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For Release: April 3, 1997

Catherine E. Watson
(757) 864-6122

Release No. 97-022

Fire and Global Change:  A Hot New Environmental Issue

     The burning of the world’s forests and grasslands contributes to deforestation, the extinction of species, acid rain and global warming. On Tuesday, April 8, at 2 p.m. at the NASA Langley H.J.E. Reid Conference Center, Dr. Joel Levine will discuss the environmental importance of understanding the effects of global biomass burning.

     A media briefing with Levine will take place at 1:00 p.m. in the Reid Center. Levine will repeat his biomass burning lecture at 7:30 p.m. that evening at the Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC), Hampton.

     According to Levine, a senior research scientist at NASA Langley, global burning is overwhelmingly human-initiated and has increased significantly over the last few decades. Recent satellite measurements performed at NASA Langley and elsewhere indicate that global burning is much more widespread and extensive than previously believed.

     Scientists at NASA Langley have been at the forefront of research on global burning, using satellites to assess the extent of the burning, and sampling and analyzing the gases and particulates produced by biomass burning in a variety of diverse ecosystems.

     Levine has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and a master’s and doctorate in aeronomy and planetary atmospheres from the University of Michigan. Levine serves as the principal investigator on global burning investigations supported by both NASA and the Global Change Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Levine has authored or co-authored more than 125 scientific papers and edited four books on global change, atmospheric chemistry and global burning. He is an adjunct professor of applied science and physics at the College of William and Mary.

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