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.

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.


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.
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).

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.

– See more at:

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, 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.

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.


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

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

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).



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.


Landsat 8 is Operational

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

Copied from this website:

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 (, GloVis (, and the LandsatLook Viewer (!

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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 for band designations for all Landsat sensors). More information can be found at

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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
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
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
Questions about Landsat 8?

Questions about Landsat 8, the Landsat Missions, or Landsat data products can be directed to Landsat Customer Services:

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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 ( Additional information about Surface Reflectance CDR’s can be found at

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:

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

Eco-Comedy Video Competition 2013

February 6, 2013 by  
Filed under NASA

Eco-Comedy Video Competition
Spring 2013
** $1,000 Prize **
Sponsored by:
The contest is open to anyone who prepares a short, funny video for YouTube, which communicates a clear message about climate change.
Submissions must:
  • Be humorous!
  • Address the issue of climate change. We are interpreting the topic very broadly, so it includes topics like disasters, fossil fuels, clean energy, wildlife (like polar bears), politics, deniers, and so on.
  • Reach a broad audience.
  • Be an original production.
  • Be less than three minutes (including titles and credits).
  • Posted to Eco-Comedy Video Competition 2013 YouTube Channel at:
  • Submitted by 11:59pm Eastern Time Zone on Friday, March 1, 2013.
There will be six judges representing the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, Sierra Club, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Mill Reef Productions, and EcoSense. The decision of the judges is final. Awards are based on overall merit of the entries. Judges reserve the right not to grant an award. The organizations listed above reserve the right to post submissions on their websites.
Submissions that are not received by Friday, March 1, 2013 will not be accepted. The winner will be announced at American University on Tuesday, March 19 at the DC Environmental Film Festival at 7:00pm in the Wechsler Theater.
For more information regarding submission guidelines and contest rules, visit:
Questions may be addressed to me at
Professor Chris Palmer
Author of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)
Distinguished Film Producer in Residence
Director, Center for Environmental Filmmaking
American University School of Communication
cell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408
Center website:

Launch of Landsat 8 February 11, 2013

January 17, 2013 by  
Filed under NASA

The next Landsat satellite in the series, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (to be called Landsat 8 once it’s in safely in orbit), is on schedule to launch on February 11 from Vandenberg AIr Force Base in southern California.  If people want to stage an event about it, and publicize their geospatial programs, a Launch Party Kit is available.  Please see message from Holli Riebeek, forwarded.

Did you know that the longest continuous view of Earth from space comes from the Landsat satellite program? Its 40-year archive offers a priceless record of our changing communities and landscapes. The record continues on February 11, 2013, when NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey are scheduled to launch the eighth Landsat satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission.

We invite you to participate in this exciting and historic milestone in humanity’s work in space. You can join others across the planet in celebration of this much-anticipated event by hosting a launch party!
Planning and hosting your own launch party with NASA resources is fun and easy, and it’s a wonderful way to engage your community in your interests and the work you do.

Everything you need to host a great party and join in the launch fun is at your fingertips, at this URL:<>

You will find activities and decorations to make your party fun for all ages. You’ll be able to watch the launch and associated events live, including talks from NASA and USGS scientists and engineers.

We hope you’ll join us and people around the world to celebrate! Contact us with any questions by using the “Contact Us” link on the launch party website (lower right).

Holli Riebeek, Sigma Space
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Landsat Education & Public Outreach

NASA Summer Programs for High School Students

December 7, 2012 by  
Filed under NASA


When:                  February 10-16, 2013
Where:                  Lake Placid, NY
Who:                  Secondary STEM teachers, STEM pre-service teachers, Higher Education faculty in STEM/STEM Education, and Informal Education partners

The NASA GSFC Education Office invites you to participate in the upcoming 2013 History of Winter (HOW) training. This week of training, held annually in February in Lake Placid, NY, places teachers in the role of scientists, working side-by-side with professional scientists and technologists.  Learning by doing, teachers gain a better understanding of scientific inquiry through field research experience as well as a firsthand understanding of the study of snow and ice as indicators of climate change. Central to this week are studies of:
·      Training in field protocols for snow and ice study
·      The Global Snowflake Network (GSN) – an interactive online data resource for science and education
·      Thermochron Mission – unique technology that records temperature data used as a means to encourage inquiry
·      Effective use of technology to record and share data
·      Pre and post components for classroom integration of content


NASA OSSI/NIFS Online Application Website
Open from November 1, 2012-March 15, 2013
To apply to 2013 Goddard High School Summer Internship Opportunities visit NASA’s
“One Stop Shopping Initiative Recruiting NASA Interns, Fellows, and Scholars”OSSI/NIFS

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center High School Summer Intern Programs engage interns in applications of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in a research-focused work environment at Goddard.  Student interns learn and apply research protocols and processes related to Earth & space-systems science, computer science, engineering, and technology. Generally, a successful applicant meets/exceeds these basic qualifications:

1. At least 16 years of age at start of internship

2. Minimum 3.0 GPA (unweighted) on a 4.0 scale

3. U.S. citizen
Interested students may create a profile and apply to a project(s) anytime during the open registration period, November 1, 2012-March 15, 2013.  Projects will be added to the database on a continuing basis, so be sure to check back at

Goddard high school summer internships include, but are not limited to, the National Space Club Scholars Program (NSCSP) and mentor-funded opportunities.

For information about the National Space Club Scholars Program and eligibility, visit

GLOBE Climate Video Competition Extended

5 March 2012

Dear Partner,
The GLOBE Program is challenging GLOBE schools from around the world to share their climate explorations and research through video. We are pleased to announce an extension of the submission deadline to 31 March 2012, due to overwhelming response. If you have not reminded your teachers to participate, now would be an excellent time to forward them information about the competition.
Winning videos will be highlighted as a part of the GLOBE Earth Day and Anniversary celebration. All videos submitted will become a part of the GLOBE Program YouTube channel.
Full details for video creation and submission are available here.
If you have any questions please contact We hope to hear from you and your teachers soon!

Donna Charlevoix and the GLOBE Science & Education Team

NASA opportunity for current female high school juniors

Hello Everyone:
We are forwarding the attached flyer for NASA’s Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars (WISH) Program.

WISH is seeking female high school juniors from across the country to participate in NASA’s pilot project which starts with an on-line community and culminates with a summer experience at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Summer, 2012.

Applicants need to be:
•U.S. citizens
•Current female high school juniors during the 2011-2012 school year
•Interested and excited about STEM
•Committed to a one-year relationship with JSC; and
•Able to access to the Internet and email (at home, school or public library)
•A scholar with a cumulative GPA of 3.25/4.0 or higher

More information is available at:

Please forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Thank you.


Prof. Gary L. Slater
Director, Ohio Space Grant Consortium
School of Aerospace Systems
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Cincinnati

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