National Environmental Education Week 2014
Sponsored by Samsung, National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) takes place April 13-19, 2014 and is the nation’s largest celebration of environmental education. It is held each year during the week before Earth Day and inspires environmental learning and stewardship among K-12 students. The 2014 theme, Greening STEM: Engineering a Sustainable World, explores the application of engineering to sustainable solutions for a healthier planet and healthier people.
Learn more about weather, satellites and engineering!
Satellites are critical for forecasting our weather and monitoring the environment. They monitor the earth from space and provide data that help scientists analyze and track storms, monitor coastal waters, track and measure snow cover and much more! Engineers help design and improve these satellites to capture data for scientists. Here are a few satellites that are helping us learn about and monitor weather and the environment:
Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Satellite: NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the GPM satellite on February 27, 2014. The purpose of this international satellite is to provide observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours. Data from this satellite will help scientists better understand water cycle and its links to climate change. Data will also help improve hurricane monitoring and prediction, enhance weather and climate computer models, help improve forecasting of floods, droughts and landslides, contribute to better agricultural crop forecasting and help scientists better predict changes in fresh water supplies.
Geostationary Orbiting Environmental Satellite (GOES) System: These satellites circle the Earth in a geosynchronous orbit, meaning they orbit the Earth at a speed matching the Earth’s rotation. They hover over one position continuously and are stationed about 22,300 miles above the Earth. The GOES satellites collect continuous data on severe weather conditions, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, flash floods and hail storms. Satellite imagery from the GOES satellites helps to estimate rainfall during thunderstorms.
Jason-2 Satellite: This satellite is a part of the Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM). This international mission is designed to observe ocean circulation, sea level rise and wave heights. A high-precision ocean altimeter, an instrument used to measure elevation, can measure the distance between the ocean surface and the satellite down to a few centimeters. These observations help determine the speed of ocean currents and heat stored in the ocean.
Take a look at other satellites and the information they provide!
First image courtesy of NASA/Britt Griswold. Second image courtesy of NOAA. Third image courtesy of NASA.