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January 23, 2014
NASA UAS Eyes Climate Change

NASA's Global Hawk 872 is shown here on a checkout flight from Dryden Flight Research Center in preparation for the 2014 ATTREX mission over the western Pacific Ocean.

NASA's Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is in the western Pacific region to track changes in Earth’s upper atmosphere and help researchers understand how they affect climate.

Deployed from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., the UAS landed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam Thursday at approximately 5 p.m. EST and began science flights Jan. 21. Its mission, the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), is a multiyear NASA airborne science campaign.

ATTREX will measure the moisture levels and chemical composition of upper regions of the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere, a region where even small changes can significantly impact climate. Scientists will use the data to better understand physical processes occurring in this part of the atmosphere and help make more accurate climate predictions.

Image courtesy of NASA/Tom Miller.

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