NASA partners with NMU to collect data on Granite Island

Aug 9, 2018

Northern Michigan University has partnered with NASA to bring radiation monitoring to Granite Island.

NASA and NMU officials have already brought equipment out to the island, which is 12 miles north of Marquette in Lake Superior.

John Lenters is a research associate at NMU. He said the island will be used to measure short and long wave radiation at different levels in the atmosphere.

“Both of those provide energy to the earth's surface and are important for things like photosynthesis and plants, evaporation from water and from the soil and it basically drives our weather and climate.

Lenters said the site is one of many across the country being used by NASA.

“Part of what’s known as the CERES program. That’s a satellite monitoring project where they measure some of the same variables but from satellite so they need some ground stations to verify some of the information their collecting from satellite.”

Lenters said NASA satellites have been accumulating atmospheric radiation data from satellite for decades. But the agency needed more ground locations to confirm the findings.

Granite Island was chosen because it’s far enough out in the lake that there won’t be a lot of clutter in the satellites images.

He said, among other things, the data could be important for understanding climate change.