For the first time ever, measurements from NASA Earth-observing research satellites are being used to help combat a potential outbreak of life-threatening cholera. Humanitarian teams in Yemen are targeting areas identified by a NASA-supported project that precisely forecasts high-risk regions based on environmental conditions observed from space.
Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) on NASA’s Terra satellite is being used to prove a concept in which new geostationary satellites could improve how agencies monitor and forecast air quality. Chemistry-climate model output would be combined from satellite data from a fleet of geostationary satellites.
“We think the new perspective made possible by geostationary sensors would provide data that is useful for everyday air quality forecasting, as well as for early warnings about extreme events, like the effects of wildfires,” said Helen Worden, NCAR scientist and member of the research team, according to the UCAR website.
MOPITT provides one to two measurements over a given location per day. The geostationary fleet would allow multiple measurements of certain locations per day, making it possible to track emissions over rush hour versus lower traffic times in some urban areas.
The statistical technique used to test the geostationary fleet as a proof of concept was first developed to analyze data from MOPITT, which pioneered the measurement of carbon monoxide from space.
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) is a 15-channel imaging instrument operating on NASA’s Terra satellite. A joint project between the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, ASTER has been acquiring data for 15 years, since March 2000. The archive now contains over 2.8 million scenes; for the majority of them, a stereo pair was collected using nadir and backward telescopes imaging in the NIR wavelength.The majority of users require only a few to a few dozen scenes for their work. Studies have ranged over numerous scientific disciplines, and many practical applications have benefited from ASTER’s unique data. A few researchers have been able to mine the entire ASTER archive, that is now global in extent due to the long duration of the mission. Six examples of global products are described in this contribution:the ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM), the most complete, highest resolution DEM available to all users; the ASTER Emissivity Database (ASTER GED), a global 5-band emissivity map of the land surface; the ASTER Global Urban Area Map (AGURAM), a 15-m resolution database of over 3500 cities;the ASTER Volcano Archive (AVA), an archive of over 1500 active volcanoes; ASTER Geoscience products of the continent of Australia; and the Global Ice Monitoring from Space (GLIMS) project.
Student winners of NASA’s 2014 educational “REEL Science Communication Contest” have completed their follow-on Earth science videos after a month-long workshop with NASA scientists and communication experts.
In May of 2014, NASA Earth science missions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, selected winners of their second annual video contest for high school students. The student winners each produced two-minute videos that communicate NASA Earth science to engage younger students. Winners were awarded the opportunity to work remotely with NASA experts to create new Earth science videos for NASA outreach.
Throughout July, contest winners Lena Korkeila from Placerville, California; Anna and Geof Olson from Santa Cruz, California; and Heather Forster, Sofia Bialkowski and Suzie Petryk from Huntington, New York, learned about NASA Earth science missions, communication efforts and video production. Working with people from the Terra, Aqua and ICESat-2 Earth science missions and Goddard’s Office of Communications, the students pitched video ideas, wrote their scripts, identified NASA footage and visualizations, found or created accompanying music and recorded their narrations. Read more
Terra is now well into her teenage years, but is by no means setting records for the longest operating satellite. In fact, Terra has only been collecting data half as long as Landsat 5, which set the record for longest operating satellite last year after operating for 28 years and 10 months. Terra has surpassed its intended design life by 8 years, but it is still collecting meaningful data, giving scientists insight into how different systems on Earth effect each other.
Beyond Terra’s contributions to scientific research, it continues to help monitor forest fires, equipping land managing agencies with the ability to track a fire’s progress and identify areas of concern. Terra also continues to witness phytoplankton blooms, monitor changes in ice shelves, witness volcanic eruptions, and track dust, haze and smog as it travels from its source. Terra is improving climate and weather models, helping forecasters make better predictions.
In addition to Terra’s scientific and climate contributions, it continues to showcase how the United States in partnership with other countries, like Japan and Canada, can work together to increase knowledge and gain a better understanding of Earth’s varying climate and the interconnectedness of Earth’s systems. Since Terra’s launch, other satellites such as the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), expected to launch in 2014, have followed Terra’s lead by partnering with other countries to provide scientist’s with a wide array of information to better understand Earth.
Terra and her instruments made an appearance in many of the presentations at the American Geophysical Union’s 46th annual Fall Meeting held December 9th – 13th. Scientists, researchers, students and educators gathered to present groundbreaking research and connect with colleagues.
The presentations showcased the versatility and interconnectedness of the instrument suite onboard Terra.
In Comparing Land Surface and Air Temperatures of Urban Heat Islands Over the Contiguous USA the research team overlaid the National Land Cover Database Impervious Surface Area map over the local air temperatures from the Global Historical Climatology Network station distribution map, identifying over 300 urban settlements and comparing local air temperatures versus the land surface temperatures at night and at midday. They found that the observed temperature change was evident in both sets of data, however the magnitude differed.
Assessment of Urbanization Impact on the Continental US Surface Climate showcased the assessment of interactions between urban and different vegetation classes to understand vegetation control on urband heat islands hourly and seasonal dynamics.
NASA and U.S. Geological Survey Long-Term Archive for the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) outlines plans for archiving ASTER data through the US Geological Survey.
These were only a few of the presentations at AGU. To attend virtual sessions on demand, search the poster and presentation archive and learn more about how Terra is impacting Earth science visit the AGU fall meeting website.