Goddard Applied Sciences Seminar Series

Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals

Jan. 22nd, 12pm, H114

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a universal development agenda for all countries and stakeholders to use as a blueprint of action for people, the planet and prosperity. The agenda is anchored by seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), associated Targets, and a global Indicator framework. Collectively, these elements enable countries and the global community to measure, manage and monitor progress on economic, social and environmental sustainability. The 2030 Agenda specifically demands new data acquisition and integration approaches to improve the quality, coverage and availability of data to support the implementation of the SDGs at all levels. Earth observations and geospatial information, combined with statistics and demographic data, can play insightful roles in monitoring targets and indicators, tracking progress, and supporting informed decision-making toward achieving the SDGs. This seminar will provide: an introduction to the 2030 Agenda and implementation efforts to date, highlighting areas of progress and areas where more action needs to take place to ensure no one is left behind while achieving the SDGs; a summary of our efforts to support the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) in unlocking the potential of Earth observations to contribute toward the implementation of the SDGs; an overview of our work to engage at national level with statistical offices and other key stakeholders to integrate Earth observations and numerical data to support U.S. planning, tracking, and reporting on the Goals; as well as lessons learned and opportunities for engagement.

Mr. Lawrence Friedl, Director of the NASA Applied Sciences Program, and Dr. Argyro Kavvada, Executive Secretary for Earth Observations in Service of the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG)

Water, People and Policy in the Nile River Basin: The Role of Earth Observations

Feb. 26th, 3pm, H114

The two headwaters regions of the Nile River - the western Ethiopian Highlands and the Equatorial Lakes of East Africa - lie at the intersection of powerful and competing atmospheric circulations. The regions are climatically distinct from each other and might be viewed as as unreleated were it not for the fact that they collectively provide virtually all of the water that flows through the main stern Nile. This transboundary connectivity has made the basin prone to significant hydro-political tensions that are fed by both climate variability and unilateral development of hydrological resources. Prof. Zaitchik will provide an overview of the drivers of climatic and hydrologic variability affecting the Nile basin, and will introduce several ongoing studies that apply Earth Observations in concert with systems and policy analysis to inform climate resilience strategies applied at local, national and basin scales.

Prof. Ben Zaitchik, Johns Hopkins University

From Pixels to Answers: Machine learning analysis of space-based imagery to forecast planet-scale systems

Mar. 19th, 12pm, H114

Decades of Earth observation missions have accumulated petabytes (8x10^15 bits) of science-grade imagery, which are now available in the commercial cloud. These cloud platforms enable far more than just efficient storage and dissemination - adjacent massive computing resources constitute on-demand super-computing at a scale that was previously only available to national laboratories, in principle enabling automated real-time joint analysis of all this multi-constellation imagery. The remaining barriers are the need for remote sensing science and machine learning algorithms and software that can exploit this data-rich environment, and ground data to train and validate models. While good sources of ground data remain elusive, recent advances in deep learning algorithms and scientific software tools have reached a critical threshold of new capability: we can now combine all the available satellite imagery into a living atlas of the world, and use that atlas to build a forecasting platform for planet-scale systems.

Dr. Steven Brumby, Co-Founder and Chief Science Advisor, Descartes Labs, Inc.

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Goddard Applied Sciences brings together Goddard's vast Earth Science resources for societal benefit. Goddard Applied Sciences coordinates projects funded by a variety of NASA programs and missions, connects NASA researchers with end users, supports interagency activities, and develops external partnerships. Activities span the range of the Earth Sciences; current working groups include air quality, climate, water and natural disaster-related applications.

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Margaret Hurwitz
Deputy Applied Sciences Manager

Christa Peters-Lidard
Acting Applied Sciences Manager & Deputy Director for Hydrosphere, Biosphere and Geophysics

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