Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Exploring Ocean Life and Color on the Internet

15.12.2004


A new NASA Internet tool called "Giovanni" allows high school and college students and researchers to access and analyze satellite-derived ocean color data. Ocean color data provides students with information about ocean biology by looking at phytoplankton through changes in the color of the ocean surface.



"Ocean color" refers primarily to the measurement of the green pigment called chlorophyll, which is contained in phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are free-floating plants that are the foundation of the ocean’s food chain.

Giovanni stands for the "Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) Online Visualization and Analysis Infrastructure." NASA recently released three Giovanni tutorials demonstrating how students can conduct research with ocean color data. Use of such technical information was previously only possible for experienced scientists with advanced computer systems.


Scientists and software developers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md., designed Giovanni. The initial release of this Web tool allows users to see ocean color data from the SeaWiFS satellite. Data from other ocean color missions will be added, including data from NASA’s Aqua satellite. Giovanni development is part of the Ocean Color Time-Series Project, headed by Dr. Watson Gregg, a NASA GSFC oceanographer.

Dr. James Acker of the GES DISC Oceans Data Team created three tutorials geared for high school and college level students. These tutorials help students identify research questions that can be answered with ocean color data.

"In creating these tutorials, I discovered features in the data that were a complete surprise," Acker said. "The tutorials show how to use Giovanni, and how students can use it to make new discoveries, potentially contributing to ocean science."

In the first tutorial, Dr. Acker looked at the chlorophyll patterns in the Gulf of Panama to see if they were influenced by El Nino/La Nina events. The Gulf of Panama has a strong seasonal pattern caused by strong winds that blow through the Panama Canal Zone in winter. The winds mix nutrients from deeper waters to the surface, and the nutrients promote phytoplankton growth. The strong 1997-1998 El Nino reduced the productivity, or how much phytoplankton grow in this region, as expected.

In the summer of 2001, however, there were short bursts of higher productivity not seen in other years. This unusual pattern may have been an early indicator of how the Gulf of Panama changed before the moderate El Nino event that occurred in 2002-2003.

The second tutorial investigated seasonal patterns of productivity in the Red Sea. There were two seasonal patterns in the Red Sea, one in the north and another in the south. Though these patterns are familiar to oceanographers, Giovanni provided another surprise. "I saw a very small area of relatively high chlorophyll concentrations near the Egyptian coast," Acker said. "At first it looked like a small river was entering the Red Sea. But there aren’t any rivers in this part of the desert." Further investigation indicated that this area was associated with a large coral reef complex on the Red Sea coast. A third tutorial examines the California coast near Monterey Bay, and discusses the influence of clouds on the data.

In the past, researchers had to download data files and analyze them on their own computing systems, a difficult and time-consuming process. Giovanni is one of the first demonstrations of new technology that will be improved in the future, making it much easier to use the data, including the multi-decade data sets that the Ocean Color Time-Series Project will create.

Cynthia O’Carroll | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/everydaylife/giovanni.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>