Cirrus Reg. Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers - FL Area Cirrus Exp.

Project Description
The Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers -
Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL-FACE) is a measurement
campaign designed to investigate tropical cirrus cloud physical
properties and formation processes. Understanding the production of
upper tropospheric cirrus clouds is essential for the successful
modeling of the Earth's climate

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities warm
our climate. Two effects of this warming are the increase of clouds
and the rise of water vapor in the atmosphere. Both of these in turn
influence the impacts of the man-made gases on global warming. Clouds
can reflect the sun rays away from the surface, cooling the climate,
but they also act as radiative heat. These various interactions are
complex and not fully understood. However, the processes are crucial
in determining the eventual overall effect of manmade greenhouse gases
on the earth's climate. The detailed measurements from the
CRYSTAL-FACE mission will assist in improving our climate models. Six
aircraft will be equipped with state-of-the-art instruments to measure
characteristics of clouds and how clouds alter the atmosphere's
temperature. These measurements will be compared with ground based
radars, satellites, and the results of advanced atmospheric models, in
order to improve our ability to forecast future climate change. This
large multi-agency experiment will unite seven NASA centers, NOAA,
National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Office of Naval
Research, U.S. Weather Research Program, Universities and other
government weather researchers in this well coordinated study of our
environment.

For further information, see:
http://cloud1.arc.nasa.gov/crystalface/index.html