Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2000
SCIENTISTS AT SDSM& T PARTICIPATE IN LARGE SCALE NASA PROJECT
Scientists at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology ( SDSM& T) who comprise a wide variety of disciplines are taking part in a NASA project that has both regional and global implications. The Upper Missouri River Basin ( UMRB) Pilot Project is an interdisciplinary project to understand links among hydrology, weather and climate. The researchers are looking at the Black Hills as a test bed to provide understanding that ultimately can be applied across the central region of the North American continent. The ultimate goal is to gain a greater understanding of water cycles both to improve weather forecasts and to enhance our ability to manage watersheds.
Dr. Sherry Farwell, Dean of Graduate Education and Sponsored Programs at SDSM& T, and Dr. Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, were awarded an $ 800,000 grant by NASA to help support the UMRB Pilot Project. A group of more than 20 scientists and students that include atmospheric scientists, civil engineers, and geologists, are combining their efforts to create a complete model of the hydrological cycle that can eventually be employed on the larger Mississippi River Basin.
An intensive observational period conducted for a one- month period from April to May 1999 gave the scientists their first test, and they passed. Through ground- based measurements, and data collected in the Black Hills Hydrology Project conducted by the Rapid City office of the United States Geological Survey, the Tech scientists were successful at integrating small scale numerical analysis with larger scale observations. It was the first time a model of this scale had been developed and incorporated all four components of the water budget working accurately and at the same time.
“ For this research project, all of our experiments worked and the components of the coupled model are linked and can now talk with each other,” said Dr. Patrick Zimmerman, Director Institute of Atmospheric Sciences. “ We still have a lot of work to do and our discovering that the data collected has many more applications than this one project.”
The UMRB Pilot Project is just one of many projects the scientists in the SDSM& T Institute of Atmospheric Sciences are involved with. The Institute has conducted research in the atmospheric sciences since its establishment at Tech in 1959. Over nine individuals work in IAS and each has specific research expertise.
A sample of the research currently taking place include: •
Animal Health – a project to develop methods to predict outbreaks of animal disease via remote sensing to allow prevention strategies;
Carbon Cycling, Ameriflux – a collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study the dynamics of energy, water and carbon cycling in various ecosystems;
NASA EPSCoR ( Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) – utilizing unique features of the Prairie Wetlands region in South Dakota to strengthen satellite remote sensing capabilities;
T28 Research Facility – a unique facility for penetrating severe storms to determine transport processes, microphysical processes, electrification processes, and chemical processes.
If you would like to learn more about the Upper Missouri River Basin Pilot Project, or learn more about the on- going research taking place in the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, contact the Office of University Relations at ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554.
( I: univrel/ pressrel/ 0100 UMRB – IAS fxd stwd)
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