6. Spectral Analysis

2016-12-07. Drones help monitor health of giant sequoias. By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News.

2009 May 28. RELEASE: 09-124 NASA SATELLITE DETECTS RED GLOW TO MAP GLOBAL OCEAN PLANT HEALTH. Excerpt: WASHINGTON -- Researchers have conducted the first global analysis of the health and productivity of ocean plants using a unique signal detected by NASA's Aqua satellite. Ocean scientists can now remotely measure the amount of fluorescent red light emitted by phytoplankton and assess how efficiently these microscopic plants turn sunlight and nutrients into food through photosynthesis. Researchers also can study how changes in the global environment alter these processes at the center of the ocean food web.
...Phytoplankton account for half of all photosynthetic activity on Earth and play a key role in the balance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The health of these marine plants affects the amount of carbon dioxide the ocean can absorb from the atmosphere and how the ocean responds to a changing climate.
"This is the first direct measurement of the health of the phytoplankton in the ocean," said Michael Behrenfeld, a biologist who specializes in marine plants at Oregon State University. "We have an important new tool for observing changes in phytoplankton every week, all over the planet."
...Using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite, scientists have now observed "red-light fluorescence" over the open ocean. MODIS is the first instrument to observe this signal on a global scale.
...Scientists previously used satellite sensors to track the amount of plant life in the ocean by measuring the amount and distribution of chlorophyll. "Chlorophyll gives us a picture of how much phytoplankton is present," said co-author Scott Doney, a marine chemist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass. "Fluorescence provides insight into how well they are functioning in the ecosystem."
With this new measurement, the scientists discovered large areas of the Indian Ocean where phytoplankton were under stress from iron deficiency. They were surprised to see large portions of the ocean "light up" seasonally as phytoplankton responded to a lack of iron in their diet. The amount of fluorescence increases when phytoplankton have too little iron, a nutrient in seawater. Iron reaches the sea surface on winds blowing dust from deserts and other arid areas, and from upwelling currents. ...

2005 Feb. TERRA TURNS FIVE. Five years ago NASA's Terra satellite began measuring Earth's vital signs with a combination of accuracy, precision, and resolution the world had never before seen. Today, Terra completes the fifth year in what was scheduled to be at least a six-year mission to advance understanding of Earth's climate system, and to help improve our quality of life.

2005 Jan 11. NASA RELEASE: 05-018. NASA Free Computer Model Available to Classrooms. A free NASA global climate model is available for high school and university desktop computers. The Educational Global Climate Model (EdGCM), available for both Windows and Mac platforms, incorporates a 3-D climate model developed at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York. ... It runs on a desktop computer to allow teachers and students to conduct experiments identical to those scientists run on supercomputers to simulate past and future climate changes. "The real goal of EdGCM is to allow teachers and students to learn more about climate science by participating in the full scientific process, including experiment design, running model simulations, analyzing data, and reporting on results via the Web," said Mark Chandler, lead researcher for the EdGCM project from Columbia University, New York. For more information about the EdGCM, visit: http://www.edgcm.org to download EdGCM softwarefrom the Internet.

GLOBAL GARDEN GETS GREENER In the last two decades of the twentieth century, in many parts of the global garden, the climate grew warmer, wetter, and sunnier, and despite a few El Niño-related setbacks, plants flourished for the most part. A team of eight scientists from across the country worked for almost a year and half to pull together satellite data on vegetation and ground- and satellite-based climate observations.