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Applying Earth Science Data Regionally

by Terri Gregory, SSEC Public Information Specialist
January 1999

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the News...

From the Web

In Print

Coming Up

In the News As noted in The Earth Observer, September/October 1998, NASA’s Office of Earth Science has formed seven Regional Earth Science Applications Centers. The program uses data from the Earth Observing System to “help resolve issues with regional economic and policy significance and to support regional assessments supporting the U.S. Global Change Research Program.” NASA is investing about $14 million (total) in 1999 for the seven new centers. The Midwest Center for Natural Resource Management, led by SSEC scientist George Diak, is one of the seven. It will be combined with the Upper Great Lakes RESAC, based at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, but both consortia will operate independently.

UW–Madison’s news release notes that “the UW-Madison component of the new consortium is a combined effort of the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) and the Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Soil Science and Forest Ecology and Management. … [It] will focus on the development of new tools—computer models and new remote sensing and meteorological technologies—to aid management decisions made by agricultural and natural resource managers. UM–Twin Cities scientists will concentrate on monitoring natural resource bases themselves.” The Wisconsin consortium includes Champion International Corp., Case Corp. of Racine, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.

Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Steven Shadley interviewed George Diak for the Wisconsin portion of NPR’s “Morning Edition.” WORT-FM’s Lisa Nunez also reported on the center for “In Our Backyard,” a program of local news running between 6:30 and 7 p.m. evenings. The pieces ran over the holidays.

For more information, follow the links below.

From the Web

For More Information

Elizabeth’s Home Page

The SSEC Visualization Project

Bill Hibbard of SSEC’s Scientific Visualization Project reported an unusual use of one of his articles. Elzbieta Dworakowska, who teaches English at Finland’s University of Kuopio, used it as a reading exercise. The article was gone in late December; it had been found under Reading Exercises under English for Computer Science. If you choose to visit the site anyway, you’ll find a set of comprehension tests, including a collection of trivia quizzes. Click on “Reading Comprehension (Not for beginners)” in the left frame and scroll down a couple times.

You can still read Bill’s article, which originally appeared in the August 1998 issue of Computer Graphics. It is available as a postscript file on The SSEC Visualization Project web page under Publications as “VisAD: connecting people to computations and people to people.”

Teaching with Technology Today

AOS 100

Teaching with Technology Today, a UW–System online newsletter, features an article by Steve Ackerman (CIMSS scientist and professor in AOS) in its December 10 issue. The article describes Steve’s introductory atmospheric science course, Interactive Learning on the Web: AOS 101. By using exercises and demonstrations, the course provides a true alternative to the lecture format, which, Steve said, “can discourage students from pursuing a science career.”

In Print

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Holiday Shopping

AERI Home Page

Terry Devitt, science editor at UW–Madison’s Office of News and Public Affairs, chose SSEC’s Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer for a list of holiday gifts available on campus. Terry noted that the AERI is in the Nieman Marcus category, available for research purposes at about $250,000. A scientist to interpret the data costs extra. The article appeared on line in the Wisconsin Week Wire and in print in Wisconsin Week for December 9.
Jet Stream

The Digital Cardinal

Badger Herald

The campus newspapers covered Madison’s unseasonably warm weather in early December, interviewing people from SSEC and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. In the Badger Herald on December 4, Francis Bretherton, SSEC’s director, noted that the weather is “not all that unusual.” Francis said, “The weather we’re seeing is towards one extreme, but it’s not abnormal.” He blamed it on the jet stream. In the Daily Cardinal for the December 4–6 weekend, SSEC scientist Sanjay Limaye reminded readers that the “last time this type of weather occurred was about 20 years ago. … Historically speaking, it is not so odd.” Sanjay also blamed the unseasonably if not abnormally warm weather on the jet stream, and decried the lack of forecasting techniques to track its vagaries. Jon Martin, AOS professor, attempted to explain the jet stream, saying, “Because the jet streams are in a much higher latitude, there is this natural variability of climate. The jet streams have been bordering the United States and Canada when, usually, they would be in the central United States.” Reading this in early January, you know that the jet stream has made its “systematic progression southward,” just like clockwork, if a little slow.

The SSEC Visualization Project is listed with more than 100 other “industry leaders” in a full-page ad supporting Java technology. The Sun Microsystems ad ran in the New York Times for December 9.
Neptune Images

Larry Sromovsky’s Neptune images were reproduced in a Japanese newspaper. Images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in both 1996 and 1998 were compared. A translator found no publication date or name on the article.
SSEC ADR Home Page

Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerator

PSL Engineering and Instrumentation

The Physical Sciences Laboratory’s Observer for Fall 1998 covered the Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerator, a project developed and coordinated at SSEC. The article primarily takes information from the site maintained by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Also, it noted that the project is “shared” between PSL and SSEC.

Coming up

For More Information

NASA's Space Place

Listen to WORT Radio’s Science News on Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. for a segment on EarthKam. Sanjay Limaye and Rose Pertzborn are coordinating EarthKam activities in Madison’s Spring Harbor Middle School during a forthcoming Space Shuttle mission, probably in January. Peter Jung produces Science News on WORT at 89.9 FM.

American Meteorological Society

Look for “McIDAS: 25 years of Interactive Processing” in the January or February 1999 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The article covers McIDAS history from its beginnings in the 1970s. It was written by Matthew Lazzara, John Benson, Bob Fox, Denise Laitsch, Joe Rueden, Dave Santek, Dee Wade, Tom Whittaker and J.T. Young, with contributions by many others.
Discovery Channel Online

Watch Discovery Online News for SSEC’s GOES images. Producer David Moran has expressed strong interest in using them and other material from our Web pages on an occasional basis.
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.