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NASA Presentations at the 2006 Fall America Geophysical Union Meeting
NASA researchers will present findings on a variety of Earth and space science topics at the 2006 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The meeting runs Mon., Dec. 11 through Fri., Dec. 15 at the Moscone Convention Center West (MCW), 800 Howard Street, and Moscone Center South (MCS), 747 Howard Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets), San Francisco. Sessions are open to registered news media.

Following are noteworthy NASA presentations, in chronological order:

EVENT: The Role of Aerosols in Cloud Growth, Suppression, and Precipitation
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST) MCW 3004
Without aerosol particles in the Earth's atmosphere, there would be no fogs, no clouds, no mists, and probably no rain. NASA's Michael King discusses progress in linking these processes together with a focus on the pioneering contributions of the late Yoram Kaufman.

EVENT: Reconstructing Holocene Glacier Changes in West Greenland from Multispectral Aster Imagery
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST) MCW Level 2
To understand how Greenland's ice sheet mass is changing, identify the mechanisms controlling those changes and forecast Greenland's future contributions to global sea level, researchers must construct time records dating back to the Little Ice Age. This poster highlights the use of NASA data from the Terra satellite that is advancing this task.

EVENT: Scientists Predict Reduced Density of the Outer Atmosphere at Earth Warms
TIME: Mon., Dec, 11, 12 p.m. EST (9 a.m. PST)
In a sign of the far-reaching impacts of climate change, new research shows that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels will produce a 3% reduction in the density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) produced this estimate using a computer model of the outer atmosphere that incorporates the solar cycle as well as the gradual increase of carbon dioxide.

EVENT: Next-Generation Gravity Analysis from GRACE: Implications for Polar Ice Mass Balance
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 12:15 p.m. EST (9:15 a.m. PST) MCW 3006
Recent studies of polar ice mass balance conducted by numerous researchers using data from the U.S.-German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) have produced somewhat varying results. New approaches have been developed to improve the accuracy, resolution and consistency of these measurements. Researchers will present how this work will significantly improve GRACE analyses.

EVENT: Impacts of Tropical Cyclones on the Upper Troposhere
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 2:05 p.m. EST (11:05 a.m. PST) MCS 310
This session presents the results of a study of how tropical cyclones significantly affect the distribution of important trace gases such as water vapor, temperatures and cloud properties in Earth's upper troposphere -- using recent measurements from NASA's Aqua and Aura spacecraft.

EVENT: NASA Finds Differences in Raindrops in Storms Hurricanes
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) MCW Level 2
New research from NASA has concluded that tropical cyclones produce rain differently than "extra-tropical" cyclones.

EVENT: Molecular Substrate Alteration by Solar Wind Radiation Documented on Flown Genesis Mission Array Materials
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST), MCW Level 1
The Genesis spacecraft sampling arrays were exposed to various regimes of solar wind during flight. Researchers will present measurements showing that all nine flown array materials from the four Genesis regimes have been altered by solar wind exposure during flight.

EVENT: Use of Airborne Remote Sensing to Improve Aerosol Retrievals from NASA Satellites
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) MCW Level 2
SESSION: A13C-0936
Researchers will show how combining airborne remote sensing data with MODIS data from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites allows them to better discriminate between cloudy and cloud-free areas, enhancing usefulness of satellite measurements in understanding climate change.

EVENT: Mars Express Science Results After Three Years in Orbit
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) and 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) MCW Level 1
SESSION: P13A and P14A
Researchers will present recent findings from the NASA-cosponsored radar instrument aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter and other instruments on the orbiter. The instrument is providing information about layers and depths of icy deposits at both poles of Mars.

EVENT: NASA Takes a Four-Dimensional Look at Tropical Storm Gert
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) in MCW Level 2.
SESSION: A13A-0882
Scientists will present findings from a field campaign during which they flew over Tropical Storm Gert to look at the storm inside and out to determine how Gert evolved.

EVENT: Near Infrared Spectra and Real and Imaginary Indicies of Refraction of Ices of Relevance to Kuiper Belt Objects
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) in MCW Level 1.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most visible form of carbon in the tail and coma of comets and on the surface of the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The CO2 can be hard to see in space if it's pure, but when it's mixed into water it appears suddenly. NASA scientist Max Bernstein has described this as being like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. This observation will help NASA find CO2 in space, according to Bernstein.

Models of the Surface Compositions of Several Objects That Orbit the Sun Beyond
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) in MCW Level 1.
Using new data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, authors Joshua P. Emery, Cristina Dalle Ore and Dale Cruikshank will report about computer models of the surface compositions of several "dwarf planets", objects that orbit the Sun beyond Pluto. Because these objects are so small and distant, it is very difficult to get direct information on their compositions from even the largest telescopes on Earth.

EVENT: Rewriting Ice Sheet "Glacier-ology"
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) in MCS 310
NASA's Robert Bindschadler explores the latest thinking on what's happening with the ice sheets at both poles, including the recent acceleration of ice throughout much of coastal Greenland and the sudden disintegration of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula. Bindschadler also discusses the goal of ice-sheet dynamics: to credibly predict the future of both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

EVENT: Remote Sending Observations of Ice Sheet Mass Balance: Challenges and Interpretation
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 7:15 p.m. EST (4:15 p.m. PST) in MCS 310
NASA's Waleed Abdalati provides an overview of 2006 remote-sensing-based mass balance assessments of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and how continuing advances in satellite observations will increase our understanding of the current status and future of ice sheets.

EVENT: Bark Beetle Outbreaks Increase Fire Probability in Western United States Forests
TIME: Mon., Dec. 11, 8:45 p.m. EST (5:45 p.m. PST) MCS 309
SESSION: IN14A-08 In western United States forests, the interaction between bark beetle outbreaks and subsequent fires is of increasing concern. In this talk, researchers using a variety of data, including imagery from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites, show that bark beetle outbreaks significantly increase the risk of wildfire.

EVENT: Solar Cycle 24
TIME: Tues, Dec. 12, 4:30 p.m. EST (1:30 p.m. PST)
SESSION: SH21A -0331, SH24A, SA24A-01
NASA and NOAA scientists will discuss how they are working with International organizations to formulate an official solar cycle prediction to be issued by NOAA in April 2007. Forecasts include onset, duration, and intensity of space weather. Researchers will give an inside look at both weak and intense cycles and the science behind the two approaches.

EVENT: MATADOR: Mars Atmosphere Temperature and Density Orbiting Radiometer
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) MCW Level 1
SESSION: P23A-0046
Researchers will discuss MATADOR, a new instrument designed to observe the temperature, pressure, density and composition of the Martian atmosphere with unprecedented accuracy and precision.

EVENT: Object-Oriented Analysis of Sea Ice Fragmentation Using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Imagery to Determine Pacific Walrus Habitat
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 5:50 p.m. EST (2:50 p.m. PST), MCW Room 306
SESSION: H23I-05 Changes in climate are causing alterations in sea ice formation resulting in a changing habitat for Pacific walrus. Researchers will present findings from a joint NASA-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study that assessed the use of satellite imagery for studying walrus habitat on sea ice.

EVENT: Remotely Senses Mineralogy of Mars
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST) and 1:20 p.m. EST (10:20 a.m. PST) MCW 3022
SESSION: P21A and P22A
New information about the composition of rocks on Mars has been coming from six spacecraft this year. Some of the latest findings about the mineral makeup at different parts of Mars, and what they reveal about the planet's history, will be presented during these sessions.

EVENT: The Changing Sea Ice Cover in the Warming Arctic
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 12:15 p.m. EST (9:15 a.m. PST) MCW 3018
A real signal associated with increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may have finally arrived in the Arctic. NASA's Joey Comiso presents the latest observations of Arctic sea ice cover and explains why the 2006 ice extent decline was not the lowest on record.

EVENT: Enceladus: Water, Warmth, Organics...and Life?
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 1:20 p.m. EST (10:20 a.m. PST) MCW 3024
Saturn’s moon Enceladus has it all: geysers, varied surface geology, and tectonics. But how does this tiny moon do it? Scientists will discuss all of the diverse features on Enceladus and possible scenarios for what is happening inside. They will also discuss whether life could exist on Enceladus and how they might detect it.

EVENT: Layered Deposits of Arabia Terra and Meridiani Planum: Keys to the Habitability of Ancient Mars
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 1:50 p.m. EST (10:50 a.m. PST), MCW 3022
Understanding the habitability of ancient Mars is a key goal in exploration of that planet. Evidence for conditions favorable to early life must be sought in ancient sedimentary rocks, such as those of Arabia Terra and Meridiani Planum. Researchers will discuss the layered sequences in these areas that likely reflect an epoch when Mars was much more habitable than it is today.

EVENT: From Auroras to Sea Ice: Views From the International Space Station and Plans for International Polar Year
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST), MCW LEVEL 2

EVENT: International Polar Year Observations From the International Space Station
TIME: Thurs., Dec. 14, 11:00 a.m. (8:00 a.m. PST), MCW Level 2
A robust observation program from the International Space Station has yielded hundreds of thousands of images of the Earth's surface collected since 2001. In these related talks, researchers will exhibit some of the most striking images collected of polar phenomena. Over the next two years, astronauts aboard the station will focus observations on polar phenomena as participants in the International Polar Year.

EVENT: Satellite Monitoring of Asian Dust Storms from SeaWiFS and MODIS: Source, Pathway and Interannual Variability
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 7:45 p.m. EST (4:45 p.m. PST) MCW 3016
Pollutants from East Asia dust storms often travel to the United States and beyond, degrading air quality. Researchers discuss a recently developed technique to track pollutants originating in this region, which has been a challenge to satellite monitoring.

EVENT: Intraseasonal Variations of the Tropical Total Ozone and its Connection to the Madden-Julian Oscillation
TIME: Tues., Dec. 12, 8:15 p.m. EST (5:15 p.m. PST) MSC 301
This talk will present results of new research using NASA satellite data that finds a direct connection between 30- to 90-day variations in total ozone levels in Earth's tropics and the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a cyclical pattern of waves of clouds, rainfall and large-scale atmospheric circulation anomalies that can strongly influence long-term weather patterns.

EVENT: Once in a Blue Moon: The Surprising Diversity of Outer Planet Satellites
TIME: Wed., Dec. 13, 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST for session P31D) and 1:20 p.m. EST (10:20 a.m. PST for session P32A) MSC 220
Scientists will present the zoology of the moons of the outer solar system in two sessions that cover results from the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Comparing characteristics, studies on the internal structure, surface geology and evolution of these moons will provide more insight into the diversity of these worlds.

EVENT: Thermal Infrared Anomalies Associated with Some of the Major Earthquakes 1999-2003
TIME: Wed., Dec. 13, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) MCW Level 2
This presentation examines the efficiency of a number of NASA and other satellites in detecting and mapping thermal infrared emissions prior to several recent strong earthquakes.

EVENT: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: A New Look at Mars
TIME: Wed., Dec. 13, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) MCW 3006
The newest spacecraft at Mars, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, began its two-year primary science phase last month. Researchers will present results about atmospheric structure and new observations from cameras and other instruments.

EVENT: Planetary Rings: Observation and Theory
TIME: Wed., Dec. 13, 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) MCW 3005
Waves, wakes, spokes and more will be covered in this session on Saturn’s rings. Scientists will discuss how Saturn’s moons influence the rings and the various structures seen in the rings and how they might have formed.

EVENT: Relative Contribution of Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Change to Temperature Trends in the Stratosphere: A Chemistry/Climate Model Study
TIME: Thurs., Dec. 14, 11:15 a.m. EST (8:15 a.m. PST) MCW 3012
Greenhouse gas emissions remain a considerable concern in global climate change. Using NASA computer simulations, this talk addresses the role of future greenhouse gas emissions and the potentially mitigating influence of recent ozone declines on atmospheric temperatures over the next two decades.

EVENT: Effect of 2000-2050 Global Change on Ozone Air Quality in the United States
TIME: Thurs., Dec. 14, 12 p.m. EST (9 a.m. PST) MCW 3012
This talk examines the effects of global climate change and human-induced emissions on ozone air quality, based on data from NASA computer model simulations.

EVENT: Improved Constraints on Processes Controlling Tropospheric Ozone and Nitrogen Oxide Through Assimilation of Observations From the TES, Sciamachy and MOPITT Satellite Instruments
TIME: Thurs., Dec. 14, 1:50 p.m. EST (10:50 a.m. PST) MCW 3001
This talk presents surprising results from a recent study that used NASA and European Space Agency satellite data to investigate the extent of biomass burning in the southern tropics and to quantify its effects on ozone formation.

EVENT: Mars Exploration Rovers: Two Martian Winters at Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater
TIME: Thurs., Dec. 14, 4:40 p.m. EST (1:40 p.m. PST) and 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST)
NASA's Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are still exploring the Martian surface more than 34 months into what was planned as a three-month mission. Researchers will describe the latest findings.

EVENT: The CALIPSO Mission: Overview, Data Products and Early Results
TIME: Fri., Dec. 15, 1:40 p.m. EST (10:40 a.m. PST) MCW 3011
Launched in April 2006, the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) spacecraft is returning never-before-seen images of clouds and aerosols -- revealing the secrets of how they form, evolve and interact with the atmosphere.

EVENT: Have We Seen Comet Wild 2 Samples Before?
TIME: Fri., Dec. 15, 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST), MCW Level 2
SESSION: P51E-1242
The very wide range of particles captured from Comet Wild 2 by the Stardust spacecraft require a wide range of formation conditions, probably reflecting very different locations in the proto-planetary disk.

EVENT: Coordinated Analysis of Comet 81P/Wild-2 Dust Samples: Nanoscale Measurements of its Organic/ Inorganic Chemical and Isotopic Composition and Optical Properties
TIME: Fri. Dec. 15, 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST), MCW Level 2
SESSION: P51E-1238
Dust particles released from comet 81P/Wild-2 were captured by the Stardust spacecraft and successfully returned to the Earth on Jan. 15, 2006. This is the first sample of extraterrestrial materials returned from beyond the moon. Stardust recovered thousands of particles ranging in size from 1 to 100 micrometers. Researchers will discuss the complicated analysis of these samples.

EVENT: Infrared Spectroscopy of Comet Wild-2 Samples Returned by the Stardust Mission
TIME: Fri., Dec. 15, 2:35 p.m. EST (11:35 a.m.), MCS 220
Comets are widely believed to be repositories of the building blocks of the solar system that include both pre-solar and early nebular matter. With samples of a specific comet returned by the Stardust mission, researchers will present results of detailed analysis that provides a direct test of current hypotheses regarding the chemical and mineralogical composition of comets.

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Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center