Atmospheric and Oceanographic Sciences Library, Volume 41, by Josefino Comiso

By Josefino Comiso


Only a number of centuries in the past, we knew little or no approximately our planet Earth. The Earth was once thought of flat by means of many even though it was once postulated via a number of like Aristotle that it truly is round in response to observations that incorporated the research of lunar eclipses. a lot later, Christopher Columbus effectively sailed to the West to find the recent global and Ferdinand Magellan’s send circumnavigated the globe to end up as soon as and for all that the Earth is certainly a sphere. world wide navigation and explorations that made it transparent that the Earth is massive and fairly most unlikely to check exclusively by means of foot or by way of water. the appearance of air shuttle made it much more straightforward to do exploratory reports and enabled the mapping of the limits of continents and the oceans. yet plane insurance used to be constrained and it used to be now not till the satellite tv for pc period that complete cov- erage of the Earth’s floor grew to become available.

Many of the early satellites have been study satellites and that intended partly the improvement of engineering size structures without sure purposes in brain. The Nimbus-5 Electrically Scanning Microwave Radiometer (ESMR) was once a vintage for instance. The sensor used to be equipped with the concept it can be worthy for meteorological examine and particularly rainfall stories over the oceans, yet good fortune during this region of analysis was once very constrained. It became out that the most fascinating functions of this sensor used to be within the learn of the ocean ice hide because the emissivi- ties of frozen and liquid sea water became out to be very diverse. for hundreds of years, the ocean ice disguise was once simply considered as part of the frozen North (or South) and no-one to review it other than the few curious scientists and explorers who felt that it should be very important because it is so gigantic. through the chilly battle, the army did loads of study at the topic yet such reports have been generally categorised as the ice coated Arctic Ocean was once a part of a strategic conflict and used to be a fantastic position for a good armed nuclear submarine to move with no being detected. It was once quickly discovered that the ocean ice conceal and the polar oceans are very important entities to review, not only for army but in addition for monetary, environmental, and climatic reasons.

ESMR used to be one of the first sensors to photograph and signify the total polar areas every day. It used to be the 1st sensor to bare the real volume and distribu- tion of the worldwide sea ice disguise in addition to its seasonal variability. info from ESMR ended in many unforeseen discoveries, together with the life of an surprisingly huge iciness Polynya (unfrozen floor water in the ice pack) within the Weddell Sea within the Seventies, the scale and patience of that is counter intuitive and nonetheless a topic of medical inquiry as much as at the present time. we've come far due to the fact ESMR. Many sensors even more complex than ESMR were introduced supplying us with huge, immense features for learning the complex procedures taking place within the polar areas and the range of some of the parameters which are being measured via satellite tv for pc sensors. satellite tv for pc facts at the moment are in a position to offering a close background of the evolution of our planet over the past 3 a long time together with that of the polar regions.

This ebook offers introductory fabric concerning the polar oceans, extra specifi- cally the ice lined components and peripheral seas as saw by way of satellite tv for pc sensors. I owe loads of fabrics for this ebook from many specialists within the box a few of whom I labored with as co-investigators and collaborators. I in particular are looking to convey my gratitude to my NASA/Goddard colleagues together with, Drs. Jay Zwally, consistent with Gloersen, Claire Parkinson, Chuck McClain, Frank Carsey, Bob Bindschadler, and Don Cavalieri for a few years of collaborative stories. My past love was once particle physics and it was once Jay who made me notice that the learn of the polar areas and weather is a vital and a really intriguing continuation of physics learn. The encouragements and help of Drs. Stan Wilson, Bob Thomas and extra lately, Waleed Abdalati, Seelye Martin, and Tom Wagner who controlled or manages the Cryospheric Sciences application at NASA headquarters made it attainable for me to do polar study at GSFC through the years. i'm in particular thankful to Dr. Norbert Untersteiner and Dr. Willy Weeks for plenty of in-depth discussions in regards to the polar weather procedure and the complex techniques linked to the ocean ice disguise. i've got benefited from shut collaborations with Drs. Arnold Gordon, Peter Wadhams, Stan Jacob, Steve Ackley, Manfred Lange, Neal Sullivan, Walker Smith, Koni Steffen, Rob Massom, and Ron Kwok. The writing of this e-book used to be began in 2006 whereas i used to be a fellow of the japanese Society for the merchandising of technology and dealing as a visitor Professor at Chiba collage, and i'm thankful to Prof. Fumihiko Nishio, who was once my host, for his encouragements and type hospitality. Larry inventory of SGT and Robert Gersten of Adnet/RSIS have supplied me first-class software- ming and research help at GSFC over the last numerous years, and that i savour a great deal their committed efforts. final yet now not least, I desire to thank my spouse, Diana, my sons Glen and David and my daughter Melissa for encouragements and endurance not only throughout the interval of ebook writing yet all through my whole profession as a polar researcher and adventurer. many beneficial reviews and recommendations have been supplied through Drs. Arthur Cracknell of the collage of Dundee, united kingdom, Markus Thorston, Head of the NASA Cryospheric Sciences department, Lawrence Mysak of McGill collage and Edward Hanna of the collage of Sheffield, united kingdom. My daughter Melissa, daughter-in-law Cindy, and my spouse Diana additionally supplied a few editorial help.

While scripting this e-book, my mom, who have been a very good resource of notion all my lifestyles, died on the age of a hundred years. It used to be a huge own loss for me, my brothers, and sisters however it is really good to gain that we will be able to stay to be centenarians and may be able to adventure an important window of our altering planet and its altering weather. Our present selection of non-stop satellite tv for pc info is just a couple of many years lengthy yet now we have unquestionably realized much from them concerning the Earth’s environmental and weather process and individually saw the delicate yet vital alterations because the release of Sputnik within the overdue Fifties. With the entire satellite tv for pc info we have now and with the appearance of foreign ventures just like the international Earth commentary procedure of all platforms (GEOSS), we'll locate the solutions of lots of our present questions, yet whilst, we'll absolutely locate many extra questions that must be responded. The advances in our figuring out of the Earth’s weather engine, together with the impression of the polar oceans were tremen- dous and we glance ahead to with the ability to forecast successfully the kingdom of our planet within the instant and foreseeable destiny.

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Major improvements are forthcoming such as the use of satellite radar altimeters data for this purpose has become feasible as will be discussed later (Gille 1994). 2 Physical Properties The physical property of an ocean mass is typically defined by its temperature, salinity and density. Based on the vertical profiles of these variables, an ocean can 34 2 Fundamental Characteristics of the Polar Oceans and Their Sea Ice Cover be characterized in terms of three well defined layers. The first is the near surface layer, usually referred to as the mixed layer, about tens of meters thick and mainly isothermal primarily because it is kept well mixed by wind and other factors.

The density of water changes with location and season and is influenced mainly by salinity and temperature. 4 Circulation Patterns of the Atlantic Layer and intermediate depth waters (between 200 m and 1700 m) in the Arctic inferred from tracer studies. From Rudels et al. (1994) with permission of the American Geophysical Union appears to be more important since the densiest water observed has been the most saline and not the coldest. The key factors that affect water salinity are evaporation and sea ice formation.

The sidescan sonars are usually installed at the side of a ship and can provide extra details about the relief and irregularities in the sea bottom. The seismic reflection and refraction systems allow for analysis of structure of the bottom surface and can reveal layers, thickness and sediment types. Satellite altimetry is not as accurate as 22 2 Fundamental Characteristics of the Polar Oceans and Their Sea Ice Cover the other techniques, but is useful in areas where there is no sonar data. In the Arctic, much of the available data were derived from submarine measurements.

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