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NASA launches a satellite to measure geothermal heat loss and improve climate forecasts – Observer

NASA launches a satellite to measure geothermal heat loss and improve climate forecasts – Observer

A small NASA satellite to measure heat loss from Earth's poles in detail for the first time departed on Saturday from New Zealand, as part of the PREFIRE mission, to improve forecasts linked to climate change.

“This new information, which we haven't had before, will help us create models regarding what is happening at the poles and the climate,” Karen St. Louis, NASA's director of Earth research, said at a press conference in mid-May. Germain.

Rocket Lab launched the satellite, which is the size of a shoebox, and was launched from Mahia in northern New Zealand. The same company is expected to later launch a new satellite with similar characteristics.

The two satellites will make measurements in the Arctic and Antarctica, to determine the amount of heat released into space for the first time.

Tristan Lecuyer, the mission's science leader at the University of Wisconsin, explained that the loss phenomenon is “crucial because it helps balance the excess heat coming from the tropics and regulate the Earth's temperature.”

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He added: “The process that transfers heat from the tropics to the poles is the origin of all climate on Earth.”

Using PREFRIE, NASA wants to understand how clouds, moisture, or the transition of the ice surface to liquid affect this heat loss.

Tristan Lecuir said that the models that scientists use to predict global warming, with regard to this criterion, have so far been based only on theories and not on real observation.

“We hope that we can improve our ability to simulate future sea level rise, as well as how climate change in the poles will affect the planet’s meteorological systems,” the official said.

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The satellite joins more than twenty other NASA missions launched to observe Earth.

Small satellites like the one in this mission are called cubesats, and represent a real opportunity to answer specific questions at a lower cost, according to Karen Saint-Germain.

The NASA official stressed that if the larger, more classic satellites can be viewed as “general,” then these smaller satellites can be compared to “specialized,” adding that the space agency “needs both.”