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Topic: Drought

NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory unfurled it’s Reflector Antenna today

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, today sent commands to unfurl the massive 20-foot-wide (6-meter) reflector antenna on NASA’s new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory, launched January 31st.

The deployment of the mesh reflector antenna, which supports the collection of SMAP’s radar and radiometer instrument measurements in space, marks a key milestone in commissioning the satellite. SMAP will soon begin its three-year science mission to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed.

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA scientists say United States could be in for Megadroughts if current rate of Greenhouse Gas Emissions continues

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years, according to a new NASA study.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Science Advances, is based on projections from several climate models, including one sponsored by NASA. The research found continued increases in human-produced greenhouse gas emissions drives up the risk of severe droughts in these regions.

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NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite to help Farmers manage Drought conditions

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – About 60 percent of California is experiencing “exceptional drought,” the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most dire classification. The agency issued the same warning to Texas and the southeastern United States in 2012. California’s last two winters have been among the driest since records began in 1879. Without enough water in the soil, seeds can’t sprout roots, leaves can’t perform photosynthesis, and agriculture can’t be sustained.

Currently, there is no ground- or satellite-based global network monitoring soil moisture at a local level. Farmers, scientists and resource managers can place sensors in the ground, but these only provide spot measurements and are rare across some critical agricultural areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

For several months, California has been in a state of "exceptional drought." The state's usually verdant Central Valley produces one-sixth of the U.S.'s crops. (White House via Wikimedia Commons)

For several months, California has been in a state of “exceptional drought.” The state’s usually verdant Central Valley produces one-sixth of the U.S.’s crops. (White House via Wikimedia Commons)

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Austin Peay State University Botanical Garden showcases area’s rare and endangered plants

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – A few years ago, three tall, flowering cherry trees grew on the western side of Austin Peay State University’s Sundquist Science Complex. They provided a nice, welcoming entry into the building, but in 2007, Tennessee suffered from a record-setting drought.

Temperatures reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit that summer, and by the fall, the 20-foot tall trees were dead.

Austin Peay Botanical Garden. (APSU)

Austin Peay Botanical Garden. (APSU)

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USDA says $15M in Targeted Conservation Help Available to Farmers in Impoverished Communities this Year

 

USDA - U.S. Department of AgricultureNashville, TN – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will target over $885,197 this year in technical and financial conservation assistance for Tennessee farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in persistent poverty rural areas.

StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity is a USDA effort that focuses high-priority assistance in rural communities in 20 states with a special emphasis on historically underserved farmers, ranchers and communities in counties with persistent poverty. «Read the rest of this article»

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NASA Scientists to hold briefing on using it’s assets to better understand, help with California Drought

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA officials will participate in a media briefing at 9:30am PST Tuesday, February 25th about the agency’s work to use its Earth observation assets to help the state of California better manage its water resources and monitor and respond to its ongoing drought.

The briefing will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, CA.

Audio of the event will be streamed live at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

California is currently experiencing one of its driest years on record, with 100 percent of the state in drought conditions as of this week. (NASA Earth Observatory)

California is currently experiencing one of its driest years on record, with 100 percent of the state in drought conditions as of this week. (NASA Earth Observatory)

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NASA uses satellites, aircraft, and high-altitude balloons to investigate California’s extreme drought

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – California is supposed to be the Golden State.  Make that golden brown.

The entire west coast of the United States is changing color as the deepest drought in more than a century unfolds.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NOAA, dry conditions have become extreme across more than 62% of California’s land area—and there is little relief in sight.

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NOAA predicts mixed bag of drought, flooding and warm weather for spring

 

Washington, D.C.NOAA issued the three-month U.S. Spring Outlook today, stating that odds favor above-average temperatures across much of the continental United States, including drought-stricken areas of Texas, the Southwest and the Great Plains.

Spring promises little drought relief for most of these areas, as well as Florida, with below- average spring precipitation favored there. Meanwhile, river flooding is likely to be worse than last year across the country, with the most significant flood potential in North Dakota.

U.S. Spring Flood Risk Map for 2013.  (Credit: NOAA)

U.S. Spring Flood Risk Map for 2013. Read the full National Hydrologic Assessment. (Credit: NOAA)

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NASA Study reveals degradation of Amazon Forest due to Climate Change

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study.

These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.

The megadrought in the Amazon rainforest during the summer of 2005 caused widespread damage and die-offs to trees, as depicted in this photo taken in Western Amazonia in Brazil. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The megadrought in the Amazon rainforest during the summer of 2005 caused widespread damage and die-offs to trees, as depicted in this photo taken in Western Amazonia in Brazil. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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USDA’s Accomplishments in 2012

 

Written by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
USDA

USDA - U.S. Department of AgricultureWashington, D.C. – Over the course of 2012, farm families and rural communities faced a number of challenges. A record drought impacted much of the country and many were impacted by a major hurricane, flooding and severe storms. However, thanks to the resilience of rural Americans, our communities are still going strong.

Over the course of this year, USDA continued our record efforts to help folks across our nation, and I am proud of the work we carried out.

Dr. Tim Cross, dean of UT Extension; Dr. Shirley Hastings, associate dean and head of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences; Martha Pile, UT Extension family and consumer sciences agent; and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during his visit to the Montgomery County Agricultural Extension Office

Dr. Tim Cross, dean of UT Extension; Dr. Shirley Hastings, associate dean and head of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences; Martha Pile, UT Extension family and consumer sciences agent; and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during his visit to the Montgomery County Agricultural Extension Office

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