The research team, led by Joseph Nigro of Science Systems and Applications, Inc., incorporated two NASA products into a computer program in BASINS (Better Assessment Science Integrating Nonpoint Sources) that calculates streamflow rates and pollution concentrations.
The current model uses meteorological data from weather stations, which can miss precipitation events and cause errors in modeling water quality. With better precipitation data, scientists will be able to obtain better estimates of the amount of pollution a body of water can carry before it is determined to be “polluted.”
The study revealed that both NASA products dramatically improved water quality model performance over the default weather stations. Both systems improved model performance but neither one was consistently better than the other. The NASA data systems were better able to capture the effects of water flow during storm periods that occur frequently in the summer months. This is due to the seamless coverage of the datasets as opposed to a single weather station that cannot represent all precipitation events in a given watershed.
The two data products that were selected for this study are the NASA-modified North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) 1/8th degree precipitation and the Stage IV 4-kilometer dataset developed by the NOAA River Forecast Center Multisensor Precipitation Estimator. The results from the study were reported in the July-August 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, published by the America Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.
The researchers selected seven watersheds within the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin to test the NASA-modified products. They were selected based on their dispersed locations within the drainage basin, an absence of reservoirs or diversions, and the presence of water quality data. Each watershed was also selected based on whether it represented a specific topographic and land cover/land use, so that the study could be conducted within a range of elevations and land cover types to understand how these variations affect the results.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that over 20,000 water bodies within the United States do not meet water quality standards. The models that this research aims to improve are designed to assessing pollution and to guide the decision making process for improving water quality. The 1972 Clean Water Act requires states to monitor the total daily load a body of water can carry before it is considered polluted.
Although states may also monitor water quality with in-stream measuring and sampling, some states lack the resources to assess and protect water bodies with monitoring data alone. Models are a practical solution by taking into account the response of streams to storm runoff and pollution.
NASA is currently working with Aqua Terra Consultants, the Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center, and the EPA to incorporate precipitation data access within the BASINS model, providing users with an alternative dataset. This will be especially valuable for data sparse areas and in cases where the nearest weather station is many kilometers outside of the watershed. In time, this could also expand the potential use of BASINS to parts of the world without good meteorological data. This study was funded by the NASA Applied Sciences Program.
The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at https://www.agronomy.org/publications/jeq/abstracts/39/4/1388.
The Journal of Environmental Quality is a peer-reviewed, international journal of environmental quality in natural and agricultural ecosystems published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The Journal of Environmental Quality covers various aspects of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including terrestrial, atmospheric, and aquatic systems.
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.
Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
How much biomass grows in the savannah?
16.02.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Canadian glaciers now major contributor to sea level change, UCI study shows
15.02.2017 | University of California - Irvine
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine