Beautiful Science

An image of a storm taking place over the Middle East captured by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. The station recently received two new instruments - the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (Sage) III and the Lightning Imagi
PHOTO: NASA

An image of a storm taking place over the Middle East captured by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

The station recently received two new instruments - the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (Sage) III and the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS).

Sage III monitors the condition of the ozone layer, which covers an area in the stratosphere 16km to 48km above Earth and protects the planet from the Sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, while the LIS records the time, energy output and location of lightning events around the world, day and night. LIS will improve coverage of lightning events over the oceans and in the Northern Hemisphere during its summer months.

As lightning is both a factor and a gauge for a number of atmospheric processes, Nasa as well as other agencies will be using the LIS' lightning data for numerous applications, from weather forecasting to climate modelling and air-quality studies.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2017, with the headline 'Beautiful Science'. Print Edition | Subscribe