FWD: [UASR] CLOUDSAT TO REVOLUTIONIZE STUDY OF CLOUDS AND CLIMATE
- Posted by : "[UASR]> Perry van den Brink" <owner-uasr@...>
David E. Steitz
Headquarters, Washington, DC April 30, 1999
CLOUDSAT TO REVOLUTIONIZE STUDY OF CLOUDS AND CLIMATE
NASA will take a revolutionary, global look at clouds with a
new spaceborne radar capable of peering deep into their interior
to study their structure, composition and effects on climate.
Cloudsat, which will fly in 2003, will use an advanced radar
to "slice" through clouds to see their vertical structure,
providing a completely new observational capability from space --
current weather satellites can only image the uppermost layers of
clouds. Cloudsat will be the first satellite to study clouds on a
"A trio of satellites will provide unprecedented information
on how clouds help transfer solar energy to and from our planet's
atmosphere," said Dr. Ghassem Asrar, Associate Administrator for
Earth Sciences, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. "The data from
Cloudsat will help us understand changes in the Earth's climate on
global, regional and local scales. An important contribution of
Cloudsat is the way it will fly in formation with the Earth
Observing System-PM and the PICASSO-CENA satellites."
PICASSO-CENA, a cooperative mission between NASA and France,
will study the role of transparent, thin clouds and aerosols,
small atmospheric particles, and their effect on solar-energy
The Cloud Profiling Radar of Cloudsat will study the three-
dimensional structure of most clouds important to weather and
climate. This capability complements an instrument aboard
PICASSO-CENA, which will observe the vertical structure of thin
clouds and aerosols. These two missions will provide critically
needed satellite measurements that will help researchers
understand how the Earth's solar energy and climate interact on a
Cloudsat data also will complement the Earth Observing
System-PM satellite, which will collect data on the dynamics of
Earth's atmosphere, and the Triana mission, both to be launched in
Dr. Graeme Stephens of Colorado State University, Ft.
Collins, CO, will be principal investigator of the Cloudsat
mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, will
manage the international mission, which will include participation
from the United States, Canada, Germany and Japan.
The estimated cost of the Cloudsat mission is $135 million.
NASA's contribution will be approximately $111 million, with
additional funding provided by the Canadian Space Agency, the U.S.
Department of Energy and the U.S. Air Force. The Canadian Space
Agency also is developing key radar components and contributing
scientific expertise. Ball Aerospace, Boulder, CO, will build the
The Cloudsat mission continues the strong commitment to Earth
Systems Science undertaken by NASA's Office of Earth Science,
which oversees a long-term, coordinated research enterprise
designed to study the Earth as a global environmental system.