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Aura Science

2006 Observations

OMI Measures Volcanic Gas Cloud

OMI Measures Volcanic Gas Cloud

(movie) On May 20, 2006 a major lava dome collapse at the Soufriere Hills volcano triggered an explosive emission of volcanic gases. Sulfur dioxide in the resulting gas cloud was tracked by OMI for 3 weeks as it moved westwards across the Pacific.

OMI Smelter Measurements

SO2 Emissions from Smelters

The Peruvian copper smelters are among the world's largest industrial point sources of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and are among the most polluting in the world. OMI is sensitive enough to identify copper being emitted from the La Oroya and Ilo smelters even though these produce less SO2 than the volcanoes.

OMI & MLS Tropospheric Ozone maps

First global tropospheric maps show streams of tropospheric ozone crossing the oceans

OMI & MLS can estimate the tropospheric ozone residual by subtracting the MLS stratospheric ozone from OMI column ozone. These maps show pollution streaming from the U.S., Europe and China to the west in summer and pollution from biomass burning in the equatorial zone.

TES Tropospheric maps

First Maps of Tropospheric Ozone & Carbon Monoxide

Coincident measurements of tropospheric ozone and carbon monoxide are critical for understanding chemical and dynamical processes, which can be very complex in the troposphere.

MLS Cloud Ice

First Global Measurement of Cloud Ice in Upper Troposphere

Cloud ice measurement will improve global circulation models used for weather and climate forecasts.
The measurements will also help quantify the upper tropospheric hydrological cycle, including water vapor feedbacks on climate change.

MLS Sub-Visual Cirrus

First Maps of Sub-Visual Cirrus in the Upper Tropical Troposphere

MLS sees cloud ice, but HIRDLS sees the clouds themselves, even clouds that are so thin that people cannot see them. Just as in the MLS cloud ice map we see large amounts of this cirrus in regions of significant cloud ice.

TES measurements

First Global Observations of HDO/H2O ratio - A Tracer of Global Hydrological Processes

The hydrological cycle acts differently in different location. The TES measurements show that in the tropics, re-evaporation of precipitation is an important process controlling cloud formation. Up to 70% of precipitation is re-evaporated into the cloud.

CO pertubation

Measurement of CO in Upper Troposphere

CO is a signature of pollution and can be transported a long way from its source. Not surprisingly, that transport can be vertical as well as horizontal. These images show how CO detected in the lower stratosphere can tell us something about where convection is occurring.

HCI measurements

Continuous measurement of HCl in stratosphere

The continuous measurement of HCl in the stratosphere shows the rapid recovery of this major chlorine reservoir after polar ozone loss, and continues the long-term measurements from UARS HALOE. Monitoring HCl tells us about ozone loss processes and the recovery of the ozone layer.

OH MEasurements

First Measurement of OH in the Middle Stratosphere

The MLS measurements of OH and HO2 have provided the first tests of global stratospheric hydrogen chemistry and resolved the disagreement between model estimates of OH and earlier observations - these data suggest earlier observations are suspect.

Gravity Waves

First Global Measurement of Small Scale Gravity Waves in the Stratosphere

HIRDLS high resolution temperature measurements show short vertical wavelength gravity waves, permitting assessment of gravity wave forcing in the stratospheric circulation.

Asian Dust Storms

Asian Dust Storms

(movie)Asia is suffering through the worst dust storm season in at least five years. The eighth major storm this year clogged the air over China, Korea, and Japan with sand from the Taklamkan and Gobi deserts. The sand picks up a toxic mix of heavy metals and carcinogens as the clouds pass over China's industrial areas, exacerbating health problems due to these storms.

South Korea gets rare yellow snowfall

South Korea gets rare yellow snowfall

South Koreans were treated to a rare weather phenomenon on Monday when yellow snow fell in the capital and elsewhere across the country.

The Carbon Monoxide Tape Recorder

The Carbon Monoxide Tape Recorder

As tropical air rises into the stratosphere it carries with it trace gases, such as CFC's that are responsible for ozone depletion.

In the News

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.