Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Earth Science Meeting in DC #4

Jake Weltzin from the USGS is talking about using phenology to study climate change effects. Phenology is the study of the variations that occur seasonally in plants and animals. When leaves turn color in that fall, that's a phenological event. The timing of these events offers scientists great clues for climate change. In a recent study 62% of species are showing predictable changes in response to climate warming. This means their springtime changes are occurring earlier. For some species, such as migratory species, this can be a deadly trend. The USGS Phenology effort is looking for student scientists and others to help perform a hundred thousand observations. This is a great opportunity for science students to get involved.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Earth Science Meeting in DC #3

Bryant Cramer, Associate Director for Geography, USGS has stepped up to the podium. He notes that it is the uncertainty in the physical models for the future that earth science decision makers need to manage to be able to drive processes/policies such as Carbon cap-and-trade.  The critical first step is to take earth system models to a new level of certainty. He also noted that when USGS stopped charging for Landsat scenes the amount of data delivered skyrocketed.

Earth Science Meeting in DC #2

Pai-Yei Whung, Chief Scientist at the US EPA has stepped up to the podium. The EPA needs to quantify the impacts of its regulations to assure that they are beneficial for society. The data to information (through tools) to decisions and assessment requires the best available science practices, including observational data analysis.

In the Midwest there were two 500-year floods in 15 years (1993 and 2008). Increased water flows can cause sewer systems to fail. The increase of the likelihood of reoccurring sewage incidents in the water system due to climate changes may require new standards for sewer systems.

Dr. Whung notes that "Community is KEY" to the AirNOW effort at the EPA. What are the emergent Internet-based tools that would help the EPA to grow this community effort?

Earth Science Meeting in DC #1

The opening plenary of the ESIP Winter meeting at DC is just underway.
Listening to Michael Freilich, the director of NASA's Earth Science division.
He's talking about how the measurements we make about the Earth need to inform the models that can tell us the longer-term picture of the Earth's climate.
Sea level rise is a combination of adding water and heating the water (about half from each today).
"Snapshots for most earth systems don't work." We need longer-term measurements.
NASA makes its data available freely. Recently, the European Space Agency has also been moving to the NASA position.

Helen Wood, Senior Advisor for Satellite and Information Services at NOAA takes the podium. She mentions that the NASA open data policy has helped NOAA to open up its data policies. NOAA is looking to build a National Climate Service that can pull together all of NOAA's efforts in this area. NOAA is also interested in sustainable fisheries and sustainable coastal communities, as well as weather forecasting and science.