NASA draws attention to Earth science projects in observance of Earth Day

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 6:24 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - While NASA is typically known for its ventures in space, Friday it brought the attention back down to the ground in honor of Earth Day.

The agency offered experts to explain some of the earth science projects in progress. One of those experts joined us on the Digital News Desk.

NASA Sea Ice Scientist Dr. Linette Boisvert talked about the resources that have advanced in the last few decades that allow us a more detailed picture of life on Earth.

Dr. Boisvert is based at the Goddard Space Center in Maryland. She worked with a team to put special instruments on aircraft that flew over the polar ice caps.

She said this allowed them to understand for the first time the thickness of our polar ice and the speed with which it’s thinning.

You may ask, what does that have to do with us here in Virginia?

Dr. Boisvert said, simply, what happens in the polar regions doesn’t stay in the polar regions.

“A loss of sea ice might affect weather pattern in Roanoke, Virginia area and so sometimes these changes can cause, you know, a dip in the jet stream, which can bring in cold polar air, which you might see,” she explained. “But with this warming of the Earth we’re seeing heavier rainfall events which your viewers might be seeing in the Roanoke area.”

Sea level rises as these ice caps melt at an accelerated speed, which is also something Dr. Boisvert is concerned about.

But there is some good news out of NASA about our special planet.

The hole in the ozone layer of our atmosphere is decreasing, and places where emissions are reduced see improved air quality.

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