News

NTSG wins University of Montana Website award

MISSOULA – The votes are tallied and the winners selected in the University of Montana’s annual Pinecone Awards contest, which invites web users to select the University’s best websites.

For a complete list of awards and winners, visit http://www.umt.edu/web/pinecone-awards/2017/default.php.

Congratulations NTSG Alumni Ramakrishna Nemani for receiving the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award

A pioneer in satellite-driven ecological forecasting technology, Nemani, who earned a doctorate in forestry from UM, is the director of NASA's Ecological Forecasting Laboratory. His work, which he started at UM, is the basis NASA Earth Observing System's weekly monitor of global plant production, a unique global dataset used by scientists worldwide. Nemani, whose rank of senior research scientist is attained by only one in 1,000 NASA employees, developed and leads a modeling framework called the Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System. TOPS produces ecological nowcasts and forecasts using satellite and climate data and is a crucial tool used in global carbon monitoring, helping address issues related to water, natural hazards, carbon emissions and sequestration, agricultural productivity, public health and urban planning.

 

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Tracking Changing Soil Temperature, Moisture, and Carbon in the Arctic

To improve our understanding of how large stores of soil carbon and Arctic vegetation are responding to climate change, a team of scientists participating in the NASA Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) recently gathered in Alaska to take part in a remote field campaign. Team members were Jennifer Watts (University of Montana; Woods Hole Research Center), Kyle Arndt and Andrea Fenner (San Diego State University), and Stephen Shirley (University of Montana).

 

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Using SMAP to monitor surface flooding from Hurricane Harvey

A new series of images generated with data from NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite illustrate the surface flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey from before its initial landfall through August 27, 2017. The SMAP observations detect the proportion of the ground covered by surface water within the satellite's field of view. The sequence of images depicts successive satellite orbital swath observations showing the surface water conditions on August 22, before Harvey's landfall (left), and then on Aug. 27, two days after landfall (middle).

 

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New Images

Giovanni: The Bridge Between Data and Science

Using satellite remote sensing data sets can be a daunting task. Giovanni, a Web-based tool, facilitates access, visualization, and exploration for many of NASA’s Earth science data sets.

 

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Harnessing rich satellite data to estimate crop yield

URBANA, Ill. - Without advanced sensing technology, humans see only a small portion of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Satellites see the full range--from high-energy gamma rays, to visible, infrared, and low-energy microwaves. The images and data they collect can be used to solve complex problems. For example, satellite data is being harnessed by researchers at the University of Illinois for a more complete picture of cropland and to estimate crop yield in the U.S. Corn Belt.

 

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UM wins NASA grant to study ag impacts on water resources

Researchers in the geosciences department at the University of Montana announced Wednesday they have received a $750,000 NASA grant to develop and apply remote sensing technologies to study hydrology on the state’s agricultural lands.

Missoula Article

Senator Tester Applauds Partnership

(U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester is applauding three research teams from Montana State University and the University of Montana that have been selected to receive funding and develop their research with NASA.

https://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=5394 

SMAP Data products updated

The Level-4 SMAP soil moisture and carbon data products, listed below, have been updated to Version 3 and are now available at the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC).
For the Level-4 soil moisture data, the primary changes implemented in this version include:
  • SMAP observations are now assimilated in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia due to expanded coverage of brightness temperature scaling parameters. The latter are based on 2 years of SMAP Version 3 brightness temperature observations where the SMOS climatology is unavailable because of RFI.
  • An improved version of the model-only Nature Run (NRv4.1) simulation is used to derive brightness temperature scaling parameters, model soil moisture initial conditions, and soil moisture climatology.
For the Level-4 carbon data, the primary changes implemented in this version include:
  • Model now uses dynamic 8-day fPAR inputs obtained from the latest (Collection 6) MODIS fPAR record at 500 m resolution.
  • Updated and recalibrated ancillary Biome Properties Look-Up Table (BPLUT) and re-initialized model initial global soil organic carbon (SOC) pools to reflect new MODIS Collection 6 fPAR inputs.
For more information on changes implemented in this version, please see the SMAP Data Versions page at the NSIDC DAAC: http://nsidc.org/data/smap/data_versions
 

To access data, documentation, and tools, please see the SMAP Web site at the NSIDC DAAC: 
http://nsidc.org/data/smap/

Data Acknowledgements:

Data center: NSIDC DAAC (
http://nsidc.org/daac)
Sponsor: NASA EOSDIS (
http://earthdata.nasa.gov)

If you have questions, please contact the User Services Office at 
nsidc@nsidc.org.
 

Best regards,

NSIDC DAAC

User Services

How a Melting Arctic Changes Everything

Eight countries control land in the Arctic Circle. Five have coastlines to defend. The temperature is rising. The ice is melting. The race for newly accessible resources is beginning. And Russia is gaining ground.

Bloomberg Article

Fewer Freezing Days

Key Points: 1. Observed changes in the length of the frost-free season, defined as the number of frost-free days in a year, reflect the overall warming trend in the climate system. The bars on the graph show the difference between the number of frost-free days in each year and the average number of frost-free days from 1979 to 2014.

USGCRP Frost-Free Season climate indicator

Plant Productivity in a Warming World

The past decade is the warmest on record since instrumental measurements began in the 1880s. Previous research suggested that in the '80s and '90s, warmer global temperatures and higher levels of precipitation -- factors associated with climate change - were generally good for plant productivity. An updated analysis published this week in Science indicates that as temperatures have continued to rise, the benefits to plants are now overwhelmed by longer and more frequent droughts. High-resolution data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, indicate a net decrease in NPP from 2000-2009, as compared to the previous two decades.

Montana: Trout and Drought

The flow of water in Montana's rivers is lifeblood for its economy, both through tourism and agriculture. Montana's trout and the $300 million recreational fishing industry depend on cool waters flowing from melting snow high in the mountains throughout the summer. Irrigated crops play a prominent role in Montana's $2.4 billion agricultural industry, and these crops rely on the same strong river flows during the summer when soils are driest and plants thirstiest. But a broad trend is changing the way streams and rivers flow in Montana.

The pattern over the past fifty or so years is unmistakable. Across Montana, temperatures in March have been rising. An analysis by Climate Central shows that average March temperatures have risen over 7°F since the 1950s. This rise matches general expectations from other research on effects of human-caused global warming in the US West; and the climb is projected to continue (see animated map), although its steepness will depend on how many more greenhouse gases go into the atmosphere.

Warmer March temperatures mean that snow in the mountains begins melting sooner. Earlier snowmelt means less snow remains during the summer months — especially late in the summer — which translates to less water flowing down Montana's rivers. This means less water for irrigation, and slower flows in streams. Slow-moving water heats up more easily when the weather is hot, so slower summer flows mean more opportunities for water to get above the lethal 78°F threshold for trout.

Beyond this, Montanans also have to cope with increased wildfire activity and more outbreaks of tree-killing insects. Both trends, which have been linked to human-caused warming, cost the economy dearly.

Montanans are not sitting idly in the face of these challenges. They have already begun to tap their massive potential to produce climate-friendly wind energy. In fact, it is estimated that Montana's winds could generate as much electricity as nineteen western states consume today; currently, Montana is tapping about 4% of this potential. Making energy from wind produces essentially no greenhouse gases.

Montana also sits on about a quarter of the nation's coal reserves. Governor Brian Schweitzer wants to build coal to liquid (CTL) plants, which use coal to make liquid fuels that can replace gasoline or diesel fuel. However, CTL plants are water-intensive, and the production and use of CTL fuels generates twice the greenhouse gases that regular petroleum products do. Recognizing the carbon challenge from coal, Montana is aiming to be a leader in a new technology that would harvest coal's energy while capturing and burying deep in the ground carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released in liquid fuel production. Even with this step, however, using CTL fuels would still release about the same amount of greenhouse gases overall as burning gasoline or other crude oil products.

Footage credits: Environmental Defense Fund, Government of Canada, Invenergy & the Andy Nebel Company, Getty Images, University of Montana, Broadcast Media Center, American Museum of Fly Fishing, Western Governors' Association, Phil Takatsuno/ Yellowstone Media, Casey A. Cass/ University of Colorado

Human Consumption of NPP

On Dec. 14, 2010 NASA Goddard researchers will conduct a press briefing at the American Geophysical Union Fall 2010 meeting, entitled, "Satellite Supported Estimates of Human Rate of NPP carbon Use on Land: Challenges Ahead." In the first measurement of this trend, the research showed humans are using an increasing amount of Earth's annual production of photosynthetic land plants and that consumption rose from 20 to 25 percent from 1995 to 2005.

1990 KECI News