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Scientists may be underestimating Arctic ecosystem changes, new UMBC research shows

A metric that climate scientists rely on, called NDVI, has limitations that may be causing them to misinterpret their results. Fred Huemmrich’s new paper suggests “that there very well may be more ecological change going on at high latitudes than we are perceiving, if we’re leaning on NDVI as the metric we’re using to detect these changes.”

group of seven people outdoors holding a large banner in front of them with the NASA logo

NASA awards $72 million for new UMBC-led Earth science research partnership

NASA has announced a major award of $72 million over three years for the new Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research (GESTAR) II center. UMBC serves as the lead for a national consortium and will receive over $38 million. Morgan State University serves as the primary partner. The GESTAR II consortium will support over 120 researchers, creating extensive opportunities for breakthroughs in earth and atmospheric science research.

UMBC’s Reem Hannun to co-lead urban air quality study with NOAA Climate Award

Emissions from household products are on the rise compared to emissions from combustion engines, but their effect on air quality is poorly understood. “So, if we want to have a better understanding of air quality, now and as climate continues to change, we really need to be able to understand how the chemistry changes with this new class of emissions,” says Reem Hannun. “It’s a new, interesting dynamic.”

a swirling white storm over ocean and islands

Hurricanes, well-being, and AI: START Awards set up UMBC researchers for success

Physicist Steve Guimond and collaborators have received a new $682,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop, run, and analyze complex hurricane models on supercomputers. However, Guimond might never have received the grant if he hadn’t received a UMBC Strategic Award for Research Transitions (START) first. A new cohort of START funding recipients begins their projects this summer.

UMBC’s Ryan Kramer confirms human-caused climate change with direct evidence for first time

Sixteen years of continuous data from NASA’s CERES mission confirm that humans’ role in climate change, indicated by a quantity known as the “radiative forcing,” is the driving factor pulling Earth’s energy budget out of balance. “As far as we can see, the long-term trend in the CERES record seems to be almost entirely accounted for by the radiative forcing,” Ryan Kramer says.

On Thin Ice

As scientists study how the Arctic affects and is affected by climate change, the work of Kurtz and others will fill in a crucial knowledge gap.

satellite image of clouds along a coastline

NASA awards UMBC team $1.4M to develop AI that improves how computers process climate data from satellites

“Now we have so much raw data. So how do we analyze it? How do we make it useful for the research community?” asks Jianwu Wang. As data archives balloon, the capabilities of artificial intelligence are rapidly increasing. There is also an urgent need to understand Earth’s systems as they shift due to climate change. All of these factors drove Wang and his collaborators to find ways to help researchers access satellite data much faster.

UMBC once again ranks among the top 150 universities in federal research funding

The Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey aggregates federal research and development expenditures for fiscal year 2018. The survey data combines total funding from all federal agencies and also provides information on research funding from non-federal and non-governmental sources. 

Demoz meets with students on top of the physics building. Photo by Marlayna Demond '11.

Climate Shift

Climate change and other environmental issues like air and water quality disproportionately affect people of color. Today, Demoz sees his role at UMBC as empowering students, especially students from underrepresented backgrounds, to take ownership of their research and contribute to their communities. Eventually, he hopes his graduates will also become mentors and advocates for their own students and colleagues—behaviors he models for them every day.

We have liftoff! UMBC-developed mini satellite launched into space to study climate, air quality

“As an engineer, I’m looking to develop technology that can make the science happen,” says Dominik Cieslak. That’s exactly what Cieslak and the rest of the team have accomplished with their cubesat, HARP. When it is released from the International Space Station in about a month, it will collect new kinds of information about clouds and tiny particles in the atmosphere to increase our understanding of climate and air quality.

UMBC labs share four essentials for undergraduate research success

#1: Developing scientist identity. For example, in Ruben Delgado’s lab, “Every undergraduate has a project that they can define when they first start and then fine tune it as they move along,” says Meredith Sperling ’19. “Graduate students and Ruben are great at providing guidance, pointing out possible pitfalls, etc., but at the end of the day it’s really our research and where we want to take it.”

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