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Systems Analysis: Potential Evolution of the Aura Mission

03.20.2023 - The Aura satellite and its instruments are in good/excellent health, having aged well. This status is expected to continue to the end of the mission. Insufficient power generation by the solar array is conservatively predicted to be the life-limiting factor for the Aura satellite and instruments by mid-2025.


Ozone Hole Continues Shrinking in 2022, NASA and NOAA Scientists Say

10.26.2022 - The annual Antarctic ozone hole reached an average area of 8.9 million square miles (23.2 million square kilometers) between Sept. 7 and Oct. 13, 2022. This depleted area of the ozone layer over the South Pole was slightly smaller than last year and generally continued the overall shrinking trend of recent years.

Tonga Eruption Blasted Unprecedented Amount of Water Into Stratosphere

08.02.2022 - The huge amount of water vapor hurled into the atmosphere, as detected by NASA’s Microwave Limb Sounder, could end up temporarily warming Earth’s surface.


2021 Antarctic Ozone Hole 13th-Largest, Will Persist into November

10.27.2021 - The 2021 Antarctic ozone hole reached its maximum area on Oct. 7 and ranks 13th-largest since 1979. This year’s ozone hole developed similarly to last year's: A colder than usual Southern Hemisphere winter led to a deep and larger-than-average ozone hole that will likely persist into November or early December.

Protecting the Ozone Layer Also Protects Earth’s Ability to Sequester Carbon

08.25.2021 - Protecting the ozone layer also protects Earth’s vegetation and has prevented the planet from an additional 0.85 degrees Celsius of warming, according to new research from Lancaster University, NASA, and others

An Observational Gap at the Edge of Space

03.05.2021 - Ongoing climate change in Earth’s middle and upper atmosphere will affect the rapidly expanding space and telecommunications sectors. Maintaining observations of this region is more crucial than ever.

NASA Study Finds Reduced African Grassland Fires Contribute to Short-lived Air Quality Improvements

02.25.2021 - NASA researchers have found a small but unexpected decrease in air pollution over some parts of Africa despite growing use of fossil fuels in many countries due to development and economic growth. However, they note the findings were evident only during the dry season over areas where a reduction in grassland fires occurred, which likely will not be enough to offset growing human-caused air pollution in the long term.

NASA-funded Network Tracks the Recent Rise and Fall of Ozone Depleting Pollutants

02.17.2021 - A short-lived resurgence in the emission of ozone depleting pollutants in eastern China will not significantly delay the recovery of Earth’s protective “sunscreen” layer, according to new research published Feb. 10 in Nature


Seeing the COVID-19 Pandemic from Space

12.14.2020 - Economic and social shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to noticeable changes in Earth’s environment, at least for the short term. NASA researchers are using satellite and ground-based observations to track these impacts on our air, land, water and climate. These datasets have been collected in a free and openly available online dashboard.

Large, Deep Antarctic Ozone Hole Persisting into November

10.30.2020 - Persistent cold temperatures and strong circumpolar winds, also known as the polar vortex, supported the formation of a large and deep Antarctic ozone hole that should persist into November, NOAA and NASA scientists reported today.

NASA Funds Four Research Projects on COVID-19 Impacts

05.13.2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic changed the routines of millions of people around the world seemingly overnight. In some places, once-congested streets are now easily navigable; previously crammed sidewalks, eerily vacant.

Reductions in Nitrogen Dioxide Associated with Decreased Fossil Fuel Use Resulting from COVID-19 Mitigation

04.28.2020 - Over the past several weeks, the Northeast United States has seen significant reductions in air pollution over its major metropolitan areas. Similar reductions in air pollution have been observed in other regions of the world.

NASA Data Aids Ozone Hole’s Journey to Recovery

04.15.2020 - Policymakers, scientists and companies around the world joined forces to find a solution to an urgent problem. Much of the data that empowered these decisions came from NASA scientists and instruments.

How NASA is Helping the World Breathe More Easily

04.14.2020 - Luckily, many of NASA's Earth-observing satellites can see what the human eye can't -- including potentially harmful pollutants lingering in the air we breathe. From the vantage point of space, these satellites help us measure and track air pollution as it moves around the globe and have contributed significantly to our decades-long quest for cleaner air.

NASA Satellite Data Show 30 Percent Drop In Air Pollution Over Northeast U.S.

04.09.2020 - Over the past several weeks, NASA satellite measurements have revealed significant reductions in air pollution over the major metropolitan areas of the Northeast United States. Similar reductions have been observed in other regions of the world. These recent improvements in air quality have come at a high cost, as communities grapple with widespread lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders as a result of the spread of COVID-19.

Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China

03.02.2020 - NO2 amounts have dropped with the coronavirus quarantine, Chinese New Year, and a related economic slowdown.

Australian Smoke Plume Sets Records

01.26.2020 - Potent wildfires sent one of the largest plumes of smoke higher into the stratosphere than certain satellites have ever observed.


New Map Shows Risk of Sunburn Across the U.S.

08.07.2019 - Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, taking thousands of lives every year. By the age of 70, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. Now NASA is helping public health officials track the primary cause of the disease: overexposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Ozone Monitoring Instrument Team Spots “Fingerprints” on Earth’s Atmosphere

05.03.2019 - By measuring solar radiation reflected from Earth’s surface and scattered by its atmosphere, the OMI team derives important information about aerosols such as dust and smoke and pollutants like nitrogen and sulfur dioxide.

Ozone Instrument Team, Data Champion Receive Earth Observation Award

04.29.2019 - The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) international team received the Pecora Award for its “sustained team innovation and international collaboration to produce daily global satellite data that revolutionized air quality, stratospheric chemistry, and climate research.”

Ozone Hole : How we Saved the Planet

03.27.2019 - New Documentary Tells the Remarkable Story of How Scientists Discovered the Deadly Hole in the Ozone – and the Even More Remarkable Story of How the World’s Leaders Came Together to Fix It


Just Another Day on Aerosol Earth

08.24.2018 - If you have ever watched smoke billowing from a wildfire, ash erupting from a volcano or dust blowing in the wind, you have seen aerosols. Satellites like NASA's Earth-observing satellites, Terra, Aqua, Aura and Suomi NPP, “see” them as well, though they offer a completely different perspective from hundreds of kilometers above Earth’s surface.

Farewell to a Pioneering Pollution Sensor

02.13.2018 - NASA ended the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer's (TES) almost 14-year career of discovery. TES was the first instrument designed to monitor ozone in the lowest layers of the atmosphere directly from space. Its high-resolution observations led to new measurements of atmospheric gases that have altered our understanding of the Earth system.

NASA Study: First Direct Proof of Ozone Hole Recovery Due to Chemicals Ban

01.04.2018 - For the first time, scientists have shown through direct satellite observations of the ozone hole that levels of ozone-destroying chlorine are declining, resulting in less ozone depletion.

NASA-led Study Solves a Methane Puzzle

01.02.2018 - A new NASA-led study has solved a puzzle involving the recent rise in atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, with a new calculation of emissions from global fires. The new study resolves what looked like irreconcilable differences in explanations for the increase.


NASA Satellite Tracks Ozone Pollution by Monitoring Its Key Ingredients

11.06.2017 - New NASA-funded research has devised a way to use satellite measurements of the precursor gases that contribute to ozone formation to differentiate among three different sets of conditions that lead to its production.

Warm Air Helped Make 2017 Ozone Hole Smallest Since 1988

11.02.2017 - Measurements from satellites this year showed the hole in Earth's ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September was the smallest observed since 1988, scientists from NASA and NOAA announced.


Satellite Finds Unreported Sources of Sulfur Dioxide

06.07.2016 - NASA Earth Observatory's Image: The map shows a regional picture of sulfur dioxide emissions as detected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura spacecraft.

NASA Satellite Finds Unreported Sources of Toxic Air Pollution

06.01.2016 - Using a new satellite-based method, scientists at NASA, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and two universities have located 39 unreported and major human-made sources of toxic sulfur dioxide emissions.

NASA Scientists Scrutinize Arctic Gas Flaring Pollution

04.26.2016 - Flaring of waste natural gas from industrial oil fields in the Northern Hemisphere is a potential source of significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide and black carbon to the Arctic, according to a new NASA study, which features OMI Nitrogen dioxide data.


Record Smog Levels Grip Northeastern China

11.10.2015 - Kevin Bowman of NASA, discusses the health and environmental impacts of China's high smog levels will have on the US West Coast.

A Story of Ozone: The Earth's Natural Sunscreen

04.05.2015 - Dr. Paul Newman is the chief scientist for atmospheric sciences at NASA Goddard. In this talk he discusses how chlorofluorocarbons were destroying the ozone layer, what policy-makers did about it, and what challenges the ozone layer faces today.

A Tale of Three Cities: Beijing, Los Angeles, Atlanta

03.29.2015 - Dr. Bryan N. Duncan is a deputy project scientist for the Aura Mission at NASA Goddard. In this talk he tells the story of air quality in three cities- Beijing, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

International Action Against Ozone Depleting Substances Yields Significant Gains

09.10.2014 - Worldwide action to phase out ozone-depleting substances has resulted in remarkable success, according to a new assessment by 300 international scientists. The stratospheric ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas that protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet light, is on track to recovery over the next few decades.


Ozone layer showing 'signs of recovery', UN says

09.10.2014 - The ozone layer that shields the earth from cancer-causing ultraviolet rays is showing early signs of thickening after years of depletion, a UN study says. (BBC News)

Hell with the Lid Taken Off

09.02.2014 - During the first half of the twentieth century, coal burning at power plants, factories, and homes filled the air over the Midwestern U.S. with pollution...

Ups and downs in the quest for clean air

08.23.2014 - Newly released maps reveal that U.S. air quality has markedly improved over the last decade.

"Killer" Trees? Not Exactly

07.16.2014 - While some forests emit volatile organic compounds that are involved in ozone pollution, history shows attempts to control smog have a better chance of succeeding by focusing on vehicle emissions.

Ten-Year Endeavor: NASA's Aura Tracks Pollutants

07.15.2014 - NASA's Aura satellite, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year on July 15, has provided vital data about the cause, concentrations and impact of major air pollutants.

Put a Lid on It

06.27.2014 - Aura's Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) images show that the effects of federal and state efforts have left the air far cleaner than it was a decade prior.

Arctic Ozone in Spring

06.08.2014 - Though Earth's ozone layer has been depleted over the past four decades by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and similar chemical compounds, the changes are expressed differently at the North and South Pole

New NASA Images Highlight U.S. Air Quality Improvement

06.26.2014 - After ten years in orbit, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite has been in orbit sufficiently long to show that people in major U.S. cities are breathing less nitrogen dioxide - a yellow-brown gas that can cause respiratory problems.

Anne Douglass - Thinks Like a Scientist (Part One) | (Part Two)

04.15.2014 - When faced with a complex problem, Aura project scientist and co-lead for the Chemistry Climate Model Anne Douglass instructs herself to think like a scientist.

NASA Puzzles Out Ozone's Ups and Downs

04.25.2014 - New NASA research on natural ozone cycles suggests ozone levels in the lowest part of Earth's atmosphere probably won't be affected much by projected future strengthening of the circulating winds that transport ozone between Earth's two lowest atmospheric layers.


Aura Satellite Sees Increase of India's Sulfur Dioxide Emissions

12.19.2013 - Power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide -- an atmospheric pollutant with both health and climate impacts -- have increased across India in recent years, according to a new analysis of data from a NASA satellite.

Know Your Earth 3.0: Aura / About Anne Douglass

04.01.2013 - Anne Douglass is the project scientist for Aura, one of NASA's Earth Observing System's flagship missions.

A Satellite's View of Ship Pollution

02.08.2013 - Aura's Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) instrument show long tracks of elevated nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels along certain shipping routes.

Pollution across Southwestern Asia

01.18.2013 - Cold winter weather and burgeoning industrial economies have made for difficult breathing in Asia and the Middle East this January.

NASA Ozone Study May Benefit Air Standards, Climate

01.16.2013 - A new NASA-led study finds that when it comes to combating global warming caused by emissions of ozone-forming chemicals, location matters.


Aura EPO takes the A-Train to Washington!

05.07.2012 - Aura's Education and Public Outreach lead, Ginger Butcher, exhibited the new "Engineer a Satellite" activity in Washington, DC for the 2012 Earth Day event on the National Mall and the US Science and Engineering Festival.

Scientists lead forums at Howard Community College

03.21.2012 - NASA scientists lead forums at Howard Community College


Sharp Decline in Pollution from U.S. Coal Power Plants

12.01.2011 - A team of scientists have used the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite to confirm major reductions in the levels of a key air pollutant generated by coal power plants in the eastern United States. The pollutant, sulfur dioxide, contributes to the formation of acid rain and can cause serious health problems.

Long Cold Spell Leads to Arctic Ozone Hole

10.06.2011 - In March 2011, the Earth Observatory published images of a rare, deep depletion in the ozone layer over the Arctic. The images came from daily observations made by Aura's OMI instrument.

Study of Unprecedented Arctic Ozone Loss

10.02.2011 - A NASA-led study has documented an unprecedented depletion of Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic last winter and spring caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere.

Pollution in the Great Lakes Region

07.21.2011 - Fires throughout Ontario are generating pollution that is showing up in data from NASA's Aura Satellite in the Great Lakes region.

Pollution 'Butterfly'

07.15.2011 - Fires raging in central Africa are generating a high amount of pollution that is showing up in data from NASA's Aura Satellite, with the ominous shape of a dark red butterfly in the skies over southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern Angola.

Fire's Fading Pollution Plume in Northern Canada

07.15.2011 - In its early, violent days, the eruption at the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex sent clouds of ash high into the atmosphere.

Pollution from New Mexico, Arizona Fires

07.01.2011 - NASA's Aura Satellite has provided a view of nitrogen dioxide levels coming from the fires in New Mexico and Arizona.

Ash from Puyehue-Cordón Caulle

06.18.2011 - Recent pollution levels from the fires in Canada's Northwest Territories do not appear to be as high as they were at the end of June as the fires have come under more control since then.

A Day of Night-Shining Clouds

01.28.2011 - Scientists have a good reason to track noctilucent or polar mesospheric clouds: they are a pretty good gauge of even the tiniest changes in the atmosphere. These "night-shining clouds" as they are sometimes called, are thin, wavy ice clouds that form at very high altitudes and reflect sunlight long after the Sun has dropped below the horizon.


Increasing 'Bad' Ozone Threatens Human and Plant Health

08.05.2010 - On July 6 this summer, Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality issued the region's first "unhealthy" air alert since 2008.

Tracking Iceland Volcano Ash Plume

05.05.2010 - Last month when ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland shut down air traffic over much of Europe, an international network of centers dedicated to this aviation hazard sprang into action.


Progress of 2009 Antarctic Ozone Hole

09.16.2009 - The annual ozone hole has started developing over the South Pole, and it appears that it will be comparable to ozone depletions over the past decade.

What's Holding Antarctic Sea Ice Back From Melting?

09.01.2009 - Sea ice at the other end of the world has been making headlines in recent years for retreating at a breakneck pace. Satellite measurements show that, on average, Arctic sea ice has decreased by four percent per decade.

Five Years of Aura

07.15.2009 - Aura has fulfilled its requirement for a 5 year lifetime and continues to provide high quality science.

Smoke Over the Amazon

06.30.2009 - Prior to widespread human settlement and forest clearing, there was no such thing as a fire season in the Amazon Rainforest.

Satellite Measurements Help Reveal Ozone Damage to Important Crops

05.27.2009 - The U.S. soybean crop is suffering nearly $2 billion in damage a year due to rising surface ozone concentrations harming plants and reducing the crop's yield potential, a NASA-led study has concluded.


Satellite Data Reveal Impact of Olympic Pollution Controls

12.16.2008 - Chinese government regulators had clearer skies and easier breathing in mind in the summer of 2008 when they temporarily shuttered some factories and banished many cars in a pre-Olympic sprint to clean up Beijing's air.

2008 Ozone Hole Maximum Announced

10.31.2008 - The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual maximum on Sept. 12, 2008, stretching over 27 million square kilometers, or 10.5 million square miles. The area of the ozone hole is calculated as an average of the daily areas for Sept. 21-30 from observations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite.

Sulfur Dioxide and Vog from Kilauea

04.26.2008 - In late April 2008, Kilauea Volcano Volcano on Hawaii's big island continued its pattern of increased activity, including elevated seismic tremors and emissions from the volcano's Halema'uma'u vent.

Air Quality Forecasts See Future in Space

12.13.2007 - Weather broadcasts have long been a staple for people planning their day. Now with the help of NASA satellites, researchers are working to broaden daily forecasts to include predictions of air quality, a feat that is becoming reality in some parts of the world.


Proposed orbit change for the Aura spacecraft

10.29.2007 - The Aura spacecraft currently flies about 15.22 minutes behind Aqua in the A-Train. The Aura Project is proposing to move Aura spacecraft closer to Aqua. Aura would follow Aqua by about 8 minutes along the same track after the move.

NASA Keeps Eye On Ozone Layer Amid The
Montreal Protocol's Success

09.13.2007 - NASA scientists will join researchers from around the world to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to reduce the hole in Earth's protective ozone layer.

A NASA Space Sleuth Hunts the Trail of Earth's Water

01.31.2007 - For the first time, NASA scientists have used a shrewd spaceborne detective to track the origin and movement of water vapor throughout Earth's atmosphere. This perspective is vital to improve the understanding of Earth's water cycle and its role in weather and climate.

Sources of the World's Tiny Pollutants

01.30.2007 - Pinpointing pollutant sources is an important part of the ongoing battle to improve air quality and to understand its impact on climate. Scientists using NASA data recently tracked the path and distribution of aerosols -- tiny particles suspended in the air -- to link their region of origin and source type with their tendencies to warm or cool the atmosphere.


Tropical Ozone Studies Yield Surprises

12.14.2006 - Two new NASA-funded studies of ozone in the tropics using NASA satellite data not previously available are giving scientists a fuller understanding of the processes driving ozone chemistry and its impacts on pollution and climate change.

Ozone Hole is a Double Record Breaker

10.19.2006 - NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists report this year's ozone hole in the polar region of the Southern Hemisphere has broken records for area and depth.

Study Tracks Global Sources, Transport of Air Pollution

09.25.2006 - A NASA and university study of ozone and carbon monoxide pollution in Earth's atmosphere is providing unique insights into the sources of these pollutants and how they are transported around the world.

Study Finds Ozone Layer on the Mend

08.30.2006 - Scientists analyzed 25 years of independent ozone observations at different altitudes in Earth's stratosphere.

Washington Getting a Summertime Air Quality Exam

08.03.2006 - Summer in the city can often mean sweltering "bad air days" that threaten the health of the elderly, children and those with respiratory problems. This summer the nation's capitol has been no stranger to such severe air-quality alerts.

Clock Ticking Slower On Ozone Hole Recovery

06.29.2006 - The Antarctic ozone hole's recovery is running late. According to a new NASA study, the full return of the protective ozone over the South Pole will take nearly 20 years longer than scientists previously expected.

Aura Top Ten Discoveries

06.28.2006 - Since launching in July 2004, Aura has been retrieving information and producing valueable data of the Earth and its atmospheric properties. View the selected top ten discoveries that Aura's instruments have brought us so far.

Tibet Provides Passage for Chemicals to Reach the Stratosphere

05.09.2006 - Thunderstorms over Tibet provide a main pathway for water vapor and chemicals to travel from the lower atmosphere, where human activity directly affects atmospheric composition, into the stratosphere.


Explosive Eruption of Anatahan Volcano

05.04.2005 - Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from the eruption were measured by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's EOS/Aura satellite from the Anatahan (Mariana Islands)

OMI Sees the Soot Within Smoke

4.13.2005 - Aura's Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) provided data for the color-coded images which focus only on aerosols (particles in the atmosphere) from the damage of fires in Alaska.

Arctic Air Helps Us Learn About Our Climate

02.18.2005 - Scientists head north to learn about air quality, ozone, and climate change predictions.

Sulfur Dioxide Plume From Manam Volcano

01.28.2005 - The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) recorded the Manam volcano eruption on NASA's new Aura satellite.


NASA's Aura: New Eye for Clean Air

12.14.2004 - The instruments onboard Aura will help scientists monitor pollution production and transport around the world.

Aura Sheds New Light on Pollution

12.14.2004 - Satellite offers unprecedented precision.

Whose Air Is It Anyway?

10.21.2004 - We share the air we breathe not only with other people but also with the rest of our environment .

Bringing Students and Satellites Together

10.07.2004 - Forty K-12 educators from the United States and France participated in an 11-day NASA-sponsored workshop this past summer aimed at bringing real-life science experiences into the classroom.

NASA Puts Safety First

07.15.2004 - The safety measures taken during the launch of Aura are characteristic of NASA's commitment to safety and mission assurance.

Aura Launched

07.15.2004 - Aura, a mission dedicated to the health of the Earth's atmosphere, successfully launched today at 6:01:59 a.m. EDT.

Launch Advisory: Aura Launch Postponed

07.14.2004 - The next launch attempt will be on Thursday morning, July 15, during a three-minute launch window that opens at 6:01:59 a.m. EDT.

Aura Postponed 24 Hours to July 11

07.08.2004 - The launch of NASA's Aura spacecraft has been postponed by at least 24 hours to Sunday, July 11 at 6:01:57 a.m. EDT.

Meet More Aura Scientists

07.08.2004 - John Gille: Searching for Patterns in the Clouds, Anne Douglass: Making the World Safe for Blondes, Peter Siegel: Studying the Energy of the Universe

Aura Satellite Ready for July 10 Launch

06.29.2004 - A next-generation Earth-observing satellite is scheduled for liftoff on Saturday, July 10 at approximately 6:01:57 a.m. EDT.

Ozone: Friend and Foe

06.24.2004 - The same gas -- ozone -- that is the main factor in bad air also protects us from the Sun's harmful effects.

Meet The Aura Scientists

06.10.2004 - Interviews with Andrea Razzaghi and Pieternel Levelt.

Aura to Check Health of Earth's Atmosphere

06.03.2004 - A mission to understand and protect the air we breathe.

The Good, the Bad and the Ozone

06.01.2004 - The story of a molecule and the spacecraft designed to help us understand it.

An Aura Around the Earth

05.17.2004 - On June 19, the launch of Aura satellite will help scientists understand how atmospheric composition affect the Earth.

Tango in the Atmosphere

05.13.2004 - Temperature, humidity, winds and the presence of other chemicals in the atmosphere influence ozone formation, and the presence of ozone, in turn, affects those atmospheric constituents.

Scientists Explain Aura Satellite Mission

05.13.2004 - Researchers will brief the press and discuss science goals of the mission at 4 p.m. EDT, May 17 in Montreal.

Czech Schools Part of GLOBE's Success

02.05.2004 - Six schools in the Czech Republic received awards recently for their collection of ozone data as part of a GLOBE project


The Globe Program: Science in the Sunshine

12.18.2003 - GLOBE is an international organization of students and teachers who collect and share data about the health of the environment.