NASA Prepares for the Damages of Climate Change


When Hurricane Ida Released from the ground in August, it flooded NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans with rain and strong winds and healing strength in place, which forced the site to run generators. No one was injured, and none of the rockets in the Space Launch System, which were made there and planned for later lunar missions, were affected. But many climate -intensified storms are sure to come.

While NASA scientists are naturally focused on space, everything they do starts on Earth. As long as climate change continues, everyone needs to be prepared for the worst situations. Follow a directive from Biden management, last week in and other federal agencies that have released climate action plans. They are often centered on adapting to a future where certain climate changes are inevitable.

“Our goal is to drill down into all the different threats that can be faced at any individual location,” said senior NASA climate consultant Gavin Schmidt, who contributed to the report. “We are one of those agencies that is not only a victim of climate change, but we are primarily about understanding climate change and bringing science to the table to help us make better decisions.”

NASA and other parts of the federal government sought to improve climate plans during the Obama administration, and they are now reviving those efforts. NASA officials initially conducted adaptation tests in 2011, which were updated in 2015, and now they are also being updated. The agency’s newly released agency highlights five areas of focus, including planning for climate hazards as new missions continue, adapting infrastructure as much as possible, and ensuring access to space. , which can be troublesome if, as a flooded road delays the delivery of rocket fuel to a launchpad.

With about two -thirds of NASA’s assets within 16 feet of sea level – including the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Johnson Space Center in Houston – storms, flood risk, and sea level rise are causing concern. to the agency. If we look around the world and the interior, we put the most valuable properties, including runways and launchpads, in the coastal area. I think NASA improving the accuracy of an agency with a mental orientation is exciting to see, ”said Katharine Mach, a climate scientist at the University of Miami, who is not affiliated with NASA and who serves as the primary author of the United Nations ’Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change most recent review report.

NASA’s action plan outlines the costs of more severe weather events, which are likely to be exacerbated by climate change, which will bring with it many costs for repairs. The Michoud Assembly Facility alone received nearly $ 400 million in costs following both the storm and the tornado. Recent storms and floods have damaged other infrastructure, too, with several sites in the Gulf and East Coast each suffering more than $ 100 million worth of damage. In southern California, the Fire Station in 2009 burned up to a meter on the perimeter of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which had to be closed. As an interior area, JPL will eventually have other climate problems to contend with as well, including droughts and heat waves.

While NASA will simply relocate buildings or launch complexes as a very expensive last resort, the agency is increasingly working on “structural hardening,” making the buildings more resistant to severe weather. or loss of electricity, so that they can temporarily operate the grid. “It could mean raising altitude, increasing pumping capacity, and placing barriers. It could be about creating islands. It could be about creating autonomous infrastructure systems, such as self -generating energy, as well as redundancies, ”said Jesse Keenan, a social scientist at Tulane University with expertise in climate change and the built environment. (Keenan had nothing to do with the NASA report.)



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