Sciences and Exploration Directorate (600) Highlights

Science Highlights


Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Highlights

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  • – Extremely Warm 2015-16 Winter Cyclone Weakened Arctic Sea Ice Pack
  • – Rise in reindeer deaths in the Arctic linked with loss of sea ice and associated extreme weather
  • – Multi-decadal variability in tropical Pacific basin-wide chlorophyll from a statistical reconstruction
  • – Uncooled Doped-Si Thermopile Detectors for a New Generation of Thermal Land Imaging Instruments
  • – Assessment of SMAP Passive and Passive-Enhanced Soil Moisture Data
  • – Large and Persistent Reduction in Amazon Forest Carbon Stocks from Fire & Logging
  • – New measurements of mass and steric changes in large inland seas
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Press Releases & Feature Stories

NASA, NOAA Data Show 2016 Warmest Year on Record Globally

Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Where Are Arctic Soils Defrosting?

Like a giant ice cream cake left outside on a hot summer day, the Arctic is melting.

Norman Kuring - Making the Unseen Ocean Visible

Kuring advises: “We live on a remarkably beautiful planet. We need to take care of her. Appreciate nature, go outside and explore.”
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From physics to the science of weather and climate: The fun and excitement of scaling the boundaries across disciplines [11/03/2016]

NOAA Climate Scientist Venkatachalam Ramaswamy presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "From physics to the science of weather and climate: The fun and excitement of scaling the boundaries across disciplines." Ramaswamy is convinced that he really did not have a definitive dream when he was growing up in India, with perhaps only the vaguest notion of being a scientific researcher. Now, it feels different for him. He reflected on the journey it has been through the academic and professional career – an adventure that has comprised crossing disciplinary perimeters involving multiple types of scaling. As he has wandered into the disciplines of climate and weather, the challenges encountered have been revelations in the interface between science and society.

Presented by: Dr. Venkatachalam Ramaswamy

An Uncharted Journey: How I Became an Atmospheric Scientist Rather than a Cowboy or a Farmer [11/16/2016]

NASA climate scientist Dr. Michael Kurylo presented a Maniac lecture entitled, "An Uncharted Journey: How I Became an Atmospheric Scientist Rather than a Cowboy or a Farmer." Mike described the path that took him from post-WW II housing projects to and through a rural Connecticut neighborhood, how he became convinced about the unrealistic nature of some early naive career dreams, and how he eventually arrived at a career in atmospheric science (research and program management, and their interface with international environmental policy).

Presented by: Dr. Michael Kurylo

What's Eating Ozone? - The Solar System's Missing Ozone (O3) Ice [10/21/2016]

A presentation by Mark Loeffler about the missing frozen ozone of the outer Solar System. Given at the 2016 AAS-DPS meeting.
Download DPS_Loeffler_O3_2016.pdf
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Photo of AfriSAR team members Sassan Saatchi and Laura Duncanson taking measurements of trees in the rainforest in the Mondah National Park, Gabon, Africa

Images of AfriSAR

AfriSAR: NASA Science mission measures changes in the Gabon environment
Download Xpress_AfriSAR
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Local News

Kirschbaum and Roman Named as Presidential Early Career Award Recipients

Dalia KirschbaumMiguel Roman
Dalia Kirschbaum and Miguel Roman of the Earth Sciences Division have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Kirschbaum and Roman, along with 100 other researchers, were named by President Barack Obama for this award, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

The awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

Piers Sellers: A Legacy of Science

Piers Sellers, who passed away on Dec. 23 more than a year after learning he had pancreatic cancer, leaves behind a dynamic legacy at NASA.

As an astronaut he helped build the International Space Station. As a manager he helped lead hundreds of scientists. And as a public figure he was an inspiration to many for his optimistic take on humanity's ability to confront Earth's changing climate.

But his most lasting contributions will be in the field where he began his career: science.

photo of  Piers Sellers

Four GSFC scientists were named AGU fellows

Paul MahaffyClaire ParkinsonBrent HolbenNat Gopalswamy
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) today announced its 2016 Fellows, an honor given to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and gained prominence in their respective fields of Earth and space sciences. Since the AGU Fellows program was established in 1962, and according to the organization’s bylaws, no more than 0.01 percent of the total membership of AGU is recognized annually. This year’s class of Fellows are geographically diverse coming from 18 states and eight countries and includes Goddard scientists Paul Mahaffy, Claire Parkinson, Brent Holben, and Nat Gopalswamy.
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Colorful and Plankton-Full Patagonian Waters

Late spring and summer weather brings blooms of color to the Atlantic Ocean off of South America, at least from a satellite view.

Retreat of the Columbia Glacier

Scientists have long studied Alaska's fast-moving Columbia Glacier, a tidewater glacier descending through the Chugach Mountains into Prince William Sound. Yet the river of ice continues to surprise.

Ocean Data Shows 'Climate Dance' of Plankton

The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the growth cycles of phytoplankton.
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NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration