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University of Washington-led climate science mission receives support from NASA

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NASA has recently announced that it has selected four proposals for climate science missions to receive funding for further study. Among these proposals is STRIVE, a mission led by University of Washington atmospheric scientist Lyatt Jaeglé. STRIVE aims to focus on interactions between the stratosphere and the troposphere and would provide detailed information on the composition and temperature of the atmosphere, as well as how interactions between the two layers influence weather, climate, and air quality.

The selected proposals, which also include ODYSEA, EDGE, and Carbon-I, will each receive $5 million for a one-year concept study period. Following this study, NASA will choose two of the proposals to move forward to launch, with readiness dates set for 2030 and 2032. For each chosen investigation, the mission cost will be capped at $310 million, excluding launch costs. The Earth System Explorers Program, under which these missions fall, focuses on Earth science questions related to topics such as greenhouse gases, the ozone layer, ocean surface currents, and changes in ice and glaciers across the globe.

According to Nicky Fox, NASA’s associate administrator for science, the selected proposals showcase the agency’s holistic approach to studying our planet. With the increasing challenges posed by a changing climate, the need for data and scientific research is greater than ever. These missions will help improve our understanding of Earth’s systems, better preparing us for current and future environmental challenges.

STRIVE, which stands for Stratosphere Troposphere Response Using Infrared Vertically-Resolved Light Explorer, would provide daily, near-global, high-resolution measurements of temperature, atmospheric elements, and aerosol properties from the upper troposphere to the mesosphere. The mission aims to monitor and understand the recovery of the ozone layer by measuring vertical profiles of ozone and trace gases. The science team includes researchers from UW, NorthWest Research Associates, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and other U.S. and Canadian institutions.

ODYSEA, led by Sarah Gille at the University of California in San Diego, would focus on measuring ocean surface currents and winds to enhance our understanding of air-sea interactions and surface current processes that impact weather, climate, marine ecosystems, and human well-being. EDGE, led by Helen Amanda Fricker at UCSD, would observe the three-dimensional structure of terrestrial ecosystems and changes in glaciers, ice sheets, and sea ice in response to climate and human activity. Finally, Carbon-I, led by Christian Frankenberg at Caltech, would enable simultaneous, multi-species measurements of critical greenhouse gases and could provide insights into natural and human-caused emissions processes.

These proposals represent a significant step forward in our ability to study Earth’s systems and the impacts of climate change. With the support of NASA’s Earth System Explorers Program, these missions have the potential to provide valuable data that will help us address the challenges of a changing climate and protect our environment for future generations.

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