Public Release: 

Extreme weather science and forecasting, new earth science insights, highlight NASA presentations at AAAS symposium

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA scientists and other researchers will present four symposiums this weekend concerning the latest advances in severe weather detection, the complex changes in global snow and ice, global environmental monitoring and the interactions of aerosols and climate. These presentations will take place as part of the 2002 American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston, beginning Friday, February 15, 2002.

Summaries of the subjects to be covered in each presentation, a list of the participants, the title of their research paper and with the time and place for each symposium are listed here.

In addition to the material presented at the AAAS conference, NASA will broadcast visualizations of extreme weather, and the science behind it, on NASA-TV at 12 noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST on Friday, February 15. NASA-TV is broadcast on the GE2 satellite located on Transponder 9C, at 85 degrees West longitude, frequency 3880.0 MHz, audio 6.8 MHz. For more information, contact Rachel Weintraub, Associate TV Producer at the Goddard Space Flight Center at 301-286-0918 or by email at:

Additional information is also available at:


Friday, February 15, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, Room 109.

As the global climate changes, nations around the world face more frequent and severe tornadoes, hurricanes, El Niño and La Niño related extreme weather, droughts and flooding. NASA satellites, technology and research are all helping people to better understand and forecast extreme weather and related climate events.

Speakers and lectures for this symposium include:

Robert Adler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Predicting El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Its Effects"

Shripad Deo, NOAA/NWS Central Region Hydrologic Services Division, Kansas City, Mo. "Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services for Water Resources and Emergency Management"

Timothy Liu, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Early Detection of Tropical Depressions Improves Hurricane Forecasting"

Steven J. Goodman, NASA?s Marshall Spaceflight Center, Huntsville, Ala. "Extreme Lightning Flash Rates as an Early Indicator of Intensifying Storms"

Marshall Shepherd, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Large Forecast Centers Using TRMM Real-Time Data"

Edward Gutro, E.A. Kelley Insurance, Quincy, Mass. " Insurance Against Extreme Weather"

DECIPHERING THE COMPLEX CHANGES IN GLOBAL SNOW AND ICE Saturday, February 16, 3:00 - 6:00 p.m., Sheraton Back Bay Ballroom D

The ice caps, snow cover and glaciers that make up the global cryosphere, or regions of the Earth where the surface is perennially frozen, have shown signs of decline in recent decades. There is a downward trend in the amount of sea-ice that extends into the ocean, accompanied by sea-ice thinning. Negative snow cover anomalies have dominated both Northern Hemisphere continents since the late 1980s. Small Arctic glaciers have declined in size as well. At the same time there has been pronounced winter and spring warming over the northern continents and a significant change in Arctic atmospheric circulation. But whether these climate changes can be interpreted as signals of enhanced greenhouse warming is open to debate. This session brings together scientists studying different aspects of the global cryosphere to look at what the data is telling them about why snow and ice cover are changing around the world.

The speakers for this symposium include:

David A. Robinson, Rutgers University "The Northern Hemisphere?s Spring Snow Drought?"

Mark F. Meier, University of Colorado "Shrinking Glaciers and Rising Sea Level: Has the Impact Been Under-estimated?"

Claire L. Parkinson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center "The Puzzle of Polar Sea-Ice Changes"

Robert Bindschadler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center "New Observations of a Continent of Ice"

Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center "What a Splintering Ice Shelf Means"

Mark C. Serreze, National Snow and Ice Data Center "Recent Changes in Northern High Latitudes: Synthesis of Observations and Comparisons with Model Predictions"

THE CHALLENGES AND PROMISE OF GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING Sunday, February 17, 9:00-12:00 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, Room 111

The era of intensive study of the Earth from space has arrived, with terabytes of data being collected every day from a growing and more capable constellation of Earth-observing spacecraft. But are scientists ready for this onslaught of data? This session takes a look at some of the major new scientific accomplishments of global environmental monitoring and the challenges that this new capability presents to the international scientific community. New spaceborne observations, coupled with data collected on the ground, are being used to tackle complex, multidisciplinary topics such as the flow of carbon through the atmosphere and biosphere and monitoring the health of tropical forests around the world. The data are also being used to address local issues such as land use and urban planning. The huge volume of data from these new Earth-observing satellites and networks presents scientists with the challenge of turning this flood of information into scientific knowledge. There is also an increasing need to train new Earth system scientists who can speak the "languages" of multiple disciplines and develop the technical tools to handle the flood and variety of data.

The speakers and lectures for this symposium include:

Dr. Azita Valinia, NASA Office of Earth Science "New Views of the Earth: Recent Results from Space-Based Remote Sensing"

Richard W. Reynolds, National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service "Monitoring Long-term Climate Records: A Coherent Picture?" and "Sea Surface Analyses for Climate"

Mark R. Abbott, Oregon State College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences "Training the New Generation of Earth System Scientists"

David L. Skole, Michigan State University, Basic Science and Remote Sensing "A Global Forest Observatory"

THE BIG CLIMATE IMPACT OF TINY PARTICLES Sunday February 17, 3:00-6:00 p.m. Hynes Convention Center, Room 110

Aerosols, the tiny atmospheric particles well known as a human health hazard in air pollution, are increasingly being studied for their contribution to changes in the environment. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the various complex effects that different types of aerosols have on climate ? from adding to the greenhouse effect to changing the reflective properties of clouds ? and the great uncertainties in how large those effects are on climate warming. Recent studies have also shown how aerosols from massive fires and air pollution can suppress regional rainfall. The realization that anthropogenic aerosols can substantially alter precipitation patterns raises the issue of our impact on one of the most economically important climate factors: water availability and quality. Scientists have had difficulty measuring aerosols on a global basis because of their diverse physical characteristics and relatively short residence times in the atmosphere. To counter this problem, researchers have recently conducted large-scale experiments to study the complex interactions of aerosols and climate. Along with new global observations from a new generation of sensors on such missions as NASA?s Terra spacecraft, new insights are emerging. This session presents the latest results from major field campaigns in Africa, South America and the Indian Ocean; new observations from space; and the implications of aerosol research on climate change policy strategies.

The speakers for this symposium include:

Yoram J. Kaufman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center "Remote Sensing of Aerosols and Their Impact on Climate"

Harold J. Annegarn, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa "Aerosols Over Africa"

Paulo Artaxo, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil "Cloud-Aerosol-Radiation Connections in Amazonia"

V. Ramanathan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography "Absorbing Aerosols and Climate Change: Inferences from the Indian Ocean Experiment"

Daniel Rosenfeld, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel "Aerosol-Induced Changes in Precipitation and Global Circulation"

James Hansen, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies "The Role of Aerosol Science in Climate Change Policy"


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.