Dr. David E. Weissman, professor of electrical engineering in Hofstra’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been awarded a $90,000 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in support of a project titled “Space Based L-Band Scatterometer Studies of Coincident Ocean Surface Winds and Rain Using SMAP.”
“SMAP [for Soil Moisture Active Passive] is a remote sensing observatory that carries two instruments that will map soil moisture and determine the freeze or thaw state of the same area being mapped,” Dr. Weissman said. “Soil moisture content is mapped via a combination of radar and radiometer measurements, while the freeze/thaw mapping is accomplished using unique properties of the radar system’s measurements.”
What are the goals of the project? “The satellite also passes over and collects data over the oceans,” Dr. Weissman said. “NASA would like to use this ocean data to estimate ocean surface winds over the earth. My interest is in using this data over the ocean to determine how good its performance is when rain is present over the ocean areas when observations/data are being collected. I use our National Weather Service [NWS] resources to acquire simultaneous rain measurements to combine with the microwave sensors on the spacecraft, and determine the errors caused by rain.”
Dr. Weissman has engaged two student research assistants to work with him on this project. An undergraduate electrical engineering major will assist him with data retrieval from national centers where NASA archives its data, and with the analysis of the NWS rain data. And a graduate computer science major will assist with assimilating the data coming from numerous instruments with a variety of formats and software.
The grant period started on Sept. 1, 2015, and will run through Aug. 31, 2016.