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Title: Our need for more effective communications

E a r t h S c i e n c e s D i v i s i o n O
u t r e a c h P r o g r a m
David Herring 301-614-6219
Presentation Overview
  • Our need for more effective communications
  • Brief introduction to NASAs Earth Sciences
    Division (ESD)
  • A synoptic view of ESDs Outreach Program
  • Touch upon some problems issues
  • Details about our Outreach programs products
  • About this experiment the scope of your

J u n e 1 5 , 2 0 0 6
I. Our Need for More Effective Outreach (What is
at stake.)
Why Bother Doing Outreach?
  • The case for more effective communications
    (pick your motivation)
  • We work with world-class scientists
    engineers. We should strive to be world-class
  • Taxpayers bought and paid for our knowledge, we
    are obligated to share it with them
  • The world needs NASAs data and information
  • - …our data and information have the power to
    save lives, to positively influence policy, to
    help us manage our resources more effectively,
    and to advance understanding of how Earths
    climate system works.
  • - …80 of the U.S. workforce in environmental
    conservation is within 5 years of retirement age.
    (Brandwein Institute)
  • …there is a disturbing amount of misinformation
    being perpetuated among the public about climate
  • We are in a time when we must fight for the
    very existence of our Earth Sciences Division
  • - Next year, Earth science at NASA will be at its
    lowest level of funding since 1991, and declines
    are predicted

Earth is Changing…
  • In the last 100 years, humans took on the
    magnitude of a geological force (dubbed the
    anthropocene). Consider …
  • Human population tripled
  • Humans altered 40 percent of Earths habitable
    land surface
  • The rate of biomass burning quadrupledwe
    consume an average of 175 million acres of forest
    grassland annually
  • We drove up carbon dioxide levels by 30
  • We introduced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and
    other chemicals into the air that destroyed
    stratospheric ozone (our UV shield!)
  • Average global temperature rose by 0.5C -
    0.7C (with another 0.6C warming already in the
  • Perturbations in the water cycle resulting in
    more extremes (droughts vs floods)
  • Glaciers and ice sheets are recedingGlacier
    National Park may be renamed No-Glacier National
    Park between 2030 2050
  • Arctic temps have risen by 1.1C in last 20
    years and perennial ice cover there has fallen by

…and NASA is Watching
  • NASA is a world leader in space-based
    observations of Earth and Sun
  • We employ one of the worlds largest
    concentrations of Earth Sun scientists
  • We advance knowledge about our home planet
  • - For example, all of the 13 landmark journal
    publications in ice science over the last 6 years
    were produced by NASA scientists

II. Synoptic view of NASAs Earth Sciences
Division and Earth Observing System (EOS)
NASAs Earth Observing System http//eospso.gsfc.n
  • Currently supports 16 Earth- Sun-observing
    satellites on orbit
  • Spanning multiple NASA centers
  • Eight national data centers
  • Partnerships with multiple nations
  • Spans multiple science disciplines
  • Supports 781 scientists worldwide
  • Comprehensive climate research requires…
  • Local to regional to global perspective
  • Wide spectral coverage
  • Unprecedented measurement accuracy
  • Rigorous ground truth validation
  • Data across years to decades
  • Only now beginning to approach the climate
    science sweet spot for EOS

12 Major Research Questions
  • 1. Is the Sun changing?
  • If so, to what extent is solar variability
    influencing Earths climate system? Quantifying
    solar irradiance over time.
  • 2. Is Earths energy budget in balance?
    (Evidence suggests it isnt.)
  • If not, what are the mechanisms causing Earth to
    retain more energy than it reflects/emits back to
    space? Quantify each mechanism.
  • Tropical clouds type extent change in the 1990s
    from the 80s. But why? Our best models cannot
    reproduce this cloud behavior. Why not?
  • 3. How/why is Earths albedo changing?
  • Recent studies show that Earths albedo is
    declining, meaning a smaller fraction of incoming
    sunlight is getting reflected.
  • Recent studies also show that Earth is getting
    brighter at the surface, likely due to less
    anthropogenic aerosol, thus more sunlight to
    reaches the surface
  • 4. Where does all the carbon go that humans
    release into the air?
  • Between 1 and 2 billion metric tons of carbon are
    missing from the global carbon budget. Quantify
    the sources and sinks of carbon globally.

12 Major Research Questions
  • 5. Global water cycle and the linkage to life
  • How is Earths water cycle changing in response
    to land cover changes, anthropogenic aerosols,
    and rising surface temperature?
  • What regions are likely to experience crisis due
    to fresh water shortages /or loss of glacial
    melt this century?
  • 6. Monitoring the mass balance of Earths major
    ice sheets (Antarctica and Greenland)
  • Antarctica holds roughly 90 of Earths ice
    Greenland holds about 9
  • How are these important ice sheets changing in
    response to high-latitude warming trends? (West
    Antarctica Greenland each hold enough ice to
    raise sea level by 5 meters.)
  • 7. Land cover and land use change
  • Humans have altered about 40 of Earths
    habitable land surface
  • Research shows land surface changes can be as
    significant as greenhouse gases in their impacts
    to local climates

12 Major Research Questions
  • 8. How much land is consumed by fire each year?
  • Estimates of area burned emission products vary
  • Biomass burning is widely practiced in the U.S.
    and abroad, in agriculture and for clearing
    forests, as well as prescribed burns
  • 9. Natural hazards assessments
  • How will natural hazardslike drought, wildfire,
    floods, severe storms, dust smoke events,
    vector-borne diseaseschange as the climate
  • We know the cost of natural disasters is rising.
    But are the severity and frequency of natural
    hazards increasing, or are humans merely building
    more in harms way?
  • Can we devise better warning systems for geologic
    events like volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis?
  • 10. Invasive species and changes in biodiversity
  • Can we map where and how fast invasive species
    are spreading?
  • Can we show clear links between natural /or
    anthropogenic changes and their spread?

12 Major Research Questions
  • 11. Monitoring the physical and biological state
    of the ocean
  • The top 6 feet of the ocean transports as much
    heat as the entire atmosphere, thus the oceans
    capacity for storing energy is vast. How is
    ocean circulation responding to changes in
  • How is life in the ocean changing? Research
    showed an overall decline in primary productivity
    in the late 1990s. Five years later,
    productivity seems to be rising in our coastal
    waters, but falling in the deeper waters. Why?
  • 12. Air quality and atmospheric chemistry
  • Stratospheric (good) ozone continues to be
    affected by human chemicals and full recovery not
    expected until 2068
  • Tropospheric (bad) ozone has increased by up to
    200 since the Industrial Revolution in some
    industrialized parts of the world
  • The WHO estimates more than 1 million people die
    annually in developing nations due to respiratory
    complications linked to poor air quality
  • Asthma is a leading cause of death among U.S.
    children today
  • Release of fine aerosol particulate pollution
    linked to human health issues (increased risk of
    lung cancer, heart attack)

Observing Cause and Effect
Terra orbits the Earth once every 100 minutes
(top left). Four instruments aboard Terra
collect frequent global composite images, while a
fifth instrument gives an ability to zoom in on
targets of interest. The top center images show
smoke plumes from California wildfires, and the
plumes heights. The top right image shows the
Williams Fire northeast of Los Angeles at hi-res
in thermal infrared. The bottom right image
shows fires (red dots) and smoke in Brazil. The
green regions are densely forested while the
browns show areas of deforestation.
Natural vs Human-induced Change
EOS vs other big science programs
  • Articles in the refereed literature (per the Web
    of Science) from 1990-2004
  • The Human Genome Project 24,584 papers 1,804
  • Biotechnology 9,448 papers, 2,758 proceedings
  • NASAs EOS 7,837 articles, 4,690 proceedings
  • Hubble Space Telescope 4,998 papers, 1,227
  • Genetic Engineering 3,175 papers, 930
  • Nanotechnology 1,853 papers, 859 proceedings
  • International Space Station 872 papers, 1,437
  • Publication rate still increasing today, it is
    somewhere between 800 and 900 new papers per year!

  • III. Synoptic view of the Earth Sciences
    Divisions Outreach Program

Our Main Messages
  • NASA conducts Earth system science
  • The Earth is a dynamic, interconnected system
  • NASA answers critical research questions about
    our changing planet
  • Earth science is vital for our planets future
  • Earth science helps improve our quality of life
  • Earth science is a dynamic profession, and a
    viable career path
  • NASA supports Earth system science education
    (formal informal)
  • NASA collects and shares unique satellite data
  • NASA monitors global changes from the unique
    perspective of space
  • To understand global changes, we need NASAs
    global data products
  • NASA drives new technology development
  • NASA provides state-of-the-art satellite remote
  • NASA technologies are essential to observing
    understanding changes in the Earths climate
  • NASA data products enhance public policy decision
    support systems
  • NASA technologies benefit society and stimulate

Working Groups Mapped to Audiences
Decision Makers
Group 1 Inreach / Outreach - Government to
government communications, including operational
users, stakeholders policy leaders
Science Policy Leaders
Commercial Operational Data User Communities
  • Group 2 Public Media
  • Aims to raise public awareness support,
    thereby garnering support by decision makers

Public Media
Educators Students
Underrepresented publics
Museums, Science Centers, After School,
Community-based Programs
  • Group 3 Informal Ed
  • Seeks to elevate the public up the continuum from
    residual to interested to attentive

Science Attentive Public, Citizen Scientists
Public Continuum
Science Interested Publics Residual Public
IV. Details about the ESDs Specific Outreach
Programs Products
  • The Scientific Visualizations Studio 24 of
  • PAO TV Production Team 20 of budget
  • Earth Sciences News Team 23 of budget
  • Earth Sky Radio 10 of budget
  • Oregon Museum traveling exhibit 9 of budget
  • TOTAL 86 obligated
  • (77 aimed at public media)

Annual Highlights Newsletter
  • Annual newsletter highlights NASAs Earth science
    achievements from the previous year
  • 5,000 hardcopies printed
  • Distributed by snail mail hand out at
  • E-copy to be available on-line this year for
    first time

Scientific Visualizations Studio http//svs.gsfc.n
  • High quality animations data visualizations
    available on-line for TV and Web display

Scientific Visualizations Studio
  • The SVS mission is to create visualization
    products and systems to support NASA missions,
    research, and outreach.
  • Products animations, images, DVDs,
    narrated/scored productions, etc.
  • Systems web-accessible image servers,
    visualization software, etc.
  • Internal NASA customers determine the purpose and
    audience for each SVS project, provide funding,
    and evaluate effectiveness of the result.
  • Agency-level outreach public media, Web access,
    museums, etc. for agency priorities
  • Project outreach enhancing scientific
    presentations and project Web servers
  • Internal outreach supporting new GSFC missions
    and local visitors
  • Scientific research systems and software for
    analyzing data with visualization
  • SVS projects focus on the visualization of remote
    sensing and simulation data, with some
    visualization of satellites and concepts.
  • The synergy of an expert group concentrating on
    visualization of NASA data allows world-class
    expertise to be focused wherever needed.

The SVS Web Archive
  • This publicly-accessible repository of all SVS
    products is designed to facilitate maximum re-use
    of SVS material from all funded efforts.
  • All new animations include full-resolution source
    frames for re-purposing.
  • Contextual metadata is included describing the
    source and context for all on-line products.
  • The customer base for the archive is
  • General public and educators interested in or
    teaching about NASA science,
  • Producers creating news shows, educational
    productions, and exhibits,
  • Internal NASA users seeking to support
    presentations and briefings.
  • Statistics 1 terabyte of on-line imagery and
    animations in 2,700 animation pages
  • Statistic 50 terabytes of imagery delivered from
    July 2005 - June 2006
  • Statistic 285 Animations totaling 1.7 hours for
    92 researchers added in 2005
  • External partnerships and links to the archive
    are encouraged to enable access to this material
    through more general portal systems and user
    software tools.
  • NASA sites NASA Portal, Earth Observatory,
    Visible Earth
  • External sites Digital Library for Earth Science
    Education (DLESE), media websites such as CNN
  • User Tools Web map clients such as World Wind,
    display systems such as Magic Planet

SVS Outreach Projects
  • NASA science themes fund Media Outreach Projects
    to create visualizations for media releases about
    NASA missions, research discoveries, and breaking
  • Products Video files for the media, scientist
    interview support, web resource pages.
  • These major projects supports adapting this
    material for exhibits and other purposes.
  • These products have appeared on NOVA, CNN,
    Discovery Channel, PBS, New York Times, Aviation
    Week, the Daily Show, and numerous local news
    programs this year.
  • This project directly supports NASAs Ozone
    Watch and Hurricane Watch sites.
  • Museum and Science Center exhibits supported
  • Smithsonian Earth Today and Forces of Change,
    Houston Museum of Natural Science Microcosm,
    NOAA Science on a Sphere, Maryland Science
    Center TerraLink, forthcoming Sphere of Life
    dome show
  • NASAs Earth Science Data and Information System
    Project funded two DVD productions Multisensor
    Fire Observations and A Tour of the Cryosphere
  • NASAs Learning Technologies Project funded the
    SVS Image Server, an extension of the SVS Archive
    to support on-demand imagery for education.
  • NASAs Modeling and Analysis Program funds
    on-demand hurricane visualizations from NASA
    simulations and remote sensing data.

Earth Sciences News Team
  • Goal To increase public awareness of NASA's
    Earth science programs through the news media,
    primarily by increasing the quantity and quality
    of Earth science information issued by NASA's
    Public Affairs offices.
  • Scope The 3-person team works within Public
    Affairs (agency-wide) to identify science news
    topics, supplement strategic planning and
    implementation, and create media products issued
    by NASA.
  • Audiences The U.S. news media is the primary
    audience the informed U.S. public is the
    secondary audience.

News Team Major Activities
  • Write NASA press releases, Web features --
    research and write stories that are distributed
    to news media and posted on NASA portal
  • Plan media events -- recommend, plan, and
    implement press briefings and workshops at major
    science meetings (AGU, AMS)
  • Increase exposure to science news media -- post
    Team-produced releases, Web features on AAAS
    EurekAlert news service (http//www.eurekalert.org
  • Create supplemental media resources -- produce
    "science writer's guides" on NASA missions, an
    expert directory (both in print format)
  • Routine "newsmining" -- identify newsworthy
    topics through discussions with scientists and
    review of upcoming science meetings, journal
  • Content for Earth Observatory "Newsroom" --
    Consolidate weekly content for this
    information-rich resource (http//earthobservatory

News Team Sample Products
  • NASA Press Release and Visuals (March 8, 2006)
  • NASA Survey Confirms Climate Warming Impact on
    Polar Ice Sheets
  • lthttp//www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/mar/HQ_06089
  • Press Briefing (AGU, San Francisco, Dec. 2005)
  • The Ozone Hole Prospects for Recovery
  • lthttp//www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory
  • Web Features (NASA Web Portal)
  • NASA Satellites Help Researchers See Why
    Australian Reef is Bleaching
  • lthttp//www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/cora
  • Science Writer's Guide (Print online PDF)
  • CALIPSO-CloudSat-GRACE Science Writer's Guide
    (October 2005)
  • lthttp//earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/MediaRe
  • New "Hurricane Resource Web Page" (launched
  • Initiated cross-agency collaboration to focus
    NASA's role on this topic
  • lthttp//www.nasa.gov/hurricanegt

News Team Recent Releases
  • NASA Successfully Launches CloudSat/Calipso
  • Press release issued April 28 lthttp//www.nasa.gov
  • NASA Survey Confirms Climate Warming Impact on
    Polar Ice Sheets
  • Press release issued March 8
  • lthttp//www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/mar/HQ_06089
  • NASA Satellites Help Researchers See Why
    Australian Reef is Bleaching 
  • Web feature issued April 5
  • lthttp//www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory
  • Early Warning from Space of Deadly Floods and
  • Press briefing at AGU in Baltimore, May 24, 2006

  • V. Other relevant outreach programs
  • (not supported by the ESD Outreach Program

Exhibit Conference Support
  • Annually support 2 dozen major Earth
    science-related events from technical conferences
    to general public events.
  • We bring science to the communities through our
    scientists live talks and public outreach tools.
  • We showcase NASA science results, technologies,
    data sets.

Outreach Tools in our Booth
  • ViewSpace Program
  • Free-standing multi-media
  • Located in more than 100 science centers
  • Real-time updates via Internet
  • Brings a museum-quality product to the booth
  • Magic Planet
  • Interactive digital display with spherical screen
  • Touch screen tour of Earth science data products

Presentations Demos in Booth
  • Direct access to scientists
  • 20-minute talks with QA
  • Scientists firsthand explanations of new science
  • Increasing emphasis on relationship building
  • Where / how to access NASA satellite data
  • Short technology demonstrations with QA
  • Who to call for more info

Sample List of Booth Venues
Sample Mission Outreach Products
  • Data user workshops
  • Wide participation in science symposia
  • Series of NASA spacecraft animations beauty
    shots available on line
  • Science colleague brochures produced for science
    data user communities
  • Lighter brochures produced for general public
  • Mission Science Writers Guides and Press Kits for
    public media
  • NASA Earth science fact sheets about wide variety
    of topics (e.g., ozone)
  • Print fold paper models of spacecraft
  • Mission decals
  • Mission posters (Terra poster, left)

NASAs Earth Observatory http//earthobservatory.n
  • An interactive, Web-based magazine about Earth
    science satellite remote sensing of Earth
  • Mainly targets the science attentive public
  • Recipient of numerous awards
  • Webby Award winner (2003)
  • 3 Peoples Voice Awards (2002, 2003, and 2006)
  • Selected among 50 Best of the Web by both
    Popular Science Scientific American
  • 3 NASA Group Achievement Awards

EO Natural Hazards http//naturalhazards.nasa.gov
  • Near-real-time Earth events tracking monitoring
  • Access to timely, newsworthy imagery posted as
    thumbnails, medium sized, at sensors
  • Thumbnails to help visitors determine images
  • Interpretive captions written in popular style
  • Scientist editorial oversight
  • Easily scalable to add info from more missions
  • More than 4,500 subscribers with daily e-mail
    notifications of new postings
  • Coming soon daily updated maps showing locations
    severity of hazards around the globe

EO Activity in a 12-month span…
  • 365 Images of the Day with captions in popular
  • Syndicated via RSS feeds, so these images appear
    in dozens of other venues, including Web sites,
    museums, ViewSpace, etc.
  • 717 images in Natural Hazards section with
  • 20 new feature articles about new science results
  • 2 new NASA fact sheets
  • 88 press releases
  • Agency-wide editorial meetings held weekly via
    teleconference to gather and share ideas

EO Quantitative Assessments http//earthobservator
  • From May 4 - 18, 2004, we surveyed both site
    subscribers visitors and received a total of
    3,717 (1,896) responses

509 Teachers (14,2) 238 Students (6,
-4) 673 Scientists (18) 224 Media
Professionals (6, 2)
94 Legislative Officials (3)
1,979 None of the above
Earth Observatory User Stats
  • First published on April 29, 1999
  • Steadily climbing visit rate currently more
    than 26,000 unique visitors per day
  • Total global data sets served 2
    million (600 per day)
  • Steadily climbing subscription rate
  • 45,000 subscribers
  • 10-15 new subscribers per day

NASAs Visible Earth http//visibleearth.nasa.gov
  • Digital image library of NASA Earth images,
    animations data visualizations for public
  • One of the 3 most-visited Web sites at GSFC
    (250K / month)
  • Serving 13 Gigabytes per day
  • 15,344 image records (80,259 images) growing
  • Just rebuilt the entire system database
  • XML database will allow scripted queries
    content syndication
  • Simple forms will allow content authoring by
    colleagues from across the agency

Content Syndication
  • Communications partners public media can easily
    access and re-use, re-publish, or rebroadcast our

National Museum of Natural History Forces of
Tokyo Science Museum GeoCosmos (20-foot
spherical TV)
Our In-reach Portal
  • http//esdepo.gsfc.nasa.gov
  • Brief tour of the site
  • Calendar tool
  • Subscription for weekly e-mail
  • Directory of EPO staff contact info
  • Document archive
  • Sections populated, managed by working groups
  • Designed to be a living document of our
    overall EPO strategy

VI. About this experiment the scope of your
Public opinion about NASA
  • Harmonic International reports
  • NASA has exceptionally high brand equity among
    the U.S. public
  • The public is interested in NASAs programs
  • The public feels NASA is doing a good job (84)
  • The public feels it is important for the U.S.
    and NASA to be 1 in space (80)
  • The public feels their personal lives are
    better because of NASA (75)
  • The public feels the country is better off
    because of NASA (86)
  • NASAs brand equity is primarily rooted in
    memories from its Mercury and Apollo days
  • The under 35 aged public reports shuttle
    accidents as primary shaping events for how they
    remember feel about NASA
  • Unprompted, the public knows almost nothing
    specific about what NASA does!
  • In focus groups, less than 1 percent mentioned
    Earth and NASA in the same sentence, when

What do you think?
  • Your candor is appreciated
  • While our aim is certainly not to embarrass or
    humiliate anyone, we are requesting the benefit
    of your full, honest, professional opinion
  • In addition to whatever other audience
    sensitivities you bring to this assignment,
    please pay particular attention to your assigned
    audience, as follows
  • General Public gt Rick Borchelt
  • Informal Educators gt Kendall Haven
  • Public Media gt Thomas Lucas
  • Public Stakeholders Policy Leaders gt Jon Miller
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