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Cloud Imaging

July 15, 2008

A flotilla of satellites will closely monitor the effects of cloud pollution on climate.


Keeping tabs on cloud pollution. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

For many satellites looking at Earth, clouds are a nuisance. But for a caravan of five satellites called the A-train, they’re a star attraction. Atmospheric physicist Mark Schoeberl of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center says the A-train will monitor cloud pollution and its effects on climate. Although they’re hundreds of miles apart, the satellites fly fast enough to pass a given point within eight minutes of each other.

MARK SCHOEBERL (NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center):
The advantage of them being within eight minutes is that their observations can be considered pretty much near simultaneous.

So it’s like having one long satellite, with lots of different instruments. That will provide an unprecedented look at how air pollutants suppress rainfall and trap heat in the atmosphere. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.