Hurricane Katia off the Northeastern US Coastline Viewed from the space station, Hurricane Katia presented an impressive cloud circulation as its center passed the northeastern coast of the United States on September 9, 2011.

Sustainability Matters: Our Changing Planet Viewed from Space

Hurricane Katia off the Northeastern US Coastline Viewed from the space station, Hurricane Katia presented an impressive cloud circulation as its center passed the northeastern coast of the United States on September 9, 2011.

Viewed from the space station, Hurricane Katia presented an impressive cloud circulation as its center passed the northeastern coast of the United States on September 9, 2011 (courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory).

Date: September 29, 2011

Time: 3-4:30 p.m.

Location: Morris Dailey Auditorium

Summary: The first event of the Fall 2011 Sustainability Matters Speakers Series will be “NASA’s Earth Observations of the Global Environment: Our Changing Planet Viewed from Space,” by Michael D. King, Laboratory for Atmospheric & Space Physics, University of Colorado. A bird’s eye view of the Earth from afar and up close reveals the power and magnificence of the Earth and juxtaposes the simultaneous impacts and powerlessness of humankind.  Dr. King will present Earth science observations and visualizations in a historical perspective.  See the latest stunning images from NASA remote sensing missions, which will be visualized and explained in the context of global change and our impact on our world’s environment.  Spectacular visualizations of the global atmosphere, land and oceans show how much the temperature of the Earth’s surface has changed during the 20th century, as well as how sea ice has decreased over the Arctic region, how the sea level has and is likely to continue to change, and how glaciers have retreated worldwide in a response to global change.

Dr. King will present visualizations of global data sets currently available from Earth orbiting satellites, including the Earth at night with its city lights, where and when lightning occurs globally, and dramatic urbanization in the desert southwest since 1910. He will show images of flooding resulting from tropical cyclones and satellite imagery of fires that occurred globally, and discuss how new satellite tools aid understanding of environmental change and can be used to help fight environmental disasters from spreading further.

Dr. King is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and recipient of the Verner E. Suomi Award of the AMS for fundamental contributions to remote sensing and radiative transfer. He has also received the Space Systems Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for NASA’s Earth Observing System Team. Other honors include an honorary doctorate from Colorado College, selection as a Goddard Senior Fellow, and recipient of the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, and NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He has also received the William Nordberg Memorial Award for Earth Science, Goddard’s highest scientific achievement award.

Sponsors include the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science with support from the Office of the President and the Department of Communication Studies. For more information, email Professor Anne Marie Todd.

— Submitted by Professor of Communication Studies Anne Marie Todd