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Earth Science Division Highlights for February 27, 2013

• ARC research shows declining growth rates in eastern US forests

Warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation led to declining growth rates in eastern US forests between 2000 and 2010. Dr. Christopher Potter of Ames Research Center reached that conclusion after reviewing data from the first decade of this century collected by the MODIS sensor on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites and other data sources.  The MODIS data showed declining density of green forest cover in four sub-areas – the Great Lakes, southern Appalachia, mid-Atlantic and southeastern Coastal Plain.  The changers in forest density reflected climate data indicating a warmer and drier decade.  Dr. Potter’s research was conducted under the National Climate Assessment and reported on in in the December 2012 edition of Natural Resources under the title, “Declining Vegetation Growth Rates in the Eastern United States from 2000 to 2012.” 

• ATTREX mission completes its fifth flight

The Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment, a NASA Earth Venture 1 mission, completed its 5th  science flights from DFRC February 27.   The flight of 24.4 hrs on the Global Hawk UAS was generally successful although it started late due to problems with the Ku band communication system.  The 6th and final flight for this deployment of ATTREX is scheduled for Friday March 1. 

• ARC, CMU, USGS scientists and managers meet in Menlo Park

The USGS office in Menlo Park hosted a one-day meeting with staff from NASA Ames and Carnegie Mellon University (NASA Research Park) February 26th.  The meeting was the next step in a process to identify collaborative projects among the participants.  Presentations from researchers and managers in the three organizations described research areas of potential common interest and discussed the benefits of, and obstacles toward collaboration.  The meeting was also a follow-on to a visit to the facility on Fedbruary 24 by managers from the Earth Science Division at Ames.  That visit was to understand better the unique requirements of USGS for facilities in consideration of the potential move of the USGS Menlo Park offices and facilities to the NASA Research Park.

Site survey for MIZOPEX mission completed

Randy Berthold (SGE), the Mission Manager for the Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes EXperiment (MIZOPEX) Project, July15-August 15, 2013, completed a site visit to the North Slope of Alaska.  The goal was to evaluate possible sites to conduct flight operations measured against proximity to sea ice, available logistics support and lodging as well as airspace de-confliction requirements. Three proposed sites were inspected; Deadhorse, Kuparic and Oliktok Point. Another one, Happy Valley, was considered based on local input.  Sufficient information was obtained on each site to allow an evaluation and final selection by the PI and Science Team.  Upon final selection formal agreements will be initiated for ground facilities and the air space (FAA Certification Of Authorization) process started

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Last Updated: Feb. 27, 2013
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