America View

Mary Jo Alfano, American Geological Institute, Alexandria, VA
Larry Biehl, IndianaView, West Lafayette, IN
Todd Ensign, NASA IV&V ERC, Fairmont, WV
Rick Landenberger, West Virginia View at WVU, Morgantown, WV
Mary O'Neill, South Dakota View, Brookings, SD Mary.Oneill@SDSTATE.EDU
Christine Sommers-Austin, MontanaView, Helena, MT

Project Summary

The America View team is focusing on the data (sets) and visualizations available through the NASA NEO tool that permits exploration of remotely sensed imagery from a variety of instruments on NASA's A-Train. Team members, please refer to our telecon notes (Microsoft Word 25kB Feb1 13) as reference.

Our team explored the carbon monoxide and optical thickness data sets for January 2005, 2006, 2007 over the area of Northern Africa. We intentionally used IE 6, IE 7, Opera, and FireFox on Windows XP Pro, and Apple's Safari on OS 10.4.9. We had to give up on Opera and had significant re-fresh issues with IE 6. Problems could be related to Java versions or other plug-in complications.

Data connections were explored between Optical thickness and CO using NEO's ICE Box and the Probe, Transect, Select and Outline region, Histrogram, and Scatter plot (only available when examining two sets simutanously).
We next downloaded images formatted as .kmz (Google Earth Zip), then opened and explored them using Google Earth.
Our current goal for the EET Module is:
I. Introduction to NEO interface and ICE using one image.
II. Explorations of spatial patterns between two images.
III. Connect data to an Event (wild fire, volcanic eruption, etc.) or location (large city, Saraha Desert, etc.)

All team members attended the Google Earth and NASA NEO sessions together and were able to achieve a 'proof of concept' for the practical aspects of our data access and manipulation as well as address some issues and questions that arose in our earlier session.


Team, we need everyone to add to the possible storylines for valid investigations of the dataset. The goal is to come up with at least one compelling scenario that will give users a reason to work through the technological steps necessary to perform some analysis of the data.

[edited slightly on May 30 by RL]

Understanding CO and particulate concentration in Earth's atmosphere is critically important. Due to rapid population growth and resulting resource exploitation, concentrations of both of these important atmospheric pollutants have increased beyond the range of natural variability. These significant changes in Earth's atmosphere could have profound, detrimental implications for quality of life, health and wellness, biodiversity, and sustainability. Indeed, depending on where one 'looks', negative impacts may already be taking place.

Until very recently it was not possible to sample, let along study and analyze, atmospheric chemistry in a synoptic manner. Due to recent advances in remote sensing - satellite and imaging technologies - scientists are now able to measure concentrations of these and other pollutants on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. This allows a much more detailed understanding of how natural and anthropogenic events such as fires, dust storms, and urban industrial development alter the concentrations of various atmospheric gases, including carbon monoxide and aerosols.




We are using this space to share questions that students should answer in the context of completing each lesson.

resolution definitions:

Dust and smoke events documented in Earth Observatory for August, September and October 2005:

Optical Thickness / Aerosols

  • What are aerosols? What are they composed of?
  • What are the major sources of aerosols?
  • Are aerosols evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere? If not, why not?
  • Why is it important for scientists and policy makers to understand the role of particulates in the atmosphere?
  • What NASA instrument (sensor) gathers information on aerosols? What is the measure use to estimate aerosol concentration in the atmosphere?

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

  • What is CO? List several characteristics.
  • What are the major sources of CO?
  • Is CO evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere? If not, why not?
  • Why is it important for scientists and policy makers to understand the role of CO in the atmosphere?
  • What NASA instrument (sensor) gathers information on CO? What is the measure use to estimate CO concentration in the atmosphere?

Support for fires in central South America:

CO from July 05: no CO
CO from Aug 05: mid-level/slightly high CO
CO from Sept 05: high CO
CO from Oct 05: high CO
some missing data (cloud problems? Larry), but still some yellows and reds
by January 06: is back to July 05 levels

fires August 04, 2005:

fires August 18, 2005:

fires August 29, 2005:

fires September 08, 2005:

fires September 20, 2005:

fires September 22, 2005:

fires October 14, 2005:

General Natural Hazards page:

General Carbon Monoxide Questions:

  • What are some of the sources of carbon monoxide (CO)?
  • How do the sources of CO vary in different parts of the world?
  • How is CO spread throughout the atmosphere?
  • Does CO directly affect global temperature?
  • Where in the atmosphere (in what layer) is CO measured?
  • The CO data are reported as monthly averages. What does this mean?
  • Why are high concentrations of carbon monoxide a concern in the atmosphere?
  • What is the name of the satellite that measures CO in the atmosphere?
  • What is the name of the sensor on this satellite that measures CO?
  • In what unit is CO measured? Explain this unit of measurement.
  • What does the color scale of the legend mean? (e.g.: Explain how a red value compares to a blue or yellow value.)


This is the outline of the individual lessons along with links to documents created during the AccessData Conference. Attach the file to this page.


Lesson 1 - Introduction to NEO - Use Atmoshpere/Optical Thickness for 9/2005 - Look at information for optical thickness: dust, smoke from fires, volcanic ash, pollution from factories

Lesson 2 - Introduction to ICE - add optical thickness 9/2005 - add carbon monoxide 9/2005 (or do just one image for the first time) - describe how to use ICE tools (subset, ice mode, file size) - show correlation between optical thickness and co in South America (fire) - show lack of correlation between between optical thickness and co in Africa (dust)

Lesson 3 - using time SERIES animation in ICE; use China - changed to aero. and CO over central Africa - Use July, August, September, October to January 06 to see none to lots to none (CO). - Use August, September, October for Optical Thickness

Note: in NEO, sometime called optical thickness and sometimes optical depth note: problem with annimation may be inability to put scenes in chronological order.

AmericaView Activity Outline (Microsoft Word 35kB Feb1 13)


Attach the file to this page. This space is for Rick to assign project components to the team members.

Resolution definitions:

Todd: Completed Step by Step for Lesson 1-Intro to NEO, moving onto Activity Outline Guide

Larry: Working on Lesson 2-Intro to ICE Box

Rick: Working on Lesson 3-Using Animation Tool in ICE Box

Mary Jo: Working on Group PowerPoint

Mary: Editing our CO datasheet and starting chapter 4

Additional Intro/extension questions that we need to follow up on:

Mention that there are multiple, simulatanous sources of these pollutants (ie duststorm in China)

There could be other sources we don't mention.

If we explore the CO connection to Fire or pollution and use "seasonal variability" as our flow chart item, we need to make sure we accommodate for additional seasonal variability in pollution in Los Angeles or China's pollution. We may need to refer to additional information sources.

BIG Caution: Don't frame any of these as Absolutes.

We can use Google Earth to help differentiate sources.

NOTE: Possible Follow Up on Tuesday after Memorial day 3 pm telecon (see notes (Microsoft Word 33kB Feb1 13))


Attach the file to this page. AmericaView Final Presentation (PowerPoint 936kB Feb1 13)


This is where our AV Team will upload our "Drafts Ready for Review" of Lessons 1, 2, 3 and our two Data Sheets for CO and Optical Thickness. If you review and revise a document, please add a _v2 or _v3 etc on the end of the file name as uploading a same-name document will overwrite the previous version.

Lesson 1 (Microsoft Word 2.2MB Feb1 13)

Lesson 2 (Microsoft Word 3.3MB Feb1 13)

Lesson 3 (Microsoft Word 551kB Feb1 13)

EET Template v1 (Microsoft Word 59kB Feb1 13)

EET Template v2 (Microsoft Word 62kB Feb1 13)

EET Template v3 (Microsoft Word 67kB Feb1 13)

EET Template v4 (Microsoft Word 92kB Feb1 13)

EET Template v5 (Microsoft Word 92kB Feb1 13)

EET Template v9 (Microsoft Word 114kB Feb1 13)

Datasheet on Aerosol Optical Thickness (Microsoft Word 152kB Feb1 13)

Datasheet on Carbon Monoxide (Microsoft Word 234kB Feb1 13)