Everyone talks about the weather, but it turns out we have been doing something about it for decades. The change - for the worse - was so gradual that we didn't notice it. And fixing problems that we have caused may start with planting a few trees downtown and using the same observation techniques developed for studying other planets in our solar system.
This month, dozens of school kids in Atlanta will team with NASA's Global Hydrology and Climate Center to determine the extent of the changes. This Urban Heat Island Experiment is part of a larger study of past and future land use impacts on climate and air quality of Atlanta.
In turn, it may help cities reshape themselves for comfort - and lower heating bills - and help developing nations avoid the same mistakes.
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"We are looking at the impact of Atlanta's growth on its air quality and temperatures over the 1973-97 period," said Dr. Dale Quattrochi, the experiment's principal investigator at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center in Huntsville, Ala. "Plus, Atlanta is looking at where to grow over the next 20 years."
While 5th and 6th grade students take thermometers into parking lots and schoolyards to measure temperatures at noon,
NASA will send its Lear 23 jet aircraft overhead to scan the area and map hea
Contact: Dr. John M. Horack
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center News Center