An inside look at how NASA is using advanced radar technology to better understand climate change

Advanced Radar Technology: NASA’s Key to Understanding Climate Change

NASA is leading the way in monitoring the earth’s climate using advanced radar technology, providing vital insights into the causes and effects of climate change. According to its latest climate report, 2022 was the fifth hottest year on record, a clear indication of the long-term warming trend attributable to human activities. To improve the understanding of the changes occurring on our planet, NASA has established a new earth system observatory that will facilitate five advanced satellite missions that monitor nearly every aspect of the earth.

This innovative technology will provide NASA with a 3D view of how the earth’s systems operate, and how climate change is impacting them. Randy Friedl, Deputy Director of Earth Science at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, highlights that this technology enables the organization to monitor “the heartbeat of the planet” by tracking a plethora of critical data daily.

One of NASA’s most recent endeavors is the SWOT satellite mission, launched in December from California. This project aims to map almost all of the world’s surface water, including oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams using a radar system. The mission’s project scientist, Paul Rosen, claims that this satellite can survey six million bodies of water every three weeks. By mapping surface water and ocean topography, NASA hopes to better detect and plan for the devastating effects of floods, droughts, and rising sea levels, which are expected to displace people in many coastal areas worldwide.

The upcoming NASA satellite mission, NISAR, a joint project with India’s space program, will employ two different radar systems to monitor subtle changes in the earth’s surface to less than half an inch. This technology will enable better detection of ice sheet collapse and the melting of glaciers, as well as deforestation, groundwater supplies, soil moisture, and the risk of wildfires. Project scientist Paul Rosen describes NISAR as “the most advanced radar for NASA,” and likely the most advanced radar any country has ever put into space. NASA plans to share the data from these missions with scientists and governments worldwide to improve the understanding and adaptation of climate change.

To conclude, NASA’s innovative and high-tech efforts are enabling the monitoring of our planet’s climate better. By implementing advanced radar technology, NASA’s missions are providing detailed insights into the causes and effects of climate change, such as flooding, drought, melting of glaciers, and deforestation, among others. By sharing this data, NASA hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the impact of climate change and foster global efforts to combat it.