NASA has selected a new Earth science mission that will study the behavior of tropical storms and thunderstorms, including their impacts on weather and climate models. The mission will be a collection of three SmallSats, flying in close coordination, called Investigation of Convective Updrafts (INCUS), and is expected to launch in 2027 as part of NASA’s Earth Venture program.
NASA selected INCUS as part of a solicitation from the Earth Venture Mission-3 (EVM-3) agency which sought comprehensive space surveys to answer important scientific questions and produce data of societal interest in the field of Earth Science. NASA received 12 proposals for EVM-3 missions in March 2021. After detailed review by panels of scientists and engineers, the agency selected INCUS for further development.
“Each of our Earth science missions is carefully chosen to add to a strong portfolio of research on the planet we live on,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Missions Directorate in Washington. . âINCUS fills an important niche in helping us understand extreme weather events and their impact on climate models, all of which serve to provide critical information needed to mitigate weather and climate effects on our communities. “
INCUS aims to directly explain why convection storms, heavy precipitation, and clouds occur exactly when and where they form. The survey stems from the 2017 Decennial Earth Science Survey of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which presents ambitious but essential research and observation directions.
“In a changing climate, more precise information about how storms develop and intensify can help improve weather models and our ability to predict the risk of extreme weather conditions,” said Karen St. Germain, Director from NASA’s Earth Sciences Division. “This information not only deepens our scientific understanding of Earth’s changing processes, but can help inform communities around the world.”
Climate change is increasing the heat in the oceans and making it more likely that storms will intensify more often and faster, a phenomenon that NASA scientists continue to study.
Storms start with a rapid increase in water vapor and air that create towering clouds ready to produce rain, hail, and lighting. The greater the mass of water vapor and air carried up through the atmosphere, the greater the risk of extreme weather conditions. This vertical transport of air and water vapor, known as convective mass flow (CMF), remains one of the great unknowns of weather and climate. Systematic CMF measurements over the full range of conditions would improve the representation of storm intensity and limit high cloud feedbacks – which can add uncertainty – in weather and climate models.
INCUS’s principal investigator is Susan van den Heever from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The mission will be supported by several NASA centers, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with key components of the satellite system that will be supplied by Blue Canyon Technologies and Tendeg LLC, both of Colorado. The mission will cost around $ 177 million, not including launch costs. NASA will select a launch vendor in the future.
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Provided by Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Quote: NASA selects a new mission to study storms, impacts on climate models (2021, November 8) retrieved December 7, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-11-nasa-mission-storms- impacts-climate.html
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