The NASA SMAP satellite took off for space on January 31, 2015 to study our planet's soil moisture and freeze/thaw state. Once in space, the satellite had to go through a prescribed series of steps to ensure that the spacecraft was functioning and all its instruments and components on-board were working properly. This took several months.
In mid-April 2015, NASA starting receiving its first soil moisture measurements from SMAP's combined high resolution radar and its high accuracy radiometer. The combination of this data produced a data resolution of approximately 8km. Unfortunately,...
The next GLOBE training will occur at the University of North Dakota on Monday 8 August and Tuesday 9 August 2016, with online components beginning Friday 5 August.
Trainers will be Dr. Laura Munski of the Dakota Science Center and Dr. Matt Gilmore of Atmospheric Sciences.
New this year, teachers will watch several introductory online videos and complete several hours of e-training with quiz questions - totaling 3 hours of online instruction.
Invited again this year are pre-service teachers (e.g., students at UND or Mayville State University)...
Why should we study mosquitos in our area?
By Mullica Jaroensutasinee, Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee, Walailak University
Rebecca Boger, Brooklyn College and Elena Sparrow, UAF
Before we try to answer this, we should ask ourselves about how much do we know about them? For example, how many mosquito species present in our area? Would they carry some diseases? Where are their main breeding sites? Would they prefer to bite kids than adults and elderly? What time of year? What time of day would they most active (biting us)?
Let us give you some example on mosquitos that are main vector for...
There are many application for SMAP soil moisture satellite data.
Understanding drought risk is vital to the health of the planet and to the lives of potentially billions of people around the world. Soil moisture strongly affects plant growth and hence agricultural productivity, especially during conditions of water shortage and drought. Currently, there is no global in situ network for soil moisture monitoring. Global estimates of soil moisture and plant water stress must be derived from models. These model predictions (and hence drought monitoring) can be greatly enhanced through...
Thai Coral Reef and Climate Change
Assoc. Prof. Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mullica Jaroensutasinee, Centre of Excellence for Ecoinformatics, Walailak University, Thailand
Everybody loves to spend their vacation snorkling or diving, seeing coral reef, reef fish and other marine creature. Would it be very sad when we go diving and see lots of dead corals? Of course, we would. What can we do to prevent this to happen? How can we and our students involve in some coral conservation? It is everyone responsibility to help improve our world to be a better place to live in.
We all know that the SMAP satellite measures soil moisture. But, how does knowing our planet's soil moisture help us in understanding agriculture's reaction to it?
SMAP monitors soil moisture and provides critical information for drought early warning. In fact, a deficit in the amount of moisture in the soil defines agricultural drought. SMAP's measurements will come into play because researchers forecast a threefold increase in drought frequency in many regions of the world by the end of the 21st Century. History shows that a sustained drought can result in crop failure, deaths of...
My first empirical contact with the soil started almost 10 years ago when I was writing my B.Sc Dissertation on Grain Size Characteristics of Overbank Deposit on the Floodplains of Opa Reservoir Basin SW Nigeria. While undergoing this research I took 200 core bulk soil sediments along the three selected floodplains coupled with laboratory testing of samples, after a year the research was published by International Journal of Environmental Hydrology. http://www.hydroweb.com/journal-hydrology-2007-paper-22.html
The SMAP training at LA during the 20th GLOBE Annual and Partners Meeting...
The Surface Temperature Field Campaign has come to a close, but please feel free to keep taking surface temperature observations. I know that many of you and your students are still taking observations and you are planning your projects to present at science fairs as well as the GLOBE regional science fairs.
The Surface Temperature field campaign ran through the first day of winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, the official first day of winter is December 22 this year and in the Southern Hemisphere, it was the first day of summer . The start of the seasons are actually defined in different...
This second week of the surface temperature field campaign has seem probably the warmest temperatures that we have seen in any field campaign in the eastern United States. I was at Ida Middle School in Michigan yesterday and the kids were outside in short sleeve shirts. The student was a little cold but it wasn’t terrible. Some years there is 200 mm of snow on the ground.
We have had 26 schools, 8 countries and 9 US states enter 414 observations. Roswell-Kent Middle School is leading the pack with 83 observations. Main Street School in Ohio and Crestwood High School in Michigan are keeping...
From Dr. Erika Podest, SMAP Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
How do the measurements from different GLOBE protocols serve a mutual purpose better understanding our planet?
In previous blogs I’ve discussed the importance of soil moisture and how it plays a large role in weather prediction, flood and drought forecasting, plant growth, and even in pin pointing areas at risk for mosquito carrying diseases (such as malaria or yellow fever). Soil moisture also drives or is driven by other environmental variables such as air temperature, soil temperature, humidity, and...
We have had a great start to our 2015 Surface Temperature Field Campaign. We are off to a quick start with 16 schools reporting since December 1, 2015. There are a number of other schools that collected data in November. I hope they are able to collect observations in December as well. Since November 1, 8 countries have reported data and 5 states within the United States. If we look at the number of observations since December 1, Main Street School in Norwalk, Ohio has the most observations. Below, I’ll talk about how El Nino is affecting the temperatures in the United States.
GPM's ground validation campaign called OLYMPEX is in full swing! (See my earlier blog post for more background about the campaign.)
You can visit the OLYMPEX website to see daily precipitation data, like this image below:
If you go to the website itself, you can click on any of the points to get more detailed information about that station, see the latest satellite and coastal radar images, and read science summaries. For a quicker overview, here are two videos about the campaign.
One produced by NASA:
And one produced by the Weather Channel:
Hello from Medford Memorial Middle School in Medford, New Jersey.
The quest to get an accurate soil sample continues at Medford Memorial Middle School, Medford NJ. Hello, we are the students of Memorial’s Citizen Science Education Program. We’re excited to be part of the SMAP campaign, but have not yet been able to enter any data. Here’s a brief overview of our journey.
First, we learned about SMAP as a satellite, and then we studied the protocol. We didn’t have any soil sample cans, so we settled on a sturdy coffee can, Ryan had brought in from home. Ashwin measured 5 cm from the...
Greetings from Alfred State College in Alfred, New York!
We are very excited to be participating in the NASA SMAP soil moisture sampling project. The project here is overseen by Jessica Hutchison, Instructor in the Department of Agriculture and Veterinary Technology. Two Agriculture Technology students, Kayana Fonseca and Peter Meyer, take samples and input data. We have one site, located right outside the greenhouse next to the agriculture building so we don't have to travel far to get a sample in bad weather. We are lucky to have a soils laboratory and sampling equipment right in the...
Guest Blog by NASA SMAP Scientists Dr. Erika Podest and Dr. Narendra Das of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California USA.
SMAP scientists are using soil moisture in a number of ways, ways that allow all of us to better understand water’s role on Earth:
Weather Prediction: Water in the soil has the potential to evaporate (depending on atmospheric temperature and pressure) and when it does it plays a large role in cloud formation. Soil moisture also has a modulating effect on air temperature and humidity therefore having the ability to measure soil moisture continuously...
December 1 to December 31, 2015
The GLOBE Program will host the annual surface temperature field campaign from December 1 to December 31, 2015. This is a great opportunity to work as a community with schools around the world on a common research project. Students have used the surface temperature field campaign data to do research projects from fourth grade up to graduate students at universities. One of my graduate students published her masters thesis and found that a strong warming due to urban areas is observable in the student data. It is my hope that continued expansion of the...
Have you ever wondered how the SMAP satellite, with an altitude of 685 km (425 miles) above the Earth, can take measurements as precise as the amount of water in the Earth's soil?
The quick answer is that it requires precisely calibrated instruments, along with a technological marvel in satellite design.
SMAP was designed to use a combination of two precise instruments, one with high resolution, one with high accuracy.
Active (High Resolution): SMAP’s radar was designed accurately measure the echoes of very short radio frequency (RF) pulses that bounce (“backscatter”)...
The SMAP Mission is vital to understanding our planet. Water is an essential source for life. By understanding the amount of water in the soil, or soil moisture, we can apply this information to many things.
SMAP monitors soil moisture and provides critical information for drought early warning. In fact, a deficit in the amount of moisture in the soil defines agricultural drought. SMAP's measurements will come into play because researchers forecast a threefold increase in drought frequency in many regions of the world by the end of the 21st Century. History shows that...
Weekly Report 1: 10/1/15 - 10/15/15
This report contains two weeks of data collection due to the beginning of the campaign on October 1, 2015:
Volumetric Soil Moisture Measurements = 19
Participating Sites = 4
Schools Submitting Data:
Shumate Middle School - Michigan - 8 data counts
Ramey School - Puerto Rico -7 data counts
The University of Toledo -Ohio - 2 data counts
Thomas Edison Energy/Smart Charter School - New Jersey - 2 data counts
Congratulations to those schools for getting a great start. Let's get more schools participating!
Many of you contributed data during the GPM-GLOBE Precipitation Field Campaign earlier this year. Here's an opportunity to learn about an upcoming scientific field campaign, upon which our student field campaign was modeled.
The Olympic Mountain Experiment, or OLYMPEX, is a NASA-led field campaign, which will take place on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State from November 2015 through February 2016. The goal of the campaign is to collect detailed atmospheric measurements that will be used to evaluate how well rain-observing satellites measure rainfall and snowfall from...
And so last time we wondered whether Jayme would reach the summit... read her account below, to find out.
September 29, 2015
With very little sleep at Kosovo camp, we bundled on our layers and tried to eat some breakfast on September 29, 2015. After making sure we had plenty of water, we began our daunting task up the volcanic scree. The guides led us up a path with many switchbacks, but it did not help us with the lower oxygen we were getting with each breathe. As the clouds rolled in, the Omani team was frequently asking for breaks. The guides would find a spot with larger volcanic...
Greetings from NASA and the SMAP Mission!
The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission is an orbiting observatory that measures the amount of water in the top 5 cm (2 inches) of soil everywhere on Earth’s surface will soon be placed in a polar orbit around Earth.
The topsoil layer is the one in which the food we eat grows and where other vegetation lives. Moisture in the soil indirectly affects us in a variety of ways. In the course of its observations, SMAP will also determine if the ground is frozen or thawed in colder areas of the world.
SMAP is designed to measure soil...
GLOBE Teachers and Students,
The GLOBE/SMAP Soil Moisture Measurement Field Campaign has begun!
To support this effort, the SMAP satellite mission invites GLOBE schools to participate in the 7-month-long soil moisture measurement campaign. Students will take soil moisture measurements following the GLOBE SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture (Volumetric) Protocol and input this data into GLOBE. Once the data is input, other GLOBE schools and SMAP scientists can view the student-collected data, through the GLOBE visualization tool, and compare it to the SMAP satellite data. This...
As I did not summit, I asked a GLOBE teacher and volcanologist (and no, she does not have ears like Dr. Spock from Star Trek!) Jayme Margolin-Sneider who did, to share her experience and that of the group that did summit. As some background, Jayme completed her undergraduate degree at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA and Auckland University, New Zealand. She then completed some research as a Fulbright Scholar at Hokkaido University, Japan (Seismic Volcanology Research). Her graduate work was completed at New Mexico Tech, with a field...
Our final day was an easy hike down from the Mweka camp to a village at 1400 m. We had a final glance of the mountain at one point as we descended. It looked beautiful with its fresh covering of snow.
Kilimanjaro, with a fresh coat of snow, as seen from our final descent.
We were definitely in the rain forest biome again and the lush forest surrounded us as on our first day. We also saw the elephant trunk flower, (Impatiens kilimanjarii), a semi-official logo of the mountain.
Elephant trunk flower found along the side of the trail
As we approached...
For group 1, the science group, the descent was more gradual. But for group 2, the big descent would be today. They would summit and descend most of the mountain on this day.
While waiting to leave Millenium camp, we collected data using GLOBE protocols. Following this we had a rousing chorus of African songs, and we were all invited to join in. The group was in great spirits as we began our relatively short and all downhill hike. We also passed a few other hikers as we walked -- this was an encouraging sign. We were still in the moorland biome and were...
After another cold night on the mountain (it was two degrees Celsius inside the tents) we awoke to a wonderful sight... Mt. Meru in a sea of clouds.
Mt. Meru, Tanzania's second highest mountain, in a sea of clouds as seen from Karanga Camp.
Incredible view so early in the morning and a great way to begin our day. The hike today would be a short three hours, so after a hearty breakfast we headed to Millenium camp. The terrain was very much the same, but we did see obsidian rocks (formed when the lava from a volcano cools...