Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Aerosols on your mind - visit the NASA Giovanni-4 Portal

Just when I thought the science visualization tools from NASA couldn't get any better, I stumble across this: Giovanni-4, the Next Generation of Giovanni, with improved functionality for interactive data analysis and mapping.  This new addition to Giovanni contains certain aerosol, hydro & turbulent flux data, with more to come.  Within a few minutes of playing around in this new instance of Giovanni, I really like this direction. 

The severity of air pollution in China (and elsewhere) has received a great deal of attention lately, and NASA's suite of visualization tools are a good way to track the development of aerosol plumes, and examine the occurrences in light of industrial activity, as well as developing and prevailing atmospheric processes.  The three maps above are weekly maps for the first three weeks in March, and the extent of aerosol pollution is clear across most of eastern China.  The scale below refers to the pixel shades and their interpretation.  Optical thickness values in the 0.1 range (yellow shades) are indicative of clear skies, while values in the 0.8-0.9 range (red-brown) represent significant haze and smog.  The data in these maps was captured from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the NASA Terra satellite.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2nd International Training Workshop on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation


I.  Background and Objectives

CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation (SDIM) is formally established in 2013, jointly sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and hosted by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) of CAS. The goal of the Centre is to conduct much-needed research on disaster mitigation through advanced space technologies, especially space-borne Earth observation technology and provide knowledge transfer in developing countries through joint research, education, training workshop and advisory services.
In response to the needs of developing countries in disaster mitigation to tackle the natural and human-induced environmental disaster, SDIM will organize the 2nd International Training Workshop on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation with the theme of “Earth observations for Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries: Scientific and Practical Approach”. It has the purpose of providing a scientific and practical guide to the participants from the developing countries, with examples of good practices in implementing disaster mitigation and recommendations for actions. Experts from various national and international institutions, including TWAS, UN agencies, ICSU, GEO, etc., will share their experiences with working on disaster mitigation and Earth observation.

IIHost & Co-organizers
CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence on Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation
Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), Chinese Academy of Sciences
RADI is a comprehensive research institute directly under CAS. It was established on September 7, 2012, through consolidating two CAS institutes: the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications (IRSA) and the Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth (CEODE). RADI has become an important task force in the field of Earth observation, with competence in various key areas, including space borne-airborne-ground remote sensing data acquisition and processing, basic research into remote sensing and geospatial information science, Digital Earth science platform and information analysis on global environment and resources, a competent research team covering a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, and S&T international collaboration.
This Workshop is also supported by: International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE), International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the auspices of UNESCO, and China Committee for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR CHINA). 

III.  Date & Place
Date: 03-13 June, 2014
Place: Beijing, China 

IV.  Participants
The training workshop will bring together early- and mid-career scientists from developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America wishing to increase scientific knowledge of disaster mitigation and space technology. The policy makers and managers from developing countries are also welcome to apply for participating in the workshop. As the number is limited to 20 people, only those who are qualified can be selected as formal participants. Female applicants will be given priority.  

V.  Application:
Conditions: early- and mid-career scientists, policy makers from developing countries with background of space technologies or disaster mitigation as an advantage; skills of fluent English communication required.  
(1) Applicants fill in the attached application forms and submit them to the SDIM Secretariat at sdim@radi.ac.cn or by fax +86-10-8217-8104. Application deadline is 4 April, 2014.
(2) The selection group will routinely examine the applications and notify the applicants of the decisions before 20 April, 2014. Invitations will be sent to the selected applicants for visa formalities at the same time. 

VI.  Financial Assistance
Those applicants who have been selected will be provided round-trip international airfares between their home countries and Beijing (economy class), and the local expenses such as board and lodging, field tour, local transportation, etc. during the Workshop. 

VII.  Language
The language of the Workshop is English. Knowing or speaking some Chinese will be an advantage.  

VIII.  Topics
  • Introduction of Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation and Disaster Risk Situation in Developing Countries
  • Spatial Data Receiving and Processing
  • Theory and Practice of Remote Sensing
  • Data Management of Space Technology for Disaster Mitigation
  • Disaster Risk Management Processes
  • Assessment of Disasters Risk
  • Application of Prevention and Mitigation Strategies
  • Principles and Concepts of Recovery and Reconstruction 
IX.  Lecturers
The lecturers will be composed of well-known experts on space technology for disaster mitigation from China and the world. 

X.  Workshop Awards
  • All workshop participants will receive a one-year membership to the International Society for Digital Earth.
  • We will track the performance of participants and ensure that the training is accomplishing its goals. The best workshop participants will be provided travel grants for attending or presenting research at future seminars or conferences to be organized by SDIM.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monitoring China's Air Quality

Beijing Air Quality Note

Bad air in China is intensifying, as evidenced by the recent recording of the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Beijing reaching 450, as reported in an article morning (Beijing Choking on Air Pollution).  An AQI above 300 is considered hazardous.  I've written before about how utilization of NASA data can track air pollution episodes.  In addition to point and non-point source pollution, there is an atmospheric component that is related to the severity of these high-AQI events.  When the NASA data is coupled with short and medium term weather forecasts, simple early warning systems can be developed to identify potential harmful events before they occur.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Call for Papers: The 20th International Congress of Biometeorology (ICB2014)

 Call for Papers: The 20th International Congress of Biometeorology (ICB2014)

The International Society of Biometeorology will hold its 20th International Congress of Biometeorology (ICB2014) in Cleveland, Ohio, USA from 28 September - 1 October 2014. ICB2014 is co-sponsored by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). 

ICB2014 embraces all areas of biometeorology, with a focus primarily on the theme "Adaptation to Climate Risks". Over the past two decades, climate and meteorological science has been increasingly integrated with biological, ecological, and social science to develop more sophisticated means to identify climatological risks and to provide the operational framework to deal with these risks on biota, from microorganisms to humans. This has led to unprecedented cooperation between atmospheric and social scientists from a broad array of disciplines. The theme reflects local and regional environmental priorities, and fosters an international comparison of risk analyses and associated intervention and evaluation activities. 

Among the general paper and poster sessions, there will be a number of special sessions: 

  • human health challenges in a world with increasing climate variations
  • agriculture and forest biometeorology
  • extreme event warning methodology and implementation
  • national and local governmental responses to potential climate risk
  • climate challenges in the developing world
  • risk communication
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and atmospheric hazard vulnerability
  • historical trend analysis and an evaluation of changes in extreme event frequencies
  • Universal Thermal Climate Index
  • phenological evaluation of climate change and variability
  • climate and tourism
  • animal response and adaptation to a changing climate
  • contribution of livestock to climate change and mitigation
  • aerobiology and human health
  • aging in a changing climate
  • water-borne disease and climate 

  • For full details visit http://www.icb2014.com.

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Conference: Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in a Changing Climate

    Interesting conference from EvolDir listings:


    "Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in a Changing Climate" *in Lillehammer, Norway, 27th – 29th of
    January 2014.
    The main aims of the conference are to:
       - contribute to an understanding of climate change and its predicted
       impact on agriculture and forestry
       - increase our understanding of adaptive genetic diversity and adaptation
       - assess how genetic resources for food and agriculture are affected by
       the changing climate
       - discuss the consequences that climate change challenges bring upon the
       sustainable utilization of plant, animal and forest genetic resources
    The conference aims at bringing together participants from all areas
    relevant to genetic resources for food and agriculture in a changing
    climate. The conference will focus on the scientific frontiers in this area
    as well as create a possibility for discussions from the political point of
    The conference is organized by the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen,
    http://www.nordgen.org/index.php/en/content/view/full/2/) and four research
    networks under a program entitled "Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and
    Mitigation in Nordic Primary Industries" financed by the Nordic Council of
    Ministers and NordForsk. The results of three years of network activity of
    the four networks will be presented during the conference.
    The meeting is directed towards scientists, PhD students and young
    scientists, national genetic resource coordinators, breeding association
    representatives, government officials and other stakeholders with special
    interest in genetic resources for food and agriculture in a changing
    Please, follow the link below to the conference homepages for the
    scientific program, call for abstracts (*deadline 30th of November*), and
    registration and practical information.
    NB! Reduced fees for registration and accomodation for students.
    Feel free to distribute this invitation amongst your colleagues.
    Dr. Anne Kettunen Præbel
    Senior Scientist
    NordGen - Nordic Genetic Resource Center
    P.O.Box 115, NO-1431 Ã…s, Norway
    Street address: Raveien 9, 1430 Ã…s
    Phone: +47 6494 9772, mobile: +47 9778 0903
    Anne Kettunen Praebel <anne.praebel@nordgen.org> 

    Monday, December 9, 2013

    Poor Air Quality persisting in China

    Here is the Aerosol Optical Depth (550 nm) for the first week in December, as derived from NASA-MODIS (Aqua).

    Unfortunately, this is not an acute event (I have written about this before):

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    AMS 2014 session: Societal Impacts Related to Superstorm Sandy

    Here's the schedule for the Societal Impacts Related to Superstorm Sandy session, at the American Meteorological Society Annual meeting in February 2014.  Great, diverse group of expert speakers. 

    Special thanks to Tanja Fransen (@mtwxgirl) for assembling this important and timely session.

    (* Dr. Robinson was a member of my dissertation committee)

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    MERRA images of Typhoon Haiyan cloud top temperatures

    These images show the cloud top temperatures of Typhoon Haiyan passing through the Philippines last week, as captured by the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and AIRS (Atmospheric Infrared Sounder) instruments on the NASA AQUA satellite.  According to the IR data retrieved, the cloud top temperatures around the center of this massive storm were approximately 210 kelvin (-81.4F/-63C), indicative of extremely strong storms with heavy rains.


    This data was obtained through the NASA Giovanni Interactive Visualization and Analysis portal.  Level 3/Collection 5.1 (3.051) data is recommended by the NASA MODIS science team to be used for scientific investigations.