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NASA uses Space Laser to study ocean surfaces and plants

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Usually when you think NASA you conjure up images of Mars and space stations. But the agency also conducts important climate research. One of those projects is the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization aboard the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation satellite that measures plankton levels through clouds.

“CALIOP was a game-changer in our thinking about ocean sensing from space. We were able to study the workings of the high-latitude ocean ecosystem during times of year when we were previously completely blind.” said Hostetler, a Langley research scientist.

“The take home message is that if we want to understand the biological food web and production of the polar systems as a whole, we have to focus both on changes in ice cover and changes in the ecosystems that regulate this delicate balance between predators and prey,” said Michael Behrenfeld.

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