Wednesday, January 6, 2016

{1} Our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine

This is the first in a series of posts where I want to explore and describe this Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine that sustains us all.

For an introductory overview I will leave it to the NOVA/PBS/NASA video Earth From Space.  It isn't a complete review of our climate system, it's dedicated to looking at how all the natural forces that surround us come together to create the life sustaining biosphere on our one and only home planet.  Yet, it can't help but review a good deal of information about what's behind our global weather systems.

The documentary is a tour de force of our dynamic planet that I believe every curious student of life ought to watch and try to understand.  It would be wonderful seeing them produce a sequel that does focus on weather patterns and what drives them.  In the mean time I'll share the following video along with notes and appropriate links and time signature for easy reference.  

Please note, if viewing at YouTube you can link directly to a specific section of the video by adjusting the final digits of the url.  12:20 would be =12m20s
Feel free to copy and share the following notes.
Earth From Space Full HD Nova 

Published on Jul 15, 2014
YouTube channel Natural World 

The groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth.

Featuring interviews with: 
Waleed Abdalati (NASA Chief Scientist):
Piers Sellers (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Emily Shuckburgh (deputy head, Polar Oceans Team, British Antarctic Survey
Jeff Halverson ( University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus, Meteorologist)
David Adamec (NASA Scientist)
Gene C. Feldman (NASA Oceanographer)
Charlie Bristow ( Birkbeck, University of London)
Holly Gilbert (NASA Solar Physicist)
Transcript of the program can be found at

03:55 - Christmas eve Apollo 8's view of Earth rise over the moon

05:45 - Satellite observations

"Orbiting over our heads are 120 satellites keeping watch from space. Most operate at altitudes ranging from a few hundred miles above the surface of the planet to as high as 25,000 miles. Each one of these Earth-observing satellites reveals a different piece of the puzzle. Each carries an array of exquisitely sensitive detectors designed to reveal what would otherwise be hidden from our view."

08:00 - Our Sun - energy interacts with moisture, land and atmosphere
polar orbiting SUOMI Satellite
ATMS (Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder)
CERES (Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System)
CrIS (Cross-Track Infrared Sounder)
OMPS (Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite)
VIIRS (Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite)

08:50 - Considering the electromagnetic spectrum

09:50 - CERES (Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System) observations

11:00 - Earth's equatorial Belt - the heart (pump) of our global climate engine
Visualizing hydrologic processes

12:20 - AQUA Satellite - studying Earth's hydrologic cycle
AIRS (Atmospheric Infrared Sounder)
AMSR-E (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System)
AMSU-A (Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A)
CERES (Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System)
HSB (Humidity Sounder for Brazil)
MODIS (Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)

13:00 - Cape Verde - ocean atmosphere interface
Visualizing heat, evaporation and storm formation
vortex dynamics - hurricane ocean heat connection

17:00 - TRMM Satellite - Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission
Studying internal structure of hurricanes
Energy in motion - using microwave radiation detection
CERES (Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System)
LIS (Lightning Imaging Sensor)
PR (Precipitation Radar)
TMI (TRMM Microwave Imager)
VIRS (Visible and Infrared Scanner)

17:45 - Visualizing the inside of a hurricane - hot towers

18:45 - Hurricane Katrina 

{Intersection between physical reality and business/political indifference to preparedness. }

20:00 - Weather
Sun's insolation driving ocean water

21:00 - Visualizing the atmosphere from space

21:50 - GOES East - "Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites.
DCS (Data Collection System)
SEM (Space Environment Monitor)
VISSR (Visible Infrared Spin-Scan Radiometer)

GOES Satellites - train of five geostationary observation satellites 
Over lapping coverage entire global - sans extreme north and south polar regions.

24:00 - Indian Ocean - heat and Asian monsoons
Visualizing the development and propagation of Indian Ocean Monsoons.

25:30 - Andes Mountains - dynamics of rain shadows and their desserts

26:00 - Eastern US - interacting ocean and air currents in motion

28:00 - Antarctica - dynamics of extreme cold... and seasonal sea ice changes

30:15 - Polar orbiting Suomi Satellite (see 8:00)
Infrared and ultraviolet sensors - visualizing Earth's heat profile

31:00 - Circumpolar Antarctic Jet Stream - Antarctic's extreme cool
One of the drivers of our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine.
What those extreme cold temperatures mean for the rest of the planet.

31:30 - Visualizing the ocean's circulation - circumpolar winds 

32:30 - Circumpolar winds, storms felt deep into the Southern Ocean and beyond.
Circumpolar ocean current and the Screaming 60s.

34:00 - AQUA Satellite's AIRS (Atmospheric Infrared Sounder) in action.
Visualizing how the circumpolar winds isolation Antarctica from the rest of the world.
Why that's important to the climate as we know it.

35:00  AQUA Satellite's AMSR-E (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System) AND AMSU-A (Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A)

36:00 - Seasonal freeze cycles - thermohaline circulation
Antarctica's continental shelf - closer look at the Weddell Sea
How the oceanic heat pump operates -
How underwater topography (bathymetry) directs currents -

39:50 - JASON radar measuring ocean floor - bathymetry, gravity and the ocean's surface
Scientific Instruments
  • Altimeter
  • Microwave radiometer
  • DORIS (Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite)
  • Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA)
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver

41:00 - Visualizing a 'fly-through' Weddell Sea's bathymetry
41:45 - Visualizing thermohaline circulation in action
44:00 - Visualizing circumpolar deep sea brine currents from space
43:00 - Visualizing  ocean currents propagating around the globe
{stability has been at the root of society flourishing}

47:15 - The ocean atmosphere's intimate connection

50:00 - Tectonic activity - enabling life in many ways
51:45 - Canada's RADARSAT - mapping Earth's surface in three dimensions

52:30 - Mt. St. Helens - Mt Etna - visualizing earth movement

54:00 - Black smokers - Hydrothermal Vents 
Creating elements of life

56:15 - AQUA Satellite - MODIS - Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
The crown jewel, enormous scanner that covers the whole world everyday.
Infrared and visible portion of spectrum - what it can tell us.

58:00 - Phytoplankton blooms - why they matter

1:03:00 - LANDSAT Satellite - Sahara Dessert
What the composition of rocks tells us.

1:06:30 - European METEOSAT Satellite -  Sahara dust storms
Why they matter.
Amazon - poor soils - receiving phosphate and other nutrients from the Sahara

1:10:30 - TERRA Satellite - AQUA's twin
ASTER, or Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer
CERES, or Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System
MISR, or Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer
MODIS, or Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
MOPITT, or Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere
Monitoring vegetation - our biosphere breaths
 Sahara - Amazon - globally 
visualizing seasonal life cycles - global scale

1:14:30 - Oxygen

1:15:00 - AURA Satellite - atmospheric composition

1:16:00 - visualizing our planet's respiration pattern
Plankton - oxygen production - nutrient transport - Amazon River

1:19:00 - Amazon basin - lungs of the planet - but not like you imagined it

1:21:10 - visualizing plankton blooms - oxygen production

1:23:45 - TRMM Satellite (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission
{TRMM's mission has ended }
LIS (Lightning Imaging Sensor) - tracking lightning 
Astounding numbers - lightning splitting Nitrogen molecules, enable Nitrate formation

1:29:15 - Forest fires - nutrients - regrowth

1:30:30 - TERRA satellite - ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer)

1:36:00 - Global patterns of dynamic connections - enabling a fruitful biosphere.

Above it all we have the sun bathing us in radiation.

1:39:00 - Solar Dynamics Observatory - 22,000 miles above the earth 
Observing the sun non-stop
Scientific experiments:
  • Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA)
  • EUV Variability Experiment (EVE)
  • Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI)
1:41:15 - Visualizing a coronal mass ejection 

1:41:45 - Visualizing Earth's protective "force field"

1:42:20 - THEMIS network of geostationary satellites - detects magnetic fields
In a highly elliptical orbit, between 40- and 120,000 miles above the Earth.
Visualizing Earth's dynamic geomagnetic shield

1:44:30 - Our planet's lines of defenses - Earth's magnetosphere - The Aura

1:46:30 - Human's footprint - sustaining our life sustaining biosphere
AURA Satellite - atmospheric composition - 
Cataloging what we are injecting into our atmosphere.

1:50:00 - These observation satellites are being cut back are being cut back - Why?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
{1} Our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine

Saturday, January 9, 2016
{2} Co-evolution of Minerals and Life | Dr Robert Hazen

Thursday, January 14, 2016
{3} Evolution of Carbon and our biosphere - Professor Hazen focuses on the element Carbon

Saturday, January 23, 2016
{4} Evolution-Considering Deep Time and a Couple Big Breaks

Saturday, February 6, 2016
{5a} The Most Beautiful Graph on Earth - A. Hessler

Sunday, February 7, 2016
{5b} Earth's Earliest Climate - By Angela Hessler

Sunday, February 14, 2016
{6} Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere - easy version

Thursday, February 18, 2016
{7} Our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine, visualized

Friday, February 19, 2016
{8} Atmospheric Insulation Explained - appreciating our climate engine

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