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NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East

NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.

 

"[This] data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. "The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws."

 

Tags: water, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend, Middle East, Iraq.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

Water is a big issue in an arid area.  The fact that we can measure the amount of groundwater present in an area with a satellite is amazing to me.  The issue of water rights and control in this region will someday over take that of oil rights and use in my opinion.  Once people get used to free flowing water to use on demand it will cause problems politically when these sources of ground water inevitably dry up.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 24, 2013 10:00 PM

This is a perfect example of geospatial technologies can lead to a better understanding of how the Earth's physical systems are changing because of human geography.  Teaching geography is about showing how these systems are interconnected.   

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Unrest at Turrialba Volcano, Costa Rica

Unrest at Turrialba Volcano, Costa Rica | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Emissions of gas and ash indicate an increase in activity at Costa Rica’s Turrialba volcano in January 2010.

 

A new vent opened this month on Turriabla, the easternmost of Costa Rica's active volacanoes.  This false-color, near-infrared satellite image would be an effective teaching tool to discuss the importantce of geospatial technologies to monitor the Earth's surface. 


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article reminds us of how fragile the earth’s crust can be.  The rock can be ‘rotten’ when it is cooled prematurely due to rain, causing it to fracture more easily.

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Jessica Martel's curator insight, April 25, 2013 8:55 PM

its crazy how something so dangerous can be so pretty.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 2014 1:56 PM

Using different teaching methods and technologies is a part of every day life. Figuring out new ways to teach students about observing and identifying whats happening in a photo is highly important. This geospatial photograph can be used in many ways. It can be used to note color differences, and realize that this volcano has emissions that can be seen in the picture erupting from it.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 28, 2014 9:50 PM

(Central America topic 9)

Having a volcano that looms behind your city suddenly come back to life is about as much of a wakeup call as anybody would want. Though in this case it was determined that a major eruption was not immanent, it raises the question as to weighing the risks of living in such areas.  However, to me it seems that living at the base of Turriabla is not much more risky than living in other regions. Costa Ricans may have to deal with volcanoes, but so do those living around Mt. St. Helens, islands in the Pacific Ring of Fire, and even around Yellowstone. Aside from volcanoes, other environmental risks (floods, droughts, extreme temperatures, hurricanes, blizzards, landslides, tornadoes, wildfires, etc.) are other things just as worthy of being revered. So if you're safe from volcanoes, it's still likely you're more at risk from another form of nature's wrath.

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Penguins from Space: A New Satellite Census Doubles the Known Population of Emperors

Penguins from Space: A New Satellite Census Doubles the Known Population of Emperors | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
High-resolution imaging has allowed scientists to produce the first full count of Antarctica's emperor penguins...

 

Before this, there was no way to to gather reliable penguin statistics.  Geospatial technologies are now providing us the tools to teach us more about the biogeography of penguins.  The applications of geospatial technologies are endless.   


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The use of modern technology to better understand nature is fascinating.  The ability to count penguins from space in a way that could not happen without satellites because of the harsh environment.  Maybe someday they will find bigfoot with a satellite or maybe not.

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 16, 2014 7:48 AM

In the beginning of the semester we talked about how geography is always changing. Our understanding of geography does as well. This new technology helps people have a clearer picture of the wildlife that exists on Antarctica. Because of its harsh environment the amount we know about this barren continent has been limited. As technology improves we will be able to gain more accurate information about Antarctica.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 16, 2014 12:58 PM

Using this new technology, animal can be monitored and helped by the satellites. Having a way to accurately know the population of a species is incredible,  because now we can know which species are in danger of extinction and we can take steps to help them. Before the use of the satellite,  the population of Emperor penguins was found to be 595, 000 and the colonies of penguins was found to be 46 instead of the previous 38, so without this technology there have been penguins that may have needed help, but now they will get proper attention.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 13, 9:27 PM

Technology never ceases to amaze me. As the article described, the use of satellite imagining recently showed that the “population count” of the emperor penguin is “found nearly twice as many...as did previous studies.” Prior to the use of satellite imaging, the method to obtain this type of data was done by people actually being around the area. As the new numbers showed this was inaccurate because so much of the artic can’t be reached by the human population. I think this brings up an interesting notion. We define our landscape based on what we see. Yet, what we see doesn’t always capture what is actually on earth. As such, I wonder if more penguin colonies have disappeared then the one the British intuition noticed. We won’t know, but at least now thanks to technology a better grasp of the situation can happen. Maybe with more concrete data about the effects of global warming on Antarctic more non-believers could be swayed. All in all, I think the technology is beneficial. The only down side about this technology is the possibility for misuse. If we can now figure out the penguin population down to which ones are adults, imagine just what else this technology can due in the name of “geographic research.”