Source: NASA

Authors: Naomi Hartono, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Published Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2024 17:23:53 +0000

Summary: CloudSat, a NASA mission launched in 2006, has ended its operations after nearly 18 years of providing unprecedented details about clouds and their vertical structure. Originally intended to last 22 months, CloudSat’s powerful 94 GHz radar enabled scientists to observe clouds in 3D and study their ice and water content, significantly advancing weather and climate predictions. The mission revealed how clouds contribute to heating and cooling the atmosphere, the frequency of global precipitation, and the impact of clouds on aircraft icing. Despite facing several technical challenges, the mission team innovatively extended its lifespan until December 2023. CloudSat, along with its sister satellite CALIPSO, provided critical data on aerosols and cloud interactions, enhancing our understanding of global warming. Future missions will continue to build on the legacies of CloudSat and CALIPSO to further study changing weather patterns and climate.

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