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Environment

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Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are Badly Swollen

At least 200 gauges along the waterways of the Central United States—especially the Missouri and Mississippi river basins—reported some level of flooding on March 23, 2019. Thirty-six stations reported major flooding, and another 79 reported moderate floods. Historically high water levels could be a factor in the region for weeks, according to government forecasts. The

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Thawing Permafrost Peatlands May Add to Atmospheric CO2 Burden

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as in the rest of the world, causing permafrost soils to thaw. Permafrost peatlands are biogeochemical hot spots in the Arctic as they store vast amounts of carbon. Permafrost thaw could release part of these long-term immobile carbon stocks as the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2)

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

California Fires Spew Aerosols Into Already Saturated Sky

Although most people might think smoke rises and then clears after a fire has been extinguished, the opposite is actually true. New research using data collected during NASA airborne science campaigns shows how smoke from wildfires worldwide could impact the atmosphere and climate much more than previously thought. The study, led by researchers at the

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Ozone Hole Modest Despite Optimum Conditions for Ozone Depletion

The ozone hole that forms over the Antarctic each September is primarily driven by two factors: the amount of ozone-destroying chlorine in the polar stratosphere and the availability of ice crystals in stratospheric clouds for the chlorine to bind to. This year, the super-cold stratospheric temperatures measured by NOAA and NASA meant conditions were ripe

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Satellite Spies Mediterranean Slick

On Oct. 7, 2018, a Tunisian cargo ship is reported to have struck the hull of a Cypriot container ship in waters north of the French island of Corsica. There were no casualties, but the collision caused a fuel leak that resulted in an oil slick about 20 kilometers long. Although the collision occurred in

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

NASA Soil Moisture Data Advances Global Crop Forecasts

Data from the first NASA satellite mission dedicated to measuring the water content of soils is now being used operationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to monitor global croplands and make commodity forecasts. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission launched in 2015 and has helped map the amount of water in soils worldwide.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

What’s Eating Away at the Greenland Ice Sheet?

In the high-stakes race against sea level rise, understanding what’s causing the Greenland Ice Sheet to melt is critical. The problem isn’t just rising temperatures: soot from ships, wildfires and distant power plants, as well as dust and a living carpet of microbes on the surface of the ice, are all speeding up the melting.

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Antarctica Loses Grip

The European Space Agency (ESA) CryoSat mission revealed that, during the last seven years, Antarctica has lost an area of underwater ice the size of Greater London. This is because warm ocean water beneath the continent’s floating margins is eating away at the ice attached to the seabed. Most Antarctic glaciers flow straight into the

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Far Northern Permafrost May Unleash Carbon Within Decades

Permafrost in the coldest northern Arctic—formerly thought to be at least temporarily shielded from global warming by its extreme environment—will thaw enough to become a permanent source of carbon to the atmosphere in this century, with the peak transition occurring in 40 to 60 years, according to a new NASA-led study. The study calculated that

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

USGS: Waterbirds at Risk in Chesapeake Bay

Manmade structures built along Chesapeake Bay shorelines to protect against sea-level rise, storm surge and erosion have been found to negatively impact waterbirds, according to a USGS study. In many coastal regions, shorelines are “armored” with wooden, concrete or steel bulkhead walls or riprap borders that consist of piles of large stones or boulders. Shoreline

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