Environment

Daily Mesoscale Sea Surface Salinity from Evaporation and Precipitation

This model leads to a method for deriving sea surface salinity from evaporation and precipitation data at improved resolution. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Quantification of salinity is hampered by the lack of time and space resolution of existing measurements and models. At present, skin salinity measurements are available every few days with limited spatial resolution. Daily skin salinity products are full of gaps, which some applications can’t tolerate. Modeled salinity derived in the ocean mixed layer differs from remote sensing data of ocean skin layer salinity to a large extent for certain regions. The cool skin is a conductive layer in the upper few millimeters of the ocean within which transport of salt is dominated by vertical diffusion under the condition of weak to moderate winds. A technique to derive ocean skin layer salinity from satellite-based data for daily and 101 to 102 km scales was developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing

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Software for Inferring the Aerosol Water and Soot Fractions from Remote Sensing Measurements

The technique uses the aerosol real refractive index. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Aerosol water content and soot concentrations are important components of aerosol forcing. Aerosols contain varying amounts of water depending upon their aerosol hygroscopicity, and anthropogenic aerosols are among the most hygroscopic aerosols; hence, it is important to properly model aerosol hygroscopic effects when computing the effect of anthropogenic aerosols upon the climate system. Soot is the dominant absorbing particulate, and atmospheric soot originates exclusively from fossil fuel burning and biomass burning.

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Algae Photobioreactor Using Floating Enclosures With Semi-Permeable Membranes

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Various species of algae are known to produce valuable products ranging from food to fertilizer to biofuels. Methods have been developed for producing biofuels by processing algae and other micro-organisms that grow in aquatic environments, but the largescale commercial production of these algae, particularly for commodity products like biofuels, has been limited by the unfavorable economics of the current cultivation and harvesting methods.

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Parallelization of Snowflake Growth Simulation

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Gravner and Griffeath have developed a serial numerical model that simulates the growth of snowflakes in three dimensions under the assumptions of 24-fold symmetry. To allow for much larger and asymmetric snowflakes as well as to reduce simulation time, their model was re-implemented using distributed parallelism via MPI (Message Passing Interface). Test-driven development (TDD) was applied to rapidly develop an accurate implementation that consistently reproduces the results of Gravner and Griffeath. Through parallelism, simulation times were reduced from days/weeks to mere hours, and crystal sizes could be explored that are roughly 10 times larger in each dimension than otherwise possible. This new implementation will be used to generate thousands of representative snow crystals as a means to improve the ability to use remote sensing to estimate water content in snow-containing clouds. This work was done by Thomas Clune of Goddard Space Flight Center, and Christopher Pearson of Northrup Grumman Information Technology. GSC-16346-1

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Soil Remediation with Plant-Fungal Combinations

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This work applies to remediation and restoration of soil contaminated by fuel, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) wastes, etc. While there can be a beneficial effect of microbial communities, individual plant-fungus combinations can vary in their efficacy in removing pollutants from the environment. Having a set of enzymes from fungi specifically adapted to conditions in contaminated soil is a huge advantage.

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Continental-Scale Mapping of Adélie Penguin Colonies from Landsat Imagery

Remote sensing is used for biological conservation. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Adélie penguin has a circum-Antarctic distribution and is widely considered a useful indicator of status and change in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems. Breeding distribution of the Adélie penguin was surveyed with Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) over the entire continent of Antarctica. An algorithm was designed to minimize radiometric noise and to retrieve Adélie penguin colony location and spatial extent from the ETM+ data. In all, 259 ETM+ scenes were selected from the Lansdat archive from the 1999–2003 era and were used in the retrieval. Pixel clustering identified a total of 244 individual Adélie penguin colonies, ranging in size from a single pixel (900 m2) to a maximum of 875 pixels (0.788 km2). The Landsat retrievals successfully located Adélie penguin colonies that accounted for ≈96 to 97% of the regional population used as ground truth, with errors of omission and commission on the order of only 1 to 2%.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Environmental Monitoring, Imaging, Photonics

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An Alternative Molecular Sexing Method for the Florida Scrub-jay

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida A new method of molecular sexing is described that helps to understand population dynamics of the Florida Scrub-jay (FSJ). FSJ is an endemic, nonmigratory, monomorphic species of bird found on the Florida peninsula in lowgrowing oak or pine scrub. The current conservation status listed for the FSJ is threatened and vulnerable to extinction.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Green Design & Manufacturing

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