The surest sign of a warming Earth is the melting of its ice zones. Now, Michael Lemonick writes, scientists are using satellite technology to measure the extent, thickness, and height of ice, assembling a picture of a planet in transition. READ THE e360 REPORT
Oct. 28, will orbit the planet at an altitude of 512 miles, traveling from the North Pole to the South Pole 14 times daily. While technically a NASA mission, the $1.5 billion satellite will provide key data for a series of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projects, marking a key step in the creation of a U.S. climate monitoring system. The project’s key objectives include creation of long-term global environmental data, daily measurements of the ozone layer, monitoring of changes to the planet’s sea ice and glaciers, and collection of data on air pollution. Officials hope the satellite will serve as a bridge between NOAA’s current polar orbiting satellites and the next generation of satellites, the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). A series of delays and funding cuts, however, has pushed a launch of the JPSS project back to 2017 at the earliest, which U.S. scientists say could lead to a gap in satellite data.
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
Watch the video.