Craig Boudreau on July 8, 2016 by The Daily Caller News Foundation
NASA plans to send a specially fitted DC-8 jet on an extended flight to get a better understanding of aerosols and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to better understand how they interact with each other.
The flight path will take the DC-8 from the North Pole, south over the Pacific to New Zealand, across the southern tip of South America and then north up the Atlantic to Greenland, all in an effort to show us that the same CO2 they just emitted in droves while flying all over the planet, is bad for the planet.
Aero Consulting Experts told The Daily Caller News Foundation that on average, a DC-8 jet will burn roughly 3,000 pounds of jet fuel and hour. Since NASA’s DC-8 has 4 engines, that means it burns about 12,000 pounds of jet fuel per hour hour of flight.
The total mileage for the trip is roughly 20,708 miles, which, according to Native Energy, means NASA will be putting 125 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Using the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, 125 tons of CO2 is the equivalent of driving a car 273,342 miles; burning 121,704 pounds of coal; 264 barrels of oil; or enough energy to power 12 homes for an entire year.
The Atmospheric Tomography mission, or ATom, will be the first ever to survey the atmosphere over the oceans and gauge what happens to land-based pollution once it reaches the oceans. The jet has been fitted with 20 instruments that will measure the saturation of certain aerosols and gases in the atmosphere. But with all of the flying NASA plans on doing for this research, they are introducing their own huge carbon footprint to the atmosphere, as the massive amount of jet-fuel needed for a flight of this magnitude pumps more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air.
“We’ve had many airborne measurements of the atmosphere over land, where most pollutants are emitted, but land is only a small fraction of the planet,” Michael Prather, an atmospheric scientist and ATom’s deputy project scientist at University of California Irvine told Phys.org Thursday.
“The oceans are where a lot of chemical reactions take place, and some of the least well understood parts are hard to get to because they are so remote,” Prather continued. “With ATom we’re going to measure a wide range of chemically distinct parts of the atmosphere over the most remote areas of the ocean that have not been measured before.”
The research hopes to improve atmospheric computer models that are used to predict future climate predictions. Predictive computer models for climate have come under fire in the past for their inaccuracies.
“The models assume CO2 emissions will cause water vapour, the strongest greenhouse gas, to increase in the upper atmosphere, trapping the radiation,” an post published by Friends of Science said. “They also assume clouds will trap more radiation. But satellite and weather balloon data shows just the opposite of the climate model predictions.”
Mike Jonas, retired University of Oxford physicist, has also noted the unreliability of computer models.
“One thing, though, is absolutely certain. The climate models’ predictions are very unreliable,” Jonas wrote for an article published by Watts Up With That in 2015.
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