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March 20, 2003


March 20, 2003

Release: 03-16

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Students in classrooms around the world are invited to explore the frozen landscapes of the Colorado Mountains in two live webcasts on March 25 and 27 with scientists from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), other federal agencies and universities investigating the role of snow-cover on the Earth's weather and climate. The team is studying the snowpack of the Colorado Rockies from the ground, air and space this winter and spring to improve forecasts of springtime water supply and snowmelt floods.

The 2003 NASA-NOAA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX) began in February and runs through March 31. It is being conducted in the central Rocky Mountains of the western United States, because of the wide array of terrain, snow, soil and ecological characteristics.

Through the webcasts, students will become virtual participants in performing activities for the Aqua satellite and collecting snowpack data for CLPX. CLPX uses ground, airborne and satellite remote sensing measurements.

Viewers will discover how scientists verify data collected from airplanes, and from satellites located 438 miles above the Earth, when NASA holds live webcasts on March 25 and 27. On March 25 at 10 a.m. PST, Aqua Project Scientist Dr. Claire Parkinson investigates a U.S. sampling of the worldwide activities that are being conducted by the Aqua satellite instrument science teams. Places of focus include Hawaii, Virginia, Alaska, Florida and Colorado.

On March 27 at 10 a.m. PST, students can vicariously venture into the field with investigators from the CLPX team to discover how satellite, aircraft and on-site measurements are combined to study surface hydrology in the western United States.

Both webcasts will feature NASA's Aqua satellite data, live two-way communication with the flight crew of the NASA DC-8 research airplane flying overhead, and live chat sessions with researchers who will answer questions e-mailed to them during the session. Access to the webcasts is at http://spioffice.gsfc.nasa.gov, by clicking on RESOkit.

The primary audience for the interactive webcasts is the secondary school (grades five -12) science classroom. Each webcast lasts 60-75 minutes and is then web-archived and video-indexed for long-term access. With content aligned to National Science Education Standards, classrooms will be provided with unique and compelling experiences and resources with long-term applicability and availability for enhancing current curriculum. Video vignettes, satellite imagery, data charts and graphs, photos and video-interviews are all a part of the webcast content and highlight the importance of snow cover, snow water content and hydrologic study in cold regions.

Jointly sponsored by NASA and NOAA, CLPX is a research mission concerned with frozen landscapes, where water is frozen either seasonally or permanently. Dozens of scientists are using skis, snowmobiles, and aircraft to survey and sample snow during the field experiment. They are also using microwave measurements from satellites and aircraft to measure characteristics and the freeze/thaw state of the land surface and snowpack.

Data gathered on the ground and from the aircraft will then be compared to that obtained by the satellites to determine the accuracy of the satellite data. Researchers hope someday to be able to measure snow and ground characteristics from space anywhere in the world without a ground team, particularly in inaccessible areas. Ground teams, however, play a crucial part in ensuring the instruments are reading correctly.

CLPX is sponsored by NASA's Terrestrial Hydrology Program and the Earth Observing System Program, and by NOAA's Office of Global Programs to address broad interagency objectives in hydrology, water resources, ecology and atmospheric sciences. NASA's Earth Science Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System Science to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.

CLPX Live Webcasts March 25 and 27 at 10 a.m., PT: http://spioffice.gsfc.nasa.gov

Internet links with more information, photographs and images are posted at: ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/note2edt/2003/colandlinks.txt http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2003/0215clpx03.html

CLPX Homepage: http://www.nohrsc.nws.gov/~cline/clp.html

NASA Land Surface Hydrology Program: http://lshp.gsfc.nasa.gov/aboutls.html

NOAA Homepage: http://www.noaa.gov

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center: http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil

NASA AIRSAR Homepage: http://airsar.jpl.nasa.gov

NASA's DC-8: /centers/dfrc/Research


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Page Last Updated: December 31st, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator