skip to main content

Title: Assimilating optical satellite remote sensing images and field data to predict surface indicators in the Western U.S.: Assessing error in satellite predictions based on large geographical datasets with the use of machine learning
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Remote Sensing of Environment
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We investigate the spatial distribution of the satellites of isolated host galaxies in the IllustrisTNG100 simulation. In agreement with a previous, similar analysis of the Illustris-1 simulation, the satellites are typically poor tracers of the mean host mass density. Unlike the Illustris-1 satellites, here the spatial distribution of the complete satellite sample is well fitted by an NFW profile; however, the concentration is a factor of ∼2 lower than that of the mean host mass density. The spatial distributions of the brightest 50% and faintest 50% of the satellites are also well fitted by NFW profiles, but the concentrations differ by a factor of ∼2. When the sample is subdivided by host color and luminosity, the number density profiles for blue satellites generally fall below the mean host mass density profiles, while the number density profiles for red satellites generally rise above the mean host mass density profiles. These opposite, systematic offsets combine to yield a moderately good agreement between the mean mass density profile of the brightest blue hosts and the corresponding number density profile of their satellites. Lastly, we subdivide the satellites according to the redshifts at which they joined their hosts. From this, we find that neither the oldest one-third of the satellites nor the youngest one-third of the satellites faithfully trace the mean host mass density.

    more » « less
  2. The pixel is a fundamental element of contemporary visual culture, with pictorial and perceptual properties that affect the interpretation of the digital composition as a whole. Despite its importance, however, the pixel remains a neglected object of analysis in cultural sociology and critical media studies. To advance a framework of pixel studies I present a hermeneutical approach. Empirically, I focus on the pixel’s political and socio-technical dimensions through satellite images of violence in the Syrian conflict zone (2011–2017). Through interviews and observations, I study the satellite programmers, technicians, archeologists, and anthropologists who comprised an interdisciplinary effort to interpret satellite pictures of archeological damage and other forms of cultural violence during the war. Their interpretations, some of which were the basis for consequential decisions by US policymakers, involved isolating as few as two pixels on the screen. To explain what this entailed, I draw on theories from Alberto Romele and Don Ihde to situate the pixel within a hermeneutic circle through which satellite images were ‘read’ at different levels. My findings have implications for broader sociological and media studies critiques of the epistemic status of digital media in light of their deep interrelations of politics, technology, and people.

    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    The launch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and its follow-on NOAA Joint Polar Satellite Systems (JPSS) satellites marks the beginning of a new era of operational satellite observations of the Earth and atmosphere for environmental applications with high spatial resolution and sampling rate. The S-NPP and JPSS are equipped with five instruments, each with advanced design in Earth sampling, including the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS), the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), and the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES). Among them, the ATMS is the new generation of microwave sounder measuring temperature profiles from the surface to the upper stratosphere and moisture profiles from the surface to the upper troposphere, while CrIS is the first of a series of advanced operational hyperspectral sounders providing more accurate atmospheric and moisture sounding observations with higher vertical resolution for weather and climate applications. The OMPS instrument measures solar backscattered ultraviolet to provide information on the concentrations of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere, and VIIRS provides global observations of a variety of essential environmental variables over the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and ocean with visible and infrared imagery. The CERES instrument measures the solar energy reflected by the Earth, the longwave radiative emission from the Earth, and the role of cloud processes in the Earth’s energy balance. Presently, observations from several instruments on S-NPP and JPSS-1 (re-named NOAA-20 after launch) provide near real-time monitoring of the environmental changes and improve weather forecasting by assimilation into numerical weather prediction models. Envisioning the need for consistencies in satellite retrievals, improving climate reanalyses, development of climate data records, and improving numerical weather forecasting, the NOAA/Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) has been reprocessing the S-NPP observations for ATMS, CrIS, OMPS, and VIIRS through their life cycle. This article provides a summary of the instrument observing principles, data characteristics, reprocessing approaches, calibration algorithms, and validation results of the reprocessed sensor data records. The reprocessing generated consistent Level-1 sensor data records using unified and consistent calibration algorithms for each instrument that removed artificial jumps in data owing to operational changes, instrument anomalies, contaminations by anomaly views of the environment or spacecraft, and other causes. The reprocessed sensor data records were compared with and validated against other observations for a consistency check whenever such data were available. The reprocessed data will be archived in the NOAA data center with the same format as the operational data and technical support for data requests. Such a reprocessing is expected to improve the efficiency of the use of the S-NPP and JPSS satellite data and the accuracy of the observed essential environmental variables through either consistent satellite retrievals or use of the reprocessed data in numerical data assimilations. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)