Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




WATER WORLD
New NASA Satellite Takes the Salton Sea's Temperature
by Kate Ramsayer for NASA's Earth Science News
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Apr 23, 2013


The Salton Sea in Southern California and nearby irrigated fields stand out in this image taken Mar. 24, 2013, by the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instrument on the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite. Darker areas of the image are cooler, while lighter areas are warmer. Credit: USGS/NASA's Earth Observatory.

An image from an instrument aboard NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission or LDCM satellite may look like a typical black-and-white image of a dramatic landscape, but it tells a story of temperature. The dark waters of the Salton Sea pop in the middle of the Southern California desert. Crops create a checkerboard pattern stretching south to the Mexican border.

If you looked at the Salton Sea in person, your eyes would not see anything presented in the LDCM image. Instead of showing visible light, the image shows the amount of heat -- or thermal energy -- radiating from the landscape and detected by the Thermal Infrared Sensor, or TIRS, instrument on LDCM. Cooler areas are dark, while warm areas are bright.

The dark squares in the LDCM's image of the Salton Sea are fields where plants can absorb irrigation water before sweating it off through a process called transpiration. Just like when people sweat, plants cool down when they transpire. The combination of transpiration and water evaporating from the ground itself -- called evapotranspiration -- drops the temperature of the irrigated land. Those cool temperatures, indicating healthy, well-watered plants, are picked up by TIRS.

"What you're looking at is infrared light that's generated by the Earth itself," said Dennis Reuter, TIRS instrument scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. TIRS is one of two instruments on the newest spacecraft in the Landsat family, launched Feb. 11 and currently in its on-orbit calibration and checkout phase.

While its partner instrument records reflected sunlight, TIRS complements that view with temperature readings across swaths of Earth's surface. The Goddard-designed detectors in the TIRS instruments can pick up two different bands of thermal infrared energy, which excite electrons and create an electrical signal. With TIRS measuring the strength of those signals, corresponding to temperatures on the ground, scientists can generate images like this one of the Salton Sea.

The view you get from TIRS is similar to what you've seen on television crime shows when cops use thermal imagers to track warm-bodied suspects moving around inside of a building. With Landsat, though, scientists use the thermal bands to track down water. Dark pixels representing cool spots and light pixels of hot spots are key to helping water managers determine where the valuable resource is being used for irrigation, especially in the arid western United States.

"You're using the temperature of a plant as a sort of surrogate measurement for the irrigation going on," Reuter said.

The Landsat program is a joint mission of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Once LDCM completes its on-board calibration and check-out phase in late May, the satellite will be handed over to the USGS and renamed Landsat 8. Data from TIRS and LDCM's second instrument, the Operational Land Imager, will be processed, archived and distributed from the Earth Resources and Observation Science Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., for free over the Internet.

.


Related Links
Landsat at NASA
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Massive amounts of charcoal enter the worlds' oceans
Bremen, Germany (SPX) Apr 23, 2013
Wild fires turn millions of hectares of vegetation into charcoal each year. An international team of researchers led by Thorsten Dittgar from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen and Rudolf Jaffe from Florida International University's Southeast Environmental Research Center in Miami has now shown that this charcoal does not remain in the soil, as previously thought. ... read more


WATER WORLD
Characterizing The Lunar Radiation Environment

Russia rekindles Moon exploration program, intends setting up first human outposts there

Pre-existing mineralogy may survive lunar impacts

Lunar cycle determines hunting behaviour of nocturnal gulls

WATER WORLD
Dutch reality show seeks one-way astronauts for Mars

Accurate pointing by Curiosity

NASA Mars Orbiter Images May Show 1971 Soviet Lander

Opportunity is in position for solar conjunction at 'Cape York' on the rim of Endeavour Crater

WATER WORLD
Mysterious water on Jupiter came from comet smash

What makes a good astronaut?

NASA urged to preserve funding for planetary science missions

Testing Spacesuits in Antarctica, part 1

WATER WORLD
Yuanwang III, VI depart for space-tracking missions

Shenzhou's Shadow Crew

Shenzhou 10 sent to launch site

China's Next Women Astronauts

WATER WORLD
Spacewalkers Deploy Plasma Experiment, Install Navigational Aid

The New and Improved ISS Facilities Brochure

Full tank, please For ATV Einstein

Russia puts mice, newts in space for a month

WATER WORLD
NASA Seeks Innovative Suborbital Flight Technology Proposals

Stephane Israel named Chairman and CEO of Arianespace

Launch pad problem scrubs launch of Antares rocket for NASA

ILS Proton Launches Anik G1 for Telesat

WATER WORLD
Kepler Discovers its Smallest Habitable Zone Planets

Notre Dame astrophysicist discovers 5-planet system like Earth

Five-Planet System With Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Yet Found

New Techniques Allow Discovery Of Smallest Super-Earth Exoplanets

WATER WORLD
US eases export rules on aerospace parts

MEADS Low Frequency Sensor Cues Multifunction Fire Control Radar in Test

Ontario Air Cadets Take Flight in Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D Simulation Software

Softening steel problem expands computer model applications




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement