Final GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign

January 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog, NASA

Now that the new year is upon us, we can take a look at the GLOBE Surface Temperature field campaign from December 2013. I think it went very well. Tens of schools and thousands of students participated. Valuable data was collected that students can use to create research projects.

Here are the schools that have entered data so far.
David Wooster Middle School, Connecticut
Bellefontaine High School, Ohio – Hi Dennis
Birchwood School, Ohio – Hi Linda
Main Street Intermediate School, Ohio – Hi Marcy
Archbold Middle School, Ohio
The University of Toledo, Ohio – These are my students.
Mohican School of the Outdoors, Ohio – Hi James and Susan
Eastwood Elementary School, West Virginia
Huntington High School, West Virginia – Hi Rick
Lexington Junior high school, Ohio – Hi Linda
Anthony Wayne Middle School, Ohio – Hi Sarah
Roswell-Kent Middle School, Ohio – Hi Steve and GLOBE class
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Ohio – Hi Eileen
Otsego High School, Ohio – Hi Debbie
Bowling Green State University, Ohio – Hi Jodi
Bloomfield Junior/Senior High, Ohio
Stryker High School, Ohio – Hi Donneen
Ida Middle School, Michigan – thanks Jay
Westchester Area Schools, New York – Hi Trenton
Chartiers-Houston Jr./Sr. High School, Pennsylvania – Hi Mr. Pop
Brazil High School, Trinidad and Tobago – Hi Ali
John Marshall High School, West Virginia – Hi Kim
Montague Elementary School, New Jersey – Hi Karen
Gimnazjum No 7 Jana III Sobieskiego in Rzeszów, Poland
Taaksi Basic School, Estonia
Crestwood High School, Michigan
Hills Home School, Washington, DC
Severn School, Maryland
The 2nd Secondary Girls School at Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Kilingi-Nomme Gymnasium, Estonia
Sekundarschule Uzwil, Switzerland – Hi Markus

There were 1117 observations in total. Again, Huntington High School in West Virginia had the most observations with 166. Way to go Rick.

You can see on this figure where some of the schools are that took observations. I chose to show a warm day, December 5, 2013 and contrast it with a colder day December 13, 2013. You can see how the cold air moved in. It helped that snow had fallen such that the temperature stayed cold. In the images, blue is cold while green and yellow colors are warmer.
globeobs


The highest temperature of 48.5 C from the field campaign was from Brazil High School in Trinidad and Tobago. They usually have the highest temperature. This year saw some of the coldest temperatures of any surface temperature field campaign that we have had. The David Wooster Middle Field Soccer field had a low temperature of -27.6 on December 13. Lexington Junior High had a temperature of 15.9 C on December 10, -25.9 C on December 11 at Stryker High School, 24.4 C at Archbold Middle School.

Visit to Ida Middle School, Michigan
On December 18, I visited Ida Middle School in Ida, Michigan. I worked with 5 classes of students to take surace temperature measurements. There was about 130 mm of snow on the ground and it was quite cold. The students were real troopers and went outside and took observations. The students took surface temperature observations from a grassy area and a gravel covered softball field. Both of these locations were completely covered with snow. They also took observations on concrete and asphalt sidewalks, some with snow on them and some without snow. The students also took observations on wood chips under the swings that I will not report here because it was not a cover type in GLOBE. Below are the location of the student observations on the grass, softball field, concrete and asphalt. They are designated by the green dots.

field

You can see in this graph how the temperatures of the various cover types differed. The x-axis shows the time in Universal Time. All of the observations show a warm up has the day progressed. The sites with snow, grass, softball field and asphalt with snow had the lowest temperatures while the asphalt and concrete without snow had the warmest temperatures.
graph1
The Cold Weather in the Great Lakes January 5-8, 2014
Although the cold weather in the Great Lakes in early January was not part of the surface temperature field campaign, I thought I would say a few things about it. At my house the low temperatures were as follows:
January 6 – -14 F (-26 C)
January 7 – -14 F (-26 C)
January 8 – -13 F (-25 C)
January 9 – -11 F (-24 C)
The high temperature on January 7 was -2 F. The temperature was below 0 F for 48 hours straight. The amazing thing about this cold weather was that the wind was blowing 30-40 mph at my house with a temperature of -14 F. The wind chill was around -40 F (-40 C, they are the same temperature). I have never seen it that cold before.

This picture is out my font window January 6, 2014. You can see the white in the air. That is the blowing snow. The wind was blowing the snow around a lot.
2014-01-06 14.50.01

You can see in this station plot that the actual air temperature ranged in the -14 to -15 F (which is -26 C).
stations

The cold weather lead to ice on the rivers in the area. Then, when temperatures warmed over the weekend, the ice went out and ice jams have formed on local rivers. ice

Judah Cohen from NOAA has shown that snow cover in Eurasia can have a big impact on winter weather in the Eastern US and Europe. This article discusses that snow cover makes a huge difference in surface temperature and that leads to cold high pressure in Siberia. Students can study the influence of snow on surface temperature through the GLOBE surface temperature data and the campaign we just had. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ost/climate/STIP/FY11CTBSeminars/jcohen_062211.pdf

- See more at: http://satellitesk12.org

3rd week of GLOBE Surface Temperature field campaign

Week 3: Surface Temperature field campaign

Here are the schools that have entered data so far.
David Wooster Middle School – Connecticut
Bellefontaine High School, Ohio – Hi Dennis
Birchwood School, Ohio – Hi Linda
Main Street Intermediate School, Ohio – Hi Marcy
Archbold Middle School, Ohio
The University of Toledo, Ohio – These are my students.
Mohican School of the Outdoors, Ohio – Hi James and Susan
Eastwood Elementary School, West Virginia
Huntington High School, West Virginia – Hi Rick
Lexington Junior high school, Ohio – Hi Linda
Roswell-Kent Middle School, Ohio – Hi Steve and GLOBE class
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Ohio – Hi Eileen
Otsego High School, Ohio – Hi Debbie
Bowling Green State University, Ohio – Hi Jodi
Bloomfield Junior/Senior High, Ohio
Stryker High School, Ohio – Hi Donneen
Westchester Area Schools, New York – Hi Trenton
Chartiers-Houston Jr./Sr. High School, Pennsylvania – Hi Mr. Pop
Brazil High School, Trinidad and Tobago – Hi Ali
John Marshall High School, West Virginia – Hi Kim
Gimnazjum No 7 Jana III Sobieskiego in Rzeszów, Poland
Taaksi Basic School, Estonia
Crestwood High School, Michigan
Hills Home School, Washington, DC
Severn School, Maryland
The 2nd Secondary Girls School at Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Kilingi-Nomme Gymnasium, Estonia
Sekundarschule Uzwil, Switzerland – Hi Markus

If you haven’t been able to enter data so far, please so as soon as possible. I take a look at the data to see if there is any problem with it. If you are still having trouble getting the data in, please contact the help desk, help@globe.gov or me.

Problem with Cason 380 infrared thermometers
Megan Rodgers found a problems with the Cason 380 infrared thermometers. When it was about -8 Celsius outside and she left the instruments outside, the instruments read “too cold to read”. This is the first instruments I have had this happen.

I was lucky this year and my university classes ended a week earlier than usual. I got my grades done December 17th and then I visited Mr. Sinclair’s class at Ida Middle School on December 18th.

This image shows the school on the left from Google Earth from high resolution satellite imagery and on the right is the school with a Landsat image overlaid on top of the Google Earth image. The orange and red colors depict warmer temperatures and the blue tones depict cooler temperatures. You can see that the school and its surrounding parking lots are warmer than the temperature of the grassy areas and fields around the school.
ida2

Second week of Surface Temperature field campaign
The GLOBE Surface Temperature Temperature field campaign has continued to grow this past week. And, to add to the fun, snow has been falling in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. GLOBE scientist, George Mitri, from Lebanon, said that there was snow for three days there. That was fairly unusual. I’ll get into why this has happened.

Many of you have had snow on the ground and that has affected the surface temperature. We had about 30 mm (a little over an inch) of snow in Toledo, Ohio this past week. The temperature of the grass with the snow on it was -4.4 C while the concrete without snow was -0.4 C.

Here are the schools that have entered data so far.
David Wooster Middle School – Connecticut
Bellefontaine High School, Ohio – Hi Dennis
Birchwood School, Ohio – Hi Linda
Main Street Intermediate School, Ohio – Hi Marcy
Archbold Middle School, Ohio
The University of Toledo, Ohio – These are my students.
Mohican School of the Outdoors, Ohio – Hi James and Susan
Eastwood Elementary School, West Virginia
Huntington High School, West Virginia – Hi Rick
Lexington Junior high school, Ohio – Hi Linda
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Ohio – Hi Eileen
Otsego High School, Ohio – Hi Debbie
Bowling Green State University, Ohio – Hi Jodi
Bloomfield Junior/Senior High, Ohio
Stryker High School, Ohio – Hi Donneen
Chartiers-Houston Jr./Sr. High School, Pennsylvania – Hi Mr. Pop
Brazil High School, Trinidad and Tobago – Hi Ali
John Marshall High School, West Virginia – Hi Kim
Gimnazjum No 7 Jana III Sobieskiego in Rzeszów, Poland
Taaksi Basic School, Estonia
Crestwood High School, Michigan

Here are MODIS images provided through NASA’s WorldView distribution website. There are lines that run from southwest to northeast in the image. Those are where the images are stitched together because the satellite images a swath of about 2300 km wide. Can you see where the snow is in the images? Today a snow storm is bringing snow to the Toledo area. Please see the image below.

MODIS image of the United States showing snow and clouds
modis

MODIS image of Europe showing clouds and snow
europe

Picture of my car covered by snow
carsnow

In this image, the path of the jet stream is shown on the snow cover map. You can see that there is a big dip in the jet stream so that cold air goes all the way down to New Mexico and Texas and then the jet stream caused the snow storm to track to the northeast. The same type of trough in the jet stream brought a snowstorm to the Middle East.
Snow cover with the jet stream in red.
storm

First week of Surface Temperature field campaign
It was a great first week of observation taking. I managed to take observations three times. The temperature dramatically went down between Monday and Friday.

I noticed that some of the observations have errors. One of the biggest issues is students not using the correct universal time. Remember that universal time is the time at 0 degrees longitude. It is also on a 24 hour clock.

Keep up the good work taking observations. If you post them to the GLOBE website, I can take a look at them. Please try to do it every day.

Snow cover in the United States has changed rapidly. The pictures below show the snow cover and depth on December 3, 2013 and then again on December 6, 2013. The weather has been quite active in the Northern Hemisphere, both the United States and in Europe. There was a little more snow in Eastern Europe as well.
NHsnow2
snow
GLOBEobs

Here are the schools that have entered data so far.
David Wooster Middle School – Connecticut
Bellefontaine High School, Ohio – Hi Dennis
Birchwood School, Ohio – Hi Linda
Main Street Intermediate School, Ohio – Hi Marcy
Archbold Middle School, Ohio
The University of Toledo, Ohio – These are my students.
Mohican School of the Outdoors, Ohio – Hi James and Susan
Eastwood Elementary School, West Virginia
Huntington High School, West Virginia – Hi Rick
Lexington Junior high school, Ohio – Hi Linda
Lakewood Catholic Academy, Ohio – Hi Eileen
Otsego High School, Ohio – Hi Debbie
Bowling Green State University, Ohio – Hi Jodi
Stryker High School, Ohio – Hi Donneen

Some of the data is not showing up yet. Only the surface temperature observations near noon are showing up. The other ones just disappeared. There must have been a server problem.

First snow in Michigan

November 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog, NASA

A fairly strong cold front is coming down from Michigan this Monday, November 11, 2013. Below is a great map that is available through the Weather Underground, http://wunderground.com As you can see in the image, colder air is coming in (cold air advection) from Michigan. It is snowing in placing as close as Jackson, Michigan. The blue is snow in the radar and green is rain.
firstsnow

It snowed. It was a lot of fun driving around last night in the snow. This high pressure system is bringing the cold air all the way down to Florida. There are forst warnings in Florida. That is usually the type of thing that may happen in January. The high pressure is 1048 mb which, if you remember contouring the maps, is very high. There is also a fair amount of lake effect snow that is kicking off this morning due to the cold air passing over the warm lakes. Take a look at the map east of Cleveland, in the UP of Michigan, at the south end of Lake Michigan, in the northern part of the lower penninsula of Michigan and into New York.

sfc_map
Source:AMS

Here are some pictures I took Tuesday morning, November 12, 2013 (11-12-13).
image1
image2

This is the frost pattern that was on my windshield this morning. It was really unique.
image3

WyomingView sponsored students present their research findings in 2013 Geospatial Conference of the West (GeCo West) Conference

September 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog, NASA

Reposted from the WyomingView Blog.

Sarah Arulswamy, a 9th grade student at Laramie Junior High School, has been studying the urban heat island effects in Laramie since summer 2012. Earlier she presented her findings based on summer, fall and winter data in the 2013 Wyoming Science Fair. She continued her study in spring 2013 and presented the findings in this conference. Urban heat island effect was evident in spring but at a much lesser magnitude than what she observed in 2012 summer (Figure below).

geco_002

summer_spring_sarah

Satellite images of the fires out west

August 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog, NASA

There are still fires burning out west. The fire near/in Yosemite park is still going strong. In the satellite image below, you can see the smoke coming from the fire. These are images taken from the GOES satellite on Aug. 31 at 0:15 Z which is about 8:15 pm eastern time. It was getting dark in Toledo but the sun was still up out west. You can see the wind is blowing from the southwest so that the smoke is blowing to the northeast. You can see the same thing for the fires burning in Idaho. You can see in the 500 mb map that the flow is from the southwest to northeast in that area.

Some of the reason that this is such a big fire is due to the federal government having a policy to fight fires. The forests around Yosemite need fire in order for the pinecones to open dispersing the seeds. If the fires happen frequently, there is not a lot of fuel available and the fire burns slowly leaving the large, old trees alive. But, since fires have been suppressed for over 50 years, there is a large amount of fuel available for a file. This year’s fire is burning too hot so that all of the old trees are being burned to the ground. I have heard that there are over 4000 firefighters fighting the Yosemite fire.

The second photo shows a supercell thunderstorm in Montana with an overshooting top. An overshooting top can be seen by its shadow in the image. It indicates that the thunderstorm is very strong and severe. The overshooting part of the storm is produced by the updraft. The updraft is so strong that it goes into the Stratosphere, i.e. overshooting top.
Yose

Idaho

GLOBE Students Present Their Research, Part II: The 2nd Annual Student Research Exhibition

This is reposted from the GLOBE blog.

Last week we highlighted the 2013 GLOBE Virtual Student Conference, a showcase of student research being performed using GLOBE protocols. This week, the focus is on the 2nd Annual Student Research Exhibition, an event that features GLOBE Country Coordinator or U.S. Partner sponsored student research projects.

Last year, the 1st Annual Student Research Exhibition (formerly the Student Science Symposium) was held in St. Paul, Minnesota in conjunction with the 16th Annual GLOBE Partner Meeting. After the great success of the event, the decision was made to make it an annual event in an attempt to involve GLOBE Students in the GLOBE Partner Meetings. In May of 2013, the call for nominations for student research projects to participate in this event was sent to all GLOBE Country Coordinators and U.S. Partners in the hopes that this event would include the top research from each area.

The 2nd Annual Student Research Exhibition event was held on Monday, 12 August, 2013 in conjunction with the 17th Annual GLOBE Partner meeting in Hyattsville, Maryland, USA. Ten countries participated in the one night event, which included over 70 students from all grade levels. Those ten countries, Argentina, Croatia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United States, and Uruguay , represented all GLOBE regions, and schools presented their research either in-person, through a poster presentation, or virtually, via either a video or PowerPoint presentation. Additionally, each of the 33 research projects performed protocols in at least one of the 5 GLOBE investigation areas.
1091176_499039210164270_1298145935_o-1024x624

A student from Saudi Arabia presents her research during the 2nd Annual Student Research Exhibiton

In addition to the breadth of research topics and protocols used, students approached their research differently. One student worked on her own to understand sea surface temperature. There was a group of students who explored how they could harness fresh water for use at their school. Another project was collaborative between three countries, Argentina, Peru, and Uruguay, and it explored how ENSO and human activities are affecting their land cover. While these are just a sampling of the projects, each research team presented outstanding research to the greater GLOBE community.

All student projects were judged on pre-determined criteria by members of the GLOBE International Scientist Network. The projects were judged on a maximum of 100 points in the areas of creative ability, use of GLOBE data, scientific expression, thoroughness, knowledge achieved and clarity.

With these criteria in mind, the following projects were the winners of the 2nd Annual Student Research Exhibition.

In third place, representing the country of Croatia and the GLOBE Europe and Eurasia Region was the project entitled Water quality and the revitalization potential of Mrtvi Kanal Channel, studied by students at Medicinska skola u Rijeci.
1146216_499039330164258_1923132800_o-209x300
Students from Medicinska skola u Rijeci stand with their teacher in front of their poster

In second place, representing the country of Thailand and the GLOBE Asia and Pacific Region was the project entitled Measured concentration of nitrate in water from the bulb of Wetland plan Nepnthes in Bung Khong Long, Thailand, studied by students at Bung Khong Long Wittayakom School.
IMG_19861-224x300
Students from Bung Khong Long Wittayakom school accept their second place award with their teacher

And in first place, representing the country of the United States and the GLOBE North America Region was the project entitled Correlations between vernal pool phenology and a breeding population of Bufo americanus in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, studied by students at Crestwood High School. You can read a summary of this winning project here.
IMG_1994-300x224

Students from Crestwood High School show off their award with GLOBE Program Office Scientist Jessica Mackaro

The GLOBE Program would like to extend a big thank you to all of the scientists, teachers and students who were involved in this fantastic event.

If you’ve been performing research, you don’t need to wait for the Virtual Student Conference or the Student Research Exhibition to share your research with the GLOBE Community. You can submit projects year round through the “Tell Us About It” link on your school’s page. Additionally, if you’re a scientist who would like to be involved in The GLOBE Program, be sure to visit the GLOBE International Scientist Network page to find out more information.

GLOBE Road Trip

I am on a road trip to visit GLOBE Partners, trainers, teachers and students to talk with them about the projects they do and share the type of projects my students do.

I have been working with teachers and students to develop scientific projects where students take observations through the GLOBE Program, share them on the internet and research real-world scientific problems. I have found that when the students are doing real science, they are more interested in learning science. I will be traveling in the mountain states from June 12 to July 7. My goal is to meet and visit teachers who may be interested in learning more about projects that students can do. I travelled with my two sons, Robby (14) and Timmy (10).

Day 4 through 8:
We made it to Boulder, Colorado where I’m helping with a train-the-trainer workshop to train GLOBE trainers. The workshop is June 17-19. I led atmosphere training for the trainers on June 17. I had the participants research the protocols for atmosphere: air temperature, precipitation, soil temperature, surface temperature, clouds and condensation trails and relative humidity. The participants then came up with a research question that they could answer in about an hour of taking observations and reported out to the group. I related having students doing scientific research to kids playing soccer. Even though kids are not professional soccer players, they always get to play the game (and get a snack afterwards). Just like soccer, teachers should have students doing scientific investigation in the classroom so that they can learn science. Sometimes, teachers feel that you have to be a professional scientist to do science. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) really follows the idea that students will learn science best by doing science. They all can play the game. It is always nice to have a snack afterwards as well.

There are a lot of nice people being trained to be trainers for GLOBE. It is really exciting to see.

training

Day 3:
We then took the long drive to visit with Paul Adams. Paul is a professor in science education at Fort Hays State University. His wife, four children and the wife of his oldest son hosted a wonderful dinner for us. Hays is very far from anywhere.
paul

We stopped about 60 miles east of Hays to take a bike ride amongst the wind turbines of a wind farm. Can you tell that it was very windy?
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Day 2:
We drove to Cedar Falls, Iowa to visit with Marcy Seavey, 3 teachers and 5 students she organized to meet with us. Marcey is the Project Director of the Iowa Academy of Sciences. On the way, we stopped at Castle Rock State Park in Illinois and took a hike and then we went to Antique Archaeology that is featured on the American Pickers TV show.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our visit with Marcy, the teachers and students was a great sharing opportunity. A new Orange Elementary School was built down the road and the kids took the latitude and longitude using the GPS protocol. The kids also took surface temperature readings around the Arboretum.

marcy
Then, one of the teachers and her students shared with us a project that they did for the International Space Station (ISS). It was interesting because her 7th grade students used the term ISS like everyone should know what it is.

Timmy showed everyone the thermal camera. He showed them how the camera can image a hand through a black garbage bag but cannot image the hand through clear plexiglass.

Marcy provided pizza and drinks. It was a really nice time.

Day 1:
We drove from our home in Temperance, MI to Naperville, IL to meet with Greg Lapotka. Greg volunteers at the Morton Arboretum and has students come to take GLOBE observations. It sounds like a great opportunity for the kids. It normally costs $10-$14 to get in but Greg has worked to make it so it is free for the families taking the observations. They have a GLOBE station set up for air temperature and precipitation. They do green up and green down with the nice trees. They also take surface temperature observations for my surface temperature field campaign each year.

image024

We were late getting to the arboretum because it was rush hour. I took a wrong turn that cost us 30 minutes of time. When we got to the arboretum though, it was raining very hard. Several roads were closed in the arboretum so our visit was limited. Timmy was interested in the pervious parking lot that let the rain water in. We got a first hand look at it. Greg is a big Chicago Blackhawks fan and he is very excited that his team is in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

More to come. Dr. C

Students in Ida, Michigan and Lima, Peru collaborate to understand their environments.

June 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog

Students from Ida, Michigan and Lima, Peru have collaborated over the last three months to study their environments and share their observations with each other. Students from Mrs. Kathy Zeichman’s 4th grade class from Ida Elementary School in Southeast Michigan took observations through the GLOBE Program every Tuesday and Thursday. The GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment http://www.globe.gov) is an international program that helps students explore their environments. Students develop research questions, take observations and analyze data to address their question. The students in Mrs. Zeichman’s 4th grade class measured the surface temperature of a concrete sidewalk, blacktop parking space and nearby grassy area. They also observed the clouds, condensation trails and air temperature over a two month period. The students found that the asphalt was always warmer than the grass and concrete. The difference in temperature between the different surfaces was greatest on sunny days with little cloud cover.

In addition, the students developed research questions related to the temperatures of the playground. They wanted to know what the hottest surfaces were on the playground. Several of the students had gotten blisters by playing on the monkey bars. Their research showed that the metal of the bars was very hot and may have contributed.

Students in Mrs. Maria Milagros Gallegos Rioja science course at Colegio San Ignacio de Recalde in Lima Peru noted that their weather was “irregular”. Temperatures varied quite a bit from day to day. Students in Michigan found the same things. One day the temperatures they measured were around 25 C and then next they were 10 C. The temperature bounced around and the weather changed from cold to warm back to cold.

school ida
Fig. 1: Students taking GLOBE observations at Ida Elementary School.

peru
Fig. 2: Students in Lima, Peru taking GLOBE observations.

The students in Peru complained about the cold weather they were having. It turned out that the temperatures were about the same in Michigan, but because it was the start of spring, the students in Michigan considered those temperatures warm (about 20 C). The Michigan students were very surprised that Christmas occurs in Peru in their summer. It was the discussion about Christmas that helped both groups figure out that the seasons are opposite, summer in Michigan is winter in Peru and vice versa.

The students in Peru have been studying English for many years and the collaboration was a chance for the students to practice their English. The students in Michigan will have their first Spanish class in 7th grade. This was was an opportunity for them to start learning some phrases like hola (hello), Cómo te llamas? (what is your name?), and Ciao (the way they say goodbye in Peru).

The day of the first Skype call was one of the Michigan student’s 10th birthday. The students in Peru wished him a happy birthday by singing “Feliz cumpleanos a ti!”.

The students worked with Dr. Kevin Czajkowski from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Dr. Czajkowski is a GLOBE scientist as well as being the director of the University of Toledo’s GLOBE Partnership. He assisted with the collaboration and helped the students interpret the data they gathered.

There were some technical problems that the students had to overcome. On the final Skype call, the microphone in Peru stopped working. The students in Michigan explained the results of the projects and had to ask if the students in Peru could hear them. A thumbs up was used to indicate that they could.

After the final Skype call, the students in Michigan wanted to continue their collaboration next year in fifth grade. The last day of school in Michigan is June 10, 2013. The students will come back to school in fifth grade in September. The students in Peru just started their school year and will be going through October.

Landsat 8 is Operational

May 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog, NASA

Copied from this website:

http://landsat.usgs.gov/about_LU_Vol_7_Issue_3.php#1a

Landsat Mission News
Welcome Landsat 8!

Since 1972, Landsat satellites have collected information about Earth from space. On February 11, 2013, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) was launched successfully to continue the repetitive acquisition of high quality multispectral data of the Earth’s surface. Since launch, checkout activities have included systems initialization and calibration activities, directing the spacecraft to perform orbit maneuvers, and moving into operational orbit (WRS-2).

On May 30, 2013, the checkout period was completed, and the USGS officially became the operational manager of the Mission during an official ceremony. The Landsat Data Continuity Mission will henceforth be known as Landsat 8. Landsat 8 is designed for a 5-year lifespan, and carries 10 years of fuel onboard. Data products from Landsat 8 are now available for download to all users at no charge from EarthExplorer (http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov), GloVis (http://glovis.usgs.gov), and the LandsatLook Viewer (http://landsatlook.usgs.gov)!

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Landsat Product Information
Landsat 8 Data Product Details

The data products available from Landsat 8 are processed to be consistent with Landsat 1 through 7 data products. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments onboard are providing over 400 new scenes per day.

Processing details include:

GeoTIFF output format
Cubic Convolution (CC) resampling method
30-meter (OLI multispectral); 15-meter (OLI panchromatic); 100-meter (TIRS) pixel sizes
Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) map projection (Polar Stereographic in Antarctica)
World Geodetic System (WGS) 84 datum
MAP (North-up) image orientation
Data products are 16-bit

Landsat 8’s additional bands will create a larger data file size, at approximately 1 GB with compression. (See http://landsat.usgs.gov/band_designations_landsat_satellites.php for band designations for all Landsat sensors). More information can be found at http://landsat.usgs.gov/LDCM_DataProduct.php.

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Product News
New Multispectral Scanner (MSS) Data Available

The workhorse of the Landsat 5 mission was the Thematic Mapper (TM) instrument. After the TM sensor failed in November 2011, the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) instrument was brought back online a few months later. The MSS had not acquired data for over a decade.

While the MSS was acquiring data, the Landsat ground station was crafting new capabilities to ingest the raw instrument data. The data have recently been successfully ingested and are available from EarthExplorer, GloVis, and LandsatLook Viewer. More details on the new MSS data are available at http://landsat.usgs.gov/NewMSSProduct.php.
Old Metadata Format Removed

Since August 2012, all Landsat products have included a new metadata format to align with operational data from the Landsat Data Continuity Mission/Landsat 8. The historic metadata file was included to allow users enough transition time to adjust to the new format.

Although a number of scenes will continue to have both metadata files until the data is removed from Downloadable status and reprocessed, Landsat scenes processed after April 29, 2013 will no longer have the “*_MTLold.txt” file.
Landsat 8 Quality Assessment Band Information

The new Quality Assessment (QA) band is an important addition to Landsat 8 data files. Each pixel in the QA band contains a decimal value that represents bit-packed combinations of surface, atmosphere, and sensor conditions that can affect the overall usefulness of a given pixel.

Used effectively, QA bits improve the integrity of science investigations by indicating which pixels might be affected by instrument artifacts or subject to cloud contamination. Details about the Landsat 8 QA band can be found at http://landsat.usgs.gov/L8QualityAssessmentBand.php.
Landsat 8 Reflectance and Radiance Conversions

Standard Landsat 8 data products are delivered in 16-bit unsigned integer format. To match data products from Landsat 1 through Landsat 7, the Landsat 8 data can be rescaled to the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance and/or radiance using radiometric rescaling coefficients provided in the product metadata file (MTL file). The MTL file also contains the thermal constants needed to convert TIRS data to the at-satellite brightness temperature.

Conversion formulas to TOA Radiance, TOA Reflectance, and At-Satellite Brightness Temperature are located at http://landsat.usgs.gov/Landsat8_Using_Product.php.
Questions about Landsat 8?

Questions about Landsat 8, the Landsat Missions, or Landsat data products can be directed to Landsat Customer Services: custserv@usgs.gov.

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Tips and Tricks
Learning More about Landsat Surface Reflectance Climate Data Records

Landsat Surface Reflectance products are available on-demand from the archive of Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) data. The 30+ year archive of data enables the generation of Climate Data Records (CDRs) to support land surface change studies and the creation of other geophysical and biophysical parameters.

Landsat surface reflectance CDRs are generated using the Landsat Ecosystem Disturbance Adaptive Processing System (LEDAPS), originally developed through a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) grant by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the University of Maryland (Masek et al., 2008). The software is an adaptation of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) atmospheric correction routines to process Level-1 Landsat TM or ETM+ data.

Water vapor, ozone, geopotential height, aerosol optical thickness, and digital elevation data are used with Landsat data as inputs to the Second Simulation of a Satellite Signal in the Solar Spectrum (6S) radiative transfer model to generate top of atmosphere (TOA) reflectance, surface reflectance, brightness temperature, and masks for clouds and cloud shadows. The results are bundled and delivered as the Landsat surface reflectance CDR product.

Landsat Surface Reflectance CDRs are available to download from EarthExplorer (http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov). Additional information about Surface Reflectance CDR’s can be found at http://landsat.usgs.gov/documents/cdr_sr_product_guide.pdf.

Masek, J.G., Huang, C., Wolfe, R., Cohen, W., Hall, F., Kutler, J., and Nelson, P. (2008). North American forest disturbance mapped from a decadal Landsat record. Remote Sensing of Environment. 112:2914-2926.

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Landsat Image of Interest
LDCM Long Swath Visualization

On April 19, 2013, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission passed over one long swath from Russia to southern Africa: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/landsat/news/russia-south-africa.html.

Our mission partners at NASA crafted a beautiful fly-over that includes this image of the Ethiopian Highlands (Lake Tana is in the upper right).
Landsat Image of Interest

Late ice year in Alaska and northern continental US

May 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog

In Alaska, each year there is a contest to see who can predict when the ice will go out in the spring on the Tanana River in Nenana, Alaska. It is called the Nenana Ice Classic. People wager some money and then there is a prize of over $300,000 for the closest answer.

The website for the Nenana Ice Classic is:

http://www.nenanaakiceclassic.com/

You can look at the break-up dates on the brochure on the website. They are on side B.There is also a graph over time here.

http://futurehistoric.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/nenana-ice-classic-2011-result/

The average date that the ice goes is about May 5. Today it is May 19 so the ice is still in very late. The latest date on record was in 1964 when the ice went out on May 20. It has been cold in Alaska the last couple of days. This may be a record breaking year.

This data series of ice break-up has been used as an example of climate change/global warming. The ice has been going out earlier and earlier in the last 20 years. Some questions come to my mind. Does this year’s record affect the conclusion that climate change is making ice break-up earlier in the spring? Is the a fluke or part of a new trend? What do you think about it?

In addition, ice has been going out late in northern Minnesota and southern Canada. It was a cool spring in those areas.

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