NOAA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes. With the Earth System Observatory, each satellite will be uniquely designed to complement the others, working in tandem to create a 3D, holistic view of Earth, from bedrock to atmosphere.

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