UAV Looks for Climate Change

NASA's Global Hawk 872 on a checkout flight from Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., in preparation for the 2014 ATTREX mission over the western Pacific Ocean. Image Credit: NASA/Tom MillerNASA’s uncrewed Global Hawk research aircraft is in the western Pacific region on a mission to track changes in the upper atmosphere and help researchers understand how these changes affect Earth’s climate.

Deployed from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., the Global Hawk landed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam Thursday at approximately 5 p.m. EST and will begin science flights Tuesday, Jan. 21. Its mission, the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), is a multi-year NASA airborne science campaign.

ATTREX will measure the moisture levels and chemical composition of upper regions of the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, a region where even small changes can significantly impact climate. Scientists will use the data to better understand physical processes occurring in this part of the atmosphere and help make more accurate climate predictions.

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