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Earth Science Division Highlights for April 15, 2013

• Site visit to Guam to support next deployment of the ATTREX mission completed successfully

Representatives of the ATTREX project from Ames and Dryden were in Guam the week of April 7th for a site visit. The project presented its requirements for operations at Andersen Air Force Base (AAFB) to the Reception Working Group/Logistics Readiness Squadron (RWG/LRS). The presentation was well received and useful contacts were established with AAFB subject matter experts. The ATTREX project wants to conduct its Guam winter deployment in January and February 2014. The Cope North multinational military exercise typically occurs in February and may cause a conflict with ATTREX over hanger space. Concurrent flight operations are not a problem. The RWG/LRS is working to see if and how the two operations could be conducted simultaneously. The site visit also included visiting the local NOAA weather office and Guam Department of Education and establishing contacts with the companies that would supply science instrument consumables (gases and LN2), office/lab trailers (there is insufficient office/lab space available at AAFB), internet service providers and hotels for lodging.

• Latest data collection from the Alpha Jet supports intrusion of stratospheric ozone into the troposphere

Earth science staff at Ames in partnership with H211 completed the 88th science flight of the Alpha Jet on April 16. The flight measured ozone from the ground to 28,000 ft above sea level along an east/west transect of California from Castle Air Force Base northwest of Merced to a point approximately 50 miles off the coast near Pescadero. The data showed very high concentrations of ozone (up to 260 ppb) in both locations at altitude. Concentrations near the ground were around 60 ppb. The very high concentrations were an indicator of a stratospheric intrusion of ozone into the troposphere. The intrusion could increase concentrations of ozone at high elevation ground stations in southern California and the mountainous western States above the maximum air quality standard which requires the 8-hour ozone average to be less than or equal to 75 ppbv (set by the EPA). Such intrusions could explain why certain ground stations show non-compliance with air quality standards without a known local source.

• Ames hosts meeting of the TFRSAC and the AMS use workshop

NASA Ames hosted two meetings this week related to the integration of NASA technology into the operational procedures of agencies responsible for predicting, monitoring and responding to wildfire. On April 17, the Tactical Fire Remote Sensing Advisory Committee (TFRAC) met in building 152. It was the 19th meeting of the group in the last 10 years. Members of the TFRSAC include NASA, USFS, CalFire, Bureau of Land Management and other local, state and federal agencies responsible for wildfire policy and response. The TFRSAC heard updates on wildfire research and applications. Staff from Ames provided an update from NASA on personnel, missions, funding opportunities and news items related to wildfire from the agency. Ames also provided the SIERRA and Dragon Eye UAVs for inspection.

On Thursday, April 18, Ames hosted a workshop on the Autonomous Modular Sensor (AMS), an infrared imaging system built at Ames and now transferred to the US Forest Service for operational use. The Forest Service flew in the Cessna Citation aircraft that is the new platform for the AMS instrument. The aircraft and the instrument pod were on display for the workshop participants. Transfer of the AMS to the USFS is a major milestone for NASA Applied Sciences Program as it marks the conclusion of one of the most successful applications projects for the program.

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Last Updated: April 15, 2013
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