Ask NASA Climate | July 20, 2009, 17:00 PDT

Bold climate

We have liftoff

Bold climate

Welcome to my big fat planet, a new climate blog from NASA!

On these pages we will be offering a smattering of stories, science and interesting tidbits from the world of climate change and climate research. Hear the latest and greatest from NASA scientists and others who are in the throes of studying our changing planet, along with news, views and quirky tales along the way. Haaang on a minute, I hear you say. NASA does space, not climate change, right? True, NASA has helped pioneer our exploration of space, reaching out to the farthest corners of our Solar System and peering back to the beginning of the universe. But venturing out into space has also — literally and metaphorically — allowed us to see the wood for the trees, giving us a unique and unprecedented view of our home planet. Studying Earth’s climate from space allows us to make measurements on a truly global scale, giving us a far bigger picture than is possible from the ground (although ground observations are still crucial). And the information we have collected has taught us just how interconnected the different parts of our climate are.

Today, NASA has twenty satellites in orbit around Earth that are studying every aspect of our climate — the oceans, land, ice cover and the atmosphere. NASA has become a major player in the climate arena; in 2007, it spent $1.1 billion out of a total U.S. climate science budget of $1.8 billion.

Being in space gives us a unique set of eyes on the Earth, and we hope to share that with you. Saudi Arabian astronaut (and incidentally the first member of royalty in space) Sultan Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud described his view of Earth from space with these words (courtesy of Bella Gaia):

“The first day, we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day, we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day, we were aware of only One Earth.”
Enjoy the ride.