April 22, 2013, marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Over a billion people around the world will participate in countless ways. More so this year as the United States has extended the event to include the entire month, designating April as Earth Month. It’s a time meant to draw a firm focus on all the factors affecting the health of our beloved planet.
At INNOVIM, we welcome this event and are proud that our employees, partners and customers are playing vital roles in the science of protecting Earth. Our work cannot be confined to a day or a month, but continues year round. It’s work that is not always glamorous. Neither does it often elicit mainstream media headlines, but it absolutely affects the lives of people everywhere.
It starts with the study of climate change. No one is completely immune to droughts, floods, cyclones and other severe weather patterns that affect the supply of food and fresh water to not only people, but also animals we depend on. Local and national economies are impacted by the effects of climate change, sometimes indirectly and often in subtle ways.
Scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for which we provide direct support, are considered a pre-eminant body of scientific expertise and are at the forefront of global climate change research. GISS emphasizes a broad study of global change that addresses both natural and man-made changes in our environment on various time scales. This covers everything from volcanic explosions to seasonal and annual effects such as El Niño, extending even to the millennia of ice ages.
INNOVIM actively supports numerous programs at both NASA and NOAA that produce, distribute and analyze science data from satellites, providing critical information that can help predict everything from weather patterns to disease-spreading insect migrations. This foreknowledge can lessen the devastation to many who would be adversely affected in a natural crisis.
One satellite mission successfully launched in October 2011, the Suomi NPP, is the first to collect data for both short-term weather forecasting and long-term climate modeling. The INNOVIM team involved was awarded special NASA certificates of recognition for radiometric calibration work on the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite) instrument aboard SNPP. This program is the pre-curser to the JPSS next generation of weather satellites on which INNOVIM continues to work.
INNOVIM is also involved in research and development for the climate modeling community, including a geospatial programming framework to assist rapid-response assessment maps for wild-fire recovery in the Midwest. Additionally, we’ve been involved with NASA’s ICESat-2, a space-borne mission that measures the thickness of polar ice sheets and vegetation canopies, providing yet more critical climate change data and analyses.
In defense of our ecosystem, INNOVIM supports NASA’s Applied Science Program, and has delivered a national capability to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that helps understand and mitigate the spread of invasive plant species in the United States. NASA has identified The Invasive Species Forecasting System application that meets a national priority.
Regardless of your views on global warming, pollution, endangered species, or whatever else troubles our planet, the solutions can only be found in unbiased facts generated by talented minds and novel technologies. This is a significant part of our mission. INNOVIM encourages you to embrace Earth Month and all that it means by attending events such as the NASA joint activities with the Earth Day Network at Union Station in Washington, D.C., throughout the month of April. Moving forward, we encourage you to remain abreast of INNOVIM’s contribution to discovery and applying solutions to the many complex problems faced by our planet.