Calendar Event Details

610AT Weekly Report – Week Ending 12/20/2013

Event Date: Friday, December 20, 2013


Noteworthy Science Achievements/Awards





Noteworthy Personnel Awards and Staff Changes









Significant Planned Events














External Interactions (HQ, universities, other Gov't organizations, etc.



ARSET Webinar (Water Resources)


The Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) program (Ana Prados, Project Lead, Code 614) conducted a 5 week webinar session entitled “Introduction to NASA Remote Sensing Data for Water Resources Management” between October 17th and November 14th.  The course was developed and taught by Amita Mehta (Code 612) and Brock Blevins (ASRET/UMBC), with additional lectures by guest speakers Evan Johnson (NASA/AMES), Charon Birkett (UMCP/ESSIC) and John Bolten (NASA/GSFC).  To accommodate participants from the Americas and Asia, sessions were offered twice at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST.  There were a total of 197 participants from 120 organizations and over 25 countries.  The course covered the fundamentals of remote sensing and earth system modeling, and an overview on the fresh water components available from NASA satellites with a focus on data access and usage in decision support.  Specifically, the course introduced TRMM rainfall, MODIS snow cover, surface runoff and soil moisture from GLDAS/NLDAS, evapotranspiration from MODIS, Landsat, GLDAS/NLDAS, reservoir heights from Topex/Poseidon and Jason-1 and -2, and ground water storage from GRACE.  There were also live demonstrations with step-by-step instructions for acquiring TRMM and GLDAS/NLDAS data from Giovanni (GSFC/GES DISC) and importing them into GIS ArcMap for visualization with additional geographical and socioeconomic data layers.

ARSET Webinar (Flood Monitoring)

The Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) program (Ana Prados, Project Lead, Code 614) conducted a 4 week webinar entitled “Flood Monitoring using NASA Remote Sensing Data” between 19 November to 10 December.  The course was developed and taught by Amita Mehta (Code 612) and Brock Blevins (ARSET/JCET, UMBC).  The focus of the course was near-global, publicly available, web-based flood monitoring tools that make use NASA satellite derives observations.  Over 70 participants from across the world participated in the webinar.  The course provided descriptions and live demonstrations of 1) TRMM rainfall-based flooding tools; such as “current Heavy Rain, Flood and Landslide Estimates”, Extreme Rainfall Detection System (ERDS), and Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS), 2) MODIS–based Inundation mapping Tools from NASA’s “NRT Global MODIS Flood Mapping” and the Dartmouth Flood Observatory, and 3) TRMM Microwave Imager and Aqua AMSR-E – based flood detection tools from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory and Global Flood Detection System (GFDS).  A disaster support tool, the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) was also introduced together with GIS demonstrations for displaying NASA data products in relation to elevation, river basins, infrastructure and population in the context of regional flooding events in the Limpopo River Basin in Mozambique, Cyclone Phailin in NE India, and the Haiyan Typhoon in the Philippines.




Highlights of Inter-Directorate Teaming







Noteworthy Talks/Presentations

Cynthia A. Randles (GESTAR-MSU/614) presented a Climate & Radiation Laboratory seminar entitled "Aerosol absorption effects on simulated climate in GEOS-5" December 19.


On Wednesday, December 11, Anne Douglass, Susan Strahan and Natalya Kramarova presented their analysis of processes controlling the Antarctic ozone hole at a press conference during the fall AGU meeting in San Francisco, CA.  Their studies showed that declining chlorine in the stratosphere has not yet caused a recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole.  Since the early 1990s, as chlorine eventually reached the level necessary to destroy virtually 100% of the ozone in the lower Antarctic stratosphere, the area of the annual ozone hole has essentially stabilized, ceasing to grow substantially larger.  However, new studies show that signs of recovery are not yet present, and year-to-year changes of the ozone hole area have been primarily controlled by the stratospheric meteorology.


In 2011 the Antarctic ozone hole was almost as large as in 2006 - the year with the largest ozone hole ever observed - while in the following 2012 year the ozone hole was the second smallest since late 1980s.  The examination of the vertical ozone and nitrous oxide distributions inside the ozone hole, using Aura MLS and Suomi OMPS Limb observations, revealed additional meteorology caused factors that control the area of the Antarctic ozone hole.


By the end of the next decade, the level of chlorine is expected to decline by about 20% as a result of the Montreal Protocol, and the ozone recovery over Antarctica should become apparent.




Omar Torres and Hiren Jethva chaired The “Aerosols Above Clouds” section at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting.  Omar Torres presented the paper “Inferring Aerosol Angstrom Absorption Exponent using satellite observations” and Hiren Jethva had the poster presentation “How do A-train Sensors Inter-Compare in the Retrieval of Above-Cloud Aerosol Optical Depth?  A Case Study based Assessment”.


Lee, D. (GESTAR-MSU/613), Sud, Y. C. (613 Emeritus), Oreopoulos, L. (613), Kim, K.-M. (613), Lau, W. K. (610-AT), and Kang, I.-S.: Modeling the influences of aerosols on pre-monsoon circulation and rainfall over Southeast Asia, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 32885-

32923, doi:10.5194/acpd-13-32885-2013, 2013.  The paper is about a modeling study with

GMAO's GEOS-5 global atmospheric model to understand the role of direct and direct effects of biomass burning aerosols emitted in Southeast Asia during the pre-monsoon February–May period on monsoonal precipitation development.




The GRL paper by Li, C. (614/ESSIC), J. Joiner (614), N. A. Krotkov (614), P. K. Bhartia (614) (2013), “A fast and sensitive new satellite SO2 retrieval algorithm based on principal component analysis: Application to the Ozone Monitoring Instrument”, Geophysical Research Letters, 40, doi:10.1002/2013GL058134, published. 


In this paper we describe an innovative approach that can significantly reduce noise and biases in OMI SO2 retrievals compared with the operational algorithm.  It is also much faster than comparable methods that rely on on-line radiative transfer calculations.  It can be easily applied to other satellite sensors such as NPP OMPS to ensure continuity in long-term SO2 data records for climate and air quality research.


Peter Colarco, Ed Nowottnick, Cynthia Randles (all 614) and Kyu-Myong Kim (613) are co-authors on the just accepted article:  Colarco, P. R., Nowottnick, E. P., Randles, C. A., Yi, B., Yang, P., Kim, K.-M., Smith, J. A. and Bardeen, C. G.: Impact of Radiatively Interactive Dust Aerosols in the NASA GEOS-5 Climate Model: Sensitivity to Dust Particle Shape and Refractive Index, J Geophys Res-Atmos, doi:10.1002/2013JD020046, 2013.

This paper presents the first use of the CARMA sectional aerosol module running online in GEOS-5.  We simulate distributions of dust and sea salt aerosols, accounting for the radiative feedback of the aerosols on the model atmosphere.  Different assumptions of dust optical properties are tested, including absorption and particle shape assumptions.  We find that Saharan dust transport is most realistically simulated when dust absorption is high.  Dust radiative forcing leads to a strengthening and northward shift of the African Easterly Jet, leading to dust transport at higher altitudes and more to the north and west in simulations with the strongest dust absorption.  We also find a positive feedback of strong dust absorption leading to enhanced dust emissions, contrasting with previous modeling studies.  We attribute this discrepancy against past model results to stronger dust long wave forcing in our model than in other models.





Major events in the coming week







Education and Outreach




On Friday December 6th, Deborah Stein Zweers (614) participated in the Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School “Career Day” in Alexandria, VA and gave presentations to several 5th and 6th grade classes about her career as an air quality scientist at NASA-GSFC.  Outreach materials were given out to teachers and each student regarding current NASA satellite missions.







Issues and Concerns



Status of any Major Actions

Posted or updated: Monday, December 23, 2013

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