2008 SESDA II News Archive

SESDA DISC Staff Release Major Meteorological Data Set for Research

December 5, 2008

image of cloud top temperature for December 1979 in the United States

 The Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) production is underway and multi-year segments of the meteorological analyses from each of the 3 production streams are now available online at the GES DISC at the Modeling and Assimilation Data and Information Services Center (MDISC).

MERRA output data will resemble existing reanalyses, with several key advances using Version 5.2.0 of the GEOS-5 DAS with the model and analysis each at 1/2×2/3 degrees resolution. Three dimensional analyses are generated every 6 hours and two dimensional diagnostics (surface fluxes, single level meteorology, vertical integrals and land states) will be produced at 1 hour intervals and an extensive three dimensional 3 hourly atmospheric diagnostics on 42 pressure levels will also be available, but at the coarse (1.25 degree) resolution.

SESDA II Staff Organize Another Successful Public Outreach Event at Goddard

December 3, 2008

Boy wearing astronaut clothes

 Over 300 visitors participated in The Sunday Experiment Program held on Sunday November 16th at the Goddard Visitor Center. During the event, families built and experimented with Pop Rockets (film canisters and alka seltzer), Straw Rockets (paper and straw), and Foam Rockets (foam tubing and rubber bands). There was also a real life NASA engineer on hand to speak with visitors. The Sunday Experiment runs the third Sunday of every month (September – May) and is open to families with elementary aged children and younger.

For more information please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/visitor/events/index.html and check out the article in this month's Goddard View: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/pdf/290545main_GV4_19.pdf.


Cosmic Times

December 2, 2008

Pictures of Cosmic Times

 Dr. Barbara Mattson of the SESDA II Astrophysics group reports that the "Cosmic Times" project (which she has co-lead over the past three years) has recently marked a milestone in its development with the posting of the final materials on the project website: http://cosmictimes.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

Cosmic Times is a set of curriculum support materials that uses a fictional newspaper, traced over the past century, to illustrate that while astronomers study cosmic timescales, astronomy changes on human timescales. It consists of six posters, each resembling the front page of a newspaper from a particular time during the last century.

Each poster is accompanied by 4-5 classroom lessons which enable students in grades 7-12 to examine the science concepts behind the discoveries, develop techniques to improve science literacy, and investigate the nature of science using historical examples.

Saji Abraham receives a Goddard Code 614 Peer Award

November 12, 2008

Saji Abraham, who works on our Remote Sensing of Sea Ice Salinity task, is co-author on a paper which has received a Code 614 peer award. The award is for Outstanding Publication. The citation is:

Le Vine, D.M., S.D. Jacob, E.P. Dinnat, P. de Matthaeis, and S. Abraham, 2007: The Influence of Antenna Pattern on Faraday Rotation in Remote Sensing at L-Band, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 45 (9), 2737-2746.

Hurricane Data Analysis Tool: Global Merged IR Dataset Added

November 3, 2008
Scientists, students, and applications users seeking on-the-fly visualizations of hurricane-related satellite and model data can now visualize and get access to the NCEP/CPC 4-km Global (60°N – 60°S) Merged IR Brightness Temperature Dataset, through the publicly open GSFC Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) Hurricane Data Analysis tool.

Read merged IR Brightness Temperature Dataset documentation.

With a web browser and few mouse clicks, users can produce visualizations for all 8 years and 4.5 TB of Merged IR Brightness Temperature data and generate black and white IR imagery and animation without downloading any software and data, a priori. This is an important addition to the current collection of multi-sensor datasets already in the system, namely, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation, TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) sea surface temperature (SST), NASA's daily Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) ocean surface wind, NCEP Reanalysis sea level pressure (SLP) and NCEP Reanalysis winds.

The NASA Goddard Hurricane Data Portal currently a working prototype, is intended to assist researchers to investigate key parameters for tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons around the world prior to selecting and downloading the data of most interest. It also helps them to investigate other meteorological phenomena, such as, precipitation, monsoon events, mesoscale convective systems, etc. Current functions include area (latitude-longitude) and time series (area averaging) plots and their overlays. More capabilities and data will be added in the future.

The following are examples generated using the Hurricane Data Analysis Tool:
1) A large scale imagery on August 31, 2008 at 23Z showing Hurricane Gustav, Tropical Storm Hanna and Tropical Storm Ike.
2) An animation generated by this tool showing the 4km IR images every 30 minutes for 19 hours of Hurricane Ike on September 07, 2008. The animation shows Ike's well developed eye and rotational movement as it moves to the West/Northwest.

QuikSCAT ocean surface winds are provided by the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC). TMI SST data are provided by Remote Sensing Systems. NCEP sea level pressure, zonal and meridional wind at 1000, 850, and 200 hPa level data are obtained from NCEP's Global Forecast System analysis.

All other data are resident at the NASA GES DISC.

Similar interactive access to other data available at the GES DISC, as well as online visualization and statistical analysis, is available via the operational Giovanni system.

SESDA II Staffer Receives Property Custodian Special Recognition

September 10, 2008
Frank Smith, a Wyle employee working on the SESDA 2 Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate (AETD) Support task, has received numerous awards for his logistics support. Most recently, Frank was cited by the Directorate for "his dedication, attention to detail, and hard work in supporting AETD as Property Custodian in 3 of our Branches–Software Systems Engineering, Flight Software Systems, and the Computing Environments and Collaborative Technologies". Good work Frank!

The Goddard Hurricane Portal Tries To Keep Up With A Busy Season

September 8, 2008

MODIS image of hurricane Gustav on August 31st, 2008

 The GES DISC has been kept busy this hurricane season. Staff members have been generating images using TRMM 3B42RT precipitation data, MODIS Terra, and TRMM Merged data as updated news items during storm events. Staff is currently adding new imagery to the Hurricane Portal of this season storms so users can view relevant parameters during a storm event. This helps researchers identify if there is an anomaly that needs a closer look. In the coming weeks, the staff will be promoting an addition to their Hurricane Data Analysis tool that will be another first. The new addition will allow users to dynamically visualize and create images or animations of TRMM Merged IR data, which is a 30 minute Globally-merged (60N-60S) pixel-resolution IR brightness temperature data (equivalent blackbody temps), merged from all available geostationary satellites (GOES-8/10, METEOSAT-7/5 & GMS). The images and animations below are of the tropical storm region in the Atlantic and Hurricane Gustav as seen by MODIS and TRMM. Please visit the Hurricane Portal to explore the additional services available including dynamic overlays of data with the Hurricane Data Analysis Tool.

***Link to the following images

SESDA II Staffer Wins Exceptional Public Service Medal

September 3, 2008

Sandra Alston receiving medal picture

Sandra Alston was nominated for and won an Exceptional Public Service Medal at the NASA Honors Awards. She won the award "For your dedication and hard work in supporting AETD as Property Custodian". The nomination also cited her support as a System Administrator during the transition to the NOMAD system, and ensuring the security of the branch IT systems.


SESDA II Education and Public Outreach Team Receive 2008 Robert H. Goddard Award

September 3, 2008

Emilie Drobnes picture receiving award

Congratulations to Emilie Drobnes and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Family Science Night (FSN) team on being one of the winners of the 2008 Robert H. Goddard Award. The award is in recognition for the success of the FSN outreach program in providing innovative products, science, technology, and services to the public, educational institutions, and others who are potential beneficiaries of the expansion of knowledge resulting from NASA/GSFC's mission.

 The awards ceremony was held on September 8, 2008 in the building 8 auditorium. You can learn more about the outstanding work performed by the FSN team at: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/epo/families/fsn.php.

SESDA II STEREO Team Help Support the Phoenix Mars Landing

June 4, 2008

The Sun in the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) as seen by the STEREO Ahead spacecraft

SESDA II staff on the STEREO Team supported the recent Phoenix spacecraft landing on Mars by monitoring the space weather environment at Mars orbit. Staff used observations from the two vantage points of STEREO's twin spacecraft to obtain unique views of the solar surface (see accompanying figure). These data were used to detect solar storms that could adversely impact the Phoenix spacecraft and potentially disrupt the landing. To assist with landing operations, staff created a dedicated Web page (http://stereo.nascom.nasa.gov/phoenix_landing/) that provided near real-time STEREO images and solar wind measurements that could be accessed by NASA personnel.


SESDA II Staff Among Those Cited For Improving NASA's IT Security Posture

June 3, 2008

The NASA Administrator recognized the IT Security Certification and Accreditation (C&A) team with a Group Achievement Award (GAA) for its outstanding success in implementing an IT security certification and accreditation (C&A) Program for NASA's information systems. The group, which includes seven SESDA II staff members, was cited by the NASA Administrator for having "demonstrated outstanding dedication and diligence by not only meeting the minimum requirements under a very aggressive schedule, but also producing quality, detailed, value-added products and making significant improvements in the IT security posture of NASA."


May 9, 2008

award picture

ADNET Systems, Inc. has been selected as the recipient of the 2008 Goddard Contractor Excellence Award. The highly competitive honor is not awarded every year, and is determined by a variety of factors: technical, schedule, and cost performance; education and outreach; diversity; health and safety initiatives; and others. The evaluation committee examined performance in all of these factors for all applicants' GSFC contracts over the past three years. In ADNET's case, a primary source of such data was TEAM ADNET's outstanding work on SESDA II. It is our stellar performance in all areas of this major contract that drove our selection. TEAM ADNET's staff has pulled together in a way that has made GSFC sit up and take notice!

Recognition for SESDA II NASA Communications Outreach

May 6, 2008
SESDA II staffer Debbi Mclean was cited by NASA's Office for Communication Planning for her creative design of a Science Mission Directorate exhibit. Her citation reads: "Your Science Mission Directorate Exhibit Panel has been selected by NASA's Communications Material Review as one of the best designs for 2008. The Gallery Award recognizes your communication's excellent design creativity, compliance with style guide standards, visual effectiveness, and practicality. This decision was made by your peers… Your accomplishment helps us achieve our goals of clear, elegant and consistent design to enhance the Agency's ability to explain NASA's mission and results".

SESDA II Staff Gains Funding to Document Historical Ozone Program

April 15, 2008

BUV instruments chart

Dr. Steven Lloyd, SESDA II's lead scientist at the Goddard DISC, has garnered funding to provide complete documentation of the entire Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) program.

 The TOMS ozone satellites have been in orbit for almost three decades. Over that time, there have been a number of separate TOMS instruments (Nimbus 7, Meteor-3, ADEOS and EarthProbe), a sequence of retrieval algorithms, and a growing number of data products (total column ozone, Lambertian Equivalent Reflectivity (LER), Aerosol Index (AI), surface UV-B, etc.). While details of various aspects of the TOMS program have been individually published and documented in reports over the years, there has never been a single document that records the details of the instrument, its algorithms and data products. Now, in an effort led by Dr. Lloyd, NASA will have important descriptions of the TOMS instruments, its precursor (e.g., the Nimbus 4 BUV instrument), and its successor (the Aura OMI instrument) in order to track and learn from the development of instrumental and algorithmic changes.

SESDA II Staff design were selected "best of" works by NASA HQ Communications Materials Review (CMR)


Science Mission Directory banners

The Science Mission Directorate Exhibit Panels, designed by Debbi F. McLean, were selected the "best of" works by NASA HQ CMR. The four separate backlit exhibit panels were designed utilizing beautiful NASA imagery representing the four Science Mission Directorate themes of Astrophysics, Heliophysics, Planetary, and Earth Science.
Link to the CMR gallery.

STEREO Mission on YouTube and IMAX

STEREO Mission on YouTube

SESDA II staff have created a new YouTube site dedicated to videos from the STEREO mission (youtube.com/user/stereovideos). The site provides a fascinating look into the unique and exciting science produced by the STEREO mission. In addition to several stunning movies, you will find some amusing comments from viewers worldwide. If YouTube is not your thing, head on down to the IMAX theatre at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (www.si.edu/imax) where the STEREO mission is playing in a breath-taking new 3-D High Definition motion picture called the "3D SUN."

SESDA II Posters Storm First Code 600 New Year's Poster Party

SESDA II Posters Storm First Code 600 New Year's Poster Party

SESDA II staff presented posters displaying their current work at the First Code 600 New Year's Poster Party hosted by Laurie Leshin on January 16 from 2-4, at the Bldg. 28 Atrium.

 Although we didn't win any prizes, the event was an excellent opportunity to make professional contacts and learn about science and related activities on center.