Enhancing NASA's Contributions to Polar Science: A Review of Polar Geophysical Data Sets

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The high latitudes of the Arctic and Antarctic, together with some mountainous areas with glaciers and long-lasting snow, are sometimes called the cryosphere-defined as that portion of the planet where water is perennially or seasonally frozen as sea ice, snow cover, permafrost, ice sheets, and glaciers. Variations in the extent and characteristics of surface ice and snow in the high latitudes are of fundamental importance to global climate because of the amount of the sun's radiation that is reflected from these often white surfaces. Thus, the cryosphere is an important frontier for scientists seeking to understand past climate events, current weather, and climate variability. Obtaining the data necessary for such research requires the capability to observe and measure a variety of characteristics and processes exhibited by major ice sheets and large-scale patterns of snow and sea ice extent, and much of these data are gathered using satellites.

As part of its efforts to better support the researchers studying the cryosphere and climate, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-using sophisticated satellite technology-measures a range of variables from atmospheric temperature, cloud properties, and aerosol concentration to ice sheet elevation, snow cover on land, and ocean salinity. These raw data are compiled and processed into products, or data sets, useful to scientists. These so-called "polar geophysical data sets" can then be studied and interpreted to answer questions related to atmosphere and climate, ice sheets, terrestrial systems, sea ice, ocean processes, and many other phenomena in the cryosphere. The goal of this report is to provide a brief review of the strategy, scope, and quality of existing polar geophysical data sets and help NASA find ways to make these products and future polar data sets more useful to researchers, especially those working on the global change questions that lie at the heart of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise.

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Additional Information

Publisher
National Academies Press
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Published on
Apr 23, 2001
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Pages
138
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ISBN
9780309171113
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Earth Sciences / General
Science / Earth Sciences / Oceanography
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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From Graham Hancock, bestselling author of Fingerprints of the Gods, comes a mesmerizing book that takes us on a captivating underwater voyage to find the ruins of a lost civilization that’s been hidden for thousands of years beneath the world’s oceans.

While Graham Hancock is no stranger to stirring up heated controversy among scientific experts, his books and television documentaries have intrigued millions of people around the world and influenced many to rethink their views about the origins of human civilization. Now he returns with an explosive new work of archaeological detection. In Underworld, Hancock continues his remarkable quest underwater, where, according to almost a thousand ancient myths from every part of the globe, the ruins of a lost civilization, obliterated in a universal flood, are to be found.

Guided by cutting-edge science and the latest archaeological scholarship, Hancock begins his mission to discover the truth about these myths and examines the mystery at the end of the last Ice Age. As the glaciers melted between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago, sea levels rose and more than 15 million square miles of habitable land were submerged underwater, resulting in a radical change to the Earth’s shape and the conditions in which people could live. Using the latest computer techniques to map the world’s changing coastlines, Hancock finds astonishing correspondences with the ancient flood myths.

Filled with thrilling accounts of his own participation in dives off the coast of Japan, as well as in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Arabian Sea, we watch as Hancock discovers underwater ruins exactly where the myths say they should be—sunken kingdoms that archaeologists never thought existed. Fans of Hancock’s previous adventures will find themselves immersed in Underworld, a provocative book that provides both compelling hard evidence for a fascinating, forgotten episode in human history and a completely new explanation for the origins of civilization as we know it.
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What happens in the Arctic has far-reaching implications around the world. Loss of snow and ice exacerbates climate change and is the largest contributor to expected global sea level rise during the next century. Ten percent of the world's fish catches comes from Arctic and sub-Arctic waters. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that up to 13 percent of the world's remaining oil reserves are in the Arctic. The geologic history of the Arctic may hold vital clues about massive volcanic eruptions and the consequent release of massive amount of coal fly ash that is thought to have caused mass extinctions in the distant past. How will these changes affect the rest of Earth? What research should we invest in to best understand this previously hidden land, manage impacts of change on Arctic communities, and cooperate with researchers from other nations?

The Arctic in the Anthropocene reviews research questions previously identified by Arctic researchers, and then highlights the new questions that have emerged in the wake of and expectation of further rapid Arctic change, as well as new capabilities to address them. This report is meant to guide future directions in U.S. Arctic research so that research is targeted on critical scientific and societal questions and conducted as effectively as possible. The Arctic in the Anthropocene identifies both a disciplinary and a cross-cutting research strategy for the next 10 to 20 years, and evaluates infrastructure needs and collaboration opportunities. The climate, biology, and society in the Arctic are changing in rapid, complex, and interactive ways. Understanding the Arctic system has never been more critical; thus, Arctic research has never been more important. This report will be a resource for institutions, funders, policy makers, and students. Written in an engaging style, The Arctic in the Anthropocene paints a picture of one of the last unknown places on this planet, and communicates the excitement and importance of the discoveries and challenges that lie ahead.

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