3.2. EOS Instrument Algorithm Development/Calibration/Validation

Instrument calibration activities were conducted supporting the ESA ERS-1 Venice Tower calibration, and the NASA/CNES TOPEX/Poseidon Harvest Platform and Lampedusa calibrations. As part of the activities which support GLAS and accurate measurement of sea level, additional calibration of TOPEX/Poseidon altimeter instruments are being conducted in the Galveston Bay region along the Texas coast. Techniques for using the highly accurate T/P orbit to obtain relative range and time bias estimates and improved orbits for ERS-1, ERS-2, Seasat, and Geosat have been developed. Improved models for correcting the ESA released ERS-1 altimeter data to ensure consistency with the TOPEX data have been developed. This two-year data record will be placed in the Ocean DAAC at JPL.

3.3. Use of EOS Data

The ocean and polar ice topography changes observed by the EOS radar and laser altimeter satellites, along with the Earth rotation and mass change observed by satellite laser ranging, very long baseline interferometry, and GPS space geodesy techniques will be the the primary measurements for this investigation. The mass and momentum balances will require measurements from a number of EOS instruments as well as meteorological data fields from global circulation models. AIRS/AMSU/MHS will provide input for the temperature and moisture in the atmospheric momentum, mass, and water budgets. MIMR will be used to observe water vapor and the information about surface winds over the ocean. NSCAT, SSM-I and SeaWinds will be used to provide measurements for sea surface wind vectors. EOS Radar ALT will provide sea surface topography, wind speed, and wave height measurements and measurements of global sea-level change. EOS Laser ALT will be used to provide changes in ice sheet elevations to provide a constraint on the global water budget. These two measurements will be crucial to measuring the impact of global warming on sea-level change.

In addition, other data sources, including many of the Pathfinder data sets, satellite radar altimetry data, and long-term space geodetic measurements, such as the 20-year series of satellite laser ranging to geodetic satellites, will be utilized. The terrestrial reference frame determined by satellite laser ranging is an essential requirement for describing changes in the Earth system over multi-decadal time intervals.

3.4. Contribution to Policy Relevant Objectives of MTPE/EOS

The results of this interdisciplinary investigation are anticipated to contribute to the policy relevant objectives of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE)/Earth Observing System (EOS). Our objective to model and to separate natural processes observed by EOS sensors from human-induced global warming phenomena, will help improve global climate pattern nowcasting and forecasting, which have societal and economic benefit. The specific contributions to ocean-atmosphere interactions will contribute to studies of natural variability and enhanced climate prediction, while the studies of sea level change will contribute to long-term climate change including global warming.

3.5. Contribution to Educational Objectives of MTPE/EOS

One of the objectives of this investigation is to use the science computing facility (SCF), established as part of the overall investigation, as a means of providing EOS and data products to other educational and state government organizations. Both access to and help in understanding and applying these data products will be provided. The emphasis of this activity will be focused on regional high school and minority university educational programs. The fact that the Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) is operated though the University of Texas Center for Space Research provides an opportunity for collaboration between the education and outreach programs of these two efforts.

To assist this activity, the current research program has established an internet WWW home page (http://www.csr.utexas.edu/). This home page is linked to the TSGC home page (http://www.utexas.edu/tsgc/). Current data products which appear on these home pages include a series of ocean surface topography changes from TOPEX satellite altimetry at 10-day intervals, marine geoid, a sequence of ocean surface wind fields from ERS-1 scatterometry, AVHRR sea surface temperature fields, ocean surface tide displacements, etc. During the coming year, the EOS investigation and the TSGC will collaborate with a group of high school teachers and education majors at the University of Texas to develop teaching modules focused on the use of EOS data products. The TSGC home page, already linked to the HQ/National Space Grant home page, is rapidly becoming a statewide communications node for the 50+ university, industry, and state agencies that are members of the TSGC.

In addition, the Texas Space Grant Consortium currently sponsors an annual remote sensing program geared toward high school students. This program, entitled Sky View, allows student teams to design, build, and apply a prototype remote sensing system to enhance their Earth science studies. Past projects include determining the aspects of a water drainage basin, monitoring the erosion of creek beds over time, to monitoring the habits of a prairie dog town. This type of program is unique in that it provides students a hands-on project that lasts the entire school year, while demonstrating the uses of remote sensing at a local level. As data from the EOSDIS becomes available, it will be used in these programs.

Realizing that an important part of understanding global change is to look at patterns within a region, the Texas Space Grant Consortium and the Center for Space Research are currently developing an extensive program for K-12 students across Texas. The STARS Project (Students and Teachers Accessing Remote Sensing) will give students an interactive look at the Earth.

The initial focus of the STARS Project is developing a weather network across the state. Selected schools across the state are currently collecting and recording local weather conditions using automated weather systems, in conjunction with a local television station. In the near future, these schools will also be receiving APT direct broadcast data from the NOAA weather satellites. This live display of weather conditions, along with the data and data products provided through the CSR EOS SCF, will allow classrooms across the state to improve their studies of global change. Future plans for the STARS Project will include using AVHRR and TOPEX/Poseidon for oceanographic studies, such as El Niño and circulation within the Gulf of Mexico. Future plans for the STARS Project will include using AVHRR and TOPEX/Poseidon for oceanographic studies such as El Niño and circulation within the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, a remote sensing infrastructure program, involving TSGC universities statewide, interested state agencies, and the local public, has been initiated with the objective of creating grass-roots demand for MTPE remote sensing data products and GIS-derived technologies.