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The Secret Life of Clouds: New Findings From NASA's CloudSat and A-Train
12.12.07
 
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A little more than a year and a half into its primary mission, NASA's CloudSat satellite, working in tandem with the other Earth-observing satellites in NASA's "A-Train," is now yielding a treasure trove of new data that are helping scientists better understand the enormous influence clouds have on Earth's weather, climate and energy balance. Researchers present results that include discovery of a link between observed decreases in polar clouds last summer and a corresponding loss of Arctic sea ice; surprising new global estimates of how frequently clouds rain over Earth's oceans that suggest the need to reassess the intensity of Earth's water cycle and its impact on climate models; and the first global evidence that the small aerosol particles in our atmosphere may be polluting clouds, making them more reflective.

Related Links:

> CloudSat/CALIPSO Launch Press Kit 1.9 Mb (PDF)
> Pre-Launch Audio Clips
> CloudSat Fact Sheet (437Kb - PDF)
> Science Writers' Guide: CALIPSO, CloudSat, GRACE (2.6Mb - PDF)
> Aerosols: More Than Meets the Eye (951Kb - PDF)
> The Importance of Understanding Clouds (449Kb - PDF)
> The Balance of Power in the Earth-Sun System (605Kb - PDF)