Biospheric Sciences (618) Press Releases & Feature Stories Archive

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NASA Study Finds Reduced African Grassland Fires Contribute to Short-lived Air Quality Improvements

NASA researchers have found a small but unexpected decrease in air pollution over some parts of Africa despite growing use of fossil fuels in many countries due to development and economic growth.

Fires Raged in the Amazon Again in 2020

Large numbers of deforestation-related fires burned in the Amazon rainforest, while uncontrolled wildfires blazed in savanna and grassland ecosystems in central Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

A Watery Day for Lake Lefroy

Spectacular patterns emerged as stormwater pooled on the salt crust of this ephemeral lake in Western Australia.

Trading Surfboards for Snowboards

Three storms in three weeks have left abundant snow atop Hawaii’s tallest volcanic mountains.

Smoking Sugar Fields in South Florida

Seasonal crop fires are a staple of the sugar harvest, but the smoke might have health effects.

NASA Satellites Help Quantify Forests' Impacts on Global Carbon Budget

Using ground, airborne, and satellite data, a diverse team of international researchers – iincluding NASA scientists – ihas created a new method to assess how the changes in forests over the past two decades have impacted carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.

A Harmonious New Dataset

The provisional public release of the Harmonized Landsat Sentinel-2 (HLS) dataset through NASA’s LP DAAC opens new avenues for global terrestrial research.

Heliophysics Hackweek 2020 Coronal Holes Team Publishes Results at NeurIPS 2020

Helio Hackweek 2020 “Coronal Holes” team members and other hackweek participants continued their collaboration and published a paper and poster of their results at the 34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems. “SEARCH: SEgmentation of polAR Coronal Holes,” was published at the Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences Workshop.

2020 Hurricanes Damage Vulnerable Mangroves

Central America experienced one of its most intense hurricane seasons in years, leading to widespread degradation to coastal environments.

Beyond Ice: NASA’s ICESat-2 Shows Hidden Talents

The ICESat-2 laser altimeter data provide height measurements of every 2.3 feet (70 centimeters) along the ground path. The data provide precise measurements of the ice sheet height, ice floes, forest canopies, rivers and lakes and surface topography, and shallow water bathymetry.

NASA Discoveries, R&D, Moon to Mars Exploration Plans Persevere in 2020

???NASA has impressed the nation with our resilience and persistence during the pandemic,??? said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Land Ecosystems Are Becoming Less Efficient at Absorbing CO2

Scientists have identified an unsettling trend — as levels of CO2 in the atmosphere increase, 86 percent of land ecosystems globally are becoming progressively less efficient at absorbing it.

NASA Goddard’s AI Center of Excellence Connects Scientists and Engineers to the Latest Advances in Artificial Intelligence

The mission of the AI Center of Excellence is to enable new AI techniques for scientific discovery, providing scientists within NASA Goddard and their partners beyond NASA with resources for increased collaboration, innovation, and co-learning.

Beyond Ice: NASA's ICESat-2 Shows Hidden Talents

For a satellite with ice in its name, and measuring ice as its mission, NASA's ICESat-2 is also getting a lot of attention from scientists who have warmer subjects in mind.

Counting Trees in Africa’s Drylands

An international team of scientists has used artificial intelligence and commercial satellites to identify an unexpectedly large number of trees spread across arid and semi-arid areas

An Unexpected Expanse of Sand in Alaska

Dune fields of interest to scientists who study the Red Planet stand out in the Kobuk Valley amid a backdrop of green.

NCCS, CISTO, and Partners Present Advances at Virtual AGU Fall Meeting

Researchers from the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), its parent Computational Information & Sciences and Technology Office (CISTO), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and university partner organizations are participating in the Scientific Program at the 2020 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, being held online 1–17 Dec 2020.

Satellite Tree Enumeration Outside of Forests at the 50-Centimeter Scale

Only 50% of the Earth’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation accumulate in our atmosphere; of the other half, 20% is absorbed into the oceans, and 30% goes somewhere on land.

Arctic Animals’ Movement Patterns are Shifting in Different Ways as the Climate Changes

Seasonal cues, such as warmer spring temperatures or cooler temperatures in the fall, tell animals when to migrate, when to mate, and when and where to find food. Predators and prey, birds and mammals alike follow this natural schedule, and an overall shift of just a few days or weeks could have unknown impacts on these animals and ecosystems.

Tree Census from Space: Quantifying Woody Biomass Using Machine Learning

Combining 50-cm scale satellite data with computing resources from the NCCS and NCSA, Goddard’s Compton Tucker and collaborators mapped a surprising 1.8 billion trees across West Africa and determined the area of leaves within the tree crowns, which, with tree height calculations, will allow accurate predictions of carbon in the wood of these trees.

20 Years of Observing Earth from the International Space Station

After 20 years of continuous human presence, the International Space Station (ISS) has provided 241 visitors with an extraordinary view of Earth from outer space — one they have shared with the rest of the world.

NCCS and Partners Highlight Recent Scientific Advancements at Virtual SC20 Conference

The NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center partners will highlight their recent advances during SC20, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis being held virtually November 9–19, 2020.

NASA Research Exhibit to Highlight Science and Engineering Advances at the Virtual SC20 Supercomputing Conference

From assessing COVID-19’s global impacts to helping NASA return humans to the Moon to searching the cosmos for new exoplanets, researchers from across NASA, with university and industry partners, will highlight their latest advances, enabled by the agency’s supercomputers, at SC20—the International Conference for High Performance Computing.

A Closer Look at Fire Types in Bolivia

For the second year in a row, fierce fires have burned throughout Bolivia. They are the product of a prolonged drought, which has supercharged the fires that are lit seasonally by farmers and ranchers to maintain grazing land and to clear forest and woodlands for agricultural production.

East Troublesome Fire Spreads to the Rockies

The blaze grew 140,000 acres in 24 hours to become the second largest fire in Colorado history.
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