Nfld. & Labrador

Lift off! NASA takes flight over St. John's for climate change research

A team from NASA has landed in St. John's and is setting up shop, to embark on a five-year research project on climate change.

Researches looking at how phytoplankton relates to climate change

NASA climate change mission

Here and Now

5 years agoVideo
A team from NASA is starting a five-year research project and set up shop in St. John's 1:25

A team from NASA has landed in St. John's and is setting up shop, for a five-year research project on climate change. 

The group of 20 is trying to understand how underwater plankton are connected to the clouds above, and how those two things relate to climate change and warming oceans.

There are just two Canadians onboard — Dalhousie University ocean researcher Susanne Craig and atmosphere researcher Mark Gibson.

The two are also husband and wife.

Senior research scientist, Chris Hostetler, calls NAAMES — North Atlantic Aerosol and Marine Ecosystems — a unique, cross-disciplinary mission, between oceans and atmospheres. 

"We're trying to understand the mechanisms that control the phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic," Hostetler said. "This is one of the strongest phytoplankton blooms in all of the global oceans."

Phytoplankton are plants that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and are an important part of the food chain.

Researchers are also looking at the degree to which the ocean eco-system influences the amount and properties of aerosol partials, such as sea spray or pollution.

The team plans on taking atmospheric measurements at the same time as samples are taken from the ocean.  

The first of two-dozen flights over the next five years takes off Thursday.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.