EcoTrack 11: Mission aims to better understand climate change - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

EcoTrack 11: Mission aims to better understand climate change

Reported by Chris Vickers - bio | email

Posted by Nick Dutton - email

(WTOL) - An international group of scientists are on a mission to better understand the earth's atmosphere and climate change.

The nations most advanced research plane, called hiaper, set out this month on a 24,000 mile pole-to-pole flight and data gathering mission.

"We're going to take this wonderful airplane which is capable of flying very far, very high and very low and take a slice out of the atmosphere and see what's in it," says Steven Wofsy of  Harvard University's HIPPO Mission. 

It's an ambitious goal, capture the first ever global picture of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere.

"The importance of the work, is that when we finish up we will have a completely new picture about how greenhouse gases are entering the atmosphere and being removed by the atmosphere both by natural processes and by humans," says Wofsy.

Scientist will make a series of five flights over the next three years tracking across the globe to sample the atmosphere in some of the most inaccessable regions of the world.

"It's the first time we've been able to look in great detail at the whole globe all at once. Nobody has ever done that. Satellites see the whole globe, but they don't see in great detail," says Wofsy.

The information gathered will provide real-time global observation data to correlate with climate models giving scientist a better handle on the issue of global warming.

"After we have done these flights we will have this amazing data set of carbon dioxide and other gases from all over the world. We'll have a much better understanding of where carbon dioxide is being taken up and emitted at the earth's surface. This will allow us to make better predictions of carbon dioxide concentrations in the future which will allow us to better plan for ways to deal with global climate change," says Britt Stephens of Harvard University's HIPPO Mission.


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