On and In The Ice
by Terri Gregory, SSEC Public Information Coordinator
issue of In
the News covers November 2001 and includes news not covered in previous
issues. Use images freely with credit to the Space Science and Engineering
Center, University of WisconsinMadison. Wed appreciate a copy
or notice when you use something.
weather on and around Antarctica, known to its researchers as the
Ice, is harder to forecast than practically anywhere else in the
world. Knowing when the continents fierce winds will rise up or
when clouds will blanket it is crucial for pilots bringing in researchers
and supplies, by plane or by icebreaker. Data collected by Automatic Weather
Stations enable forecasters to know what ground conditions are like. The
stations are installed and maintained by UWMadison researchers directed
by pioneering polar meteorologist Charles Stearns. University Communications
Emily Carlson features the group in her article in Wisconsin Week,
November 28. Besides forecasting current weather, AWS data have been used
in numerical models and is freely available to scientists around the world.
National Geographic magazine and Web site present major coverage of Antarctica in December. Frozen Under covers life and research on the continent, Islands of Icecovers a visit to Iceberg B-15. The online version of Frozen offers video of the reporters visit and interviews. It provides a good introduction to Antarctica. The section Human Footprints shows that the continent is, since people have inhabited it, no longer pristine. Online and print versions of this National Geographic issue differ. Youll want to experience both.
December National Geographic Islands of Ice interactive
feature includes a long article; a map showing iceberg motion, to which
Matthew Lazzara (Antarctic Meteorological Research Center co-investigator)
contributed; photographs; personal accounts of National Geographics
visit to the iceberg; video; and links to Web sites, including the AMRCs
iceberg pages. A blemish on this exciting display is an error in one video
segment. The videos narration, made by contractors to NG, errs in
saying that sea levels will rise when the iceberg melts. This is not true.
For example, when an ice cube melts in a glass of water, the water does
not rise. According to Lazzara, The floating ice displaces the same
volume of water it would if were indeed melted into water. Since the icebergs
calved from the floating Ross Ice Shelf, they will have no effect on sea
level. The National Geographic has said that they regret
The AMANDA neutrino telescope is mentioned in the print version of National Geographic as one of several unique telescopes in Antarctica. The Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array is a telescope that is aimed into the ice so that Earth acts as a filter for particles coming from space through Earths northern hemisphere. Darryn Schneider, UWMadisons Department of Physics, explained that neutrinos are tracked when particles (muons) interact with the ice. Schneider said, The ice is pure and transparent, allowing us to see the muons glow, and illuminating the neutrinos path through the ice. SSEC administers AMANDA through the Antarctic Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Institute, which will also house IceCube, a greatly expanded neutrino telescope.
received congressional committee approval, as noted in UWMadisons
campus newspaper, Wisconsin Week (November 28). University Communications
used an easily comprehensible graphic to explain the project, which involves
sinking into the south polar ice an array of detectors (photomultiplier
tubes) that act as lightbulbs in reverse. The $15 million grant was included
in the fiscal year 2002 budget bill for Veterans Administration, Housing
and Urban Development and National Science Foundation. UWMadison
is lead institution for 20 collaborating groups from around the world.
For more information
Via MODISWhen Hurricane Michelle moved through the Caribbean in early November, it naturally stirred up the water. Its effect is particularly dramatic on shallow water around the Bahamas. Turbidity caused by the hurricanes passage is seen in this MODIS image from November 6 acquired by direct broadcast at SSEC.
The National Hurricane Center will use a high-resolution MODIS image of Hurricane Erin taken 1530 UTC on September 9 in their Tropical Cyclone Report, written by hurricane specialist Richard Pasch.
IcebergThe Antarctic Meteorological Research Center provided a recent image of mammoth iceberg B-15 to Raytheon Polar Services. Public Relations director Elaine Hood used it for a presentation to the Denver Museum as background for an IMAX movie on the Shackleton expedition to Antarctica. Raytheon provides most logistical support for researchers in Antarctica and wanted to encourage people to learn more about the continent.
Finding bin LadenMadisons Capital Times reporter Aaron Nathans and WKOW-TV anchor Monique Laven interviewed several UW-Madison researchers for a joint Q&A project. Viewers and readers asked, Why cant the U.S. military use satellite technology to track down bin Laden ? In early November, Tom Achtor, SSECs executive director for science, provided Laven with a general explanation of satellite technology, pointing out that the satellites from which SSEC gathers data would not be used in warfarethe resolution would not be high enough. On her TV broadcast, Laven interviewed Tom Lillesand, director of UWMadisons Environmental Remote Sensing Center. That center works with higher resolution data from sources such as Landsat and aerial photography. Lillesand provided more detail, and Laven used props to show how the mouths of caves could be tilted away from view. The Capital Times provided a different perspective on November 8. SSECs Tom Whittaker noted that a satellites top-of-head view would not give facial details. Department of Astronomys Jeff Percival noted, as had Achtor, that it is impossible for satellites to cut through caves to see inside.
AuroraIn early November, a blazing aurora borealis spread across the northern sky, dipping as far south as southern Wisconsin. SSEC was pleased to help the Air Force weather program circulate an image from the Defense Meteorological Program satellite, the only weather satellite that can see night lighting, lightning, and the aurora. John Zapotocny, a civilian meteorologist working for the Air Force and a UWMadison graduate, graciously shared the imagery, produced by Mark Conner, a contractor supporting the Satellite Application Branch. Zapotocny noted,Its very rare to have aurora of this intensity extending to such a low latitude. The images were taken by the DMSP F15 satellite on the night of November 5 at about 0245 UTC. NASAs EOS science writing team at Goddard Space Flight Center forwarded the images to the Weather Channel. From the 1970s until 1983, SSEC was home to the DMSP archive of film strip data, which now resides at NOAAs National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, CO.
Linton, a television broadcasting student at Loyalist College in Belleville,
Ontario, Canada will use satellite images of Manhattans World Trade
Center attack in a documentary recounting reaction to the tragedy of September
11th. The project will be aired on Bellevilles cable stations.
BurningResults from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-8 Automated Biomass Burning Algorithm (ABBA) for the 1998 fire season in South America are published in the journal, Forest Ecology and Management. The article, Road paving, fire regime feedbacks, and the future of the Amazon forests, released in December, discusses the role of fire in the Amazon forests and the positive feedback loops that contribute to the negative impact of fire throughout the region. Authors are D. Nepstad (Woods Hole Research Center) and a host of others from the United States, Brazil, and Great Britain, including Elaine Prins (NOAA, stationed at SSEC). Joleen Feltz (SSEC) contributed to the research.
| As part of an
ongoing real-time data assimilation effort with the Naval Research Laboratory
(NRL) in Monterey, CA, wildfire satellite products are being assimilated
every half hour into the Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System to
analyze and predict the smoke's location and amount, and where the winds
are blowing it. For a week in mid-November, the GOES-8 Wildfire Automated
Biomass Burning Algorithm (ABBA) detected enhanced fire activity in the
southeastern U.S. Wildfires were observed in Tennessee, North Carolina,
Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. For that week, the Navy computer
model successfully documented the transport of smoke associated with these
animation of the GOES-8 Wildfire ABBA product shows agricultural
burning and wildfires from 12:15 to 23:45 UTC on November 14, 2001. Processed
fire pixels are identified in red, saturated fire pixels are yellow, and
cloud-contaminated fire pixels are in magenta. Fire pixels are labeled
in orange for the high possibility of a fire, navy for medium possibility,
and light blue for low. (C.Schmidt, E.Prins)
The polar windAccording to N. Bormann of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, the ECMWF is quite happy with the results of their initial evaluation of a 10-day data set of polar region winds derived from MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer measurements. The ECMWF, located in Reading, England, is also rather impressed about the quality of the winds, developed by Jeff Key (team leader, NOAA group at SSEC), and Chris Velden and Dave Santek (SSEC/CIMSS).
More GOES-12 test resultsScientists have found that imaging instruments on GOES-10 and GOES-12 agree, when their brightness temperatures are compared. Mat Gunshor (SSEC/CIMSS) compared the imagers at the mid-point between satellites (0N, 112.5W) on November 6, 2001 at 0900 UTC when the two satellites shared the same schedule. He found good agreement in bands 2 (4 microns), 3 (6.7/6.5 microns), and 4 (11 microns) when spectral responses are taken into account. The comparison was made by calculating the brightness temperature for each of the bands on both instruments with a radiative transfer model under the same conditions, then subtracting them from the averaged measured brightness temperatures for a tropical location. Brightness temperature differences (GOES-12 minus GOES-10) were very small: -0.4 K, 0.1 K, and -0.2 K in bands 2, 3, and 4 respectively, good news for scientists who want instruments that are measuring the same thing to agree.
Scott Bachmeier (SSEC/CIMSS) showed the improved spatial resolution of water vapor imagery from GOES-12 by comparing it with imagery from GOES-10 and GOES-8. The GOES-12 water vapor band can detect features as small as 4 km; GOES-8 and 11 have 8 km detectors. Image differences are also due to where the satellite is stationed above the equator (viewing geometry) and what layer it tends to look in the atmosphere (weighting function). However, water vapor boundaries appear smoother on GOES-12 and small-scale features such as mountain waves are better resolved. This will improve meteorological analyses of these features and will result in better feature tracking for retrievals of wind measurements.
Jolene Feltz and Elaine Prins compared brightness temperatures (GOES-12 3.9 micron channel) of active fires with those observed with GOES-8 in Brazil and GOES-10 in California. GOES-12 has a similar saturation temperature (~336 K) to both GOES-8 and GOES-11, but saturates at a much higher temperature than does GOES-10 (~321.5 K). It seems that GOES-12 will perform as well as GOES-8 and much better than GOES-10 in both fire detection and characterization.
National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service asked SSECs
Data Center to process images from the GOES-9 imager and sounder instruments
(one image for each instrument) when this satellite recently came out of
storage. Data sets were made available via SSECs Man computer Interactive
Data Access Systems (McIDAS) Abstract Distributive Data Environment.
The images showed that visible data have high frequency noise, although
this can be minimized by smoothing the data. As was seen before GOES-9 was
put into storage, sounder data show temperature oscillations in the longest
wave channels. |
Ackerman and Jonathan Martin appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio on November
26. Steve Ackerman explained the varying colors in sun rises and sun sets.
The show quickly focused on the validity of folk sayings, as Ackerman
and Martin gave the scientific underpinnings of some. Red sky in
the morning, sailors take warning,
as do those referring to mackerel skies. Storms generally do arise within
48 hours after a mackerel sky, as noted by an astute caller. Morning fogs
can freeze dogs. The Guys appear next on December 31.
Earth Observer newsletter (July/August 2001) covered the Terra Cloud
Mask Workshop held in Madison in May. Paul Menzel (NOAA scientist stationed
at SSEC) and Steve Ackerman (CIMSS director) reported that an international
group of 55 scientists met to discuss the status of the cloud detection
[Terra satellite] instruments and to plan comparison studies.
Terra instrument scientists summarized modifications made to cloud detection
algorithms after the satellite was launched and discussed possible future
modifications. Focus groups addressed discussion pointsa night-time
(infrared) cloud mask, instrument performance issues, ancillary data, and
validation efforts and comparison strategies. Meeting results and further
discussions are being shared at instrument science team meetings.|
The WIYN Observatory on Kitt Peak celebrated its fifth year of operations in October, as noted in Wisconsin Week (November 7). The modern telescope at the heart of the complex was designed and built and is owned and operated by a consortium made up of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories and several universities including UWMadison. SSEC developed and installed the telescopes control system which, in part, makes it capable of being remotely controlled. The telescope has become recognized internationally for its superb image quality, its unique instrumental capabilities and its operational efficiency, said UWMadison professor Robert Mathieu, WIYN Board of Directors president.
McIDAS releaseTom Yoksas, of Unidatas Program Center, enthusiastically reports (Unidata Newsletter, Summer/Fall 2001) that version 7.8 of McIDAS-X is ready for download. Yoksas focused on two new elements of this latest release of the venerable software system, used around the world to access and analyze weather satellite data. The McIDAS Graphical User Interface has been revised, and now provides all the functionality found in the Function Key Menu interface it replaces. Yoksas also mentioned a graphical interface to McIDAS startup that allows users to specify a number of attributes of their sessions. Unidata is funded by the National Science Foundation to enable university researchers and educators to acquire and use atmospheric and related data. SSECs McIDAS is one of two computer packages made available for this purpose.
Honors and Outreach
Limaye, SSEC scientist and director of the Office of Space Science Education,
is among dozens of university employees recognized for speaking for UWMadisons
Speakers Bureau. All 90 were listed in Wisconsin Week, October
10. Many other SSEC employees speak before groups, arranged through SSECs
Public Information Office.