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Earth Science Highlights

Behold one of the more stunningly detailed images of the Earth yet created. This Blue Marble Earth montage, created from photographs taken by the VIIRS instrument on board the Suomi NPP satellite, shows many stunning details of our home planet.

June 2023

June 6th

  • On Wednesday, May 31, 2023 NASA Ames hosted British MP Chinyelu Onwurah on a tour that included a presentation and discussion session with the Earth Science Division, focused on the breadth of current research and the possibilities for future collaboration.
  • The Science Activation program OCEANOS (Ocean Community Engagement and Awareness using NASA Earth Observations and Science for Hispanic/Latino Students, PI Juan Torres-Perez) Summer Internship started on June 5, 2023 at the Interamerican University Metropolitan Campus in San Juan, PR.

May 2023

May 31st

  • Thaopaul Van Bui (aka Paul Bui) retired today, May 31, 2023, with 39 years, 2 months of service.

May 23th

  • NASA Honor Awards – the ceremony was held in person at Ames on Wednesday 17 May 2022. Overall, division staff received 7 individual awards and 4 group awards.
  • Chris Potter, Senior Research Scientist, Biospheric Sciences Branch, hosted the Ecosystemic Futures Podcast, Episode 11, on “Platforms to Power A Circular Economy”.
  • On May 19, 2023 the Atmospheric Science branch of Earth Science at Ames hosted UC Berkeley graduate students from the Department of Chemistry and of Earth and Planetary Science in a continuation of the budding partnership between the center and the university.
  • OCEANOS (Ocean Community Engagement and Awareness using NASA Earth Observations and Science for Hispanic/Latino Students) under Ames PI Juan Torres-Perez was very visible at the Citizen Science Association (C*Sci) conference in Tempe, Arizona from May 22-26, 2023, including panel discussions.

May 16th

  • Forrest Melton starts as a new Civil Servant at Ames. His hiring reflects the ongoing importance of – and NASA’s commitment to – Earth remote sensing applications, especially on water resources, drought, and water management: a core capability in the Applied Science program at Ames.
  • The Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment. S-MODE  (an EVS-3 investigation managed by ESPO) was featured on NBC’s Today Show on May 10.

May 9th

  • S-Mode is an EVS-3 investigation managed by ESPO. S-Mode has concluded the deployment phase of the investigation by completing its final Intensive Operations Period (IOP-2). By all accounts, it was a tremendous success. The S-MODE investigation has operated at NASA ARC for its last three deployments. S-MODE deployed various observation platforms (AFRC B200, LaRC G-III, TOIL Twin Otter DHC-6, R/V Sally Ride, SIO/WHOI Wave Gliders, UW Seagliders, and UW Lagrangian Floats), which collected collocated ocean physics and biology data over the entire month of April. 240 hours of airborne remote sensing data were collected across 41 science flights during the IOP-2.  
  • Florian Schwandner visited the Hellenic Space Center (HSC), the national space agency of Greece, upon invitation to discuss possible collaboration opportunities in Earth Observation, especially on droughts and wildfires, pending execution of a draft MOU currently in review at NASA. Schwandner was invited and hosted by the president of the HSC, Dr. Ioannis A. Daglis. Greece is an emerging space nation, and the Hellenic Space Center was instituted as a government agency under the Ministry of Digital Governance in 2019. Meetings were held with Dr Daglis, with the HSC CEO Dr. Nick Sergis, as well as with science and engineering personnel, led by Dr. Anezina Solomonidou and Dr. Dimitris Bliziotis. Conversation revolved around the exploration of mutual interests on topics of great interest to Ames Research Center such as smallsat swarm Earth Observation for land use change, droughts and disasters (especially wildfires), as well as Open Science, the Artemis Accords, TIR imaging, Science Data Processing pipelines, high-altitude-long-endurance drone platforms, and optical communications. Deputy Administrator Col. Pam Melroy has requested a post-trip debrief.

May 2nd

  • Florian Schwandner is visiting the Hellenic Space Center (HSC), the National Space Agency of Greece, upon invitation by its director Dr. Ioannis Daglis. The purpose of this second visit is to further explore potential collaborations on Earth observation and disasters, including wildfires. The HSC is an emerging Space Nation and is seeking closer ties with NASA. In July 2022, then AA SMD Thomas Zurbuchen visited the HSC, which led to a draft MOU, pending review in SMD. DA Col. Pam Melroy requested a debrief after this visit.
  • NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) PI Ian Brosnan briefed representatives from Canada’s National Research Council on climate change activities at Ames on 27 April 2023.

April 2023

April 25th

April 19th

  • S-MODE: The Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE), EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. The second S-MODE Intensive Operating Period (IOP-2) is in full swing! PRISM flew its first flight of this campaign on April 11th, out of Ames on the LaRC G III.
  • This week, the Ames Earth Science Division is hosting the biannual TFRSAC meeting (Tactical Fire Remote Sensing Advisory Committee). TFRSAC is co-organized by Ames Earth Science and the US Forest Service. The event brings together over 100 in-person and over 250 virtual attendees, representing stakeholders from federal, state, tribal, and international agencies, as well as numerous other industry partners. After going virtual at the beginning of the pandemic, this will be the first time TFRSAC will be held in person again.

April 11th

  • The NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) hosted senior leaders from NOAA NESDIS, including the Director of the Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), to discuss aligned research and development interests in climate resilience, Earth observations from geostationary satellites, and hybrid computing infrastructure.
  • Matt Fladeland and Don Sullivan (Code SG) supported the Commercial Space Lecture Series with a talk entitled “NASA Airborne Observations in support of wildfire science and applications.” They highlighted Ames’ work in developing and prototyping platform-instrument systems for observing pre-wildfire conditions, thermal hotspot detection, gas sampling, as well as data processing, data standards, and telemetry in support of real-time observations.

April 4th

  • The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) visited Ames on 03 April 2023 for a hybrid collaboration workshop hosted by the Ames Earth Science Division – CAL FIRE and Ames researchers will deepen collaboration and have quarterly team meetings.

March 2023

March 28th

  • Satellite Data from OpenET Used to Streamline Water Use Reporting in the California Bay-Delta Region. On March 16, 2023, the California State Water Resources Control Board (CA SWRCB), Delta water management agencies, OpenET and HabitatSeven launched the Delta Alternative Compliance Plan (
  • S-MODE: The Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE), EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO, is gearing up for the Spring 2023 deployment, including aircraft flying out of Ames.
  • Rei Ueyama led a paper on “Convective Impact on the Global Lower Stratospheric Water Vapor Budget” in JGR-A, together with other former and current Ames researchers.

March 21st

  • On March 16th, the Ames Earth Science Division, in partnership with the Ames Advanced Supercomputing and Spaceflight Divisions, hosted a successful meeting with the Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) Earth Science Space Flight Mission project.

March 14th

  • IMPACTS: Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. Flight operations for the NASA P-3 and ER-2 have successfully concluded. 10 coordinated flights occurred, and each aircraft flew over 100 flight hours. The ER-2 transited back to AFRC on March 2. The IMPACTS campaign was recently covered by multiple media outlets, with stories on NPR, Fox Weather, and Fox 5 Atlanta. (

March 7th

  • Charles Gatebe joined the welcoming of NASA astronaut Dr. Jessica Watkins back to NASA Ames, led by Carol W. Carroll, the Deputy Center Director and the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) leadership on 28 February in celebration of the Black History Month.

February 2023

February 28th

  • USGS Chief Scientist, Geoff Plumlee, visits NASA Ames Research Center to discuss the wildfire topic with the Earth Science Division. NASA and USGS presented their wildfire capabilities and will continue discussions on how to further collaborate on the wildfire topic.

February 21st

  • Geoff Plumlee, Chief Scientist of the USGS, will visit the Ames Earth Science division on Wednesday, February 22, to explore further collaboration options, especially on key topics like wildfire. Jessica McCarty (Biospheric Sciences Branch Chief) is leading the discussions for Ames.

February 14th

  • Ames leadership (Center, Science Directorate, and Earth Science Division) participated in the 1st CCST (California Council on Science and Technology) Science Day on 13 February 2023 at the CNRA (California Natural Resources Agency) headquarters in Sacramento, CA.
  • Co-Investigators of the Ocean Community Engagement and Awareness using NASA Observations and Science for Hispanic/Latino students (OCEANOS) Science Activation project led by Juan L. Torres-Pérez participated in the University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez Campus (UPRM) Annual Scientific Research Fair 26 January 2023.  
  • Florian Schwandner co-authored a new study in Nature’s Scientific Reports, “Dynamics of Volcanic Vortex Rings”, focused on understanding the physical processes of how volcanic vortex rings (aka, “smoke rings”) form and how that understanding elucidates processes acting underground that are hidden from direct observation.

February 7th

  • The ESPO-managed EVS-3 Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS) is taking advantage of the lull in winter storms for calibration, pilot proficiency flights, and aircraft and instrument maintenance.
  • The Airborne Sensor Facility (ASF) Is gearing up for a busy year for the highly compact hyperspectral imager PICARD (Push-broom Imager for Cloud and Aerosol Research and Development). PICARD is in planning to fly for PACE-PAX on the ER-2, as piggy-back on the 2023 Western Diversity Time Series flights, and potentially for SARP-East in 2024. In the meantime, its SWIR camera system is undergoing a focus experiment, and re-casing is underway to fit PICARD on a multitude of platforms, including the NASA G-V, G-III, in addition to the ER-2. L2 development and evaluation of 2021 data to assess its potential for land surface imaging is recently underway.

February 1st

  • Kate Duffy is a co-author on a study published in NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, “Explainable deep learning for insights in El Niño and river flows”.  Dr. Duffy Kate was a NEX-funded Pathways student and received operational and intellectual support for this study from the NEX team.
  • The IMPACTS: Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO, continues to successfully fly coordinated science flights between the P-3 base at NASA WFF and the ER-2 based at Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

January 2023

January 24th

  • As NASA prepares for the 2023 Year of Open Science, we are pleased to announce the open-source software release of Ziggy, a generalized, open-source science data processing software that has been developed to reduce risk and cost on cost-constrained flight missions. Ziggy is available through NASA’s github at
  • IMPACTS: Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. ESPO is currently supporting the IMPACTS deployment at NASA Wallops and at Dobbins Air Reserve Base where the aircraft and science teams for the P-3 and ER-2 are located. To date, the project has completed two successful fully coordinated science missions in the Northeast Coast region, and several test and calibration flights. (

January 17th

  • NASA-USGS meetings on OpenET were held on 13 December 2022, to discuss current challenges and joint actions each agency could talk to facilitate the successful transition of OpenET to an operational, national program for satellite mapping of evapotranspiration and consumptive water use.
  • Amber McCullum, Juan Torres-Perez, and Britnay Beaudry are co-leading the upcoming ARSET Training “Connecting Citizen Science with Remote Sensing“, held virtually on 24,  26, and 31 January, 2023.

January 10th

  • IMPACTS: Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. Instruments integration and test flights have been successfully completed. ESPO is on-site at NASA WFF and Dobbins AB managing the field deployments. The daily (weather dependent) science flight operations started on January 6. (  
  • On 13 January, Ames Earth Science Division Chief Florian Schwandner, and Ames Science Director Michael Hesse will meet with Planet Labs representatives to discuss possible partnerships in wildfire detection from space.

January 4th

  • The Ames Earth Science Division welcomes Dr. Jessica McCarty as new permanent branch chief, Biospheric Science Branch, as of 3 January 2023. Dr. McCarty comes to Ames with significant leadership experience in the research, applications, and policy arena, covering a wide range of topics including wildland and human-caused fires, fire emissions, agriculture and food security, and land-cover/land-use change. Before joining Ames, she was a professor at Miami University (Ohio) and continues to serve as a co-Associate Program Manager for the SMD-ESD Wildfire Applications Program.
  • Ames Earth Science Division members are attending and presenting at the 103rd American Meteorological Society’s meeting in Denver, CO next week.

December 2022

December 14th

  • Earth Science Projects Office (ESPO) staff is in the field at NASA WFF and NASA AFRC to oversee the instrument integration and test flights for both NASA P-3 and NASA ER-2 aircraft for IMPACTS: Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, EVS-3 investigation managed by ESPO.

December 6th

  • On 6 December 2022, Ames hosted a HQ delegation to assess Ames as a site host for a future large science aircraft.   
  • Vince Ambrosia (CSUMB) co-chaired the 37th (Virtual) Tactical Fire Remote Sensing Advisory Committee (TFRSAC) meeting on 29-30 November 2022.

November 2022

November 30th

  • Emma Yates has been appointed Associate Program Manager in the Applied Sciences’ Equity and Environmental Justice (EEJ) Program.
  • Christopher Potter visited Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) project co-investigators at Nicholls State University’s (Thibodaux, LA) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) remote sensing laboratory in the Department of Applied Sciences, Geomatics.
  • Mike Falkowski (together with Laura Lorenzoni) presented several NASA Hyperwall talks at COP27 on the topics of biodiversity, ocean ecology, terrestrial ecology, the water cycle, OpenET, and wildfires. He was interviewed by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News on methane monitoring.

November 15th

  • ES&I SET (Earth Surface and Interiors, Solid Earth Team) Meeting and Early Career Workshop. ESPO supported this hybrid event 7-10 November 2022 at Scripps Institute in La Jolla, CA. The biennial Solid Earth Team (SET) meeting offers opportunities for interactions among the broader Earth Surface and Interior (ES&I) community. From Ames, Earth Science Division Chief Florian Schwandner, Airborne Science Manager Matt Fladeland, NASA Earth Exchange PI Ian Brosnan, and Steve Broccardo (BAERI) attended.
  • Ju-Mee Ryoo published part 2 of the EVS-2 ORACLES paper, A meteorological overview of the ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) campaign over the southeastern Atlantic during 2016–2018: Part 2 – Daily and synoptic characteristics, in Atmos. Chem. Phys., 22, 14209–14241.

November 8th

  • The Airborne Sensor Facility (ASF) supported a recurring ASF/RCL (Ames-Goddard) cross-calibration exercise from 1-7 November 2022. RCL Lab representatives worked with ASF engineering over the course of the past week to collect data on site at Ames. The cross-calibration appears to be successful and data analysis will continue for the next approximately one week.
  • NASA SaSa Leadership Team Retreat: The SaSa Leadership Team held a SaSa Retreat at NASA Ames Research Center from 28-29 October 2022, which brought together the SaSa Leadership Team, comprised of the Principal Investigator, six institutional leads from Minority Serving Institutions.

November 1st

  • The Airborne Science Office has published the most recent NASA Airborne Science Program Newsletter. Highlights include Ames’ own SARP project, ACCLIP that included the Ames COMA payload (PI: Iraci, Podolske), and many other interesting earth science flight projects across the agency. This report edited by Susan Schoenung (BAER Inst) and Matt Fladeland (Code SG) provides updates to the user community and program/flight project stakeholders on aircraft activites and new capabilities. Ames also manages the Program website, flight request system, aircraft tracker, and flight request system at


October 2022

25th October 2022

  • Dr. Kate Duffy recently published, “Climate-mediated shifts in temperature fluctuations promote extinction risk” in Nature Climate Change. The results from the publication show that the effects of climate change may be more extensive than previously predicted on the basis of the statistical relationship between biological performance and average temperature.
  • CPEX-CV: Convective Processes Experiment – Cabo Verde, managed by ESPO. ESPO has concluded another highly successful science campaign with the DC-8. The CPEX-CV team executed thirteen science flights plus the transit flights. The DC-8 flew nearly 117 hours in support of the CPEX-CV campaign and the science team was very pleased with all the data collected. In addition, we conducted some highly successful outreach during a local media day.

18th October 2022

  • S-MODE: The Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE), EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO, was highlighted in the NASA Morning Brief for Monday, October 17, 2022.
  • 12-14 October 2022, Surface Biology & Geology (SBG) Community Workshop, Washington, DC. Ian Brosnan (SG), Charles Gatebe (SGG), Liane Guild (SGE), Weile Wang (SGE), Yohei Shinozuka (SGG), Jon Jenkins (TNC) and Scott Horner (RS) attended the SBG Community Workshop and reported on their science, science data processing, and open-source science activities that support the SBG mission and Earth System Observatory.

11th October 2022

  • S-MODE: The Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE), EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. The S-MODE Intensive Operating Period (IOP) kicked into full gear on 6 October 2022 with the B-200 (AFRC) arrival at NASA ARC. ESPO was in Newport, OR supporting the mobilization of the M/V Bold Horizon, which set sail 7 October 2022. The B-200 first possible science flight was completed on Saturday, 8 October 2022. The NASA G-III (LaRC) is now scheduled to transit to NASA ARC 9 October 2022and plans to start science flights Tuesday,11 October (weather dependent). Link:

5th October 2022

  • The Inaugural NASA Snow Albedo Workshop took place at NASA Ames from 28-30 September 2022. The workshop brought together experts in snow albedo in a hands-on, collaborative workspace to identify where scientific gains have been made and where scientific opportunities exist to advance the science of snow albedo.
  • On 29 September 2022, several concurrent and coordinated events transformed the NASA Research Park at Ames into a summer festival of science and technology and life at NASA: The Celebrate Ames Day, the Innovation Fair, DEIA Day, and the annual USGS/NASA Science & Technology Colloquium with poster session featuring research and technology posters from both USGS and NASA researchers.

September 2022

27th September 2022

  • Associate Administrator Bob Cabana visit on Wednesday 21 September 2022. Cabana had a lively conversation about airborne science with the Ames Earth Science team including Rei Ueyama, Laura Iraci, Chris Scofield, Matt Johnson, Charles Gatebe, Ian Brosnan, Florian Schwandner, Mike Falkowski, as well as Barry Lefer, who was visiting from HQ the same day. Cabana and Schwandner inspected two payloads of the newly acquired S2 fixed-wing UAA (an SBIR product of Black Swift Technologies, LLC), for deployments over wildfires and jointly with USGS over active volcanoes. At an early Career lunch, Bob Cabana met Diana Gentry. At a last stop, Cabana watched a presentation on GeoNEX and wildfires given by the NASA Earth Exchange PI, Ian Brosnan.
  • The NASA Earth Exchange led a publication on “Multisensor Machine Learning to Retrieve High Spatiotemporal Resolution Land Surface Temperature”.
  • Dr. Diana Gentry has received a NASA Early Career Initiative award for her proposal “AERACEPT: AErosol Rapid Analysis Combined Entry Probe/sonde Technology”.

21nd September 2022

  • In a collaboration with San Jose State University and NOAA, Ju-Mee Ryoo co-authored a landmark study on how Arctic oscillation relates to atmospheric rivers and snowpack in the Western US – a key study to understand future water supplies and drought conditions. In a changing climate.  Liner, S., Ryoo, J-M, & Chiao, S.: On the Relationship of Arctic Oscillation with Atmospheric Rivers and Snowpack in the Western United States Using Long-Term Multi-Platform Dataset. Water 14(15):2392, 2022.
  • NASA Ames is hosting the 2022 USGS-NASA innovation fair and poster session at Moffett Field on 29 September 2022. This annual event brings together researchers from NASA Ames and the USGS at Moffett Field with posters, conversations to enable more cross-agency collaboration opportunities. The event is co-organized by Ian Brosnan (Ames Earth Science Division) and John Stock (USGS National Innovation Center). USGS Chief Scientist Geoffrey Plumlee and NASA Ames Director of Science Michael Hesse will provide opening remarks.

13th September 2022

  • Active Fire observations in California:    
    The MASTER (MODIS/ASTE airborne simulator) TIR imaging spectrometer flying on the ER-2 during WDTS (Western Diversity Time Series) imaged the Mosquito wildfire currently burning West of Lake Tahoe in the Eldorado and Tahoe National Forests, on 8 and 9 September 2022, the 4th and 5th flight days of this summer’s campaign.
  • NASA Ames (Matt Fladeland) and the USGS National Innovation Center (located at Moffett Field) co-host the 5th Federal UxS Users Workshop.
  • NASA Ames Earth Science Division is hosting the 2022 Snow Albedo Workshop, 28-30 September 2022.

7th September 2022

  • The Airborne Sensor Facility participates in the September Western Diversity Time Series (WDTS)  flights with MASTER, and the hyperspectral imagers PICARD and HySPEX Mjolnir. Flights on 2, 5, and 6 September covered flight boxes over Lake Tahoe, San Francisco Bay Area, CA and Santa Barbara, CA.
  • ACCLIP:  Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project. The ACCLIP project reached the end of a very challenging yet very successful science campaign where the NASA WB-57 conducted 17 research flights. ACCLIP is managed by ESPO and featured instruments and researchers from Ames. Laura Iraci, Jim Podolske, NPP fellows Kristen Okorn and Caroline Dang, Paul Bui, Ric Kolyer, Levi Golston. Roy Johnson, Jim Eilers, Emma Yates, and others from Ames participated and have safely returned. The COMA instrument (Carbon mOnoxide Measurement from Ames) flew on this campaign.

August 2022

30th August 2022

  • Dr. Fabrizio Buongiorno (INGV Italy) will visit the Ames Earth Science Division to learn more about potential collaboration opportunities in remote sensing, especially in relation to current and future ASI missions (PRISMA, PRISMA SG and PLATINO1), and how airborne data could help simulate observations of future missions, to develop new technologies and integrate space data. She leads remote sensing at one of their government agencies as Director of Technology Research, INGV Center for Space Observation. 
  • Cindy Schmidt and Florian Schwandner participated in a second in-person program design session at NASA HQ on 29 & 30 August 2022, for the Disasters Applications Program in ESD, under Shanna McClain, to scope the Disasters Response Coordination Office (DRCO).

24th August 2022

  • Michal Segal-Rozenhaimer and Caroline Dang co-authored a paper in the NATURE journal Communications Earth & Environment, “Cloud processing and weeklong ageing affect biomass burning aerosol properties over the south-eastern Atlantic.”  The publication documents that cloud processing (aqueous-phase reaction and scavenging) contributes to the oxidation of organic aerosols, while it strongly reduces large diameter particles and single-scattering albedo of biomass burning aerosols. These processes resulted in a marine boundary layer with fewer yet more oxidized and absorbing aerosols. Che et al.,  
  • Forrest Melton is supporting the “Space for Ag” tour with Dr. Karen St. Germain in Nebraska and Kansas, Aug 22-26. Forrest will provide subject matter expertise related to current use of satellite data and other technologies in use by farms in NE and KS, and learn about current challenges and high priority data needs from farmers and agricultural leaders in these states.
  • NASA.GOV featured an article “Toward Greater Diversity in Earth Sciences: NASA’s Student Airborne Science Activation Program” (SaSa) led by PI Charles Gatebe.

16th August 2022

  • Ames Earth Science Division Chief Florian Schwandner represented the SMD Earth Science Division at a Space Policy event by VPOTUS Kamala Harris at the Chabot Center in Oakland, CA on 12 August 2022.
  • AGU’s EOS magazine covered Matthew Johnson’s recent publication “Methane Emission From Global Lakes…” (JGR Biogeosciences) as a Research Spotlight.   
  • Forrest Melton will be presenting an invited talk on 17 August 2022 at the National Water Use Data Workshop hosted by Western States Water Council in Salt Lake City, UT.

10th August 2022

  • The Airborne Sensor Facility (ASF) at Ames is in final preparations, including upload on 8 August, for the Western Diversity Time Series (WDTS) flights/ The MASTER and PICARD (ASF) instruments will fly with AVIRIS (JPL) on the NASA ER-2 in August. The PICARD instrument will be on-board for this mission as a piggyback to acquire data essential for characterization and testing.
  • Matt Johnson published an article “Methane Emission From Global Lakes: New Spatiotemporal Data and Observation-Driven Modeling of Methane Dynamics Indicates Lower Emissions” in JGR Biogeosciences with funding from the ESD Interdisciplinary Sciences (IDS) program.
  • Ames Earth Science Division leadership is deeply engaged in several meetings in August, on project design and planning for the Disasters Coordination Office (DRCO) of the Disasters Applications Program, and the FireSense wildfire project in ESD.

2nd August 2022

  • The Ames Earth Science Division welcomes Dr. Michael Falkowski as new Branch Chief (acting) of the BiosphericSciences Branch at Ames. Mike is on detail from HQ until the end of the calendar year, when the new permanent branch chief starts.
  • Ames Earth Science Division Chief Florian Schwandner led a delegation from ARC, JPL, and GSFC to the Hellenic Space Center (Greece) on 25 July 2022. He also attended the 44th Scientific Assembly of COSPAR in Athens (Greece), giving several Hyperwall presentations on FireSense – the SMD wildfire project.
  • NPP postdoc Caroline Dang published “Biomass burning and marine aerosol processing over the southeast Atlantic Ocean: a TEM single-particle analysis” in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

July 2022

27th July 2022

  • DCOTSS:  The Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. The DCOTSS 2022 deployment is complete, flying 12 research flights for a total of 93 h (102.2 h of combined testing, transit, and research flights). DCOTSS launched 58 balloon sondes from four locations: Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and North Dakota. (

20th July 2022

  • The Earth Science Division at NASA Ames Research Center hosted Earth Science Division Director Karen St. Germain and Executive Officer Kate Becker on Tuesday, July 12. The team explored topics such as NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) and GeoNEX, Science Activation awards (OCEANOS and SaSa), OpenET, applied sciences, climate-wildfire impacts on boreal forests, and atmospheric science. We ended the day with a discussion on technology partnerships and collaborations where Dr. St. Germain got onboard the B-200.  
  • The Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. On 11 July 2022, the DCOTSS project flew the last research flight of the 2022 deployment. This year DCOTSS flew a total of 12 research flights for a total of 93.4 h (117.8 h of combined testing, transit, and research flights). DCOTSS launched 58 balloon sondes from four locations: Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and North Dakota. On July 15, the DCOTSS project ended all the field activities for 2022.

13th July 2022

  • On 29 June 2022, the Earth Science Division celebrated Dr. Jennifer Dungan’s retirement and a career spanning more than 30 years, including more than 20 years of Federal service with NASA, last as Project Manager of the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX).
  • ACCLIP (Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project), managed by ESPO, with strong Ames Science and payload participation.  In support of the Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project Mission, the Carbon Monoxide Measurement from Ames (COMA) instrument has passed all visual inspections and is ready for the Dress Rehearsal and Flight Readiness Review scheduled for the week of 11 July 2022.
  • 8 July 2022 marked the Student Airborne Science Activation (SaSa) program media day at Wallops Flight Facility. PI Charles Gatebe represented Ames.

June 2022

22nd June 2022

  • Florian Schwandner and Donald Sullivan presented and chaired sessions at the Cities on Volcanoes 11 (COV-11) disasters conference on Crete, Greece, and volunteered in local pre-fire forest management activities led by the local civil defense authority.
  • The NASA Student Airborne Science Activation (SaSa) is in the second week of the 2022 summer program.  Four students were interviewed and their stories posted on StoryCorps.
  • Paul Bui co-authored a paper on Airborne Emission Rate Measurements Validate Remote Sensing Observations and Emission Inventories of Western US Wildfires, published in Environmental Science & Technology.

15th June 2022

  • DCOTSS (The Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere) had a very successful first two weeks of the Summer ‘22 deployment. The ER-2 flew 5 science flights, plus a combined transit/science flight.
  • Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services visited NASA ARC on Wednesday, June 8. Admiral Levine oversees the White House’s newly established Office on Climate Change and Health Equity, more recently named Office of Environmental Justice.

8th June 2022

  • The NASA Student Airborne Science Activation (SaSa) program kicked-off this Monday, 6 June 2022.  25 first- and second-year undergraduates from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) arrived from all over the country last weekend to join in the inaugural summer program.

May 2022

10th May 2022

  • The Ames Earth Science Division’s Trace Gas Group (TGGR) successfully built and deployed the first of a dozen planned air quality measurement nodes using commercially-available, low-cost, solid-state sensors, relevant to satellite Cal/Val and wildfire related air quality observations. Each node measures multiple gases, as well as temperature and humidity in a unit the size of a lunch box. The team is holding an informal competition for a name for the new network.
  • The U.S. Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee for Airborne Geophysical Research and Applications (ICCAGRA) elected Matt Fladeland (Code SG) as their Chair for a 2-year term.
  • The Ames Earth Science Division’s Trace Gas Group (TGGR) successfully built and deployed the first of a dozen planned air quality measurement nodes using commercially-available, low-cost, solid-state sensors. Each node measures carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, methane, and formaldehyde, as well as temperature and humidity in a unit the size of a lunch box.
    The first node was deployed to the NASA Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) installation at Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC), where it will be joined by a new Pandora instrument, which measures the total amount of ozone, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde in the atmosphere. The sensor nodes were designed based on the graduate work of NASA Postdoctoral Fellow Kristen Okorn (comes to Ames from the University of Colorado, Hannigan Group). The project will deploy sensors across California, primarily to locations where NASA column-based assets exist, such as Pandora and TCCON.
    The team is holding an informal competition for a name for the new network, which will collect in situ surface-level trace gas data to compare with the column measurements that will support satellite validation efforts and trace wildfire smoke related air quality issues. Entries are welcome by email to before 5pm PT on 20 May 2022.
  • The U.S. Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee for Airborne Geophysical Research and Applications (ICCAGRA) elected Matt Fladeland (Code SG) as their Chair for a 2-year term. This committee meets at least twice yearly to ensure that U.S. government funded aircraft and research activates are well coordinated and communicated across science agencies, to discuss best practices, and share new capabilities across government. Members of the committee represent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Digital Object Identifier (DOI)/U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/United States Forest Service (USFS), Office of Naval Research (ONR), Department of Energy (DOE), and National Science Foundation (NSF). Matt manages the SMD-funded Airborne Science Program Office at Ames and is an uncrewed airborne system specialist.
  • DCOTSS:  The Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. After a successful ER-2 (806) autopilot check flight, the instrument teams resumed integration on 2 May 2022, and are making excellent progress. ESPO will travel to Salina, KS 16 May 2022, to prepare the deployment site for the 23 May 2022 transit of the ER-2 and the start of science flights. (
  • Vince Ambrosia, Wildfire Associate Program Manager, presented, “NASA’s New Wildland Fire Earth Observation Science & Applications Programmatic Developments” at the 3rd International Conference on Fire Behavior & Risk from 3-6 May 2022.

3rd May 2022

  • On 28 April 2022, ARC briefed the results of the Constellation Pathfinder mission study to the senior leadership of the Surface Biology & Geology (SBG) Mission and recommended a small satellite mission architecture for presentation at SBG’s upcoming Mission Concept Review that will advance NASA towards an affordable future for science-quality hyperspectral imaging.
  • On 28 & 29 April, Ames Earth Science leaders participated in SMD’s second wildfire stakeholder engagement workshop, hosted in-person at GSFC. The meeting focused on NASA’s and partner capabilities mapping onto stakeholder needs, documented in a first workshop held in February 2022. The newly named “FireSense” team under leadership of Barry Lefer, David Green, Mike Falkowski, and Mike Seablom led this 2-day in-person meeting hosted by GSFC. From Ames, Division Chief Florian Schwandner, NASA Earth Exchange PI Ian Brosnan, Airborne Science Manager Matt Fladeland, Applications Disasters lead Cindy Schmidt, Senior Engineer Alok Shrestha, and Research Scientist Matt Johnson participated. The next team meeting will be held at Ames, likely in early November.
  • SaSa (Student Airborne Science Activation), a NASA Science Activation project led by Charles Gatebe (SGG), was recognized on following the project team’s selection of twenty five undergraduates who will engage in a hands-on research campaign experience, including flying onboard the NASA P-3 research aircraft to collect land, ocean, and atmospheric measurements.
  • Don Sullivan (SG) delivered a “NASA Science Day” presentations at two Bay Area elementary schools, Brook Knoll and Main Street on 21 and 28 April, continuing a tradition that began more than a decade ago. His presentations “Why do MOST stars twinkle?, And, which one DOESN’T”, and “Our Solar System, and the Sun” are tailored to align with the “Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve” (CA NGSS) Science curriculum framework adopted by the California State Board of Education.
  • Christopher Potter (SGE) was selected as the NASA sponsor for a 2022 EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) grant awarded to Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana titled “Integrated remote sensing and field based assessments to provide novel insights into climate-driven expansion of black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) at its northern latitudinal limits.” The period of performance is 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023 and the goal of this project is to enhance understanding of how recent climate change has modulated the distribution and expansion of black mangrove stands on the barrier islands of southeastern Louisiana. The research team includes staff from the St. Bernard Parish Coastal Manager’s Office.

April 2022

26th April 2022

  • DCOTSS:  The Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. The project is in the 2nd week of integration. Integration of additional instruments will take place until 16 May 2022, when the ER-2 is scheduled to transit to Salina, KS. (
  • CPEX-CV: Convective Processes Experiment – CV, managed by ESPO. ESPO and the AFRC/DC-8 team concluded a site visit to Sal Island, Cabo Verde on 1 April 2022 where they successfully arranged a deployment of the NASA DC-8. ESPO is preparing to ship equipment by sea and integration of the payload into the NASA DC-8 will begin on 9 May 2022. The pre-deployment Science Team Meeting is scheduled for 18-20 July 2022 in Pasadena, CA. (
  • ARC scientist Nikki Tulley (SGE) was featured on Faces of NASA where she describes how her early experiences growing up in the Navajo Nation and hauling water for drinking, agriculture, and livestock connect with her research using satellite data to study water access and water quality. 
  • Ames supports SMD ESD Airborne Science Townhall – The NASA SMD HQ Earth Science Division Director, Karen St. Germain, hosted a virtual townhall on 20 April 2022 with 110+ participants from around the Center to highlight recent accomplishments across the Program as well as to review the Program’s safety posture. Matt Fladeland (Code SG) presented on recent accomplishments at Ames by the Airborne Science Office, Mission Tools team (Code TI & SG), Engineering and Operations support through ARC-CREST/BAER Institute, and New technology topics including the S2 acquisition and our partnerships with the USFS involving HALE UAS and the 16-channel IR Autonomous Modular Sensor (AMS). Marilyn Vasques briefed on the major campaigns currently being managed by the Earth Science Project Office (ESPO) including DCOTTS, IMPACTS, CPEX-AW, and S-MODE, which will again be deploying out of Ames this September.

20th April 2022

  • Ames Earth Science staff is heavily engaged in the 2022 Earth Day celebrations and events on April 22, 2022, with presentations at multiple venues, focusing on Earth observations, applications, data fusion and machine learning, related to climate, ecology, water resources, and the oceans.
  • The Student Airborne Research Project (SARP) published a program summary paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, highlighting over a decade of “high-flying interns”.
  • CPEX-CV: Convective Processes Experiment – CV, managed by ESPO. ESPO and the AFRC/DC-8 team concluded a site visit to Sal Island, Cabo Verde. Successful meetings took place in 28 March 2022 to 1 April 2022 with airport authorities to arrange for the deployment of the NASA DC-8. Preparations for sea shipments of equipment are underway. 
  • DCOTSS:  The Dynamics and Chemistry of the Summer Stratosphere (DCOTSS) EVS-3 investigation, managed by ESPO. Monday, 11 April 2022, ESPO traveled to NASA AFRC for the start of DCOTSS integration with teams from NASA ARC, NASA GSFC, Purdue, and Harvard universities. Integration of additional instruments will take place until 16 May 2022 when the ER-2 is scheduled to transit to Salina, KS.
  • ACCLIP:  Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project, managed by ESPO. ESPO (Jhony Zavaleta) will travel to Osan AB, South Korea, on 1 May 2022 for a site survey/deployment site preparation trip. Loading equipment for sea shipment is underway.  (
  • The Earth Science Project Office (ESPO)’s Event Coordinator will be supporting the AGAGE-65 (Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment) in Dübendorf, Switzerland, 2-7 May 2022. (
  • The Airborne Sensor Facility (ASF) has been operating with baseline staffing under the protection of property mandate since the COVID-related shutdown in 2020 and has supported the Western Diversity Time Series (WDTS, formerly HyspIRI) flights out of AFRC with the MASTER (MODIS/ASTER Airborne Simulator) and PICARD
    (Pushbroom Imager for Cloud and Aerosol Research and Development) payload instruments. (
    • ASF is exploring options to modify and re-use a spare detector from the former MAS instrument (MODIS Airborne Simulator, pre-cursor to eMAS, Enhanced MODIS Airborne Simulator) to implement a dedicated fire channel for use with MASTER. If successful, this modification would allow MASTER to fly with its current configuration as well as a relatively low-impact detector swap for use with high temperature fire observation missions.
    • The ASF investigated options for its radiometric sphere coating and is in a process of upgrading it. The capability to perform independent FEL lamp data collection for response tracking is in progress.
    • ASF completed their PDR presentation for the PICARD re-casing, passing the PDR milestone with some action items to work through as we progress to CDR.
    • The WDTS flights of the MASTER with the JPL AVIRIS on the ER-2 are now scheduled for August. PICARD will also be on-board for this mission as a piggyback instrument to acquire data essential for characterization and testing.
    • The ASF is supporting the long-term disposition of the Ames Airborne Film Archive in coordination with Deborah Smith (NASA Airborne Data Management Group Lead NASA MSFC IMPACT). The goal is to secure funding necessary to complete digitization of the holdings and make them available and discoverable through one of the Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAAC). On Friday (4/15), ASP & ASF personnel packed the first set of boxes for shipment, providing a working example for the rest of the archive.
    • The lunar VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) team will be scheduling another VIPER instrument to visit the ASF Calibration lab, likely arriving later this month.
    • The Ames Atmospheric Science’s 4-STAR team has concluded their calibration experiments in the ASF lab.