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NASA Scientist to present Visualizations of Earth at MUB
DURHAM, N.H. -- Dr. Michael D. King of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center will present animated images of Earth observations from space on Tuesday, September 28 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) Theater II. King, whose presentation is entitled "Visions of our Planet?s Atmosphere, Land & Oceans," has shown these stunning satellite images to audiences, some as large as 13,000, around the world.

Shown in High Definition TV resolution, the NASA "E-Theater" visualizations include tropical cyclone Elene and the resulting flooding of Mozambique, flybys of Cape Town, South Africa with its dramatic mountains and landscape, global fires with a special emphasis on fires in the western US during summer 2001, and much more.

"These are visualizations of the Earth system as seen from space. They show the power of space-based observations to understand our home planet," says King, senior project scientist for NASA's Earth Observing System or EOS.

EOS, which began in 1991 as part of the agency's Earth System Enterprise, was designed to improve the understanding of the Earth as an integrated system through a coordinated series of polar-orbiting and low inclination satellites making long-term, global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans.

E-Theater is a visual presentation of the Earth science data sets derived from these satellites. The visualizations are created using a portable system of computers and projectors, which allow scalable presentations to be viewed on large screens, including IMAX-sized screens.

Spectacular visualizations of the global atmosphere and oceans are shown. Viewers can see when and where carbon is absorbed by vegetation on the land and in the ocean as the product of photosynthesis. There are demonstrations of the 3-D structure of hurricanes and cloud structures and how hurricanes can modify the sea surface temperature in their wake. There are images of dust storms in the Middle East as well as dust transport from northern Africa to South America and the Gulf of Mexico.

Says King, "I often show global distribution of aerosols from Africa that fertilize the Amazon, transport iron nutrients to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Islands, and then in the summer contribute to red tides near the west coast of Florida. I also often show 20 years of Landsat (satellite) data depicting urban growth and expansion in Phoenix, Arizona and deforestation in Bolivia, which shows the time evolution of changes occurring on our planet." King also shows nighttime imagery of Earth.

Dr. King?s presentation is part of the UNH Environmental Science Seminar Series sponsored by the Departments of Earth Sciences and Natural Resources, the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, and NASA. The theme for the seminar series this fall is NASA Earth System Science for the 21st Century. The series is coordinated by UNH professors George Hurtt and Cameron Wake, who are also teaching a new grant-supported, inter-college course entitled "Earth System Science."

"Earth System Science is the study of how the various components of the Earth (e.g., atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and solid Earth) interact to produce the environmental conditions found on the planet. We are exceptionally fortunate to be bringing a series of leading NASA scientists to UNH to showcase the technological capabilities that only NASA can bring to bear on theses issues," says Hurtt.

The seminar series is intended for general audiences. All students, faculty, staff, and the public are invited to attend these free presentations.

David Sims
Science Writer
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
(603) 862-5369