PACE -- Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem

  • Released Thursday, August 11th, 2016
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:48PM

The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission will deliver the most comprehensive look at global ocean color measurements in NASA's history. Not only will PACE monitor the health of our ocean, its science data will expand atmospheric studies by sensing our skies over an exceptionally broad spectrum of wavelengths.

A strategic climate continuity mission in support of NASA's Plan for a Climate-Centric Architecture for Earth Observations and Applications from Space (2010), PACE wil monitor aerosol particles, clouds, and many factors related to the marine carbon cycle including the phytoplankton pigment, chlorophyll. Moreover, PACE applications will help with many of our most pressing environmental issues such as harmful algal bloom and air quality forecasts.

Over the past century, humans have accelerated the use of natural resources such as fossil fuels, old growth forests and groundwater. This has warmed the ocean and atmosphere, changed their chemistry and caused extra runoff from land. From analysis of data collected by satellites and sensors monitoring Earth for the past few decades, we know that these mul5ple stressors impact microscopic life in the ocean as well as airborne par5cles and clouds, but we do not know to what extent or whether changes will reach a 5pping point. The future Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission will measure and help resolve the complex role of these interrelated Earth systems and their impact on fisheries, ocean chemistry and nutrients, climate feedbacks and human health.

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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio