Tag Archives: remote sensing

Swarm Satellites Discover ‘Jet Stream’ in Earth’s Core

Earth Imaging Journal

DECEMBER 20, 2016
Swarm Satellites Discover ‘Jet Stream’ in Earth’s Core

Using data from the European Space Agency’s three Swarm satellites—which measure the different magnetic fields that stem from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere—scientists discovered a jet stream deep below Earth’s surface that’s increasing in speed.

“It’s the first time this jet stream has been seen, and not only that—we also understand why it’s there,” said Phil Livermore from the University of Leeds and lead author of the paper published in Nature Geoscience.

One of the discoveries is a pattern of “flux patches” in the northern hemisphere, mostly under Alaska and Siberia, which make it easy to see changes in Earth’s magnetic field.

Swarm reveals that these changes are actually a jet stream moving at more than 40 kilometers a year—three times faster than typical outer-core speeds and hundreds of thousands of times faster than Earth’s tectonic plates.

This jet stream flows along a boundary between two different regions in the core. When material in the liquid core moves towards this boundary from both sides, the converging liquid is squeezed out sideways, forming the jet.

NASA Applied Remote Sensing Trainings

Free Remote Sensing training!!!

The ARSET program offers satellite remote sensing training that builds the skills to integrate NASA Earth Science data into an agency’s decision-making activities. Trainings are offered in air quality, climate, disaster, health, land, water resources, and wildfire management. Through online and in person training, ARSET has reached over 4,000 participants from more than 130 countries and 1,600 organizations worldwide.

Through ARSET trainings, you can learn how to:

  • use NASA data for environmental management
  • search and access NASA resources relevant to your needs
  • visualize, interpret, and apply remote sensing data and imagery

https://arset.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Underestimated Sea-Level Rise

From Sensors and Systems

A map shows sea-level change resulting from Greenland ice melt, derived from NASA GRACE measurements. Black circles show locations of the best historical water-level records, which underestimate global average sea-level rise due to Greenland melt by about 25 percent. (Credit: University of Hawaii/NASA-JPL/Caltech).  A new study using NASA satellite data finds that tide gauges—the longest and highest-quality records of historical ocean water levels—may have underestimated the amount of global average sea-level rise that occurred during the 20th century.

A research team led by Philip Thompson, associate director of the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Manoa, evaluated how various processes that cause sea level to change differently in different places may have affected past measurements. The team also included scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.

“It’s not that there’s something wrong with the instruments or the data,” said Thompson. “But for a variety of reasons, sea level does not change at the same pace everywhere at the same time. As it turns out, our best historical sea-level records tend to be located where 20th century sea-level rise was most likely less than the true global average.”

One of the key processes researchers looked at is the effect of “ice melt fingerprints,” which are global patterns of sea-level change caused by deviations in Earth’s rotation and local gravity that occur when a large ice mass melts. To determine the unique melt fingerprint for glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets, the team used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites on Earth’s changing gravitational field, and a novel modeling tool (developed by study co-author Surendra Adhikari and the JPL team) that simulates how ocean mass is redistributed due to ice melting.

One of the most fascinating and counter-intuitive features of these fingerprints is that sea level drops in the vicinity of a melting glacier, instead of rising as might be expected. The loss of ice mass reduces the glacier’s gravitational influence, causing nearby ocean water to migrate away. But far from the glacier, the water it has added to the ocean causes sea level to rise at a much greater rate.

Click here to read the full paper.

Humanitarian Project Aims to Provide Satellite Data

June 27, 2016

Earth Imaging Journal

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) set up the EO4HumEn+ Project to better provide satellite data for humanitarian aid organizations worldwide. Of growing importance is the use of such imagery to monitor and estimate the size of refugee camps, which is very difficult for those “on the ground.” The Austrian Red Cross is a partner in the project.

“Often we do not know where and in what numbers people are living in a geographical area, because the distances are great, and access to areas of conflict is very difficult,” explained Elmar Göbl from the Austrian Red Cross.

The project will run for two years, and the first step is to determine which regions should be the first set up for satellite evaluation for humanitarian purposes.

“For aid organizations, the project is a practical form of support for their work; for the scientists, it is an opportunity to drive forward the research, to exchange information, and to learn from one another,” noted Elisabeth Schöpfer from the German Remote Sensing Data Center.

 

Methane and Carbon Dioxide Levels Still Rising

From Earth Imaging Journal

May 23, 2016

Maps show atmospheric levels of methane from 2003-2005 and 2008-2010, showing  increased concentrations in the latter dataset (in red). (Credit: IUP, University of Bremen/SRON/JPL/ESA/DLR)

Maps show atmospheric levels of methane from 2003-2005 and 2008-2010, showing increased concentrations in the latter dataset (in red). (Credit: IUP, University of Bremen/SRON/JPL/ESA/DLR)

Satellite readings show that atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide are continuing to increase despite global efforts to reduce emissions. Methane concentrations were somewhat constant until 2007, but since then have increased about 0.3 percent per year, whereas global carbon dioxide levels continue to rise at about 0.5 percent per year.

The results, presented at the Living Planet Symposium in Prague, combine data from the European Space Agency’s Envisat satellite and Japan’s GoSat mission. The upcoming Sentinel-5P mission for Europe’s Copernicus program is set to continue data collection on methane and other components of atmospheric chemistry by scanning the whole globe every day.

“For the future, Sentinel-5P will be very important, in particular because of its very dense, high-resolution observations of atmospheric methane, which have the potential to detect and quantify the emissions of important methane-emission hotspots such as oil and gas fields,” noted Michael Buchwitz from the Institute of Environmental Physics of the University of Bremen in Germany.

The atmospheric data products cover 2003-2014 and are available at http://www.esa-ghg-cci.org/.

 

Embracing Commercial Space-NRO Director Betty Sapp

talks commercial launch, small sats, and new contracting methods.

by Warren Ferster  May 18, 2016

Trajectory Magazine

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is taking full advantage of emerging commercial space and information technology capabilities including launch, NRO Director Betty Sapp declared in a Wednesday keynote at GEOINT 2016.

NRO already has contracted for launches from SpaceX, Sapp said, but did not provide any details of the missions since much of NRO’s work is classified. Founded by celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk, SpaceX recently broke United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) longtime monopoly on the U.S. national security launch business by winning a contract to launch an Air Force GPS satellite. ULA, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture, declined to bid on that contract.

Sapp praised SpaceX for having success with what she characterized as an “unconventional” approach to satellite launch. SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket has a first stage powered by nine relatively small engines, a design scheme that raised skepticism before the rocket ran off a string of successful missions.

“We have bought launches from SpaceX—they’re a great partner for us,” Sapp said, adding the company has “challenged the conventional wisdom in the launch industry with great success.”

Launch is just one of the areas in which NRO is leveraging commercial investment and innovation. The agency is also taking advantage of the small satellite revolution, which coupled with the emergence of low-cost launch options is enabling missions NRO previously would not undertake, Sapp said.

The NRO is known for building large, unique, and very complex and expensive satellites to carry out its missions. But Sapp said the agency is now flying satellites of all sizes, including cube sats. Although the NRO initially used cube sats as a low-cost means of testing promising technologies in space, it is now using them for operational missions, Sapp said.

Continue reading Embracing Commercial Space-NRO Director Betty Sapp

ASTER Data Available at No Charge

On April 1, 2016, NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) began distributing ASTER Level 1 Precision Terrain Corrected Registered At-Sensor Radiance (AST_L1T) data products over the entire globe at no charge. Global distribution of these data at no charge is a result of a policy change made by NASA and Japan.

The AST_L1T product provides a quick turn-around of consistent GIS-ready data as a multi-file product, which includes a HDF-EOS data file, full-resolution composite images (FRI) as GeoTIFFs for tasked telescopes (e.g., VNIR/SWIR and TIR ), and associated metadata files. In addition, each AST_L1T granule contains related products including low-resolution browse and, when applicable, a Quality Assurance (QA) browse and QA text report.

More than 2.95 million scenes of archived data are now available for direct download through the LP DAAC Data Pool and for search and download through NASA‘s Earthdata Search Client and also through USGS‘ GloVis , and USGS‘ EarthExplorer . New scenes will be added as they are acquired and archived.

ASTER is a partnership between NASA, Japan‘s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan, and Japan Space Systems (J-spacesystems ).

Visit the LP DAAC ASTER Policy Change Page to learn more about ASTER. Subscribe to the LP DAAC listserv for future announcements.

New Book: The History of NPIC

From Trajectory Magazine Feb. 17, 2016 BY Lindsay Tilton Mitchell

Before the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), a small organization by the name of the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) started it all. President Eisenhower created NPIC in 1961 under CIA leadership. The office focused on solving national intelligence problems via photo interpretation and imagery analysis and was a key player in making decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis and other Cold War events. NPIC became NIMA in 1996.

Little is known about NPIC, which is why author and former NGA Chief Learning Officer Jack O’Connor wrote a book about the organization. Released in September, “NPIC: Seeing the Secrets and Growing the Leaders” explores the center’s history, culture, leadership, and success.

 

– See more at: Trajectory Magazine NPIC

Continue reading New Book: The History of NPIC

Reading the ABCs from Space

Reading the ABCs from Space

By Adam Voiland Design by Jesse Allen & Paul Przyborski December 15, 2015

A few years ago, while working on a story about wildfires, a V appeared to me in a satellite image of a smoke plume over Canada. That image made me wonder: could I track down all 26 letters of the English alphabet using only NASA satellite imagery and astronaut photography?

With the help of readers and colleagues, I started to collect images of ephemeral features like clouds, phytoplankton blooms, and dust clouds that formed shapes reminiscent of letters. Some letters, like O and C, were easy to find. Others—A, B, and R—were maddeningly difficult. Note that the A below is cursive. And if you can find a better example of any letter (in NASA imagery), send us an email with the date, latitude, and longitude.

To see more: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ABC/