Our Blue Planet from the Vantage Point of Space
The View from Remote Sensing Satellites

Eric J. Lindstrom

Videography by Nerine and Robert Clemenzi, Edited by Nerine Clemenzi
Copyright © Philosophical Society of Washington.  All rights reserved.

Sponsored by The Policy Studies Organization
In Cooperation with the American Public University

About the Lecture:

Our Blue Planet from the Vantage Point of SpaceThe ocean has an enormous impact on Earth’s climate and the quality of our lives.  In this talk, Dr. Eric Lindstrom will show us how NASA senses many properties of the ocean from an array of satellites in Earth-orbit and the impact of these measurements on the science of oceanography and climate.   Some of the topics to be covered include sensing the changes in global sea level and the mass of the great ice sheets, the interaction of the ocean and atmosphere through sensing of sea surface temperature and surface wind vectors, and modeling of the surface circulation of the ocean and its interaction with marine debris including plastics.  

NASA’s Earth Science Division maintains a constellation of satellites that assist in monitoring and understanding the land, sea, and atmosphere of our Home Planet.  The science of physical oceanography has been transformed in the last 30 years by the advent of satellite oceanography that now provides precise global measurements of sea level, bottom pressure, surface winds, sea surface temperature and salinity, and ocean color.  These measurements provide a global synoptic view that when combined with a traditional ship-board perspective allow for an expanded realm of scientific inquiry and practical applications.


About the Speaker

Alexander BrettonEric Lindstrom is the Climate Focus Area Lead in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C.  He has degrees in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1977) and Physical Oceanography from University of Washington (1983). 

His scientific interests include the circulation of the ocean and air-sea exchange processes and include extensive experience in both sea-going oceanography and remote sensing.  His broad and life-long interest in the ocean has led to his ongoing work with National Geographic Society as a scientific consultant on ocean atlases and book projects. 

A passionate interest in observing the ocean led to his position as co-chair of the international steering committee for the Global Ocean Observing System. Similar passion for research program management earned him the 2013 American Geophysical Union Ocean Sciences Award for leadership and service to the ocean science community as well as four NASA Exceptional Service and Achievement Medals during his 18 years of service.  

Eric has traveled widely in pursuit of ocean discoveries and is known particularly for his pioneering research on the circulation of the western tropical Pacific Ocean in the region of Papua New Guinea.  He spent the 1980’s in Australia, living near Hobart, Tasmania.   In recent years, he has “taken NASA to sea” in an effort to marry satellite and sea-going oceanography – blogging and photographing the explorations he has initiated.

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