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Steitz Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1730) Chris Rink Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA (Phone: 757/864-6786)
July 25, 2001
Keith Koehler Goddard Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA (Phone: 757/824-1579) RELEASE: 01-151
"CLAMS" MISSION STUDIES EAST COAST OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERE NASA scientists are using a Virginia lighthouse, research aircraft and a satellite for a unique field study this summer. On the sea, in the sky, and from outer space, they are hoping for a better understanding of global climate change. Led by NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, the Chesapeake Lighthouse and Aircraft Measurements for Satellites campaign, or "CLAMS," started in early July. Scientists are using equipment mounted on the U.S. Coast Guard's Chesapeake lighthouse about 15 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA, as well as instruments on six research airplanes and the orbiting Terra research satellite to enhance their knowledge of how the ocean affects the atmosphere. "Ultimately, we are trying to improve our understanding of the Earth's climate," said Langley researcher Bill Smith Jr., the CLAMS lead mission scientist. Scheduled through early August, CLAMS has as its major goals to improve satellite-based estimates of aerosol measurements and to measure ocean characteristics. This will create a better understanding of how Earth maintains its overall temperature or its energy budget. Researchers fly the aircraft at the same time, one above another to scan the ocean and sample air high into the atmosphere. CLAMS is using the NASA OV-10, the NASA highflying ER-2, the University of Washington Convair 580, a Proteus aircraft, a Learjet, and a Cessna during the mission. Mission operations and some of the planes are based at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA. Scientists will combine measurements from aircraft instruments and from the long-term CERES Ocean Validation Experiment (COVE) at the lighthouse to improve information from CERES (Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System) and other instruments on NASA's Terra satellite. "CLAMS is focusing on understanding some important pieces of
the climate prediction puzzle, such as ocean properties and atmospheric aerosols, so we can improve estimates of the Earth's energy budget," Smith said. The Terra spacecraft is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research effort dedicated to understanding how human-induced and natural changes affect our global environment. Additional information is available on the Internet at: http://snowdog.larc.nasa.gov/clams/ http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/ceres/ASDceres.html http://terra.nasa.gov/ -end-