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Forecasts—for Balloons, Agriculture, Meteorites and Fires

by Terri Gregory, SSEC Public Information Specialist
December 1998

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In the News Rhett Graumann, an AOS graduate student working with CIMSS, will help forecast weather for a solo hot-air balloon attempt by Kevin Uliassi. Kevin’s balloon, the J. Renee, will be launched from the bottom of Nimtz Quarry in Loves Park, Ilinois, north of Rockford. The launch will take place as soon as the weather’s right, expected in late November or early December. Rhett will go to Rockford two days before the decided upon launch date.

The City of Loves Park is setting up a large viewing area for spectators at the rim of the quarry, where one can see the entire launch site some 340 feet below. Launch coordinators suggest, “Bring your binoculars, blankets, folding chairs, and flashlights.” The Illinois Institute of Technology is supporting the launch. It is hoped that CNN will follow the trip around the world.

In Print

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Space News, November 2-8, announced NASA’s new earth science regional centers. The nine centers are based throughout the United States and operate as consortia of universities, governmental agencies, and industry, including agriculture. NASA created the centers to address regional issues with environmental data, particularly that collected with the Earth Observing System, to be launched in the next few years. George Diak coordinates the Midwest Center for Natural Resource at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This center’s members are: at the UW-Madison, the Space Science and Engineering Center, the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, the Department of Soil Science, the Climate, People and Environment Program in the Institute for Environmental Studies; UW-Extension’s Agricultural Climatology program; Champion International Corporation; Case Corporation, Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Forest Service. According to coordinator George Diak, senior scientist at UW-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center, the center aims to meet two goals: “We want to have a significant positive impact on the economy of the Upper Midwest by applying modern models and measurement tools to current problems, and we want to create process models that allow us to better understand the potential impacts of various management practices, global change components and their interaction on the sustainability of natural and managed ecosystems in the Upper Midwest.”

150 Years


Professor Suomi’s pioneering satellite work appeared in a Sesquicentennial Snapshot in Wisconsin Week and Wisconsin Week Wire for November 18, complete with photo. In that same issue of Wisconsin Week Wire, Larry Sromovsky appears twice in Newsmakers, with information from previous In the News columns, giving us the opportunity for some tautological reporting.
Research Systems

MODIS Airborne Simulator

MAS image in SHARP Viewer

Space News for November 9-15 used a color screenshot produced by Liam Gumley from MODIS Airborne Simulator imagery. Research Systems, the makers of Interactive Data Language (IDL), used the image in a press release announcing a new version of IDL. Liam said, “The latest release has some new features that are targeted at users of NASA EOS datasets.”

An image of Neptune captured by Larry Sromovsky with the Hubble Space Telescope was reproduced in the October 1998 newsletter of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

John Fauber, science reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reported on November 15 on possible effects of the Leonid meteorite shower on satellites. Among those he interviewed, Sanjay Limaye said, “if they impact with a spacecraft, they can do plenty of damage.” Despite considerable concern in the satellite community, very little actual damage occurred.

From the Web

Remote Imaging Group

SSEC home page

Matthew Lazzara notified newsgroups everywhere that the Space Shuttle Discovery launch was immortalized in satellite imagery on the SSEC home page. Kevin Chown of Remote Imaging Group, a nonprofit organization in the UK, will reproduce the images in the December issue of the group's quarterly journal.
Lunar Software

Satellite Composite Images

Lunar Software of Portland, Oregon will use SSEC’s global montage in a shareware program. Planet Earth, according to developer Matt Giger, “displays a realtime 3-dimensional model of the Earth with the current cloud information downloaded directly over the internet. Night and day shadows are updated continuously and you can rotate it to view any spot on the Earth.” You need a Macintosh to use the program.


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Fire Monitoring with GOES Imagery

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has honored Elaine Prins for contributing to public awareness of fire outbreaks in the western hemisphere. NOAA’s Administrators award honors Elaine for her research centered on monitoring fires using geostationary satellite data. The citation notes that she helped develop the Automated Biomass Burning Agorithm which corrects for atmospheric conditions and indicates locations and approximate sizes of fires. Her work began monitoring fires in and around the Amazon rain forest, but she and her group provide support for North America as well. During the July fire outbreaks in Florida, she provided daily GOES-8 fire products and interpreted fire events.

The Administrators Award to Elaine “recognizes her valuable contributions to NOAA’s strategic efforts to improve short term warnings and to assess decadal to centennial change.” The award is given annually to recognize employees who have made significant contributions to NOAA.

Direct comments, questions, and information about other SSEC media appearances to SSEC's Public Information Officer. For information about past media appearances, visit the SSEC In the News page.