The Aerosol, Cloud, Convection and Precipitation (ACCP) study is assessing designs for NASA's next suite of atmospheric observations. The goal is to optimize how we examine links among tiny particles known as "aerosols," clouds, atmospheric convection, and precipitation. ACCP will deliver key data for improved forecasts of weather, air quality and climate. How? By providing unmatched insight into the vertical structure of our atmosphere with observations from space, our skies, and on the ground.
ACCP will make the first-ever global measurements from space that reveal how ice and water move vertically within clouds. Not only that, it will reveal how such motion is tied to natural and human-made aerosols. Understanding how air rises and sinks will improve our knowledge of Earth's storms, rain and snow produced by them, and the effects of weather on air quality.
ACCP will make the first-ever global measurements that directly link clouds' physical properties to how they transfer heat. We will also connect such heat transfer to radiation in our atmosphere. All of which is needed to understand climate feedbacks, climate sensitivity and changes in Earth's water cycle.
The ACCP study team includes several NASA Centers and space agencies in Japan, France, Canada, and Germany. They are also working with universities in the U.S. and abroad. This large group has identified a range of science objectives and a suite of observations needed to meet them.
ACCP is now assessing system designs – or "architectures" – for a future earth observing system. Each candidate architecture is being reviewed in terms of scientific value, estimated cost, and technical readiness.