Environment

Vulnerability Assessment Tool

Malawi has not been spared from the severe impacts of climate change. In the past two decades, Malawi has experienced a number of adverse climatic hazards, the most serious being dry spells, seasonal droughts, intense and unpredictable rainfall, riverine floods, and flash floods. Some of these, especially droughts and floods, have since increased in frequency, intensity, and magnitude over the past decades, and have adversely impacted food and water security, water quality, energy, and sustainable livelihoods of most rural communities. With its narrow economic base, limited agroprocessing industries, over-dependency on rain-fed agriculture, and biomass for household energy, Malawi is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. This situation is exacerbated by increasing poverty among rural communities, increasing population pressure on a limited land resource base, land degradation arising from agricultural expansion and the cultivation of marginal lands, and increasing deforestation to meet the increasing demands for energy, food, and construction purposes.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Statistical analysis, Weather and climate, Developing countries, Risk assessments

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Algae Bioreactor Using Submerged Enclosures with Semi-Permeable Membranes

Applications include diesel fuel production, lipid-based chemical production, advanced sewage treatment, and renewable energy.NASA has invented an innovative method to grow algae, clean wastewater, and capture carbon dioxide to ultimately produce biofuel. The invention consists of floating flexible-plastic enclosures and photo-bioreactors with semi-permeable membranes. This new cultivation system is made of lightweight material and is deployed offshore, avoiding the problems of land costs and competition with other land uses. The surrounding waters provide infrastructure, cooling, and some mixing from wave action. Ideally, this cultivation system is filled with nutrient-rich domestic wastewater and a source of CO2 to promote the growth of algae and to remediate pollution.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water reclamation, Biofuels, Biological sciences, Performance upgrades, Product development

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Three-Band Cloud and Precipitation Radar

After many years of use of Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and CloudSat data, focus groups within the cloud and precipitation science community produced requirements for the next generation of missions. The first draft of Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem mission requirements was formalized in 2009, snowfall observation requirements were documented in 2011, and recently the discussion for the definition of a mission concept called the Cloud and Precipitation Process Mission (CaPPM) has been initiated.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Architecture, Radar, Weather and climate

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System for In-Situ Detection of Plant Exposure to Trichloroethylene (TCE)

The system can scan the surface of a leaf to quickly detect the presence or absence of TCE without damaging the plant.In collaboration with the State University of New York and the Naval Research Laboratory, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is developing a hyperspectral estimator to detect trichloroethylene (TCE) in plants. TCE has been a widely used industrial solvent known to be toxic to humans and animals. Although its use and disposal have become more restricted in recent years, TCE is one of the more prevalent groundwater contaminants in the United States. Current methods exist to identify the locations of TCE at contaminated sites; however, these methods typically require destructive sampling techniques as well as time-consuming and expensive laboratory analysis. In contrast, the hyperspectral estimator is being designed as a nondestructive, quick, and lower-cost way to screen for TCE across large areas. It works by using spectral signatures to determine the presence/absence of TCE in the leaves of plants that may have absorbed the contaminant from surrounding groundwater.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water pollution, Chemicals, Hazardous materials, Test equipment and instrumentation

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Time-Shifted PN Codes for CW LIDAR, RADAR, and SONAR

Algorithm eliminates channel interference and artifacts from lidar return signals.NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a waveform processing technique to eliminate signal noise resulting from sources of interference (scatterers) that can degrade continuous wave (CW) lidar return data. The algorithm was developed to enable CW lidar measurement of atmospheric gas concentrations as part of NASA’s Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) program, but can be used to test any chemical species, such as poison gas or other trace elements in the atmosphere. The algorithm demonstrated reduction in interference resulting from thin cloud layers and other scatterers. The improvement holds the potential for significant advancement of CW lidar systems that are less expensive, of simpler design, and can be operated at higher average power than pulsed lidar systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Mathematical models, Lidar, Radar, Emissions measurement, Noise

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Data Informatics Infrastructure for the Megacities Carbon Project

With the goal of assessing the anthropogenic carbon-emission impact of urban centers on local and global climates, the Megacities Carbon Project has been building carbon-monitoring capabilities for the past two years around the Los Angeles metropolitan area as a pilot effort. Hundreds of megabytes of data are generated daily and distributed among data centers local to the sensor networks involved. These remotely generated data are then aggregated into a centralized data infrastructure located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to provide collaboration opportunities on the data as well as generate refined data products through centralized data processing pipelines.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Data exchange, Remote sensing, Emissions measurement, Data management, Globalization

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Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for Paints

A safe and effective method for removing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks partners interested in the commercial application of the Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for treating polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paints. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is offering companies licensing or partnering opportunities in the development of this innovative remediation technology.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Metals, Hazardous materials

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