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NASA Earth Science

NASA Voyage To Explore Link Between Sea Saltiness and Climate 44

DevotedSkeptic sends this excerpt from NASA: "A NASA-sponsored expedition is set to sail to the North Atlantic's saltiest spot to get a detailed, 3-D picture of how salt content fluctuates in the ocean's upper layers and how these variations are related to shifts in rainfall patterns around the planet. The research voyage is part of a multi-year mission, dubbed the Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS), which will deploy multiple instruments in different regions of the ocean. ... They will return with new data to aid in understanding one of the most worrisome effects of climate change — the acceleration of Earth's water cycle. As global temperatures go up, evaporation increases, altering the frequency, strength, and distribution of rainfall around the planet, with far-reaching implications for life on Earth."
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NASA Voyage To Explore Link Between Sea Saltiness and Climate

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  • There goes my wonderful idea of collecting oceanic rainfall for our fresh water needs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:37PM (#41238333)

    With NASA crying that it doesn't have enough money, why is it trying to do something that is probably NOAA's job?

    Typical bureaucrats- gotta do anything to build their empires.

    Note: I'm not saying this isn't good science to do, just that it's someone else's job.

    • That's crazy talk. Everyone knows that NASA is National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and NOAA is National Ocean--

      Never mind. :-)

    • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@nosPAM.hackish.org> on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:53PM (#41238547)

      NASA has an interesting historical discussion of that question [nasa.gov]. The division of labor used to be that NASA flew the observational satellites, while NOAA and NWS did the ground-based work and data analysis. That makes some sense to me, but NASA says that by the 1970s this wasn't working (partly due to budget cuts), so NASA was given authority to run entire programs focused on earth analysis in an in-house manner, including both satellite and ground-based elements. NASA's first major program under that new mission description was the ozone-hole monitoring program [nasa.gov], started in 1979.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      I had the same question... why NASA as opposed to NOAA?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Good question. The short version is: This is basic science research, not a monitoring project.

      NASA (although it was an international effort) put up a satellite, called Aquarius. It passively measures salinity all over the globe. Which is amazing and very complex and seems to be working quite well..

      Thing is though, conventional science has been focused on salinity well below the surface; the satellite only sees the upper few centimeters. Conventional buoys, seagliders, and UUAV vehicles don't sample that clo

    • by Trintech ( 1137007 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @04:19PM (#41238915)
      Goto the site [nasa.gov] and click Overview > Sponsors. You will see that, while NASA is the one carrying out the mission, its sponsored (ie funded) by several divisions of the NOAA and NSF, etc so think of it more as NASA is being contracted to do this research and not a whole lot is coming directly out of their own budget.
    • ...it's someone else's job.

      "It's not my job" is the last thing I want to hear from a bureaucrat... Blurring the lines between the various departments doesn't sound like a bad thing to me. We should encourage the sharing of resources.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      NASA has a physical oceanography program because of its special capabilities in remote sensing. But while you may build a research program around a highly specialized golden hammer, it doesn't mean the golden hammer can do *everything* the program needs.

      So the why here is simple: NASA's research program needed some ocean-based fieldwork done. Rather than buy and staff it's own ship, it farmed out this project to a group of academics who already had a ship (the R/V Knorr), and who had complementary researc

  • Make me wonder if its possible to get a degree in Backronyms.

  • On noes, things might be slightly different in the future! As we know, things were never, ever different in the past and humans are completely incapable of adapting to changing environmental conditions. Therefore fund my research project, or over 80 billion people will die. Every second.
    • The problem is very rapid change. If the climate changes very quickly even humans will find it hard to adapt fast enough, never mind the various other species we depend upon directly and indirectly.

      If we can see rapid change coming (and it now seems likely that we can) and we can do something to slow or even limit that change, shouldn't we do it? Or at least have a debate about whether we should act or not.

      Attacking scientists seems to be shooting the messenger.

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