Satellite Data Can Help Limit the Dangers of Windblown Dust – NASA Science

The next generation of FENGSHA will soon be integrated into an atmospheric model developed by NASA called the Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport (GOCART). Features of Earth’s surface like rocks, vegetation, and uneven soil all influence how much dust the wind can kick up. As a result, both the amount of dust in the air and the direction that windblown dust travels are often governed by what’s on the ground. GOCART’s ability to model these surface features will improve the accuracy of the forecasting system, said Barry Baker, an atmospheric physicist and lead of chemical modeling for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who led the research to operation transition of FENGSHA for NOAA’s oceanic and atmospheric research team. The ultimate goal, though, he added, is a geostationary satellite. Polar-orbiting satellites pass over each spot of the globe twice a day; a geostationary satellite could hover over the U.S. and monitor dust around the clock, tracking storms as they develop and grow. 

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