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  • richardmitnick 2:21 pm on January 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , The course was jointly designed by UW professors and PNNL researchers to produce a curriculum that reflected good pedagogical techniques in-depth contact with the process of collecting observational d, The students took ownership of their learning using the multiple scientists and engineers at the institution as resource experts, Training a New Generation of Data-Savvy Atmospheric Researchers, U Washington   

    From Eos: “Training a New Generation of Data-Savvy Atmospheric Researchers” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington team up to teach students about state-of-the-art research instrumentation.


    1
    The inaugural atmospheric research instrumentation class at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory toured the Atmospheric Measurements Laboratory’s “skystand” platform, which includes a group of radiometers measuring solar energy at different angles. Credit: Andrea Starr, PNNL

    1.30.19

    Laura D. Riihimaki
    Robert A. Houze Jr.
    Lynn A. McMurdie
    Katie Dorsey

    Scientific discovery in the atmospheric sciences depends on data from field campaigns, surface observations, satellites, and other observational data sets. Many of these data sets and the tools used to collect them are stewarded by national laboratories and government agencies because of the scale of the infrastructure needed to support them. Although some graduate students in the atmospheric sciences have an opportunity to participate in data collection activities, many students graduate without appreciating where the data that they rely on for their research come from.

    In an effort to bridge that gap, 10 University of Washington (UW) graduate students traveled to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash., in September 2017 to participate in a 2-week intensive short course on instrumentation taught by PNNL scientists and engineers. The goal of the course was to enhance the future research careers of these students by exposing them to state-of-the-art atmospheric instrumentation and data collection techniques and thus help ensure that the next generation of scientists will understand the factors affecting strengths and limitations of observational data used in complex atmospheric studies.

    Surveys of university programs in atmospheric sciences show that the number of departments offering courses in instrumentation declined between 1964 and 2000, with fewer than 20% of departments offering graduate-level courses in instrumentation [Cohn et al., 2006]. There is a growing gap between the complexity of modern measurement technology and the ability of universities to provide adequate training to understand measurements. Several approaches to bridge this gap have been successful, such as partnerships between universities and national laboratories (e.g., Storm Peak Laboratory [Hallett et al., 1993; Borys and Wetzel, 1997]), designing courses in which students participate in research flights [Hallet et al., 1990; Fabry et al., 1995], and student-led field campaigns [Rauber et al., 2007].

    The approach we used was to offer an advanced graduate course for credit at the University of Washington and embed the course at a national laboratory instructed by instrument experts. The course was designed to develop data literacy in atmospheric researchers who will be using advanced data sets but are not necessarily planning careers in instrument development or operation. The rigor of a for-credit graduate course facilitated a depth of engagement beyond simple demonstrations or descriptions of instruments.

    Defining a Curriculum

    2
    Jason Tomlinson, director of engineering for the PNNL’s ARM Aerial Facility, demonstrates aircraft sensors to the UW class. Credit: Robert A. Houze Jr.

    The course was jointly designed by UW professors and PNNL researchers to produce a curriculum that reflected good pedagogical techniques, in-depth contact with the process of collecting observational data, and hands-on experience.

    Twenty PNNL scientists and engineers worked together to teach the course, which included engagement with a range of instruments and measurement techniques used in atmospheric science, such as passive (radiometric) and active (radar and lidar) remote sensing, aircraft in situ measurements, and laboratory measurements in atmospheric chemistry and cloud formation (Table 1). To tie together these diverse topics and reinforce key factors relevant to any measurement effort, each instructor covered a common set of themes: calibration, accuracy and uncertainty, instrument sensitivity, the physics of how atmospheric parameters are sampled, performance in the field, and practical considerations related to siting or operations. The course also covered data logging and data management techniques, which are critical skills for making data sets useful for research.

    As a result, the students gained an understanding and appreciation of the full data life cycle, from designing experiments to installing and calibrating instruments, collecting quality observational data, interpreting the data, and archiving data for future use. As described by radar engineer Joseph Hardin, “we tried to present the students with information that went beyond textbooks and addressed the realities of working with these instruments in a research capacity.”

    Encouraging Student Engagement

    The students took ownership of their learning, using the multiple scientists and engineers at the institution as resource experts. A professor with teaching experience handled assessment and student coordination, but the course content was taught by instrumentation experts. We used three strategies to create this type of engagement.

    First, the course created an environment of immersive learning. Instructors gave at least 3–4 hours of consecutive instruction in the morning on each topic and then spent the second half of the day leading interactive activities such as experiments, demonstrations, data analysis, and tours. By capping the course enrollment at 10, interaction between students and instructors was extensive.

    Second, student presenters were responsible for summarizing the content of the previous day each morning. This method of assessment allowed further engagement on topics that weren’t clear and required students to take ownership of the information.

    Finally, after 2 weeks of instruction, each student designed an individual project with a PNNL mentor. The students were required to pick a project in an area different from their current research to help them engage with new material. We gave the students several weeks to complete analysis of observational data from areas they’d learned about in the class and prepare a short report summarizing their findings.

    Students chose to work with data from a wide range of instruments, including broadband and spectral radiometers, multifrequency radars, Raman lidars, and experiments measuring aerosols. Project topics included the utility of water vapor retrievals from Raman lidar for studying the remote marine boundary layer, calculating aerosol yield of isoprene from chamber experiments, and radar retrievals of median volume drop size diameter using observations from the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment.

    Training Future Leaders

    From the outset, students received the course with enthusiasm: It took only hours for 10 students to register for every available seat in the class. The students also had wide-ranging areas of study, from those who worked primarily with observational data to those who worked mainly with computer models.

    “I was really interested in getting a chance to learn some of the nuts and bolts of these observations and instruments I was using all the time,” said Sam Pennypacker, a third-year graduate student who analyzes data out of the Azores from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) User Facility. “Learning it from the experts, the instrument mentors, you can’t beat that. You can only get so much from reading documentation.”

    The students are eager to apply what they learned. Second-year graduate student Qiaoyun Peng will get that opportunity when she participates in a National Science Foundation–sponsored field campaign in 2018: The Western Wildfire Experiment for Cloud Chemistry, Aerosol Absorption and Nitrogen (WE-CAN) will use airborne instrumentation to study atmospheric chemical reactions within western U.S. wildfire plumes.

    “I feel much more confident to conduct a field experiment after the course,” Peng said. “It’s also a great opportunity for me to feel what it is like to work in a national lab and get in touch with top scientists in my field to design a small project together.”

    Jessica Haskins, a fourth-year graduate student who uses aircraft instrument data in her research, called the class an “unprecedented opportunity.”

    “This course was by far the one I’ve learned the most from in graduate school,” Haskins said.

    The students expressed that the class filled a missing element in their career preparation and that they would be more effective researchers armed with this newly gained appreciation for state-of-the-art measurement technology and challenges. The success of this effort has encouraged us to pursue this type of course with other graduate students in the coming years.

    References

    Borys, R. D., and M. A. Wetzel (1997), Storm Peak Laboratory: A research, teaching and service facility for the atmospheric sciences, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2,115–2,123, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477(1997)0782.0.CO;2.

    Cohn, S. A., J. Hallett, and J. M. Lewis (2006), Teaching graduate atmospheric measurement, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 87, 1,673–1,678, doi:10.1175/BAMS-87-12-1673.

    Fabry, F., B. J. Turner, and S. A. Cohn (1995), The University of Wyoming King Air educational initiative at McGill University, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 76, 1,806–1,811, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477-76.10.1806.

    Hallett, J., J. G. Hudson, and A. Schanot (1990), Student training in facilities in atmospheric sciences: A teaching experiment, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 71, 1,637–1,644, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477-71.11.1637.

    Hallet, J., M. Wetzel, and S. Rutledge (1993), Field training in radar meteorology, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 74, 17–22, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477(1993)0742.0.CO;2.

    Rauber, R. M., et al. (2007), In the driver’s seat: Rico and education, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 88, 1,929–1,938, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-88-12-1929.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:08 pm on January 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , One year into the mission autonomous ocean robots set a record in survey of Antarctic ice shelf, The first self-guided ocean robots to successfully travel under an ice sheet and return to report long-term observations, U Washington   

    From University of Washington: “One year into the mission, autonomous ocean robots set a record in survey of Antarctic ice shelf” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    January 23, 2019
    Hannah Hickey

    1
    A Seaglider, with the Getz Ice Shelf in the background, being prepared for deployment in January 2018 under the neighboring Dotson Ice Shelf.Jason Gobat/University of Washington

    A team of ocean robots deployed in January 2018 have, over the past year, been the first self-guided ocean robots to successfully travel under an ice sheet and return to report long-term observations.

    Beyond mere survival, the robotic mission — a partnership between the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, the Korean Polar Research Institute and Paul G. Allen Family Foundation — has ventured 18 times under the ice shelf, repeatedly reaching more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) into the cavity, among the farthest trips yet into this treacherous environment.

    2
    The instruments’ travel routes over the past year. Pink, orange and yellow tracks show the three self-navigating Seagliders. Teal tracks show the drifting floats. The background is a satellite image of Dotson Ice Shelf captured Feb. 28.Luc Rainville/University of Washington

    “This is the first time any of the modern, long-endurance platforms have made sustained measurements under an ice shelf,” said Craig Lee, a UW professor of oceanography and member of the Applied Physics Laboratory. “We made extensive measurements inside the cavity. Gliders were able to navigate at will to survey the cavity interior, while floats rode ocean currents to access the cavity interior.

    “It’s a major step forward,” Lee added. “This is the first time we’ve been able to maintain a persistent presence over the span of an entire year.”

    The project funded by Paul G. Allen Family Foundation seeks to demonstrate the technology and gather more data from the underside of ice shelves that are buttressing the much larger ice sheets. Direct observations of how warmer seawater interacts with the underside of ice shelves would improve models of ice sheet dynamics in Antarctica and Greenland, which hold the biggest unknowns for global sea level rise.

    “Some ice sheets terminate in large ice shelves that float out over the ocean, and those act as a buttress,” Lee said. “If the ice shelves collapse or weaken, due to oceanic melting, for example, the ice sheets behind them may accelerate toward the sea, increasing the rate of sea level rise.”

    3
    This sketch shows how three self-driving Seagliders and four drifting floats tracked conditions below an Antarctic ice shelf. Inside these caves, warmer saltwater flows in on the bottom, carrying heat which may eat away at the ice, and fresher glacial meltwater flows out above. University of Washington

    “Most of the uncertainty in global sea level rise predictions for decades to centuries is from ice sheets, which could contribute from 1 foot to as much as 6 feet by 2100,” said Pierre Dutrieux, a research professor of oceanography at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “A key driver is interaction with the ocean heat and these new tools open tantalizing perspectives to improve on current understanding.”

    The mission set out in late 2017 to test a new approach for gathering data under an ice shelf, and on Jan. 24, 2018, devices were dropped from the Korean icebreaker R/V Araon. This week, two self-navigating Seagliders reached the milestone of one year of continuous operation around and under the ice shelf.

    Robot submarines operated by the British Antarctic Survey, known as Autosub3 and Boaty McBoatface, successfully completed 24- to 48-hour voyages in 2009, 2014 and 2018. These missions surveyed similar distances into the cavity but sampled over shorter periods due to the need for a ship support.

    4
    A drifting robot known as an Electro-Magnetic Autonomous Profiling Explorer, or EM-APEX, is lowered into the ocean. This is one of four floats that traveled with currents under the Dotson Ice Shelf.Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

    By contrast, the U.S.-based team’s technology features smaller, lighter devices that can operate on their own for more than a year without any ship support. The group’s experimental technique first moored three acoustic beacons to the seafloor to allow navigation under the ice shelf. It then sent three Seagliders, swimming robots developed and built at the UW, to use preprogrammed navigation systems to travel under the ice shelf to collect data.

    The mission also deployed four UW-developed EM-APEX floating instruments that drift with the currents at preselected depths above the bottom, or below the top of the cavity, while periodically bobbing up and down to collect more data. All four of these drifting instruments successfully traveled deep under the ice shelf with the heavier, saltier water near the seafloor. Three were flushed out with fresh meltwater near the top of the ice cavity about six to eight weeks later. One float remained under for much longer, only to reappear Jan. 5.

    During the past year, the fleet of robots has reached several milestones:

    A Seaglider reached a maximum distance of 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the edge beneath Dotson Ice Shelf in West Antarctica;
    The Seagliders made a total of 18 trips into the cavity, with the longest trip totaling 140 kilometers (87 miles) of travel under the shelf;
    The Seagliders also made 30 surveys along the face of the ice shelf;
    After one year, two out of three Seagliders are reporting back;
    In the current Southern Hemisphere summer, one of the Seagliders has gone back under the ice shelf and has completed two roughly 100-kilometer (62-mile) journeys;
    Another Seaglider will begin its second year of sampling at the face of the ice shelf;
    Three drifting floats journeyed under the Dotson Ice Shelf and back out in early 2018;
    After 11 months under the ice, the fourth float reported home in mid-January 2019 close to the neighboring Crosson Ice Shelf.

    Researchers are now analyzing the data for future publication, to better understand how seawater interacts with the ice shelves and improve models of ice sheet behavior.


    Four months of data show three Seagliders dropped from the ship in late January, then traveling toward the Dotson Ice Shelf (white). Two Seagliders (pink and orange) venture under the ice sheet in summer, while a third (yellow) samples along the face. The gliders then spend the colder months sampling along the ice sheet’s edge. Meanwhile, the drifting floats are dropped closer to the ice edge in late February. The teal tracks show how they drift under the ice sheet and then get flushed out in late March. A fourth float drifted to the right of this image, reaching a neighboring ice sheet.

    Other members of the team are Knut Christianson, a UW assistant professor of Earth and space sciences who is currently in Antarctica on a separate project; Jason Gobat, Luc Rainville and James Girton at the Applied Physics Laboratory; and the Korean Polar Research Institute, or KOPRI.

    ###

    For more information on the Seaglider component, contact Lee at craiglee@uw.edu or 206-685-7656; on the drifting floats, contact Girton at girton@uw.edu; and for more general questions, contact Dutrieux at pierred@ldeo.columbia.edu or 845-365-8393.

    Images and video are available for download at http://bit.ly/AntarcticRobotsOneYear.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:28 pm on January 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Astronomers find signatures of a ‘messy’ star that made its companion go supernova, , , , , , It takes many astronomers and a wide variety of types of telescopes working together to understand transient cosmic phenomena, , SN 2015cp, , U Washington,   

    From University of Washington: “Astronomers find signatures of a ‘messy’ star that made its companion go supernova” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    January 10, 2019
    James Urton

    1
    An X-ray/infrared composite image of G299, a Type Ia supernova remnant in the Milky Way Galaxy approximately 16,000 light years away.NASA/Chandra X-ray Observatory/University of Texas/2MASS/University of Massachusetts/Caltech/NSF

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope


    Caltech 2MASS Telescopes, a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at Caltech, at the Whipple Observatory on Mt. Hopkins south of Tucson, AZ, Altitude 2,606 m (8,550 ft) and at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory at an altitude of 2200 meters near La Serena, Chile.

    Many stars explode as luminous supernovae when, swollen with age, they run out of fuel for nuclear fusion. But some stars can go supernova simply because they have a close and pesky companion star that, one day, perturbs its partner so much that it explodes.

    These latter events can happen in binary star systems, where two stars attempt to share dominion. While the exploding star gives off lots of evidence about its identity, astronomers must engage in detective work to learn about the errant companion that triggered the explosion.

    On Jan. 10 at the 2019 American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, an international team of astronomers announced that they have identified the type of companion star that made its partner in a binary system, a carbon-oxygen white dwarf star, explode. Through repeated observations of SN 2015cp, a supernova 545 million light years away, the team detected hydrogen-rich debris that the companion star had shed prior to the explosion.

    “The presence of debris means that the companion was either a red giant star or similar star that, prior to making its companion go supernova, had shed large amounts of material,” said University of Washington astronomer Melissa Graham, who presented the discovery and is lead author on the accompanying paper accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

    The supernova material smacked into this stellar litter at 10 percent the speed of light, causing it to glow with ultraviolet light that was detected by the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories nearly two years after the initial explosion. By looking for evidence of debris impacts months or years after a supernova in a binary star system, the team believes that astronomers could determine whether the companion had been a messy red giant or a relatively neat and tidy star.

    The team made this discovery as part of a wider study of a particular type of supernova known as a Type Ia supernova. These occur when a carbon-oxygen white dwarf star explodes suddenly due to activity of a binary companion. Carbon-oxygen white dwarfs are small, dense and — for stars — quite stable. They form from the collapsed cores of larger stars and, if left undisturbed, can persist for billions of years.

    Type Ia supernovae have been used for cosmological studies because their consistent luminosity makes them ideal “cosmic lighthouses,” according to Graham. They’ve been used to estimate the expansion rate of the universe and served as indirect evidence for the existence of dark energy.

    2
    An image of SN 1994D (lower left), a Type Ia supernova detected in 1994 at the edge of galaxy NGC 4526 (center).NASA/ESA/The Hubble Key Project Team/The High-Z Supernova Search Team.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Yet scientists are not certain what kinds of companion stars could trigger a Type Ia event. Plenty of evidence indicates that, for most Type Ia supernovae, the companion was likely another carbon-oxygen white dwarf, which would leave no hydrogen-rich debris in the aftermath. Yet theoretical models have shown that stars like red giants could also trigger a Type Ia supernova, which could leave hydrogen-rich debris that would be hit by the explosion. Out of the thousands of Type Ia supernovae studied to date, only a small fraction were later observed impacting hydrogen-rich material shed by a companion star. Prior observations of at least two Type Ia supernovae detected glowing debris months after the explosion. But scientists weren’t sure if those events were isolated occurrences, or signs that Type Ia supernovae could have many different kinds of companion stars.

    “All of the science to date that has been done using Type Ia supernovae, including research on dark energy and the expansion of the universe, rests on the assumption that we know reasonably well what these ‘cosmic lighthouses’ are and how they work,” said Graham. “It is very important to understand how these events are triggered, and whether only a subset of Type Ia events should be used for certain cosmology studies.”

    The team used Hubble Space Telescope observations to look for ultraviolet emissions from 70 Type Ia supernovae approximately one to three years following the initial explosion.

    “By looking years after the initial event, we were searching for signs of shocked material that contained hydrogen, which would indicate that the companion was something other than another carbon-oxygen white dwarf,” said Graham.

    In the case of SN 2015cp, a supernova first detected in 2015, the scientists found what they were searching for. In 2017, 686 days after the supernova exploded, Hubble picked up an ultraviolet glow of debris. This debris was far from the supernova source — at least 100 billion kilometers, or 62 billion miles, away. For reference, Pluto’s orbit takes it a maximum of 7.4 billion kilometers from our sun.

    3
    In 2017, 686 days after the initial explosion, the Hubble Space Telescope recorded an ultraviolet emission (blue circle) from SN 2015cp, which was caused by supernova material impacting hydrogen-rich material previously shed by a companion star. Yellow circles indicate cosmic ray strikes, which are unrelated to the supernova. NASA/Hubble Space Telescope/Graham et al. 2019.

    By comparing SN 2015cp to the other Type Ia supernovae in their survey, the researchers estimate that no more than 6 percent of Type Ia supernovae have such a litterbug companion. Repeated, detailed observations of other Type Ia events would help cement these estimates, Graham said.

    The Hubble Space Telescope was essential for detecting the ultraviolet signature of the companion star’s debris for SN 2015cp. In the fall of 2017, the researchers arranged for additional observations of SN 2015cp by the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, among others. These data proved crucial in confirming the presence of hydrogen and are presented in a companion paper lead by Chelsea Harris, a research associate at Michigan State University.

    Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft), above sea level,

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky Expanded Very Large Array, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level,

    NASA Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory

    “The discovery and follow-up of SN 2015cp’s emission really demonstrates how it takes many astronomers, and a wide variety of types of telescopes, working together to understand transient cosmic phenomena,” said Graham. “It is also a perfect example of the role of serendipity in astronomical studies: If Hubble had looked at SN 2015cp just a month or two later, we wouldn’t have seen anything.”

    Graham is also a senior fellow with the UW’s DIRAC Institute and a science analyst with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST.

    LSST telescope, currently under construction at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes, altitude 2,663 m (8,737 ft),

    “In the future, as a part of its regularly scheduled observations, the LSST will automatically detect optical emissions similar to SN 2015cp — from hydrogen impacted by material from Type Ia supernovae,” said Graham said. “It’s going to make my job so much easier!”

    Co-authors are Harris; Peter Nugent at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Kate Maguire at Queen’s University Belfast; Mark Sullivan and Mathew Smith at the University of Southampton; Stefano Valenti at the University of California, Davis; Ariel Goobar at Stockholm University; Ori Fox at the Space Telescope Science Institute; Ken Shen, Tom Brink and Alex Filippenko at the University of California, Berkeley; Patrick Kelly at the University of Minnesota; and Curtis McCully at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Las Cumbres Observatory. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the European Research Council and the U.K.’s Science and Technology Facilities Council.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:03 am on December 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ocean acidification is changing the water’s chemistry and lowering its pH, Salmon may lose the ability to smell danger as carbon emissions rise, U Washington   

    From University of Washington: “Salmon may lose the ability to smell danger as carbon emissions rise” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    December 18, 2018 [First appearance in social media.]
    Michelle Ma

    1
    Coho salmon spawning on the Salmon River in northwestern Oregon. Bureau of Land Management

    The ability to smell is critical for salmon. They depend on scent to avoid predators, sniff out prey and find their way home at the end of their lives when they return to the streams where they hatched to spawn and die.

    New research from the University of Washington and NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center shows this powerful sense of smell might be in trouble as carbon emissions continue to be absorbed by our ocean.

    Ocean acidification is changing the water’s chemistry and lowering its pH. Specifically, higher levels of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the water can affect the ways in which coho salmon process and respond to smells.

    2
    A school of juvenile coho salmon. Alaska Sea Grant

    “Salmon famously use their nose for so many important aspects of their life, from navigation and finding food to detecting predators and reproducing. So it was important for us to know if salmon would be impacted by future carbon dioxide conditions in the marine environment,” said lead author Chase Williams, a postdoctoral researcher in Evan Gallagher‘s lab at the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health.

    The study, published Dec. 18 in the journal Global Change Biology, is the first to show that ocean acidification affects coho salmons’ sense of smell. The study also takes a more comprehensive approach than earlier work with marine fish by looking at where in the sensory-neural system the ability to smell erodes for fish, and how that loss of smell changes their behavior.

    “Our studies and research from other groups have shown that exposure to pollutants can also interfere with sense of smell for salmon,” said Gallagher, senior co-author and a UW professor of toxicology. “Now, salmon are potentially facing a one-two punch from exposure to pollutants and the added burden of rising CO2. These have implications for the long-term survival of our salmon.”

    The research team wanted to test how juvenile coho salmon that normally depend on their sense of smell to alert them to predators and other dangers display a fear response with increasing carbon dioxide. Puget Sound’s waters are expected to absorb more CO2 as atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, contributing to ocean acidification.

    3
    Researcher Chase Williams takes water samples to measure the pH in the tanks used in the study’s experiments. University of Washington.

    In the NOAA Fisheries research lab in Mukilteo, the research team set up tanks of saltwater with three different pH levels: today’s current average Puget Sound pH, the predicted average 50 years from now, and the predicted average 100 years in the future. They exposed juvenile coho salmon to these three different pH levels for two weeks.

    After two weeks, the team ran a series of behavioral and neural tests to see whether the fishes’ sense of smell was affected. Fish were placed in a holding tank and exposed to the smell of salmon skin extract, which indicates a predator attack and usually prompts the fish to hide or swim away. Fish that were in water with current CO2 levels responded normally to the offending odor, but the fish from tanks with higher CO2 levels didn’t seem to mind or detect the smell.


    In the behavioral tests shown in this video, juvenile salmon in two separate tanks were exposed to an odor that would normally prompt a fear response. In the first clip, fish smell the odor coming from the left side of each tank, and avoid or swim away from the smell. In the second clip, fish have been exposed to higher levels of CO2, which has impaired their sense of smell. The fish don’t react to the odor once it is introduced to both tanks, suggesting their ability to smell has been altered.

    After the behavioral tests, neural activity in each fish’s nose and brain — specifically, in the olfactory bulb where information about smells is processed — was measured to see where the sense of smell was altered. Neuron signaling in the nose was normal under all CO2 conditions, meaning the fish likely could still smell the odors. But when they analyzed neuron behavior in the olfactory bulb, they saw that processing was altered — suggesting the fish couldn’t translate the smell into an appropriate behavioral response.

    Finally, the researchers analyzed tissue from the noses and olfactory bulbs of fish to see if gene expression also changed. Gene expression pathways were found to be altered for fish that were exposed to higher levels of CO2, particularly in their olfactory bulbs.

    “At the nose level, we think the neurons are still detecting odors, but when the signals are processed in the brain, that’s where the messages are potentially getting altered,” Williams said.

    In the wild, the fish likely would become more and more indifferent to scents that signify a predator, Williams said, either by taking longer to react to the smell or by not swimming away at all. While this study looked specifically at how altered sense of smell could affect fishes’ response to danger, it’s likely that other critical behaviors that depend on smell such as navigation, reproduction and hunting for food would also take a hit if fish aren’t able to adequately process smells.

    The researchers plan to look next at whether increased CO2 levels could affect other fish species in similar ways, or alter other senses in addition to smell. Given the cultural and ecological significance of salmon, the researchers hope these findings will prompt action.

    “We’re hoping this will alert people to some of the potential consequences of elevated carbon emissions,” said senior co-author Andy Dittman, a research biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. “Salmon are so iconic in this area. Ocean acidification and climate change are abstract things until you start talking about an animal that means a lot to people.”

    Other co-authors are Paul McElhany, Shallin Busch and Michael Maher of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center; and Theo Bammler and James MacDonald of the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

    This study was funded by Washington Sea Grant and the Washington Ocean Acidification Center, with additional support from the UW Superfund Research Program, the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program and the Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:48 am on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AMP-Adaptable Monitoring Package, , , R/V Light, U Washington   

    From University of Washington: “Underwater sensors for monitoring sea life (and where to find them)” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    December 13, 2018
    Sarah McQuate

    1
    Paul Gibbs, a mechanical engineer at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, inspects the newest Adaptable Monitoring Package, or AMP, before a test in a saltwater pool. AMPs host a series of sensors that allow researchers to continuously monitor animals underwater.Kiyomi Taguchi/University of Washington

    Harvesting power from the ocean, through spinning underwater turbines or bobbing wave-energy converters, is an emerging frontier in renewable energy.

    Researchers have been monitoring how these systems will affect fish and other critters that swim by. But with most available technology, scientists can get only occasional glimpses of what’s going on below.

    So a team at the University of Washington created a mechanical eye under the ocean’s surface, called an Adaptable Monitoring Package, or AMP, that could live near renewable-energy sites and use a series of sensors to continuously watch nearby animals. On Dec. 13, the researchers put the newest version of the AMP into the waters of Seattle’s Portage Bay for two weeks of preliminary testing before a more thorough analysis is conducted in Sequim, Washington.

    “The big-picture goal of the AMP when it started was to try to collect the environmental data necessary to tell what the risks of marine energy were,” said Brian Polagye, a UW associate professor of mechanical engineering and the director of the Pacific Marine Energy Center, a research collaboration between the UW, Oregon State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “But we ended up with a system that can do so much more. It’s more of an oceanographic Universal Serial Bus. This is a backbone, and you can plug whatever sensors you want into it.”

    2
    3
    Paul Gibbs and mechanical engineering doctoral student Emma Cotter watch the newest AMP during a preliminary test in a saltwater pool. Credit: Kiyomi Taguchi/University of Washington

    The newest member of the AMP family has the biggest variety of sensors yet, including an echosounder, which uses sonar to detect schools of fish. It also will contain the standard set of instruments that all previous AMPs have supported, including a stereo camera to collect photos and video, a sonar system, hydrophones to hear marine mammal activity and sensors to gauge water quality and speed. This new system also does more processing in real time than its predecessors.

    “We want the computer to not just collect data, but actually distinguish what it sees,” said Emma Cotter, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering. “For example, we’d like to program it to automatically save images if sea turtles swim by the AMP.”

    This new AMP will get its first taste of life outside while hanging off the UW Applied Physics Laboratory‘s research dock. That way, the team can check all the sensors for any potential problems before the AMP goes to the Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim for a suite of tests.

    “We’re going to be looking at quite a few different questions in Sequim,” Cotter said. “First we’ll look at how well we can track and detect fish. Then once a small tidal turbine is deployed, we’ll be monitoring that. Will we be able to discriminate targets close to it or detect animals interacting with the turbine?”

    4
    The wave-powered AMP (top left) after nearly two months of operation at the Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii.University of Washington

    The team also has developed additional AMPs that are more specific to other types of oceanographic research. Since early October, an AMP has been surveying sea life off the coast of Hawaii while riding aboard a yellow metal ring, called the BOLT Lifesaver, through a partnership with the Navy, the U.S. Department of Energy, University of Hawaii and the company Fred. Olsen.

    “They were interested in what happens if whales and sea turtles encounter the mooring lines that connect the Lifesaver to the seabed,” Cotter said. “The best way to answer that question is with an AMP.”

    The Lifesaver is a wave-energy converter — a device that converts the bobbing of waves into electricity — that powers this AMP. And for the days when the sea is calm, the team powers the AMP from a battery.

    “This is the first example of using wave energy to power oceanographic sensors,” Polagye said. “Previously people have collected wave energy and sent it back to shore. But this AMP is completely self-reliant. Marine energy is not just coming in the far future. It’s happening right now.”

    The research group is also working on a vessel-based version of the AMP, which will ride aboard APL’s newest research vessel, the R/V Light.

    6
    R/V Light

    The team plans to test tidal turbines on the boat, so the vessel-based AMP will let the researchers see if anything happens to fish that are close by.

    Now the team hopes to commercialize the AMP platform through a UW spinout company called MarineSitu. That way people can purchase AMPs with sensor packages that are specific to their research goals.

    Other members of the AMP team include Andy Stewart, assistant director of defense and industry programs at APL; Robert Cavagnaro, Paul Gibbs and James Joslin, mechanical engineers at APL; and Paul Murphy and Corey Crisp, research engineers in the UW mechanical engineering department. This research was funded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center and the U.S. DOE Water Power Technologies Office. Emma Cotter is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:52 am on December 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Early data suggest that Antarctica’s Dotson ice shelf has lost more than 390 feet (120 meters) in thickness since 2003, , Measuring the height of sea ice to within an inch, NASA ICEsat-2, U Washington   

    From University of Washington: “UW glaciologist gets first look at NASA’s new measurements of ice sheet elevation” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    December 14, 2018
    Hannah Hickey

    1
    The horizontal blue line is the travel path for ICESat-2. The lower line shows some of its first measurements. This satellite can capture steep terrain and measure elevation much more precisely than its predecessor. NASA’s Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens

    Less than three months into its mission, NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is already exceeding scientists’ expectations, according to the space agency.

    NASA ICEsat-2

    The satellite is measuring the height of sea ice to within an inch, tracing the terrain of previously unmapped Antarctic valleys and measuring other interesting features in our planet’s elevation.

    Benjamin Smith, a glaciologist with the University of Washington and member of the ICESat-2 science team, shared the first look at the satellite’s performance at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting Dec. 11 in Washington, D.C.

    Mountain valleys “have been really difficult targets for altimeters in the past, which have often used radar instead of lasers and they tend to show you just a big lump where the mountains are,” Smith told the BBC. “But we can see very steeply sloping surfaces; we can see valley glaciers; we’ll be able to make out very small details.”

    With each pass of the ICESat-2 satellite, the mission is adding to the data sets that track Earth’s rapidly changing ice. Researchers are ready to use the information to study sea level rise resulting from melting ice sheets and glaciers, and to improve sea ice and climate forecasts.

    In topographic maps of the Transantarctic Mountains, which divide east and west Antarctica, there are places where other satellites cannot see, Smith said. Some instruments don’t orbit that far south, while others only pick up large features or the highest points and so miss minor peaks and valleys. Since launching ICESat-2, in the past three months scientists have started to fill in those details.

    “It’s spectacular terrain,” Smith said. “We’re able to measure slopes that are steeper than 45 degrees, and maybe even more, all through this mountain range.”

    As ICESat-2 orbits over Antarctica, the photons reflect from the surface and show high ice plateaus, crevasses in the ice 65 feet (20 meters) deep, and the sharp edges of ice shelves dropping into the ocean. These first measurements can help fill in the gaps of Antarctic maps, Smith said, but the key science of the ICESat-2 mission is yet to come. As researchers refine knowledge of where the instrument is pointing, they can start to measure the rise or fall of ice sheets and glaciers.

    Early data suggest that Antarctica’s Dotson ice shelf has lost more than 390 feet (120 meters) in thickness since 2003, Smith told the Associated Press.

    “Very soon, we’ll have measurements that we can compare to older measurements of surface elevation,” Smith said. “And after the satellite’s been up for a year, we’ll start to be able to watch the ice sheets change over the seasons.”

    Mission managers expect to release the data to the public in early 2019.

    The first ICESat satellite operated between 2003 and 2009. The more sophisticated ICESat-2 launched Sept. 15, 2018, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its laser instrument, called ATLAS (Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System), sends pulses of light to Earth. The instrument then times, to within a billionth of a second, how long it takes individual photons to return to the satellite. ATLAS has fired its laser more than 50 billion times since going live Sept. 30, and all the metrics from the instrument show it is working as it should, NASA scientists say. IceBridge, an aircraft-based NASA campaign, operated between the two satellite missions.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:37 am on December 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nucleation, , Two-dimensional materials skip the energy barrier by growing one row at a time, U Washington, University of California Los Angeles   

    From University of Washington: “Two-dimensional materials skip the energy barrier by growing one row at a time” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    December 6, 2018

    1
    The peptides in this highly ordered two-dimensional array avoid the expected nucleation barrier by assembling in a row-by-row fashion. PNNL

    A new collaborative study led by a research team at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Washington could provide engineers new design rules for creating microelectronics, membranes and tissues, and open up better production methods for new materials. At the same time, the research, published online Dec. 6 in the journal Science, helps uphold a scientific theory that has remained unproven for over a century.

    Just as children follow a rule to line up single file after recess, some materials use an underlying rule to assemble on surfaces one row at a time, according to the study.

    Nucleation — that first formation step — is pervasive in ordered structures across nature and technology, from cloud droplets to rock candy. Yet despite some predictions made in the 1870s by the American scientist J. Willard Gibbs, researchers are still debating how this basic process happens.

    The new study verifies Gibbs’ theory for materials that form row by row. Led by UW graduate student Jiajun Chen, working at PNNL, the research uncovers the underlying mechanism, which fills in a fundamental knowledge gap and opens new pathways in materials science.

    Chen used small protein fragments called peptides that show specificity, or unique belonging, to a material surface. The UCLA collaborators have been identifying and using such material-specific peptides as control agents to force nanomaterials to grow into certain shapes, such as those desired in catalytic reactions or semiconductor devices. The research team made the discovery while investigating how a particular peptide — one with a strong binding affinity for molybdenum disulfide — interacts with the material.

    “It was complete serendipity,” said PNNL materials scientist James De Yoreo, co-corresponding author of the paper and Chen’s doctoral advisor. “We didn’t expect the peptides to assemble into their own highly ordered structures.”

    That may have happened because “this peptide was identified from a molecular evolution process,” adds co-corresponding author Yu Huang, a professor of materials science and engineering at UCLA. “It appears nature does find its way to minimize energy consumption and to work wonders.”

    The transformation of liquid water into solid ice requires the creation of a solid-liquid interface. According to Gibbs’ classical nucleation theory, although turning the water into ice saves energy, creating the interface costs energy. The tricky part is the initial start — that’s when the surface area of the new particle of ice is large compared to its volume, so it costs more energy to make an ice particle than is saved.

    Gibbs’ theory predicts that if the materials can grow in one dimension, meaning row by row, no such energy penalty would exist. Then the materials can avoid what scientists call the nucleation barrier and are free to self-assemble.

    There has been recent controversy over the theory of nucleation. Some researchers have found evidence that the fundamental process is actually more complex than that proposed in Gibbs’ model.

    But “this study shows there are certainly cases where Gibbs’ theory works well,” said De Yoreo, who is also a UW affiliate professor of both chemistry and materials science and engineering.

    Previous studies had already shown that some organic molecules, including peptides like the ones in the Science paper, can self-assemble on surfaces. But at PNNL, De Yoreo and his team dug deeper and found a way to understand how molecular interactions with materials impact their nucleation and growth.

    They exposed the peptide solution to fresh surfaces of a molybdenum disulfide substrate, measuring the interactions with atomic force microscopy. Then they compared the measurements with molecular dynamics simulations.

    De Yoreo and his team determined that even in the earliest stages, the peptides bound to the material one row at a time, barrier-free, just as Gibbs’ theory predicts.

    The atomic force microscopy’s high-imaging speed allowed the researchers to see the rows just as they were forming. The results showed the rows were ordered right from the start and grew at the same speed regardless of their size — a key piece of evidence. They also formed new rows as soon as enough peptide was in the solution for existing rows to grow; that would only happen if row formation is barrier-free.

    This row-by-row process provides clues for the design of 2D materials. Currently, to form certain shapes, designers sometimes need to put systems far out of equilibrium, or balance. That is difficult to control, said De Yoreo.

    “But in 1D, the difficulty of getting things to form in an ordered structure goes away,” De Yoreo added. “Then you can operate right near equilibrium and still grow these structures without losing control of the system.”

    It could change assembly pathways for those engineering microelectronics or even bodily tissues.

    Huang’s team at UCLA has demonstrated new opportunities for devices based on 2D materials assembled through interactions in solution. But she said the current manual processes used to construct such materials have limitations, including scale-up capabilities.

    “Now with the new understanding, we can start to exploit the specific interactions between molecules and 2D materials for automatous assembly processes,” said Huang.

    The next step, said De Yoreo, is to make artificial molecules that have the same properties as the peptides studied in the new paper — only more robust.

    At PNNL, De Yoreo and his team are looking at stable peptoids, which are as easy to synthesize as peptides but can better handle the temperatures and chemicals used in the processes to construct the desired materials.

    Co-authors are Enbo Zhu, Zhaoyang Lin and Xiangfeng Duan at UCLA; Juan Liu and Hendrik Heinz at the University of Colorado, Boulder; and Shuai Zhang at PNNL. Simulations were performed using the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:21 am on November 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , The team found that all seven of the Trappist-1 worlds may have evolved like Venus, , U Washington   

    From University of Washington: “Study brings new climate models of small star TRAPPIST 1’s seven intriguing worlds” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    November 20, 2018
    Peter Kelley

    Not all stars are like the sun, so not all planetary systems can be studied with the same expectations. New research from a University of Washington-led team of astronomers gives updated climate models for the seven planets around the star TRAPPIST-1.

    1
    The small, cool M dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 and its seven worlds. New research from the University of Washington speculates on possible climates of these worlds and how they may have evolved.NASA

    The work also could help astronomers more effectively study planets around stars unlike our sun, and better use the limited, expensive resources of the James Webb Space Telescope, now expected to launch in 2021.

    “We are modeling unfamiliar atmospheres, not just assuming that the things we see in the solar system will look the same way around another star,” said Andrew Lincowski, UW doctoral student and lead author of a paper published Nov. 1 in The Astrophysical Journal. “We conducted this research to show what these different types of atmospheres could look like.”

    The team found, briefly put, that due to an extremely hot, bright early stellar phase, all seven of the star’s worlds may have evolved like Venus, with any early oceans they may have had evaporating and leaving dense, uninhabitable atmospheres. However, one planet, TRAPPIST-1 e, could be an Earthlike ocean world worth further study, as previous research also has indicated.

    TRAPPIST-1, 39 light-years or about 235 trillion miles away, is about as small as a star can be and still be a star. A relatively cool “M dwarf” star — the most common type in the universe — it has about 9 percent the mass of the sun and about 12 percent its radius. TRAPPIST-1 has a radius only a little bigger than the planet Jupiter, though it is much greater in mass.

    All seven of TRAPPIST-1’s planets are about the size of Earth and three of them — planets labeled e, f and g — are believed to be in its habitable zone, that swath of space around a star where a rocky planet could have liquid water on its surface, thus giving life a chance. TRAPPIST-1 d rides the inner edge of the habitable zone, while farther out, TRAPPIST-1 h, orbits just past that zone’s outer edge.

    “This is a whole sequence of planets that can give us insight into the evolution of planets, in particular around a star that’s very different from ours, with different light coming off of it,” said Lincowski. “It’s just a gold mine.”

    Previous papers have modeled TRAPPIST-1 worlds, Lincowski said, but he and this research team “tried to do the most rigorous physical modeling that we could in terms of radiation and chemistry — trying to get the physics and chemistry as right as possible.”

    The team’s radiation and chemistry models create spectral, or wavelength, signatures for each possible atmospheric gas, enabling observers to better predict where to look for such gases in exoplanet atmospheres. Lincowski said when traces of gases are actually detected by the Webb telescope, or others, some day, “astronomers will use the observed bumps and wiggles in the spectra to infer which gases are present — and compare that to work like ours to say something about the planet’s composition, environment and perhaps its evolutionary history.”

    He said people are used to thinking about the habitability of a planet around stars similar to the sun. “But M dwarf stars are very different, so you really have to think about the chemical effects on the atmosphere(s) and how that chemistry affects the climate.”

    Combining terrestrial climate modeling with photochemistry models, the researchers simulated environmental states for each of TRAPPIST-1’s worlds.

    Their modeling indicates that:

    TRAPPIST-1 b, the closest to the star, is a blazing world too hot even for clouds of sulfuric acid, as on Venus, to form.
    Planets c and d receive slightly more energy from their star than Venus and Earth do from the sun and could be Venus-like, with a dense, uninhabitable atmosphere.
    TRAPPIST-1 e is the most likely of the seven to host liquid water on a temperate surface, and would be an excellent choice for further study with habitability in mind.
    The outer planets f, g and h could be Venus-like or could be frozen, depending on how much water formed on the planet during its evolution.

    Lincowski said that in actuality, any or all of TRAPPIST-1’s planets could be Venus-like, with any water or oceans long burned away. He explained that when water evaporates from a planet’s surface, ultraviolet light from the star breaks apart the water molecules, releasing hydrogen, which is the lightest element and can escape a planet’s gravity. This could leave behind a lot of oxygen, which could remain in the atmosphere and irreversibly remove water from the planet. Such a planet may have a thick oxygen atmosphere — but not one generated by life, and different from anything yet observed.

    “This may be possible if these planets had more water initially than Earth, Venus or Mars,” he said. “If planet TRAPPIST-1 e did not lose all of its water during this phase, today it could be a water world, completely covered by a global ocean. In this case, it could have a climate similar to Earth.”

    Lincowski said this research was done more with an eye on climate evolution than to judge the planets’ habitability. He plans future research focusing more directly on modeling water planets and their chances for life.

    “Before we knew of this planetary system, estimates for the detectability of atmospheres for Earth-sized planets were looking much more difficult,” said co-author Jacob Lustig-Yaeger, a UW astronomy doctoral student.

    The star being so small, he said, will make the signatures of gases (like carbon dioxide) in the planet’s atmospheres more pronounced in telescope data.

    “Our work informs the scientific community of what we might expect to see for the TRAPPIST-1 planets with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.”

    Lincowski’s other UW co-author is Victoria Meadows, professor of astronomy and director of the UW’s Astrobiology Program. Meadows is also principal investigator for the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory, based at the UW. All of the authors were affiliates of that research laboratory.

    “The processes that shape the evolution of a terrestrial planet are critical to whether or not it can be habitable, as well as our ability to interpret possible signs of life,” Meadows said. “This paper suggests that we may soon be able to search for potentially detectable signs of these processes on alien worlds.”

    TRAPPIST-1, in the Aquarius constellation, is named after the ground-based Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope, the facility that first found evidence of planets around it in 2015.

    ESO Belgian robotic Trappist National Telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile


    ESO Belgian robotic Trappist-South National Telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    Other co-authors are David Crisp of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology; Tyler Robinson of Northern Arizona University; Rodrigo Luger of the Flatiron Institute in New York City; and Giada Arney of the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Robinson, Luger and Arney earned their doctoral degrees from the UW and were members of the UW Astrobiology Program.

    The team used storage and networking infrastructure provided by the Hyak supercomputer system at the UW, funded by the UW’s Student Technology Fee. The research was funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute; Lincowski also received support from NASA under its Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program. The work benefited from researchers’ participation in the NASA Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) research coordination network.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:54 pm on November 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cabled Array Hackweek, Cabled Array-Ocean Observatories Initiative, Hacking the ocean, Internet of the ocean, Oceanhackweek, Scientists unravel the ocean’s mysteries with cloud computing data science skills and a sea of data, U Washington, Unlocking The World Ocean could help us better predict earthquakes volcanic eruptions and tsunamis; discover new sources for energy; protect marine biodiversity and ecosystems; and understand the impa   

    From University of Washington: “Internet of the ocean” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    Scientists unravel the ocean’s mysteries with cloud computing, data science skills and a sea of data.

    11.8.18
    Elizabeth Sharpe


    This octopus lives nearly a mile deep on an active volcano in the ocean. High-definition cameras on the Ocean Observatories Initiative Cabled Array can provide high-resolution images of life deep in the ocean. Video credit: Nancy Penrose/UW; V05

    The internet of the ocean. That’s how UW oceanography professor Deborah Kelley describes the cabled suite of instruments tracking the inner workings of the ocean and streaming real-time, nonstop data to shore at the speed of light.

    1
    Deborah Kelley
    Director of the Cabled Array and UW Oceanography Professor

    Running along the seafloor down to 10,000 feet deep, the fiber-optic cables span the Juan de Fuca Plate, the farthest site 300 miles from the coast of Oregon, carrying countless rows and columns of numerical values, packets of video and sound recordings on a bandwidth of up to 10 gigabits per second.

    Called the Cabled Array, it is part of the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), a system of integrated, scientific platforms and interactive sensors providing scientists the capability — through unprecedented access to physical, chemical, geological and biological data — to address critical issues that affect the relationship between the ocean and the Earth.

    “We’ve never had the technology in the ocean before to get these precise measurements and this level of spatial and temporal resolution in the data,” said Kelley, who is also director of the OOI Cabled Array.

    All of the data are freely and publicly available. But the sheer volume and immense complexity of the data are major challenges, she adds. “We can’t use Excel. All the files are too large,” she said. “How do we visualize the data streaming in from more than 140 instruments in meaningful ways, to explore and understand the kinds of questions we’re looking at?”

    For Kelley and other oceanographers, the stakes could not be higher.

    The World Ocean is our planet’s life support system. It covers three-quarters of our world, supplies 80 percent of the oxygen, stores 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere, regulates our climate, supports a diversity of species, and produces energy, food, medicine and other resources crucial to sustaining life on Earth.

    Unlocking its mysteries could help us better predict earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis; discover new sources for energy; protect marine biodiversity and ecosystems; and understand the impacts of climate change and how to mitigate or adapt to the changes already underway.

    That’s why oceanographers teamed up with data and research computing experts to organize a unique event at the University of Washington in late August 2018 to help ocean scientists learn the computational tools, techniques, data management and analytical skills needed to handle this massive amount of data.

    Hacking the ocean

    “Without data science methodologies and computational tools, scientists are at a disadvantage when it comes to making sense of so much data,” said Rob Fatland, director of research computing in UW Information Technology (UW-IT) and a co-organizer of the August event.

    UW-IT experts like Fatland in cloud computing, along with the UW’s eScience Institute’s nexus of experts in data science tools and methodologies, help provide scientists the support they need to advance their work.

    Together, they joined about 50 ocean scientists who convened at the UW for Oceanhackweek, five intensive days of hands-on tutorials and collaborative investigations. The event was underwritten by more than $100,000 in grant funding from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the nonprofit organization that oversaw the OOI until October 2018 through a coalition of research institutions. The UW is among the organizations contracted to operate this massive endeavor for another five years, with a recent award from the National Science Foundation.

    Oceanhackweek followed a February 2018 hackweek organized by a small group of volunteers that included Fatland and Kelley to explore data from the OOI Cabled Array, the underseas network of fiber-optic cable off the Pacific coast that if laid end-to-end, would stretch across Washington state, all the way to Boise, Idaho.

    3
    Ocean Observatories Initiative
    The OOI is made up of integrated, scientific platforms and interactive sensors. NSF/OOI/UW CEV

    4
    OOI’s Cabled Array
    The cabled network of sensors run along the sea floor from Oregon. NSF/OOI/UW CEV

    5
    Underwater volcano
    An HD camera records a volcanic summit in the ocean. UW/NSF-OOI/CSSF

    The OOI Cabled Array is delivering data on a scale that was previously not possible. More than 140 instruments are working simultaneously: seismometers, hydrophones, echosounders, fluorometers, HD cameras, fluid samplers, mass spectrometers, and others. Sensors are measuring earthquakes, carbon dioxide, light, temperature and a whole host of other variables. High-resolution cameras are capturing deep-sea creatures, while hydrophones are recording digital songs from whales and dolphins.

    At the summit of Axial Seamount, the largest and most active underwater volcano off our coast, 21 cabled instruments are measuring its seismic heartbeat, the inflation and deflation of its roof from oozing magma, sampling the fluids and the microbial DNA, and snapping high-resolution images of life forms that thrive on volcanic gases.

    6
    Axial Seamount (also Coaxial Seamount or Axial Volcano) is a seamount and submarine volcano located on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, approximately 480 km (298 mi) west of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Standing 1,100 m (3,609 ft) high, Axial Seamount is the youngest volcano and current eruptive center of the Cobb–Eickelberg Seamount chain. Located at the center of both a geological hotspot and a mid-ocean ridge, the seamount is geologically complex, and its origins are still poorly understood. Axial Seamount is set on a long, low-lying plateau, with two large rift zones trending 50 km (31 mi) to the northeast and southwest of its center. The volcano features an unusual rectangular caldera, and its flanks are pockmarked by fissures, vents, sheet flows, and pit craters up to 100 m (328 ft) deep; its geology is further complicated by its intersection with several smaller seamounts surrounding it.

    Axial Seamount was first detected in the 1970s by satellite altimetry, and mapped and explored by Pisces IV, DSV Alvin, and others through the 1980s. A large package of sensors was dropped on the seamount through 1992, and the New Millennium Observatory was established on its flanks in 1996. Axial Seamount received significant scientific attention following the seismic detection of a submarine eruption at the volcano in January 1998, the first time a submarine eruption had been detected and followed in situ. Subsequent cruises and analysis showed that the volcano had generated lava flows up to 13 m (43 ft) thick, and the total eruptive volume was found to be 18,000–76,000 km3 (4,300–18,200 cu mi). Axial Seamount erupted again in April 2011, producing a mile-wide lava flow. There was another eruption in 2015.

    Even if you’re investigating something as simple as temperature around an animal-covered hot spring at the summit of the volcano, explained Kelley, the instrument there is measuring 24 fluid temperatures continuously in three dimensions.

    “Even for one day, how do you pull together and investigate these huge datasets to discover their secrets, leading to a better understanding of these kinds of dynamic environments? It’s a fire hose,” Kelley said.

    Friedrich Knuth, who spent three years at Rutgers on OOI’s data team, gave researchers the tools to tap into the data provided by OOI.
    7

    “My role as a data evaluator was to open the door,” he said, and put a nozzle on the data.

    To make Oceanhackweek happen at UW, Knuth teamed with Wu-Jung Lee, a research associate at the Applied Physics Lab and Valentina Staneva, a senior data scientist at the eScience Institute, who helped conceive the hackweek idea through their work on OOI data. They quickly garnered interest and support from others in organizing first the Cabled Array Hackweek and later Oceanhackweek. Organizers also included Amanda Tan (UW-IT), Don Setiawan (UW School of Oceanography), Anthony Arendt and Aaron Marburg (Applied Physics Lab), and Rachael Murray (eScience Institute).

    Participants hailed from academic institutions around the world and ranged from early to established career scientists and engineers.

    Amanda Tan set up a shared cloud computing environment where participants could access, work in and download all the tutorials. Tan, like Fatland, shares an appointment in UW-IT and the eScience Institute, and is a research computing cloud technology lead developer.

    UW Information Technology supports world-class research by providing up-to-date tools and resources like cloud computing to help accelerate discoveries.

    During a session she taught, Tan asked researchers if any of them had used cloud computing before, and only a few hands went up.

    Tan listed off the advantages of cloud computing — immediately available, with no waiting in line for resources, and no need to buy, manage or maintain computer equipment and servers. The technology is built on familiar operating systems and software applications, and it is secure. Plus, cloud computing is elastic and scalable.

    When a researcher asked about cost, Tan said you only pay for what you use, from mere pennies up to $16 an hour.

    Tan’s tutorial, along with the others, were recorded and provided online to encourage collaboration and share knowledge with those who could not attend.

    Open access, open data, open science

    Anthony Arendt, who has joint appointments with the UW’s Applied Physics Lab and the UW’s eScience Institute, recently co-authored a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the experience of developing and coordinating hackweeks. In it, he explored how they can be a model for data science education and fostering research collaboration. He has also developed what amounts to a “cookbook” on the logistics of running a hackweek, available to anyone.

    To Arendt, hackweeks are about facilitating and democratizing access to the data through skills training and open source tools. About 80 percent of the time is spent on getting at the data, and 20 percent is spent on doing the science.

    Participants in hackweeks become ambassadors, sharing what they’ve learned, and often continuing the collaborations they started.

    Hackweek organizers and participants are champions of open, reproducible science, even while recognizing that sharing new data and discoveries can be at odds with the competitiveness of research publications and grant funding.

    Yet, that long-established view is changing, as evidenced by the National Science Foundation’s policy on open data, open access institutional repositories used by many North American universities, and efforts toward shared data standards and persistent data and code URLs.

    “I grew up saying the data’s mine because that’s how we got promoted. That’s how we made our reputation. My paper, my data,” Kelley said. “This is not how you’re going to make the big breakthroughs anymore.”

    Instead, Kelley said major discoveries will come with “having all these new eyes on data and people with different expertise working together collaboratively and coming up with tools, technologies and insights that one individual could never do, and then sharing them with the rest of the world.”

    The partnership with the eScience Institute and UW-IT has been invaluable, Kelley explains. The data science and research computing expertise are helping ocean scientists access and learn the tools they need to wrangle the data and accelerate their research.

    “It’s a testament to the UW vision,” Kelley said, speaking of the close collaboration between the School of Oceanography, the Applied Physics Lab, and others that led to the development of the Cabled Array and to the first-ever hackweeks for oceanography.

    “UW has some amazing resources,” she said, “and that’s why I’m so glad the hackweek was here. You bring people with new eyes, from very different backgrounds, which results in different ways of thinking about the data. That’s very exciting.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:52 am on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jody Deming, , U Washington,   

    From University of Washington: Women in STEM- “‘Ocean memory’ the focus of cross-disciplinary effort by UW’s Jody Deming” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    November 2, 2018
    Hannah Hickey

    1
    Jody Deming

    The vast oceans of our planet still hold many unsolved questions. Uncovering some of their mysteries has been a decades-long focus for University of Washington oceanography professor Jody Deming.

    This fall, Deming embarks on a very different type of ocean exploration. A $500,000 grant from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, or NAKFI, will allow her and a group representing various disciplines in the sciences and the arts to look at the oceans in new ways.

    The Ocean Memory Project was one of three selected this fall as the inaugural winners of the NAKFI Challenge Grants, a program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine with funding from the W.M. Keck Foundation. Deming is among a small group of leaders of the effort that will generate events, distributed interactive spaces and grants for cross-disciplinary mentoring around the idea of ocean memory.

    Deming had participated previously in smaller NAKFI-funded projects, which bring a few dozen people together to explore ideas through a cross-disciplinary lens. One of these groups, the Deep Sea Memory Project, met for the first time in September 2017 at Friday Harbor Laboratories. There, 20 participants and two facilitators spent five days sharing their various fields of expertise and coming up with new ideas. (Ben Fitzhugh, a UW professor of anthropology, and John Baross, a UW professor of oceanography, also participated in the workshop.)

    The format was different from a typical science conference, Deming said. Facilitators had smaller groups of people generate ideas quickly, then work together to create tangible objects reflecting those ideas.

    “If you are making something with your hands, then your brain works differently,” she said. “Although I may have been a skeptic in the beginning, I am a believer now, because I saw how we think and create differently.”

    The group held a second workshop at the Djerassi Resident Arts Program in central California, and will have a final workshop in 2019 on Santa Catalina Island.

    These smaller NAKFI-funded projects all emerged from a larger NAKFI conference in 2016, Discovering The Deep Blue Sea, led by oceanographer David Karl at the University of Hawaii. In one of many small break-out group discussions at that conference, an artist asked the question, “Does the ocean have memory?” and the phrase “ocean memory” immediately took hold.

    “Our group was looking for something we could all connect to,” recalls Deming, who holds the Karl M. Banse professorship in the School of Oceanography. “And that question, ‘Does the ocean have memory?’ galvanized us. It resonated with me personally, as that’s what I believe I have been studying all my life, without having those words to describe it.”

    The new grant will fund various activities around the theme of ocean memory, each led by participants from earlier NAKFI workshops using a rotating, collective leadership model. Deming is among the first group of leaders that also includes two artists, a marine biologist and cellist, and a cognitive scientist.

    Their winning proposal reads: “Our ocean and its inhabitants hold memories of events throughout the evolution of the planet, awaiting our cognition. We propose to establish a thriving community exploring and expressing Ocean Memory, a new line of scientific inquiry highly evocative beyond science, aiming for a sea change in our ability to address challenges of the Anthropocene.”

    The leadership team met for the first time in late October, and hopes to start accepting applications in early 2019 for the launching activity later that year. The group will select roughly 20–30 participants using criteria similar to those of the NAKFI workshops, which seeks people of varied expertise who are keen to work across boundaries.

    The grant will fund three annual “seed seminars,” each followed by a breakout working group and awards of small grants to pursue specific ideas, all culminating in 2022 with a larger conference at the UW. Also in the works are a science-oriented paper articulating the many meanings of ocean memory and plans for an exhibit at the San Francisco Art Institute.

    Deming described the project in October at the D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous, or DASER, event:

    Deming’s other, more conventionally funded, research investigates microbes in the polar regions. Members of her research group recently returned from the joint Sweden-U.S. icebreaker expedition to the North Pole, where they examined how acidifying waters of the high Arctic might affect the productivity of microbes on the underside of the sea ice and between ice floes, and how such microbes, when lofted into the air in sea spray, might affect the formation of Arctic clouds. The group is also studying microbial communities, found thriving in ancient brines deep in Alaskan permafrost, which may hold surprising “memories” of their past ocean.

    While the NAKFI grant allows her to explore different ways of knowing, there is overlap between the purely scientific efforts and those that bridge science and art, Deming said.

    “Here is one idea of what we want to explore: To what extent do microorganisms living in the ocean hold a memory of past conditions, so when they get challenged by a changing environment — whether more acidity from more carbon dioxide, or changing temperatures, or both — will some networks of organisms be better prepared, more fit, than others because they’ve retained genetic memories of the past?”

    For more information, visit http://memory.ocean.washington.edu, or contact Deming at jdeming@uw.edu.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washingtonis one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
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