Learn about the Atmospheric Boundary Layering Experiment, also know as ABLE.
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Learn About the Earth's Atmosphere Earth’s atmosphere, it’s the air we breathe. The pores that regulates our temperature, weather and the importantly what cleanses pollutants from the environment. We’ve began to realize that our atmosphere has no geographical boundaries when it comes to pollution. Airborne industrial wastes in one area can lead to forest thousands of miles away with acid rain. Due to our everyday activities, a house gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are being released into the atmosphere at alarming rates. This greenhouse gases are known to trap heat near the surface of the earth. But otherwise would radiate into space potentially causing serious global warming. This problem has been studied by scientists for many years but never with the detail an airborne observatory can make flying at all levels of the atmosphere. To do this, American and Canadian scientists obtained how to study greenhouse gases in the remote northern latitudes of Canada. The program called ABLE, the Atmospheric Boundary Layer Experiment is the third in the series of NASA sponsored research expeditions. Initiated in the early 80’s, ABLE will eventually study major ecosystems around the globe to better understand the dynamics of our atmosphere. With the help of McGill University a ground base site was chosen in northern Quebec that featured the forest and wet lands environment. Scientist from Harvard and the State University in New York built 100 protease of forest site to sample atmospheric chemistry and collect meteorological data. Meanwhile, NASA’s bio-spherical researcher Gary Whiting and assistant Joe Cannes spent countless hours at the nearby wet lands measuring gases given off by this gas-like stages. Detailed studies of the marsh plant were also made by a group from the University of Delaware to characterize their growth patterns and how they transport methane gas to the atmosphere. Because of their hollow stems, these plants are very efficient transport as of methane piping the gas directly into the sky. Many other measurements such as atmospheric balloons track local winds, temperature and humidity. An Electra aircraft from NASA’s Wallop Flight facilities in Virginia flew repeated missions over the sites. Seven experiments to air samples and measured various chemical concentrations. Dr. Ed Brawl of NASA’s Langley Research Center used an instrument that shoots a laser beam above and below the aircraft to plot a cross-sectional view of the atmosphere. The reddish orange colors represent regions containing higher concentrations of ozone and other greenhouse gas. Studying atmospheric events from the sky and the ground and giving scientists an unprecedented glimpse of the health of our global environment.