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Featured Content

NASA Provides Unique Views of the 2017 “Eclipse Across America”

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America was treated to an eclipse of the sun, with some locations experiencing a total solar eclipse—where the sun was 100% obscured by the moon’s shadow, or umbra. In the September-October 2017 issue of The Earth Observer, we briefly summarize NASA Television’s Eclipse Across America coverage—a four-hour broadcast that took place on the day of the eclipse from 12:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Throughout the summary are discussions of some of the science activities that were conducted, as well as several "Perspectives from the Path" that describe personal anecdotes from eyewitnesses who had been asked to describe their respective eclipse experiences for this article.

CERES FM6 on JPSS-1

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Flight Model 6 (CERES FM6) instrument is scheduled to launch onboard the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) in November 2017. The CERES instrument measures reflected sunlight and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth. Data products from CERES include both solar-reflected and Earth-emitted radiation from the top of the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface. These measurements, called radiative fluxes, represent the amount of energy radiated through a given area within a given time range. CERES provides the only global top of atmosphere energy budget dataset. Data from CERES FM6 will help scientists further develop a quantitative understanding of the links between the Earth’s energy budget and the properties of atmosphere and surface that define it.

The Third A-Train Symposium: Summary and Perspectives on a Decade of Constellation-Based Earth Observations

The third international A-Train Symposium took place April 17–20, 2017, in Pasadena, CA, and brought 285 scientists together to learn about and exchange scientific findings from data collected by a unique constellation of Earth-observing satellites called the Afternoon Constellation, or “A-Train.” Now in full operation for over a decade, the A-Train has transformed our undertstanding of, and the way we study Earth’s interacting systems. In the July-August issue of The Earth Observer we present a summary of the symposium. We first address the development of constellation flying concepts and the satellites that make up the constellation. Next, we provide a brief mention of the previous A-Train symposia and—finally—a summary of the third symposium.

Data Discoverability, Earth Day, and More!

At present, there are nearly 22 petabytes (PB) of archived Earth Science data in NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) holdings, representing more than 10,000 unique products. The volume of data is expected to grow significantly—perhaps exponentially—over the next several years, and may reach nearly 247 PB by 2025. The May-June issue of The Earth Observer explains the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) and the important role they play in discovering NASA Earth science data. The issue also reports on two outreach activities that took place in Washington, DC in April—Earth Day and the National Math Festival.

Acquiring, Distributing, and Delivering NASA Data for the Benefit of Society

In the March-April issue of The Earth Observer we highlight the path of data from satellite to product to distribution. The Earth Observing System Data and Operations System (EDOS) is responsible for acquiring, processing, and delivering instrument data to the ground for many of NASA’s Earth-observing missions, including the EOS Terra, Aqua, and Aura platforms. A growing user community that includes scientists, educators, and federal, state, and local governments employs NASA’s Earth-science data for research and applications on a regular basis—and all of the data are available to the public at no cost.

Recollections of FIFE and BOREAS

Field campaigns are a critical component of NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS). Such experiments are designed to test and evaluate various scientific hypothesis governing interactions between the Earth’s surface and atmosphere, and form the basis of algorithms used in computer models that simulate Earth’s weather and climate. The first field campaign to include the coupled biosphere–atmosphere as part of a coordinated measurement strategy was the First International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project (ISLSCP) Field Experiment [FIFE], with deployments in 1987 and 1989. Even as scientists analyzed data collected during FIFE, plans were underway for the joint U.S.-Canadian Boreal Ecosystem–Atmosphere Study (BOREAS), with field deployments in 1994 and 1996. To learn more about FIFE and BOREAS and how they "changed the world," read the January-February issue of The Earth Observer.

Eight Microsatellites, One Mission: CYGNSS

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) launched into orbit at 8:37 AM EST, December 15, 2016, aboard an Orbital ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vehicle. The rocket was dropped and launched from Orbital’s Stargazer L-1011 aircraft, which took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida. CYGNSS is NASA’s first satellite mission to measure ocean surface winds in the inner core of tropical cyclones, including regions beneath the eyewall and the intense inner rain-bands that could not previously be measured from space. These measurements will help scientists to obtain a better understanding of what causes variations in tropical cyclone intensity, thereby improving our ability to forecast tropical cyclones such as Hurricane Katrina. To learn more about CYGNSS, read "Eight Microsatellites, One Misson: CYGNSS" in the November-December issue of The Earth Observer.

2016 NASA Booth Program at AGU

NASA Science has a story to tell and, at AGU, you can be part of it. This year at our exhibit we will be telling stories about our Earth science, planetary science, and heliophysics endeavors via dynamic Hyperwall presentations, flash talks, and hands-on demos. In addition, the booth will also feature a variety of individual stations where you can talk face-to-face with NASA subject-matter experts. We hope you join us!

Understanding Earth: Our Ocean

Viewed from space, Earth appears as a blue marble, as approximately 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by ocean water. The vast ocean holds roughly 97% of the planet’s water and represents 99% of the living space on Earth. NASA has been observing Earth’s ocean from space for more than 38 years, beginning with the launch of the first civilian oceanographic satellite, Seasat, on January 28, 1978. This brochure explains how NASA has the ability to observe and detect changes in the ocean (and on Earth as a whole) on a variety of spatial and temporal scales—ultimately positioning the Agency to improve life on our planet.

Understanding Earth: What's Up with Precipitation?

Precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls quickly from a cloud. The main forms of precipitation include drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, grapple (soft hail or snow pellets), and hail. Today, scientists can measure precipitation directly—using ground-based instruments such as rain gauges—or indirectly—using remote sensing techniques (e.g., from radar systems, aircraft, and Earth-observing satellites). This brochure describes how satellite observations—often combined with other measurements taken on the ground or from aircraft—provide frequent estimates of precipitation at a global scale. Among other uses, precipitation datasets from NASA are used for forecasting tropical cyclones; monitoring soil moisture conditions and freshwater availability; and predicting flood and drought conditions, landslides, crop yields, and water-related illnesses.

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