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Science Webinars: Mapping Earth's Water Cycle

Earth wheel
Explore water in our earth system using this online version of the Earth Wheel activity
The Earth's water cycle – the movement of water around the globe – plays a large role in our understanding of global climate. Several Earth-focused NASA missions are shedding new light on the processes within the water cycle and these findings are being used to investigate natural phenomena such as storms, flooding, and drought. Two scientists from different NASA missions paired up to present a webinar featuring sea surface salinity measurements from Aquarius and water storage visualizations generated from GRACE gravity field data.

Jorge Vázquez (Aquarius) and J.T. Reager (GRACE) discuss how their research is used to better understand Earth's water cycle. In addition to explaining how these two unique satellites have collected their data, the presenters describe a spring flooding event that took place in the central U.S. (2011) and appeared months later as a "freshening" event in the salty Gulf of Mexico. Both scientists pointed out that these types of measurements and observations could become instrumental in future efforts to gauge the severity and impact of river flooding on local communities.

Fifty eight participants from twenty three states and four non-U.S. countries joined for this event, which was part of NASA's Earth Science Week. In addition, the webinar included the debut of NASA's Earth Wheel.

Concept Maps
This webinar featured several concept maps. To view any map in full screen, click on the blue wrench and select "Open Full Map Viewer". Click on the concepts to access additional resources embedded in the map. To save this map to your CLIMB account, click the blue wrench in the upper left corner and select "Copy Map to My Maps".

How Do Aquarius and GRACE Help Us Understand the Global Water Cycle?

How Are Aquarius and GRACE Working Together to See Flooding Events?

Earth Wheel Interactive
Earth wheel
With an overarching theme to Explore Water in Our Earth System, the Earth Wheel is a physical interactive designed to engage middle and high school students in ways of using multiple NASA data sets to answer questions about Earth. The wheel contains imagery from NASA's TRMM, Aquarius, Aqua, and GRACE missions, and offers starter questions for exploring this imagery, as well as background information on each mission and links to access data sets for further investigations.

Earth Wheel resources:
About the Presenters
J.T. Reager is a research scientist in the Surface Hydrology group in the Earth Sciences Section. He received B.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Ocean Engineering from Virginia Tech, an M.S. in Physical Oceanography from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D in Earth System Science from the University of California, Irvine. He is currently using gravity-based observations of water movement across the planet from NASA's GRACE mission to study flood and drought occurrence and to measure the strength of the global water cycle.
Jorge Vázquez

Jorge Vázquez is the NASA PO.DAAC scientist supporting sea surface temperature and sea surface salinity. He received a B.S. in Physics from the University of Miami, an M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, and a Ph.D in Geological Sciences from the University of Southern California. He currently serves as the chair of the Applications and User Services Technical Advisory Group for the Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST).