NEW S AN D Notes QUIKTOM S Ozone Monitorin g Instrument tinue the important jo b of ozone monitoring now done Prepare d for Launch by the five-year old TOMS instrument on Earth Probe, which was beginning to show signs of aging. The National Aeronautical and Space Administra- tion (NASA) launched its latest ozone-monitoring in- "NASA is pleased with Orbital's cooperation, teamwork, and dedication throughout the development strument, which will allow scientists to continue their and launch preparations of the QuikTOMS spacecraft, long-term measurements of global ozone levels. The instrument and launch vehicle," said Kenneth Schwer, QUIKTOMS or Quick Total Ozone Mapping Spec- the QuikTOMS Project Manager. "NASA's innova- trometer (TOMS) was scheduled to lift off from tive acquisition tools continue to provide excellent Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on 21 Septem- avenues for achieving acceptable low-cost and quick ber on an Orbital Sciences Corporation Taurus rocket. missions." Built in just two years rather than the traditional three to five, QuikTOMS will take over for the TOMS Although the TOMS data will be used primarily to spacecraft in monitoring global ozone levels (includ- study ozone, the information gained from TOMS will ing springtime ozone depletion in both the Arctic and also contribute to volcanic studies. Volcanoes gener- the Antarctic), sulfur dioxide, ash, smoke from fires, ate sulfur dioxide (S0 ) in the earth's atmosphere, and and ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth's surface. the TOMS instrument can track this gas. The gas is rapidly transformed into sulfate aerosols, which can QuikTOMS follows on a 23-year legacy; this type persist in the stratosphere for months to years. Sulfur of extended observation allows scientists to distin- dioxide's effects in the stratosphere include the red guish human-forced changes from natural atmospheric sunsets that follow major volcanic eruptions. The ef- variations and helps quantify the roles of these fac- fects cause chemical changes in the atmosphere and tors. Such extended, calibrated observations are re- are associated with climate change. quired for researchers to see the future ozone recovery expected as a result of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, TOMS also can track smoke from forest fires such as amended, which limited the production of ozone- as those in the Northwestern United States this year, destroying industrial chemicals such as chlorofluoro- as well as smoke plumes from fires set to clear land carbons (CFCs). in Africa and South America. QuikTOMS will allow for continued study of the Also aboard Orbital's four-stage ground-launch annually recurring Antarctic ozone hole. The year rocke t is the OrbView-4 high-resolution and 2000 marked the largest Antarctic hole ever observed hyperspectral imaging satellite that Orbital built for — 28.3 million square kilometers, roughly three times Orbital Imaging Corporation (ORBIMAGE). In ad- the size of the United States. QuikTOMS will con- dition, the Taurus rocket carried a small payload for Celestis, Inc., which did not separate from the rocket's final stage once it reached orbit. TOMS is a second-generation, ozone-sounding CERTIFIED CONSULTING METEOROLOGISTS instrument derived from the Backscatter Ultraviolet (BUV) Spectrometer flown aboard NASA's Nimbus- 4 satellite in 1970. The first TOMS instrument was launched aboard Nimbus-7 in 1978. The Nimbus-7 TOMS operated almost continuously from its launch 603 Elizabeth M. Hendrick 2001 until its failure in 1993, providing more than 15 years of daily global maps of total ozone. The Meteor-3 TOMS, ADEOS TOMS, and the Earth Probe TOMS followed the Nimbus-7 TOMS. Vol. 82, No. 12, December 2001
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Dec 1, 2001
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