Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Text and images site Contact NASA


Find it at NASA:

Global Navigation


Banner feature 1

Earth Science Division


Choose another category:

Org Chart
Postdoc Opportunities
Earth Image of the Day

Earth Science Division Highlights for Spring-Summer 2009

Earth Science Division Personnel receive NASA Honor Awards

We extend our warmest congratulations to several of our own. The outstanding efforts of many of our division colleagues have been recognized with well-deserved NASA Honor Awards.  We are proud of the positive reflection these awards bring to the division and to the agency.  All of the awards, individual and group, reflect strong cross-center, cross-community accomplishment.  Thank you also to our HQ sponsors whose unsung efforts on our behalf make these accomplishments possible.

The awards were presented at a ceremony held at NASA Ames, June 10.  The recipients and the categories of their awards are listed below:

Exceptional Achievement Medal
For the exceptional achievement of leading, from conception to successful completion, the 2008 ARCTAS field campaign to understand the environmental changes in the Arctic.

Exceptional Public Service Medal
For the development and use of UAV technologies in providing critical fire information to state and federal fire fighting forces during the western firestorms of 2007-2008.

Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal
For research leading to a breakthrough in the understanding of how global biological productivity responds to climate change.

Group Achievement Award
For outstanding accomplishments in the successful Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites mission in Alaska and Canada.

Group Achievement Award
In recognition of the accomplishments and interagency collaboration in the Southern Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment of 2008.

Group Achievement Award
For the successful completion of this "first of its kind", innovative flight test program for airborne earth science instruments.


*  Tony Strawa gave a talk entitled "Aerosols and Climate: Predicting Climate Change with a Dirty Crystal Ball" to EPA Region 9 on May 10 and to UC Davis Air Quality Research Center on April 13.

*  Mike Gaunce presented the poster, "Streamlining access to and improving utilization of NASA's airborne science fleet" at the 33rd International Symposium of Remote Sensing of Environment in Stresa, Italy, May 3- 8, 2009.

*  Phil Russell gave an oral presentation on the ARCTAS (Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites) mission aerosols and radiation results at the POLARCAT Data Workshop at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire on June 2-5, 2009.  Other presentations included a talk at SETI Institute, May 6, as part of the CSC/SETI Institute Colloquium Series; and a presentation at NASA Ames’ 2009 Directors Colloquium Summer Series, June 23.  The title of both talks, "Aerosol particles & climate change on Earth: How coordinated measurements from aircraft, satellites, and surfaces are helping to reduce uncertainties" detailed how aerosols affect climate change.

*  Hanwant Singh gave an oral presentation on the ARCTAS (Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites) mission ozone chemistry results at the POLARCAT Data Workshop at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampsphire, June 2-5, 2009.

*  Lenny Pfister gave an oral presentation entitled "Clouds and water vapor at the tropical tropopause at the American Meteorological Society 15th Conference on Middle Atmosphere in Stowe, Vermont, June 8-12, 2009.

*  Four SGG scientists attended the POLARCAT Data Workshop held in Durham, New Hampshire, June 2-5, 2009, where they delivered the following presentations or posters:

- Phil Russell, “Arctic aerosols and radiation: Results from ARCTAS Spring and Summer 2008”

- Hanwant Singh, “Ozone/NOx/HOx chemistry during the 2008 ARCTAS campaign”

- Jens Redemann: “Airborne sunphotometer (AATS-14) measurements in ARCTAS-first insights into their combined use with satellite observations to study Arctic aerosol radiative effects” (poster)

- Yohei Shinozuka: “Aerosol optical depth observed from P-3 during ARCTAS”

*  As part of the AIAA Unmanned Unlimited & Infotech at Aerospace conference in Seattle, April 6-9th 2009, Matt Fladeland (Code SG) organized and co-chaired a session entitled "Accessing UAS Through the Federal Government for Civilian Applications". The panel included representatives from NOAA, DHS, USFS, FAA, and NASA HQ. In addition, Fladeland and Corey Ippolito (Code T) co-chaired a session entitled "Payload directed flight", focusing on closing the aircraft control loop around science payload data. (POC: Matt Fladeland,, 4-3325)

*  The SIERRA UAS project continues to proceed towards deployment to Svalbard, Norway in June-July for the NASA IPY Characterization of Arctic Sea Ice Experiment (CASIE - in partnership with CU-Boulder. Recent accomplishments include a redesign and successful load test of new tail booms, a successful AFSRB review the week of April 16th, and successful flight tests at Dugway Proving Grounds the week of April 20th which included validation of IRIDIUM-based over-the-horizon command and control. Future milestones include completion of instrument integration and payload Flight Readiness Review the week of May 11th, flight tests at Crow's Landing the week of May 18th, and a Mission Readiness Review on May 22nd. (POC: Matt Fladeland,, 4-3325)

Division Chief Steve Hipskind and NASA Ames Center Director Pete Worden participated in a climate summit on Capitol Hill, March 3, at which John Chambers, Cisco CEO, spoke to the importance of transparent access to information in a cap and trade world.  Chambers spoke to the importance of public/private partnerships and announced at the press conference the new collaboration between Cisco and NASA (Ames) to develop "Planetary Skin" - a collaborative tool to take NASA observations and model predictions and translate into actionable information for policy makers.

One of the summit organizers, World Resources Institute, has put videos of the day's activities on their web site:  Also, additional press coverage of the planetaryskin announcement can be found at:  And Cisco released a web site on planetaryskin:

ESPO updates, as of April 30, 2009:

ESPO has been busy this quarter.  The team has conducted 11 trips in support of 9 programs.

*  Jan. 26-30:  Marilyn Vasques and Sue Tolley conducted a Flight Request Program Manager visit to Washington DC.  They reviewed the status of each Program Manager's flight request and reviewed flight request database and procedure updates.

*  Jan. 26-30:  Kent Shiffer attended the ARCTAS Workshop in Virginia.

*  Feb. 3-4:  Mike Gaunce and Sue Tolley attended the JASSIWG meeting at NCAR in Colorado.

*  Feb. 23-Mar. 3:  Marilyn Vasques and Mike Craig conducted a site survey in Florida.  They visited 4 cities in an effort to determine the best deployment site for the 2010 hurricane mission GRIP (Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes).

*  Feb. 26-Mar. 8:  Mike Gaunce conducted a site survey in Norway in preparation of the June SIERRA mission.

*  Mar. 10-13:  Mike Craig, Marilyn Vasques & Mike Gaunce attended and presented at the Airborne Science Program Annual Review at Headquarters.

*  Mar. 25-April 3:  Kent Shiffer conducted site set up activities in support of ICE Bridge in Thule, Greenland.

*  April 5-9:  Marilyn Vasques and Robert Morthel attended the Hurricane Research Meeting in Tallahasse, FL.  Marilyn presented the results of the February site visit for GRIP.

*  April 12-25:  Kent Shiffer, Mike Gaunce and Sue Tolley conducted a site survey in Chile and New Zealand in support of the fall deployment of ICE Bridge.

*  Chile:  Kent Shiffer Mike Gaunce and Sue Tolley have met with the US embassy in Santiago Chile and expect very good support regarding the Operations ICE Bridge mission. We also performed a successful site survey in Punta Arenas Chile and feel there will be excellent support.  ESPO has made very valuable local contacts and will provide setup for ICE Bridge in Chile.

*  New Zealand:  Kent Shiffer and Sue Tolley performed the site survey in Christchurch, NZ, supporting Operation Ice Bridge. Met with the local NSF operations with excellent results for possible support should flights originate from Christchurch over the Antarctic continent.  Also met with the US embassy's Science and Technology Secretary, in Wellington NZ.

*  April 19-22:  Mike Gaunce left the IceBridge site survey after Chile to conduct a separate site survey of Argentina in support of the Aquarius Satellite deployment.

*  April 13-17:  Mike Craig and Marilyn Vasques attended the GloPac Flight Planning Meeting at DFRC.

*  Kent Shiffer and another ESPO team member performed a site survey to Melbourne Australia and Hobart Tasmania, in support of the Operation ICE Bridge mission.

*  May 26-July 18:  Mike Gaunce and Quincy Allison supported the CASIE deployment in Norway.

*  June 1-12:  Mike Craig and Marilyn Vasques supported the GloPac Operational Test and Aircraft Fit Check at DFRC.

*  Kent Shiffer and another ESPO team member looked into supporting the PA3CE mission with site surveys to Thailand, Singapore and Brunei.  (Dates TBD)

*  Marilyn Vasques and Mike Craig will be conducting a site visit to Barbados and St. Croix in support of the GRIP mission.  (Dates TBD)


+ Archives

FirstGov - Your First Click to the US Government
+ Freedom of Information Act
+ Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
+ The President's Management Agenda
+ NASA Privacy Statement, Disclaimer,
Spacerand Accessibility Certification

+ Inspector General Hotline
+ Equal Employment Opportunity Data Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
+ Information-Dissemination Priorities and Inventories

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA Official: Steve Hipskind
Content Manager: Gailynne Bouret
Webmaster: Stephanie Ramirez
Last Updated: August 10, 2009
+ Contact NASA