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Air & Ozone

   Expand Triangle - Big Air & Ozone   
     Expand Triangle - Small Missions/Research   
           Microwave Limb Sounder

  
           Atmospheric Chemistry

  
           Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer   

Related Links:

Dot NASA's Atmospheric Chemistry

Dot U.S. Environmental Protection Agency--Air

Dot National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin.

 
   Did you know?

Around the world, the ozone layer averages about 3 millimeters (1/8 inch) thick, approximately the same as two pennies stacked one on the other.
  
 
What's in the Air?

The tiny envelope of gas and aerosol surrounding planet Earth comprises less than 1/1,000,000 of its mass, yet it is essential to life as we know it. The atmosphere contains the oxygen we breathe, an ozone layer that protects us from solar ultraviolet radiation and clouds that redistribute water from oceans to land. The atmosphere also makes the planet warm enough for life by trapping heat from the Sun.

This map shows sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere 100 days after the 1991 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
This map shows sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere 100 days after the 1991 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, industrial and agricultural production, and deforestation, have changed the atmosphere dramatically over the past few hundred years. Carbon dioxide levels have increased by 30 percent, total chlorine by 75 percent and methane by 150 percent. Because of its relatively small mass, the atmosphere is very sensitive to change and can serve as an early-warning signal of long-term climate change.

JPL scientists are contributing in many ways to our understanding of how the Earth system works. They are looking for possible connections between rising levels of aerosols, in the form of soot and dust, and certain gases, and changes in climate and ozone levels. JPL projects are also monitoring the effects of regional pollution on ozone and other chemicals in the lower atmosphere.

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Missions & Research:

Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS)
This instrument, which will fly aboard NASA's Aura spacecraft, is designed to improve our understanding of ozone, especially how it is depleted by processes of chlorine chemistry.
Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES)
   This instrument, which will fly aboard NASA's Aura spacecraft, is an infrared sensor designed to measure the state of Earth's troposphere and look at ozone.
Atmospheric Chemistry Atmospheric Chemistry
   This site examines the effects of human activity on the atmosphere, with a special emphasis on the ozone.
 
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