NASA's Data Supports Engineering Solutions
Did you know that NASA's Earth-observing satellites gather data that is being used by people all over the world to help respond to a variety of challenges? The 2022 GLOBE International Virtual Science Symposium is focusing on "Engineering Solutions for a Changing Climate". In this blog, I will share some information about the ways that Faisal Hossain, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor at the University of Washington, is using engineering and solving environmental issues through engineering solutions.
Faisal Hossain grew up in Bangladesh where he observed that sometimes there was too much water, such as during the monsoon season, and other times there was not enough water to meet people's needs. Seeing these extreme conditions first hand made him wonder how he might find some solutions to the problems. You can watch a short video of him discussing this here.
Hossain uses NASA Earth observation data ranging from precipitation to water levels, land cover, soil moisture, and land/water temperature to take a pulse of the earth we live in and how it is changing. These data are used in many decision support systems to tell us what might be the future state, for example, of flooding, or how much food a region may expect to grow, or even how much drinking water may be available in a region. Predicting the future helps us make decisions on how to prepare, whether that is for the next day, next week, next month / season or even next year. Hossain also works with a project that uses precipitation data and weather forecast data to tell farmers when and how much to irrigate and even inform them if they can save water by not irrigating. This results in a lot of saving of water and increased food production. Hossain also uses NASA data to monitor how warm or cold river waters are below a dam to understand if that dam is causing damage to the ecosystem.
Watch a video titled "Guiding Farmers with NASA Satellites" to learn more about his work and see the engineering solutions that were developed using NASA data here. Read this article that describes the problem and the PANI model which was developed to help farmers make effective decisions to save water and make agriculture a more sustainable practice in India.
Any teachers out there looking for a way to teach students this content? NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement outreach team has developed a suite of four lesson plans, complete with Teacher Guides, Presentations, Student Capture Sheets, and more! These are titled "Water for Wheaties" and use a project-based learning and universal design for learning approach. You will find these lessons plans on the "Precipitation Education" website under the "Who Uses GPM Data?" tab.