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NASA Mission to Study Ice Clouds, Help Observe Our Dynamic Atmosphere

NASA has announced a new mission to study ice clouds and observe the dynamic nature of Earth's atmosphere. The mission, called Ice Cloud and Atmospheric Moisture Interactions (ICAMI), aims to improve climate predictions by investigating the formation and impact of ice clouds on weather patterns and climate change.

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All About It

A new mission has been chosen by NASA to help humanity gain a better understanding of Earth's dynamic atmosphere, particularly the ice clouds that form at high altitudes in tropical and subtropical regions. These ice clouds will be studied by the PolSIR instrument, which stands for Polarized Submillimeter Ice-cloud Radiometer, to ascertain how and why they shift throughout the day. This will reveal important details about how global climate models can accurately simulate these high-altitude clouds.

The investigation consists of two identical CubeSats traveling in orbits separated by three to nine hours and each measuring just over a foot in height. These two instruments will track the daily ice content cycle of the clouds over time.

"Concentrating on ice mists is critical for further developing environment estimates - and this will be whenever we first can concentrate on ice mists in this degree of detail," said Nicola Fox, partner executive for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Base camp in Washington. " Each NASA mission is painstakingly decided to all the more likely grasp our home planet."

The award is for lifecycle expenses that do not include launch costs and do not exceed $37 million. The radiometer is an Earth Venture instrument, which are less expensive instruments with a specific research objective that typically travel with another mission or commercial satellite to reduce launch costs. In addition, the Earth Venture class places a strong emphasis on providing frequent flight opportunities so that cutting-edge scientific investigations can be carried out relatively quickly—typically within five years or less. Missions like this give key designated research open doors, which assist us with working on how we might interpret what's driving change in the whole Earth framework.

According to Karen St. Germain, the head of NASA's Earth Sciences Division, "Understanding how these ice clouds respond to a changing climate – and then, in turn, contribute to further changes – remains one of the great challenges to predicting what the atmosphere will do in the future." Our comprehension of how ice clouds change and respond throughout the day will be significantly enhanced by the radiometers, which measure the radiant energy that clouds emit.

The mission is driven by Ralf Bennartz, head specialist at Vanderbilt College in Nashville, Tennessee, and by Dong Wu, representative head examiner at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The project management team that builds the two instruments will be provided by NASA Goddard, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center will handle science operations. Blue Canyon Technologies, which is based in Lafayette, Colorado, will construct the two spacecraft.

Visit the following websites to learn more about NASA's Earth science missions:

https://www.nasa.gov/Earth

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