Results for: Heat

Managing Fire in Etosha National Park

Prescribed fires should prevent blazes from raging out of control in one of Namibia’s most prized wildlife preserves. Read more

Looking Back on Ten Years of Aqua

Launched on May 4, 2002, NASA's Aqua satellite and its six instruments have provided a decade's worth of unprecedented views of our planet. Here are a few of our favorites. Read more

Where Is the Hottest Place on Earth?

Satellite research shows that the world’s hottest spot changes, though the conditions don’t. Think dry, rocky, and dark-colored lands...and cities. Read more

Earth Matters Blog

Earth is an amazing planet, and the one that matters most to us. Let's have a conversation about it. Read more

World of Change: Global Temperatures

The world is getting warmer, whatever the cause. According to an analysis by NASA scientists, the average global temperature has increased by about 0.8°Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975. Read more

Global Warming

Global warming is happening now, and scientists are confident that greenhouse gases are responsible. To understand what this means for humanity, it is necessary to understand what global warming is, how scientists know it's happening, and how they predict future climate. Read more

Climate Q&A

From why global warming is a problem to whether increased solar activity could be behind it, this Q&A includes responses to common questions about climate change and global warming. Read more

The World We Avoided by Protecting the Ozone Layer

An international team of scientists used a state-of-the-art computer model to learn “what might have been” if ozone-destroying chemicals had not been banned through the 1989 Montreal Protocol. Read more

World of Change: Solar Activity

Images of sunspots and UV brightness document the 11-year cycle of solar magnetic activity. The series spans 1999–2010, capturing the most recent solar maximum and minimum, as well as the emergence of solar cycle 24. Read more

Climate and Earth’s Energy Budget

Earth’s temperature depends on how much sunlight the land, oceans, and atmosphere absorb, and how much heat the planet radiates back to space. This fact sheet describes the net flow of energy through different parts of the Earth system, and explains how the planetary energy budget stays in balance. Read more

Correcting Ocean Cooling

Scientists revise their conclusion that the ocean has cooled since 2003. Read more

Earth's Temperature Tracker

NASA scientist James Hansen has tracked Earth's temperature for decades, and he is confident the global warming trend of 0.9 degrees Celsius observed since 1880 is mainly the result of human-produced greenhouse gases. Read more

Science Blog - Expedition to Siberia

As Earth's average temperature rises, and most rapidly in the high latitudes, what is happening to the great northern forests of Siberia? Join scientists from NASA and Russia's Academy of Science on an expedition down the Kochechum River in north-central Siberia as they go in search of answers. Read more

Beating the Heat in the World's Big Cities

Green roofs can mitigate urban heat islands and heat waves. Read more

Ask-A-Scientist

Questions from visitors to the Earth Observatory and answers from scientists. Read more

Earth's Big Heat Bucket

The Earth now absorbs more energy than it emits back into space, and the excess heat is hiding in the ocean. Read more

Will Runaway Water Warm the World?

As the Earth heats up more water will make its way into the atmosphere, trapping even heat near the surface. To predict how much temperatures could rise in the future, scientists are working to understand how much water could enter the atmosphere and how that might contribute to climate change. Read more

Aurora Dancing in the Night

Astronaut Don Pettit describes the aurora he photographed while aboard the International Space Station. Read more

Dwindling Arctic Ice

Since the 1970s, Arctic sea ice has been melting at the rate of 9 percent per decade. NASA researcher Josefino Comiso points to an accelerating warming trend as a primary cause and discusses how global climate change may be influencing the shrinking Arctic ice cap. Read more

Under a Variable Sun

In their continued effort to understand the Sun, solar physicists of the 21st century have used satellite data to study how much energy reaches the outskirts of the Earth’s atmosphere and whether or how much that amount varies over time. Recently published research claims that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth has increased over the past two solar cycles, while other scientists doubt that any such change has occurred. This story describes how gaps in the set of observations and uncertainty about the accuracy of different satellite sensors have made splicing together a complete data set so controversial. Read more

A Delicate Balance: Signs of Change in the Tropics

While NASA climate scientists were reviewing radiation data emanating from the tropics simply to test existing notions, they uncovered a phenomenon no one expected. They found that progressively more thermal radiation has been escaping the atmosphere above the tropics and progressively less sunlight has been reflecting off of the clouds. Read more

Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) Fact Sheet

Earth scientists will move a step closer to a full understanding of the Sun's energy output with the launch of the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite. SORCE will be equipped with four instruments now being built at the University of Colorado that will measure variations in solar radiation much more accurately than anything now in use and observe some of the spectral properties of solar radiation for the first time. With data from NASA's SORCE mission, researchers should be able to follow how the Sun affects our climate now and in the future. (Original 2001-11-30; updated 2003-01-21) Read more

Does the Earth Have an Iris Analog

Much like the iris in a human eye contracts to allow less light to pass through the pupil in a brightly lit environment, Lindzen suggests that the area covered by high cirrus clouds contracts to allow more heat to escape into outer space from a very warm environment. Read more

Arbiters of Energy

Clouds play a crucial role in regulating the balance of energy received by and emitted from the Earth, but scientists aren?t sure exactly what this role is. Read more

Power to the People

Thanks to a team at NASA's Langley Research Center (LaRC), engineers and amateur inventors worldwide now have free access to global-scale data on natural renewable energy resources. Private companies are using these data to design, build, and market new technologies for harnessing this energy. The best part is many of these new systems will be marketed at affordable prices in underdeveloped countries for those who need them most. Read more

A Violent Sun Affects the Earth's Ozone

A new study confirms a long-held theory that large solar storms rain electrically charged particles down on Earth's atmosphere and deplete the upper-level ozone for weeks to months thereafter. New evidence from NASA and NOAA satellites is helping scientists better understand how man and nature both play a role in ozone loss. Read more

Watching the Sun

The Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor III will monitor the sun's total radiation output so scientists can better predict the sun's effect on global climate change. Read more

Roger Revelle

Roger Revelle was one of the world's most articulate spokesmen for science and an early predictor of global warming. Read more

Carbon Conundrum

Paradoxically, an increase in global temperature may both increase and decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide. The key is timing. Read more

Samuel Pierpont Langley

Samuel Langley was one of America's most accomplished scientists. His work as an astronomy, physics, and aeronautics pioneer was highly regarded by the international science community. Read more

On a Clear Day

Researchers clarified the issues encountered in modeling clear-sky shortwave radiation by assembling a long-term data set of cloud-free days to test the models. Read more

Blanket of Clouds

Recent studies indicate that clouds absorb significantly more shortwave radiation than previously thought. Read more

Questioning Convection

How well do climate models work? Read more

Sunspots and the Solar Max

This fact sheet describes solar phenomenon such as sunspots and the solar wind. Read more

Eye on the Sun - Solstice

SOLSTICE, an instrument aboard the UARS satellite, created a standard against which future monitoring of the Sun could be measured. Read more

Svante Arrhenius

Svante Arrhenius was the first person to investigate the effect that doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide would have on global climate. Read more

ACRIMSAT

By measuring the total amount of energy that the sun delivers to the Earth with ACRIMSAT, scientists will be able to build better scientific models of the Earth’s climate system, providing a vital piece of the global climate change puzzle. Read more

Clouds & Radiation Fact Sheet

The study of clouds, where they occur, and their characteristics, plays a key role in the understanding of climate change. Low, thick clouds reflect solar radiation and cool the Earth's surface. High, thin clouds transmit incoming solar radiation and also trap some of the outgoing infrared radiation emitted by the Earth, warming the surface. Read more