Transcripts of NASM-Dr

[Applause] [Applause] Thank you! Our Earth is a water planet from the oceans, ice, rivers, lakes and aquifers to the water suspend in our atmosphere, our Earth is definitely a water planet. Take a look at our lovely Earth? Did you know that 99.5% of that water is stored in our salty seas or locked up in glaciers and other inaccessible locations, leaving precious little fresh water available to support our life on Earth? So one of the vital signs of our Earth is the water cycle and understanding it and knowing it will help us to monitor our freshwater resources and we can do this by measuring where, how the water moves within our planet and I will talk about that today. This is a cartoon of our water cycle. It shows the linkages between the surface water, condensation, precipitation, and evaporation. The water cycle is a complex system that drives the movement of water and actually heat and energy around our planet; let's start by exploring the role of our deep and vast oceans in the water cycle. As you can see in this visualization of satellite data, the ocean surface temperatures are not uniform around the oceans. The warm waters is in red and the cool waters is in blue; drive the movement of water and heat throughout the oceans which can in turn then influence our weather patterns such as might be saying during El NiÑo and La NiÑa Years. Also, driving the movement of water in our oceans is salinity. As shown in this visualization of Aquarius satellite data from NASA where evaporation occurs, our oceans get saltier, it's shown in red, where precipitation falls, ice melts or rivers discharge our oceans get fresher as shown in the blue. As your ocean water becomes saltier it becomes more dense and settles down to the bottom of the ocean and vice versa for the less salty water which rises to the top. Taken together, surface temperatures, salinity and also the ocean winds, the winds above the ocean, combine in a complex stance that drives the ocean circulation patterns as shown here. The oceans also store massive amounts of heat and are very slow to release it which makes them a major driver in our Earth's climate system. The oceans and the atmosphere actually work together. Without the oceans, the water stays on surface and we need the atmosphere as well. For example, intense sunlight in the tropics causes evaporation from the salty oceans and that water forms in to massive clouds. Those massive clouds, that are moved by the atmospheric winds to the mid-latitudes where precipitation occurs either in the form of rain or snow. The only way to get a global perspective of precipitation patterns is to measure from spaceborne platforms. Six months ago NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched our joint Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory Satellite or GPM for short. With two advanced instruments, the Core Observatory for the first time is able to measure all phases of precipitation from very, very heavy rain to light rain to falling snow. The GPM spacecraft serves as an anchor to a domestic and international constellation of satellite partners, which collectively provide precipitation estimates everywhere in the world every three hours, in essence taking the pulse of the planet's precipitation. This imagery shows one of the very first events measured by the GPM spacecraft. It was one of the late-season falling snow events here in East Coast on March 17. The resulting 7 inches of snow in the Washington DC area may have affected your St. Patrick's Day plans this year. Off the coast of the Carolinas, the high cloud tops are icy, down at the surface heavy rains shown in red fell in the Atlantic Ocean. Further North, overland, the storm has much lower cloud tops and they are composed of snow shown in blue which fell at the surface and we can see this information because the GPM spacecraft has two advanced instruments; one of them which I like to call the x-ray through the clouds measures the precipitation all way through the cloud and provides what I would call an x-ray at the surface. It's a two-dimensional view of the precipitation. The other instrument on board is what I like to call taking a CAT scan of the clouds and it takes layer by layer within the clouds information about the precipitation that's vital for helping us to understand precipitation and weather forecasting and climate models. So we're very excited about this data. Where else but NASA with our partners, are we able to achieve such success so early in the mission. GPM also uses this data for applications to provide societal benefit. GPM observes hurricanes and blizzards but as shown in the top two panels here, we are also able to look at the conditions that might lead to landslides and floods. On the other hand for trial and water availability maps as shown in the bottom two images, we need to know how little it has precipitated over time and GPM can tell us that too. Emergency management then can use this data in near real time to make evacuation plans. Precipitation in the water cycle influences every person, every day, everywhere, may be one of the greatest impacts of NASA's data is just used in improving weather forecasting models and climate change models for our everyday lives and our long-term future. Now I would like introduce Lola who is going to talk about the pulse of our planet's biosphere.