KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UA team creates new instrument to study high atmosphere clouds

A team of doctoral students from the University of Arizona developed an instrument to study high-atmosphere clouds in a way that hasn’t been done before. 

The clouds being studied are invisible to the naked eye due to how thin they are. 

But they still play a role in the climate by how much light they reflect or hold onto, which can be viewed with thermal infrared tools. Studying these clouds will give climatologists a better view of  local and global climates. 

Doctoral student Kira Hart Shanks received funding from NASA to send a device into the atmosphere with a high-altitude balloon in August. Her team was able to prove the technology worked.

“We got incredibly lucky, you know we had this beautiful monsoon season and on the day we launched we had lot of really exciting cloud activity so we were actually able to measure this polarized signal coming from both water and what we believe to be mixed-phase or combination water-ice clouds," Kira said. 

The goal now is to send the instrument into space on a NASA CubeSat, which is like a miniature satellite. But that timeframe has not been set.

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.