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Dr. Knut Stamnes at Stevens receives NASA grant for environmental monitoring
Date:5/23/2011

ndication of the contents of the water below. The NASA research grant allows Dr. Stamnes to design algorithms that isolate and analyze sunlight reflected from the ocean. "As instruments become more accurate and accommodate more wavelengths that include polarization information, more refined tools are needed," he comments.

These algorithms will allow scientists to track organic and inorganic matter in the water distinguishing chlorophyll from silt, for instance or even differentiating benign algal blooms from harmful algal blooms that suck the oxygen from the water and destroy sea life. At the same time, the algorithms will be very robust, and with some changes will be able to aid scientists in exploring other issues that utilize the study of polarization, scattering and refraction of light in the coupled atmosphere-ocean system. In this capacity, Dr. Stamnes' NASA research dovetails with his work as Director of the Light and Life Laboratory, which studies the interaction of light with the environment.

"The algorithm work is generic, which means that it can be applied to a wide range of issues. Beyond ocean monitoring, we could also measure snow and ice properties in the Arctic, for example," Dr. Stamnes says. The technical tools could be modified to deal with global warming, one particular interest of the Light and Life Laboratory. Advancing beyond pictures that reveal the disappearance of ice and snow, Dr. Stamnes' algorithms would allow researchers to accurately determine factors like the age of the snow and impurities that impact the radiative energy balance and thereby climate, giving scientists a much better understanding of the system as it evolves.

Maritime Monitoring at Stevens

A number of Stevens initiatives already keep tabs on the maritime environment. The National Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce (CSR) boasts maritime domain monitoring to keep people safe against natural and man-made threats. T
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Contact: Christine del Rosario
cdelrosa@stevens.edu
Stevens Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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