NASA Satellite to Study Effects of Solar Energy and Aerosols on Climate

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NASA will launch satellite technology next month that scientists say will provide a clearer understanding of how solar energy and aerosols affect Earth’s climate. Traveling at about 438 miles above the Earth over three years, the Glory satellite will collect data on the Sun’s total energy output and provide new details on the tiny aerosols that reflect and absorb those solar rays passing through the atmosphere.

Combined, the instrumentation will help scientists better understand the Earth’s overall “energy budget,” said Hal Maring, a NASA project scientist. “This really is a climate mission,” he said. “We’ve got to know how much energy is coming in, if it’s changing, and how that energy affects the climate system.” The mission is the first satellite-related component of President Obama’s initiative to better understand climate science.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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