May 25, 2012 Scientist Martha C. Anderson To Discuss "Mapping Water Use from Space" June 14

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Access to fresh water is a daily issue of life or death in many parts of the world. Now the means to objectively measure and map water use with observations from space-based satellites has been discovered. As the technology moves from innovation to everyday operations, a revolution in practical water monitoring is underway.

Research scientist Martha Anderson will discuss these issues in her lecture “Mapping Water Use from Space” at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 14 in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are needed.

The illustrated lecture, the fourth in a series of programs in 2012, is presented through a collaboration between the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The collaboration is in its sixth year.

According to Anderson, research scientists have learned to measure the exchange of water vapor between the land surface and the atmosphere, or what’s called evapotranspiration (ET), by using observations from space. ET is made up of all the water that’s evaporated from surfaces and water used by plants in the process of photosynthesis. Evaporating water uses energy, so vegetation consuming more water appears cooler when measured by Landsat satellites. These new calculations can help with monitoring drought, managing water, planning for irrigation and predicting crop yield, all key areas for farming and natural-resource management.

Anderson is a research physical scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. She received her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1993 with a dissertation on cosmic-ray acceleration in galactic supernova remnants. Her research focuses on mapping water, energy and carbon, using observations from space-based sensors. She served as a member of the Landsat Science Team from 2006 to 2011, and recently co-edited a book titled “Remote Sensing of Drought: Innovative Monitoring Approaches.”

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Landsat satellites have taken specialized digital photographs of Earth’s continents and surrounding coastal regions for more than three decades, enabling people to study many aspects of the planet and to evaluate the dynamic changes caused by both natural processes and human practices.

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PR 12-112
ISSN 0731-3527