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Oceans slowed down global warming: Study

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Washington: In the recent years, extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the subsurface waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans accounting for the slowdown in the global surface temperature increase observed during the past decade, shows a study.

The climate researchers from University of California, Los Angeles and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory found the movement of warm water has affected surface temperatures.

“The western Pacific got so warm that some of the warm water is leaking into the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian archipelago,” said lead author Veronica Nieves and a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles.

During the 20th century, as greenhouse gas concentration increased and trapped more heat on the Earth, global surface temperatures also increased, said the study that appeared in the journal Science.

However, starting in the early 2000s, though greenhouse gases continued to trap extra heat, the global average surface temperature stopped rising for about a decade and in fact cooled a bit.

Researchers analysed direct ocean temperature measurements, including observations from a global network of about 3,500 ocean temperature probes known as the Argo array.

These measurements show temperatures below the surface have been increasing.

The movement of the warm Pacific water westward pulled heat away from the surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific, which resulted in unusually cool surface temperatures during the last decade.

“Because the air temperature over the ocean is closely related to the ocean temperature, this provides a plausible explanation for the global cooling trend in surface temperature,” Nieves said.

Pauses of a decade or more in Earth’s average surface temperature warming have happened before in modern times, with one occurring between the mid 1940s and late 1970s.

Next Story

NASA’s Launch System Taking Years Longer Than Expected, Finds Audit

Boeing’s space division restructured the SLS leadership team in 2018 and early 2019 to adjust to the program challenges

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Boeing, NASA, Audit
An AR-22 rocket engine is test fired at the NASA Stennis Space Center in Stennis, Miss., July 2, 2018. The AR-22 engine is designed to power an experimental spacecraft. VOA

NASA’s flagship space launch system being built by Boeing is taking years longer than expected with cost overruns of nearly $2 billion, an audit found Wednesday, raising questions about meeting a goal of returning humans to the moon by 2024.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) identified $1.8 billion in cost overruns, including $800 million that NASA obscured in previous reports on its Space Launch System (SLS), the rocket and capsule that will eventually take humans back to the moon.

The issues around the rocket’s development, led by Boeing Co, mean that the first launch of the SLS originally scheduled for late 2017 could be delayed until June 2021.

Boeing’s space division restructured the SLS leadership team in 2018 and early 2019 to adjust to the program challenges and simplified its manufacturing process, Boeing spokesman Jerry Drelling said.

Boeing, NASA, Audit
NASA’s flagship space launch system being built by Boeing is taking years longer than expected. Pixabay

“No one is building a rocket like this, and we’re creating a very in-depth database for all future rockets,” he said.

The Trump administration directed NASA in March to land humans on the lunar surface by 2024, part of a broader program called Artemis that will use the moon as a staging ground for eventual missions to Mars.

The accelerated timeline, four years faster than originally planned, is likely to cost $20 billion to $30 billion over the next five years, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in an interview with CNN last week.

Shifting costs

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The $1.8 billion cost overrun was nearly double what NASA reported to its inspector general in 2018 for SLS and the Orion capsule — the crew pod built by Lockheed Martin that will launch atop the rocket — the report said.

“NASA’s reporting of cost data for the SLS and Orion programs is not fully transparent,” it said.

NASA obscured the full cost growth of the SLS program by shifting roughly $800 million to future SLS missions to downplay the cost of the initial mission, the GAO report said.

Officials from NASA and Boeing also underestimated the manufacturing complexity of the “core stage” of four attached rocket engines, which could increase the cost and cause delays of two years or more, the report said.

 

Boeing, NASA, Audit
The General Accounting Office (GAO) identified $1.8 billion in cost overruns, including $800 million. Pixabay

Cost overruns, award fees

Despite the cost overruns, NASA has awarded Boeing at least $146 million and Lockheed $87 million in “award fees” to stay on schedule, but “the programs have not always achieved overall desired outcomes,” the report said. The space agency agreed to the report’s recommendation to re-evaluate its incentive system.

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NASA’s associate administrator for human spaceflight and operations, William Gerstenmaier, said in a response to the GAO’s report that the audit “does not acknowledge NASA is constructing some of the most sophisticated hardware ever built.” A NASA spokeswoman declined further comment. (VOA)