The ocean is a significant influence on Earth's weather and climate. The ocean covers 70% of the global surface. This great reservoir continuously exchanges heat, moisture, and carbon with the atmosphere, driving our weather patterns and influencing the slow, subtle changes in our climate.
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The Water and Energy Cycle Focus Area aims to develop capabilities to improve observations, model simulations and projections of the water and energy cycles at diverse spatial scales (local, regional, global) including extreme events. This scope aligns with research initiatives at other national and international programs, such as the Global Energy and Water cycle Experiment (GEWEX) and the water cycle activities of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.
The Earth’s weather system includes the dynamics of the atmosphere and its interaction with the oceans and land. Weather ranges from local or microphysical processes that occur in minutes through global-scale phenomena that we can predict with a degree of success at an estimated maximum of two weeks prior. The Weather focus area is important to the NASA Earth Science for two reasons:
Variations in constituents such as ozone and aerosols affect air quality, weather and climate. Atmospheric composition is central to Earth system dynamics because the atmosphere integrates spatially varying surface emissions globally on time scales from weeks to years.
NASA’s Earth Surface and Interior focus area (ESI) supports research and analysis of solid-Earth processes and properties from crust to core. The overarching goal of ESI is to use NASA’s unique capabilities and observational resources to better understand core, mantle, and lithospheric structure and dynamics, and interactions between these processes and Earth’s fluid envelopes.
NASA’s Climate Variability and Change Focus Area (CVC) studies global climate and sea level to understand their change on seasonal to decadal timescales. Home to NASA’s research programs in Physical Oceanography, Cryospheric Sciences, and Modeling and Data Assimilation, the CVC Focus Area fosters interdisciplinary science to understand the role of oceans and ice in the Earth system, and supports advanced modeling capabilities to improve our understanding of the physical processes that control the earth system and enable prediction.