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The NASA GES DISC Top 10 Highlights of 2014

Ten notable achievements in an eventful year for NASA Earth science data center in Greenbelt, Maryland

The NASA GES DISC Top 10 Highlights of 2014

The NASA GES DISC "Top 10" Highlights of 2014. See text for explanation of each image.

The NASA GES DISC Top 10 Highlights of 2014

The NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center has compiled a list of ten noteworthy highlights of their activities during the 2014 calendar year.   The list and brief summaries of the highlights are below, along with a description of the representative image on the "Top 10" image that accompanies this article.  Some images are linked to larger versions. 


* Giovanni-4 development progresses to new milestones, and 2014 has the most Giovanni-related journal publications in a calendar year

* AIRS Version 5 IR-Only Level 2 and Level 3 CO2 data products are released

* OMI releases a new version of the atmospheric formaldehyde data product

* NLDAS releases VIC model data, archived and supported by the GES DISC; NASA-USGS collaboration on NLDAS data results in new data analysis options



CIMEL sun photometer  Giovanni 4.11 release banner

Image: Giovanni 4.11 is the current release version of Giovanni-4. The Giovanni system was used to develop a calibration algorithm for ground-based sun photometers (click for larger picture) for measurements of atmospheric aerosols, as described in Ground-Based Aerosol Optical Depth Measurement Using Sunphotometers, by Dayou, Chang, and Sentian, published in the Springer Briefs in Applied Sciences and Technology series.

The hits keep on coming for Giovanni! Giovanni-4 has added many more types of data and some very important new analytical capabilities. One of these new capabilities allows  the use of shapefiles to be  the designated area for analysis.   Shapefiles, a term from Geographic Information Systems (GIS), can be in the shape of states, countries, watersheds, or  polygons, lines, and even  points, instead of rectilinear areas, as the designated area for analysis. Another capability is the analysis of months or seasons in time-series, e.g., generating a time-series for just the month of August or for the summer season (June-July-August) over a period of several years.

The annual compilation of scientific journal publications of research that used the Giovanni system captured 226 citations in 2014, which was 11 more than that for 2013. These publications indicate the broad usage of the variety of data parameters in Giovanni by the Earth science research community.


AIRS July 2008 global CO2 image

Image: Global image of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) CO2 data for July 2008.  (Click for much larger image.)

Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) Version 5 IR-Only Level 2 (AIRS2STC,AIRS2SPC) and Level 3 CO2 (AIRS3C2D, AIRS2C28, and AIRS3C2M) data products became available from the GES DISC early in 2014.

The release of this satellite data set nearly coincided with some of the first measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentrations in excess of 400 ppm at the Mauna Loa Observatory. AIRS CO2 products will continue to be produced using the Version 5 IR-Only algorithm until the Version 6 CO2 product is produced.


OMI Mission Logo  Model of formaldehyde molecule

Image: The Ozone Measuring Instrument (OMI), on the Aura satellite, is a joint mission of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Insitutute (KNMI) and NASA. The molecular model shown in the composite picture, next to the OMI mission logo, is a formaldehyde molecule. Formaldehyde is produced when methane (CH4) reacts with atmospheric hydroxyl (OH) in the troposphere.


The Ozone Measuring Instrument (OMI) research team released a new, improved version of the formaldehyde (CH2O) data product in 2014. Formaldehyde in Earth’s atmosphere is formed from anthropogenic pollution and biomass burning. The OMI formaldehyde data indicate the sources of the gas and the transport of the gas in the atmosphere. The new formaldehyde data product, Version, significantly improves the data quality over that of Version 2.0.


VIC model curve figure  Rain track of Hurricane Isabel


Image: The Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model is represented by a curve of infiltration capacity as a function of fractional area. The NASA-USGS NLDAS data collaboration improves state-by-state estimates of the impact of storm events, such as the passage of Hurricane Isabel in 2003. The track of Isabel and its precipitation footprint is shown (click for larger image).


The NASA GSFC Hydrological Sciences Laboratory (HSL) and Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) announced the release of the North American Land Data Assimilation System Phase 2 (NLDAS-2) Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) land surface model (LSM) data and their availability from the GES DISC Hydrology Portal. This release included three sets of NLDAS-2 VIC model data: hourly, monthly, and a monthly climatology. The NLDAS-2 monthly VIC model data are generated from the NLDAS-2 hourly VIC model data, as monthly accumulation for rainfall, snowfall, subsurface runoff, surface runoff, total evapotranspiration, and snow melt; and as monthly averages for the other variables. The NLDAS-2 monthly climatology VIC model data are generated from the NLDAS-2 monthly VIC model data, as 30-year (1980 – 2009) monthly averages.


The usefulness of NLDAS and GLDAS data has now been enhanced by a recent collaboration between the NASA GES DISC and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The collaboration makes NLDAS and GLDAS areal statistics data available for download via the USGS Geo Data Portal (GDP). Users can access and acquire the data from GDP for specific geographical areas, such as states or countries, or they can input their own area of interest as a “shapefile” and acquire the data for just that specific area. This enhancement makes the data more compatible with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and more easily incorporated into GIS analyses.


SORCE Mission Banner

Image: SORCE Mission Banner (click for larger version). 

The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) Science Team, located at the University of Colorado - Boulder, released Version 16 of the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) products. The two products, available to the public from the NASA GES DISC, are SOR3TSID, the SORCE Level 3 Total Solar Irradiance Daily Means, and SOR3TSI6, the SORCE Level 3 Total Solar Irradiance 6-Hour Means.


OCO-2 Mission Logo

Image: OCO-2 mission logo (click for larger version).

Calibrated spectral radiances in the near-infrared O2 and CO2 absorption bands, intended for retrievals of atmospheric column CO2 concentrations, at the highest spatial resolution ever acquired by a satellite instrument, are now available to the public from the NASA GES DISC. The data are provided to the GES DISC for archive and distribution by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission. OCO-2 mission operations and data processing take place at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.


Color drawing of Nimbus satellite

Image: Color drawing of a Nimbus satellite (click for larger version).

The NASA GES DISC has recovered and made public two data products from the Nimbus-6 mission (launched June 12, 1975): (1) Nimbus-6 High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) Level 1 Calibrated Radiances and (2) Nimbus-6 Scanning Microwave Spectrometer (SCAMS) Level 2 Water Vapor and Temperature. These data were originally archived on 9-track magnetic tapes stored at the Washington National Records Center. These data were then transferred to magnetic hard disks, from which the original data files were extracted for the current data product release. Nimbus-6 HIRS data were part of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP).


Logo for 2nd Gregory G. Leptoukh Online Giovanni Workshop

Image: 2nd Gregory G. Leptoukh Online Giovanni Workshop logo (click for larger version).

In November 2014, the GES DISC was the host of the 2nd Gregory G. Leptoukh Online Giovanni Workshop. Over the course of the workshop’s four days, participants heard an update on the status of Giovanni and a report on Giovanni-4 development from lead software engineer Chris Lynnes. Ten live presentations were given in the Adobe Connect environment, moderated by NASA EOSDIS User Support and Communications Lead Jennifer Brennan. The presentations were also recorded (available from the NASA Earthdata YouTube account, 2nd Gregory G. Leptoukh Online Giovanni Workshop). On the workshop’s final day, 12 posters were provided for viewing and interactive feedback, during the “Global Poster Session.” All of the research described in the live presentations and the posters utilized the Giovanni system as part of the data analyses.


AIRS global CO, January 20-24, 2011 (V6)


Image: AIRS global carbon monoxide (CO) concentration data, for the period January 20-24, 2011.  The color scale is shownon the composite image. (Click to view larger version.)

Reprocessing of the most recent version of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) data set, Version 6, was completed in 2014 by the ongoing efforts of the GES DISC and the AIRS Science Team.  The monthly and daily reprocessed Version 6 data were made available in Giovanni-4. More information on AIRS Version 6 can be found on the Documentation page,


GPM "Get Data" Logo

Image: “Get Data” logo of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The shape of the logo is the approximate cross-section of the shape of a raindrop as it falls through the atmosphere.


The GES DISC, in coordination with the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission and the Precipitation Processing System (PPS), is pleased to announce the availability of the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Level-1 orbital GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and Partner Radiometer data from the GES DISC archive. Launched on February 27, 2014, GPM is an international network of satellites that provide next-generation global observations of rain and snow. The Level 1 orbital data consist of products from GMI and partner radiometers: Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Microwave Imager (TMI); Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS); Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS); Sondeur Atmosphérique du Profil d'Humidité Intertropicale par Radiométrie (SAPHIR); Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2); and Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSMI) series. The GPM GMI is used as the reference standard to ensure consistency among global precipitation retrieval and climate studies.


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Last updated: Jan 23, 2015 02:35 PM ET