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June 20, 2005

NEW SATELLITE DATA MINING AND PROCESSING FACILITY TO MAKE CCNY A REMOTE SENSING ‘CENTER OF EXCELLENCE’

NEW YORK – June 20, 2005 – A data archiving, mining and processing station that will collect and analyze data from both geo-stationary and polar orbiting satellites will be built at The City College of New York (CCNY).  When the station goes live, CCNY will become one of only a select few U.S. academic institutions receiving and processing data directly from all major federal government weather and environmental monitoring satellites.  It will support CCNY researchers in projects ranging from land use analyses to precipitation forecasts to studying linkages between climate changes and air quality.

The station will consist of a satellite receiver with a 2.36-meter diameter antenna plus computer hardware and software for collecting, storing, processing and analyzing data.  When operational, it will collect a steady stream of information from the following sources:

·         The National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) geo-stationary satellites in fixed orbit above the Equator used by the National Weather Service.

·         NOAA’s National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), a group of satellites in a polar orbit that monitor global environmental conditions and collect and disseminate data related to weather, atmosphere, oceans, land and near-space environment.

·         NASA’s MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), instrumentation carried aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites used for gathering information on global dynamics and processes occurring on the land, in the oceans and in the lower atmosphere.

“We want to be the Northeast center of excellence in remote sensing and this new facility is essential to achieving that aim,” said Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi, CCNY Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the NOAA-CREST Center (Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology) at the college.  Currently two other institutions, University of Wisconsin and Louisiana State University, receive and analyze data from all these sources, he noted.

Installation of the satellite receiver and antenna is scheduled to begin this summer and the station is expected to be fully operational by year-end.  The project’s cost, estimated by Dr. Khanbilvardi at between $550,000 and $750,000. is funded through several sources, including NOAA and the City University of New York (CUNY).

According to Dr. Khanbilvardi, CCNY was chosen by NOAA as a site for the center because, in addition to technical expertise the agency sought to have this capability in the nation’s largest metropolitan area and at an institution with a diverse, multicultural student body.

The first applications are likely to involve research on aerosols, air pollutants and air movements in the Northeast, Dr. Khanbilvardi said.  Potential long-term uses include troposphere monitoring, coastal analysis, water quality monitoring, land use and land cover changes, soil moisture determination and precipitation estimation.

“This new facility gives us the capability to do additional kinds of studies that we can’t do right now,” Dr. Khanbilvardi added.  “For example, we could look at climate changes’ impact on health and correlate them to areas of the city with health problems.  Also, we could help police or homeland security trace the flow of pollutants from an incident such as an explosion or fire.”

About the NOAA-CREST Center

Established through a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration, the NOAA-CREST Center conducts research consistent with NOAA’s missions of environmental assessment, prediction and environmental stewardship in atmospheric remote sensing (RS) and air quality monitoring; estuarine, coastal and marine RS and water quality monitoring; and RS applications for environmental assessment and forecasting.  It focuses on research and training in sensor development, ground-based field measurements, satellite remote sensing, data processing and analysis, modeling, and forecasting.  Its education goal is to create a framework to recruit and train graduate students from underrepresented minorities for professional opportunities within NOAA and related industries.  The City University of New York is the lead institution for the cooperative.  Other participating institutions are Hampton University, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Bowie State University, and Columbia University.  Raytheon Corp. is the cooperative’s industrial partner.

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