Innovative Applications of Earth Observations: NASA DEVELOP Summer 2015 Virtual Poster SessionThe latest installment of the DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session series features 38 projects that apply the lens of NASA Earth observations to community concerns around the globe. Read More +
Weather, Risk, and Searching for Normal in a Rapidly Changing WorldHow will we adapt to climate change and increasingly severe storms if humans aren’t very good at interpreting risk? Read More +
Ocean Acidification, Global Warming’s ‘Evil Twin’Richard Feely, senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle, Washington, charts how humans are altering the fundamental chemistry of the ocean. Read More +
The Ethics of Traditional Knowledge Exchange in Climate Change Initiatives
An essay exploring the ethical philosophy behind Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives.
This article is a part of Earthzine's Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Change Theme. For more articles in this category, click here
IntroductionClimate scientists, policymakers and the growing community of citizens engaged in observing global change are increasingly turning to traditional knowledges of indigenous peoples to improve understanding of and strategies for adaptation and mitigation. Indigenous peoples are also recognizing the value of methods and information from western climate science, such as models, risk and vulnerability assessments and monitoring strategies. Unfortunately, policymakers who design and implement climate change initiatives frequently overlook indigenous peoples. While they call for access to traditional knowledge to help inform choices for preparation, adaptation or mitigation in response to climate change, they have little awareness of real risks of harm when indigenous peoples share their traditional knowledges. Currently, there are few protections to… Read More +
Remote Drought Monitoring in the Navajo Nation: Utilizing NASA Earth Observation Data
Drought monitoring is essential in the management of water resources, especially in underserved and arid areas such as the Navajo Nation. The DEVELOP team at the NASA Ames Research Center examined methods for calculating Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) values in the Nation using NASA Earth observation data in ArcGIS.
The Navajo NationThe Navajo Nation, located within the southwestern United States, is the largest Native American territory in the country in terms of land area and population (US Census 2010). Sitting atop the Colorado Plateau, the Nation is classified as arid to semi-arid, and contains a mix of topography, including high deserts and alpine forests. Historically, precipitation trends in the Navajo Nation exhibit two rainy seasons a year: one in the winter and one in the summer. The two rainy seasons are distinctly different in precipitation regimes and distributions. Winter brings even and low-intensity precipitation over large areas, whereas summer brings intense, often-localized precipitation over small areas (Crimmins 2013). The periodic oscillations between… Read More +
The Mercurial World of Weather: Comparing the UK’s Met Office in FitzRoy’s Time and Today
Robert FitzRoy created the weather forecast and established a field of study no less relevant today than that popularized by his more famous associate, Charles Darwin.After working for years to protect the lives of others, Robert FitzRoy’s ended his own life 150 years ago. He was troubled by recurrent depression and by the critical public reception of his new innovation: the weather forecast. Today, this vice admiral, former governor of New Zealand, and founder of a still-vital institution, is perhaps most often remembered in the context of his first command: the HMS Beagle. The Beagle surveyed the coasts of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and the Straits of Magellan during the 1830s. The expedition later became famous for carrying Charles Darwin to the Galapagos Islands, where finches provided the inspiration for his theory of evolution. Consequently, in the annals of scientific history, FitzRoy is frequently relegated to a sidekick role, mentioned briefly as Darwin’s companion and captain or maybe in reference to his rejection of his friend’s evolutionary theory upon its publication. Yet FitzRoy was a man… Read More +
Book Review: Elizabeth Kolbert’s ’The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History’
“The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” is a book about extinction and the impact of humanity on a living planet. This article is a part of this month's mini-theme, Extinction. For more articles in this theme, click here.Over the past 500 million years, dramatic and catastrophic worldwide changes have completely reshaped the order of life. Five major episodes of mass extinction are known to have taken place. The most recent and most familiar of these events occurred 66 million years ago, spelling the demise of the dinosaurs, among others. Scientists today conclude that we have entered a sixth mass extinction period, with humans as the driving factor. Elizabeth Kolbert places this sixth extinction in the context of life’s history, as we know it, which… Read More +
Montana’s Sunburst Sensors Wins Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE Tackling Ocean Acidification
A small team of scientists and engineers from Missoula, Montana, were awarded $1.5 million for breakthrough ocean pH sensors.What’s better motivation than a big prize? That’s the thinking of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a global competition that offered $2 million to teams of scientists and engineers to create innovative, affordable, and accurate technology to improve our understanding of a serious ecological problem: the changing chemistry of the ocean. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, surface ocean water has become approximately 30 percent more acidic. Ocean acidification (a recent Earthzine theme) is occurring because high amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are being absorbed by seawater, forming carbonic acid. This is a big problem for shellfish, corals, other calcifying organisms, and humans. The Ocean Health XPRIZE, seeking to catalyze the invention of better pH sensors to study ocean acidification, kicked off in September 2013. After 22 months of development and multiple phases of rigorous testing, from the lab to the deep sea, winners of the… Read More +