Tag Archives: Atmospheric

Is It Gonna Blow? Measuring Volcanic Emissions from Space

DSC_0084 WEBCarbon dioxide measured by a NASA satellite pinpoints sources of the gas from human and volcanic activities, which may help monitor greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.

Late last month, a stratovolcano in Bali named Mount Agung began to smoke. Little earthquakes trembled beneath the mountain. Officials have since evacuated thousands of people to prevent what happened when Agung erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people.

Before volcanoes erupt, there are often warning signs. Tiny earthquakes rarely felt by humans but sensed by seismographs emanate from the volcano. Plumes of water vapor rise from the crater. When the volcano begins to emit gases like carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, eruption may be imminent.

But getting close to the top of a volcano is dangerous work. Using remote sensing to detect rising carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions without endangering people or equipment would greatly increase human understanding of volcanoes. Remote sensing emissions could prevent humanitarian disasters—and false alarms. Read the full story on the Michigan Tech news website.

by Kelley Christensen


New Funding

image98360-persimage153545-persPengfei Xue (CEE, left) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $104,168 research and development grant from NASA.

Mark Kulie (GMES/GLRC, right) is the Co-PI on the project, ” Evaluation and Advancing the Representation of Lake-Atmosphere Interactions and Resulting Heavy Lake-Effect Snowstorms across the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin Within the NASA-Unified Weather Research and Forecasting Model.”

This is the first year of a potential four-year project totaling $327,927.


Bo Zhang and Co-Authors Publish Paper on Long-Range Transport of Trace Gases

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 8.10.50 AMBo Zhang (2015), currently a research scientist at the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, VA, and co-authors published a paper, “Ten-year chemical signatures associated with long-range transport observed in the free tropophere over the central North Atlantic” in Elementa Science of the Anthropocene Journal.

Ten years of observations of trace gases at Pico Mountain Observatory (PMO), a free troposphere site in the central North Atlantic, were classified by transport pattern using the Lagrangian particle dispersion model FLEXPART.

The classification enabled identification of trace gas mixing ratios associated with background air and long-range transport of continental emissions, which were defined as chemical signatures. Comparison between the chemical signatures revealed the impacts of natural and anthropogenic sources, as well as chemical and physical processes during long transport, on air composition in the remote North Atlantic.


Kostinski – In the News

Sun glints off atmospheric ice crystals (circled in red) in this view captured by NASA's EPIC instrument on NOAA's DISCOVR satellite.
Sun glints off atmospheric ice crystals (circled in red) in this view captured by NASA’s EPIC instrument on NOAA’s DISCOVR satellite.

One million miles from Earth, a NASA camera is capturing unexpected flashes of light reflecting off our planet, and Alex Kostinski has helped identify them as ice particles high in the atmosphere. NASA, Health Medicine Net and Astrobiology Web have published news stories about the phenomena and the research.

Visit here, here and here.

Scientific American and Nature magazine reported on Kostinski’s  research that helped NASA solve the mystery of flashes of light appearing over land, which turned out to be ice crystals high in the atmosphere. See the full story here.


Pengfei Xue Interviewed on Lake Climate Projection

image98360-persHOUGHTON — A Michigan Technological University researcher is leading the effort to create a comprehensive model for the complicated and diverse climate of the Great Lakes region.

Pengfei Xue developed a model combining climate and water models with assistance from Loyola Marymount University, LimnoTech and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

When we have that component, the entire water cycle and surface water cycle would be complete. Then we could estimate the water level change over years.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.


Michigan Tech Ranks High in NSF Grants for Mechanical Engineering, Atmospheric Science, Environmental Science, Oceanography

In the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) latest rankings of universities by total research expenditures, Michigan Tech ranked 116th in the nation among public institutions and Tech’s atmospheric science and oceanography research ranked first in Michigan.

Nationally, atmospheric science research at Michigan Tech ranked 39th in research expenditures and oceanography ranked 53rd. Environmental science also ranked 53rd. Tech’s mechanical engineering research ranked 23rd in the nation, the highest ranking of all research fields at the University.

“Michigan Tech has been growing our capabilities in environmental science through our faculty hiring processes like the strategic faculty hiring initiative, our facility development efforts like the Great Lakes Research Center and in our equipment investments such as the cloud chamber in the Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Institute,” said Dave Reed, vice president for research. “NSF’s report reflects the impact of those investments and the significant research role that Michigan Tech is playing both nationally and within Michigan.”

The NSF report covered fiscal year 2015.

Other research areas at Tech that ranked in the top 100 nationwide include:

  • Biomedical engineering, 96th
  • Chemical engineering, 98th
  • Civil engineering, 92nd
  • Electrical engineering, 55th
  • Mechanical engineering, 23rd
  • Materials science and engineering, 61st
  • Mathematical sciences, 75th
  • Business and management, 73rd
  • Humanities, 98th
  • Visual and performing arts, 85th

The NSF report showed that research expenditures at Michigan Tech totaled $69.6 million for fiscal year 2015.


Great Lakes Climate Modeling in the News

image98360-persPengfei Xue (CEE) and his modeling work through the Great Lakes Research Center, which led to a more comprehensive climate and hydrodynamics model for the whole Great Lakes region, has been featured in several science media outlets including Science Daily, Phys.org, Terra Daily and Supercomputing Online News. The story was shared numerous times by collaborators and the science community on Twitter.

Weather the Storm: Improving Great Lakes Modeling

The collaborative work brought together researchers from Michigan Technological University, Loyola Marymount University, LimnoTech and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. Pengfei Xue, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, led the study through his work at the Great Lakes Research Center on campus.

One of the important concepts in climate change, in addition to knowing the warming trend, is understanding that extreme events become more severe. That is both a challenge and an important focus in regional climate modeling. —Pengfei Xue

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.



New Funding

Raymond Shaw

Raymond Shaw (Physics/EPSSI) is the principal investigator on a research and development project that has received a $150,931 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

 

 


Will Cantrellimage64675-pers

Will Cantrell (Physics) and Claudio Mazzoleni (Physics) are Co-PIs on the project, “An Investigation of the Suitability of a Laboratory Cloud Chamber for Optical Radiative Transfer Measurements.”

 

This is the first year of a two-year project potentially totaling $316,374.


Master Student Andrea Baccarini describes his research work in the Azores

AndreaAndrea Baccarini is an Italian master student who graduated in Physics at the University of Trento in 2016. Andrea performed field research at the Pico Mountain Observatory in the Azores in collaboration with MTU faculty members. Recently, he described his field experience in the MTU “Unscripted: Science and Research” blog as a guest writer with an entry titled “On Top of the World“.