Tag Archive | Climate

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet: New Strategy for Earth Observations | The White House

by Peter Colohan (he’s awesome!), Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, April 19, 2013

Ever wonder where the Weather Channel gets its data? Where the satellite images for Google Earth come from? These data and much more come from a complex array of satellites, ocean buoys, stream gauges, human surveys, and other platforms for collecting what the scientific community calls Earth observations. These data are used every day to protect life and property and answer key questions about our planet.Today, the Obama Administration’s National Science and Technology Council released a National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations—a framework for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nation’s Earth-observation enterprise. Currently, 11 Federal departments and agencies engage in Earth observation activities, collecting volumes of important data about the Earth on an ongoing basis, using an array of sophisticated tools and systems. The new Strategy outlines a process for evaluating and prioritizing Earth-observation investments according to their value to society in critical areas such as agriculture, global change, disasters, water resources, and weather.Each year, the U.S. Government invests significant resources in Earth-observations systems to collect data about Earth’s land, oceans, ecosystems, and atmosphere. Together, these systems take the pulse of our planet, providing critical Earth-system data that scientists and analysts can then turn into usable information about climate and weather, disaster events, land-use changes, ecosystem health, natural resources, and more. Ultimately, information and services derived from Earth-observation data—including some as ubiquitous as weather forecasts and GPS-navigation—are used by policy makers, resource managers, business leaders, first-responders, and citizens to make important day-to-day decisions.But as the Nation’s Earth-observation capacity has grown, so has the complexity of the Earth-observation endeavor. The demand for data, the complexity of the tools required to collect those data, and the sheer amount of data being collected, all are increasing. The National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations aims to help Federal agencies face these challenges by better-organizing existing Earth-observation systems and information, and coordinating plans for future projects. In support of the Obama Administration’s Open Data Initiatives, this Strategy also provides specific guidance on how agencies can make these Earth observations more open and accessible to the public.Going forward, the Strategy will be used as a basis to inform a broad National Plan for Civil Earth Observations—a blueprint for future investments in US Earth-observing systems, including agency roles and responsibilities, and creative solutions to challenges related to maintaining the Nation’s Earth-observing systems. It will also reinforce the United States’ ongoing commitment to work with international partners through the multi-national Group on Earth Observations GEO.The Strategy released today provides an evidence-based framework for routine assessment and planning across the entire family of Federal agencies engaged in Earth observations. It will help agencies compare notes, prioritize activities, and improve the quality of data about the planet—with the ultimate goal of meeting society’s most pressing data and information needs. Read the Strategy here.Learn more about global Earth-observation efforts here.Peter Colohan is a Senior Policy Analyst at OSTP

via Taking the Pulse of Our Planet: New Strategy for Earth Observations | The White House.


ASFPM Releases Report on Cost of Flood Mapping for the Nation

Flood Mapping for the Nation: A Cost Analysis for the Nation’s Flood Map Inventory

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) urges national investment in a comprehensive, updated flood map inventory for every community in the US. This will drive down costs and suffering from flooding on our nation and its citizens, as well as providing the best tool for managing flood risk and building sustainable communities.

For full text and to download a copy of the report, visit The Association of State Floodplain Managers | ASFPM.

NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission Launch

by Dina Spector, Business Insider, Feb 11, 2013

The eighth satellite in NASA’s Earth-watching Landsat fleet will launch Monday, Feb. 11 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California…. The joint program between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey is the longest-running data record of Earth observations from space. …The Landsat program enables scientists to track major changes of Earth’s surface, including melting glaciers, urban explosion and the effects of natural disasters.

Read more from Business Insider NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission Launch – Business Insider.

For the latest Landsat news go to it’s NASA mission page here.


USGS Keeps Landsat 5 Satellite Alive

Geoplace.com, July 9, 2012

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) injected a bit of life into its aging Landsat 5 satellite, which has orbited Earth more than 150,000 times since its launch in 1984 and has been experiencing problems with its thematic mapper (TM) instrument. Engineers have been able to power-on a long-dormant data-collection instrument aboard the satellite—the multispectral scanner (MSS), which has been offline for more than a decade. USGS now is acquiring MSS data over the United States only. The news is significant, because USGS continues to work toward launch of an eighth Landsat satellite, meaning that data from current Landsat craft still are key to Earth-observing operations. Landsat 7, activated in 1999, continues to collect images worldwide. But, in 2003, Landsat 7 experienced a hardware failure that caused a 22-percent loss of data in every image. Meanwhile, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM or Landsat 8), is scheduled for launch in January 2013.

For full text of the article, visit USGS Keeps Landsat 5 Satellite Alive | Articles – Publishing Titles | GeoPlace.

Earth-observation satellites: Something to watch over us

by Economist, May 12, 2012

ON APRIL 8th Envisat, Europe’s largest Earth-observing satellite, unexpectedly stopped talking to its users on the Earth below. Since then those users have been frantically trying to re-establish contact. They rely on Envisat’s radars and other sensors for a wide range of measurements, from the temperature of the oceans to the chemistry of the stratosphere. Scientists have used it to gauge ocean conditions for shipping and to investigate earthquakes; its data have been the basis of thousands of scientific papers.

For full text of the article, visit Earth-observation satellites: Something to watch over us | The Economist.

Weather, Climate Forecasts Imperiled as Programs Cut

by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, May 8, 2012

A “near-perfect storm” of factors has contributed to a rapid decline in America’s Earth observation capabilities, as long-running satellite missions end and new ones struggle to get off the ground, according to a new report from the National Research Council (NRC). If recent trends continue, there could be major ramifications in the form of less accurate weather and climate forecasts, as well as blind spots in monitoring a wide range of natural hazards. … During just the next eight years, U.S. Earth observation capabilities are likely to decline to roughly 25 percent of current levels, Hartmann said.

For full text of the article, visit Weather, Climate Forecasts Imperiled as Programs Cut | Climate Central.

Crowdsourcing: Improving the Quality of Scientific Data Through Social Networking

Dear colleague:

You are cordially invited to attend a public symposium on Crowdsourcing: Improving the Quality of Scientific Data Through Social Networking. The event is being organized by the National Research Council’s Board on Research Data and Information, and will be held on June 13 in Washington, DC at the Embassy Suites, 900 10th Street, NW. A formal invitation with the summary description of the symposium, the exact location, and RSVP instructions may be found below.

Please feel free to forward this invitation to others who you think may be interested. Registrations will be honored on a first-come-first-served basis. More complete information about the event and about the Board on Research Data and Information is available at: http://www.nationalacademies.org/brdi.

Best wishes,

Paul F. Uhlir
Director, Board on Research Data and Information
puhlir [at] nas [dot] edu

Crowdsourcing: Improving the Quality of Scientific Data Through Social Networking


Organized by the
Board on Research Data and Information

National Research Council

Monday, June 13, 2011, 4:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.  
Embassy Suites, 900 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC
Crowdsourcing may be described as a distributed information production and problem-solving activity, today performed mostly online. The technique invites contributions on one or more specific issues or problems, either from a targeted group or the general public. Although there are many types of crowdsourcing applications in many sectors and businesses, the public research community has used the techniques extensively in recent years.
According to Wikipedia, itself a highly successful crowdsourcing initiative, there are many perceived benefits to this model (see www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsoucing; last visited May 27, 2011):
  • Various topics can be addressed at a low cost and usually quite rapidly, frequently with no payments to the contributors;
  • The organization doing the crowdsourcing can greatly broaden the potential contributions beyond its own employees and direct contacts;
  • The crowdsourcing activity may be able to provide the views of many prospective customers or other interested parties, and can initiate and develop relationships that would be difficult or impossible to initiate otherwise.
Different internet services can be used for online crowdsoucing, from traditional websites and emails, to social networking sites, such as Facebook. Because of the growing use and potential importance of this technique to various research applications, including the improvement of scientific information resources, the Board on Research Data and Information is holding a public symposium in the afternoon of Monday, June 13, beginning at 4:00 p.m. The symposium will explore some of the key issues underlying crowdsourcing, provide several compelling examples, and offer an opportunity for the audience to discuss this topic with a number of experts and practitioners. We are pleased to offer the following program, moderated by Prof. Michael Lesk of Rutgers University, and chair of the Board on Research Data and Information:
Roberta Balstad, Columbia University
The first crowdsourcing experiment: lessons learned
Gregory Phelan, State University of New York at Cortland
Use of crowdsourcing online in scientific research
Scott Hausman, NOAA National Climatic Data Center
Engaging the public in climate science: exploiting crowdsourcing to
digitize and analyze climate data
[Presenter TBD]
The GEO wiki project
Benjamin Heywood, CEO PatientsLikeMe (invited)
[Presentation title TBD]
Comment by Michael Keller, Stanford University and BRDI Member
Panel discussion of invited speakers and Board members
General discussion with the audience

The symposium is open to the public, but advance registration is requested
(contact: Cheryl Levey, clevey [at] nas [dot] edu).

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