PACE - Studying Plankton, Aerosols, Clouds, and the Ocean Ecosystem

  • Released Wednesday, December 5th, 2018
  • Updated Sunday, January 21st, 2024 at 12:10AM
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The visualization starts close on the PACE spacecraft. A representative data swath is shown, depicting biosphere plankton data. The camera then pulls out to show the spacecraft's polar orbit. Complete global coverage is achieved after approximately two days of orbits. Over time, the data swath cycles between biosphere, aerosol, and cloud data, representing PACE's collective mission to study Earth's ocean and atmosphere. This version end with animated biosphere data.

In terms of life on Earth, color describes more than simply how features look. In many cases color serves as a proxy for biological processes. When studying ocean biology, colors count in a big way.

NASA’s PACE mission (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) has been conceived principally as a way to measure ocean color for assessing large scale ocean health. These measurements will provide data to determine the distribution of phytoplankton, tiny plants and algae that sustain the marine food web. A simple way to think about this is the more “green” that’s visible from space, the more prevalent are plant cells containing chlorophyll, an essential green pigment responsible for energy-producing photosynthesis in plants. Phytoplankton populations are fundamental to understanding the overall health of the ocean food web, as well as a wide range of related processes.

PACE will be able to see other colors too—a broad range of color, in fact, stretching beyond the bounds of visible light into both ultraviolet as well as infrared. PACE will also be able to make measurements of aerosols in the atmosphere, essential for scientists to improve our understanding of and our ability to forecast weather and climate.

PACE continues a more than 20 year legacy of ocean color measurements, providing the scientific community with a long time series of data. That legacy enables better assessments of long term trends about complex processes on Earth.

The visualization starts close on the PACE spacecraft. A representative data swath is shown, depicting biosphere plankton data. The camera then pulls out to show the spacecraft's polar orbit. Complete global coverage is achieved after approximately two days of orbits. Over time, the data swath cycles between biosphere, aerosol, and cloud data, representing PACE's collective mission to study Earth's ocean and atmosphere. This version end with static biosphere data.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


Datasets used in this visualization

  • SeaStar Chlorophyll Concentration

    ID: 469
    Collected with SeaWiFS 1997/09 - 2007/11

    All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye.

    Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, The SeaWiFS Project and GeoEye, Scientific Visualization Studio. NOTE: All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye (NOTE: In January 2013, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye combined to become one DigitalGlobe.).

    This dataset can be found at: http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/PRODUCTS/

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • Comiso's Daily Sea Ice Concentration

    ID: 539
    Data Compilation NASA/GSFC 1997/9 - 2017/9
  • SeaStar NDVI

    ID: 601
    Collected with SeaWiFS 1997/09 - 2007/11

    All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye.

    Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, The SeaWiFS Project and GeoEye, Scientific Visualization Studio. NOTE: All SeaWiFS images and data presented on this web site are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye (NOTE: In January 2013, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye combined to become one DigitalGlobe.).

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • Terra and Aqua NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI))

    ID: 633
    Collected with MODIS NASA 2007/10 - 2012/2
  • GEOS Atmospheric Model

    ID: 665
    Model NASA GMAO 2014/12
  • Suomi NPP VIIRS

    ID: 722
    Collected with VIIRS 2018/08
  • Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS) IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis (IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis - 24 km Resolution)

    ID: 778
    Analysis NOAA 1997/9 - 2017/9
  • Aqua chlor_a (Chlorophyll Concentration OCl)

    ID: 935
    Collected with MODIS 2007/10 - 2012/2

    Credit: Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG)

    This dataset can be found at: http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/cms/atbd/chlor_a

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • Suomi NPP Chlorophyll (Chlorophyll Concentration)

    ID: 987
    Observed Data Collected with VIIRS 2012/2 - 2017/9
  • Suomi NPP Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)

    ID: 988
    Analysis Collected with VIIRS 2012/2 - 2017/9

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.