NASA Daily News Summary For Release: Oct.

5, 1999 Media Advisory m99-205 Summary: SPACECRAFT PROVIDES FIRST DIRECT EVIDENCE: SMOKE IN THE ATMOSPHERE INHIBITS RAINFALL Video File for Oct. 5, 1999 ITEM 1 - RAIN SLOWS AS FIRES FLARE--BIOMASS BURNING AND THE WEATHER (TRMM SATELLITE) ITEM 2 - MARS METEORITE OR MARS ROCK? (replay) ---------SPACECRAFT PROVIDES FIRST DIRECT EVIDENCE: SMOKE IN THE ATMOSPHERE INHIBITS RAINFALL For the first time, researchers have proven that smoke from forest fires inhibits rainfall. The findings, to be published in the Oct. 15 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, are based on an extensive analysis of data taken from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) spacecraft. The study shows that the "warm rain" processes that often create rain in tropical clouds are practically shut off when the clouds are polluted with heavy smoke from forest fires. In these clouds, scientists found, the cloud tops must grow considerably above the freezing level (16,000 feet) in order for them to start producing rain by an alternative mechanism. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: David E. Steitz 202/358-1730. Contact at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD: Allen Kenitzer 301/286-2806. Contact at American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC: Harvey

Leifert 202/777-7507. For full text, see:

******** If NASA issues additional news releases later today, we will email summaries and Internet URLs to this list. Index of 1999 NASA News Releases: ******** ITEM 1 - RAIN SLOWS AS FIRES FLARE--BIOMASS BURNING AND THE WEATHER (TRMM SATELLITE) Using data collected from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, scientists now have conclusive proof that forest fire smoke inhibits rainfall. Research conducted over parts of Indonesia during some of that country¹s most severe forest fires showed strong signs of rainfall inhibition in areas that were blanketed with smoke. Areas comparatively free of smoke particles produced rain normally. This research is vital in understanding how global precipitation affects the weather; tropical rainfall accounts for nearly two thirds of energy necessary to power atmospheric circulation. This study helps researchers quantify the phenomena, helping to better assess human impacts on the weather, both for discrete regions of the planet as well as globally. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: David E. Steitz 202/358-1730. Contact at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD: Allen Kenitzer 301/286-2806. ITEM 1a - HOW SMOKE INHIBITS RAINFALL: NORMAL CONDITIONS TRT :10 TRT 6:24

Under normal conditions, tropical clouds swell with water droplets. Those droplets have a tendency to clump together, thus increasing their weight relative to the surrounding cloud. As they coalesce, they fall out of the cloud as rain. ITEM 1b - HOW SMOKE INHIBITS RAINFALL: SMOKY CONDITIONS TRT :08 In areas of concentrated biomass burning, water condenses around tiny particles of smoke, called nuclei. These nucleated drops tend not to clump together, remaining trapped in the clouds, inhibiting rainfall. From space, heavily nucleated clouds appear brighter due to the fact that there are more free floating, smaller water particles available to reflect and scatter light. ITEM 1c - HOW SMOKE INHIBITS RAINFALL: COMPARISON OF :18 CONDITIONS In this animation, compare the two systems side by side. You can see how the rain-producing cloud on the left is composed of larger water droplets, making it easier for them to coalesce and fall out as precipitation. On the right, notice how the smaller, nucleated particles tend to remain apart, without forming larger drops. This smoke-affected cloud will not produce rain. ITEM 1d - INHIBITED RAIN IN BORNEO: SATELLITE DATA CONFIRMS OBSERVATIONS The Indonesian island of Borneo falls directly in the observational path of the research instruments. By measuring the amount of smoke and other aerosols above a given region, and matching that data with measurements regarding specific amounts of rainfall, researchers have concluded a distinct cause and effect relationship between aerosols and rainfall. ITEM 1e - SATELLITE DATA DISSOLVE SEQUENCE Readings from the TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer) satellite measured aerosol levels above Borneo throughout February TRT 1:08 TRT

1998. Immediately following, a sequence of color-coded images appears over the Borneo map. Red represents fires and hot spots. Clouds and smoke appear next, overlaid on the entire image. Note the heavy stripes of smoke toward the right and upper right of the image. Light blue notes concentrations of water droplets, while dark blue marks areas with precipitation. Notice how there are no indications of rain near the island hot spots and smoky regions. Finally, we show the map as a composite image of the various data sets. ITEM 1f - TRMM SATELLITE ANIMATION TRT :24

The TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) satellite measures tropical rainfall in a band around the Earth stretching 35 degrees north and south of the equator. The instrument uses several instruments to detect rainfall, including radar, microwave imaging, and lightning sensors. TRMM data is available to researchers around the world; it is managed by a team at NASA¹s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. ITEM 1g - INTERVIEW/SOUNDBITES Dr. Christian Kummerow, TRMM Project Scientist TRT 1:37

ITEM 2 - MARS METEORITE OR MARS ROCK? (replay) Martian meteorite carbonates--3.9 billion years old.

TRT 3:47

A new study of the carbonite minerals found in a meteorite from Mars shows they were formed about 3.9 billion years ago. Scientists believe the planet had flowing surface water and warmer temperatures then, making it more Earth-like. The carbonates themselves are tiny deposits--reddish globules, some with purplish centers and many surrounded by white borders. Researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, and the University of Texas at Austin did the study using different techniques. Contact at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX: John Ira Petty 281/483-5111.

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