February 11, 2009 Farming, Food Security and Climate Change to be Discussed by NASA Scientist at Library of Congress, March 3

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Science, Technology and Business Division (202) 707-5664; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (301) 614-6627

Molly E. Brown, a research scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has been involved for the past 10 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) use of satellite remote sensing to monitor food security in developing regions. Satellite estimates of crop production play an important role in USAID’s Famine Early Warning System. According to Brown, changes in population size, reduced yields in the most productive regions and a changing climate all are elements in global food security. When people have enough to eat, U.S. national security, public health and global economic growth are improved. In an age of increasing global connectedness and enhanced technologies, scientists can make better-informed choices that will let the global food system function well for all populations. Brown, who works at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will address the topic in a lecture titled “Farming, Food Security, and Climate Change” at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 3, in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required. The illustrated lecture, the first in a series of programs in 2009, is presented through a partnership between the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Brown’s talk will describe the global food system, how climate change will differentially affect the poorest countries with subsistence agricultural systems, and how local agricultural capacity continues to be at the center of food provision for many of the world’s poorest. As climate change exerts pressure on global food production, the importance of other social, political and economic pressures on the system emerge. Brown is a research scientist in the Biospheric Science Branch at GSFC. She works on long-term data record development as well as on the impact of climate change on developing countries in Africa. She previously worked at GSFC as a contractor with Science Systems and Applications, Inc. Brown is NASA’s representative on USAID’s Famine Early Warning System board of directors and also serves on the national council of the Association of American Geographers. She is the chair of the science committee of the Baltimore-Washington Partnership for Forest Stewardship, a partnership of federal agencies that manage 40 square miles of contiguous lands with more than 64 percent tree-canopy cover in Maryland. The recipient of a NASA Exceptional Achievement in Science award in 2008, Brown earned her academic degrees from Tufts University and the University of Maryland at College Park. The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the Library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/.


PR 09-028
ISSN 0731-3527