NASA Cancels Ambitious Climate Study In Thailand
June 29, 2012
A complex and ambitious climate study planned by NASA in Southeast Asia has been canceled after Bangkok refused to approve the project.
AsianScientist (Jun. 29, 2012) – A complex and ambitious climate study planned by NASA in Southeast Asia has been canceled after Bangkok refused to approve the project.
The Southeast Asia Composition, Cloud, Climate Coupling Regional Study, or SEAC4RS, was to take to the field in August, pending approval of NASA’s plans by the government of Thailand where the flights would originate.
It was ultimately canceled as it faced resistance in Thailand due to its potential military significance.
“On June 26, 2012, NASA cancelled the SEAC4RS mission, which was scheduled to begin in August 2012, due to the absence of necessary approvals by regional authorities in the timeframe necessary to support the mission’s planned deployment and scientific observation window,” said a statement carried by the NASA website.
Thailand had been chosen for the aircraft base so that the planes can sample the two big meteorological drivers of the region’s atmospheric circulation: the summertime monsoon circulation to the west and marine convection to the east and south that can loft emissions into the stratosphere.
Researchers had planned to answer many questions about the atmosphere and the effect pollution had on it. For example, some scientists believe that Southeast Asia is the primary place where new air is transported into the stratosphere, and the SEAC4RS study would have investigated this hypothesis.
According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai government had planned to send the project proposal to parliament for debate in August, but it was no longer required since NASA had canceled the project.
U.S. embassy spokeswoman Kristin Kneedler told the Bangkok Post via email that it was “unfortunate to lose this important opportunity for NASA and Thai scientists to collaborate to collect data of scientific importance to not only our two countries but others in the region as well.”
Kneedler added that some equipment that was en route to Thailand will be returned to the United States.
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