November 7, 2011, 16:00 PST

Pick of the pics

The River Nile

Image captured by NASA's Multi Angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer onboard the Terra satellite, on January 30, 2011, taken from the JPL Photojourna. Credit: NASA/GSFC/JPL and the MISR Team.
Image captured by NASA's Multi Angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer onboard the Terra satellite, on January 30, 2011, taken from the JPL Photojournal. Credit: NASA/GSFC/JPL and the MISR Team.

This image shows the northern part of the Nile River, as of January 30, 2001. The Nile is the longest river in the world, extending for about 6700 kilometers (4200 miles) from its headwaters in the highlands of eastern Africa. At the apex of the fertile Nile River Delta is the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. To the west are the Great Pyramids of Giza. North of here the Nile branches into two distributaries, the Rosetta to the west and the Damietta to the east.

Also visible in this image is the Suez Canal, a shipping waterway connecting Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez. The Gulf is an arm of the Red Sea, and is located on the right-hand side of the picture.

November 1, 2011, 17:00 PDT

Walking the walk, talking the talk

NASA climate scientist honored for communication

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist based at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, has received the inaugural Climate Communications Prize from the American Geophysical Union, the largest association of Earth and planetary scientists in the world. The $25,000 prize will be awarded at the group’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco this December.

Despite the rancor that often surrounds public discussions of climate change science, Schmidt has become one of NASA’s most valued and relentless scientific communicators. He is regularly quoted by leading newspaper and magazine journalists, frequently offers his time and expertise at public events, and has appeared on numerous television programs. In his spare time, he writes for the widely read blog RealClimate and has published a popular book about climate change.

"The value of science is only fully realized when it has been effectively communicated," said NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, an Earth scientist who specializes in studying the frozen regions of the planet. "For years, Gavin has been committed to communicating facts about an area of science that is of enormous societal importance. In an environment that is often laden with inaccurate and hyperbolic claims, Gavin has been a clear, consistent, and honest voice."

Schmidt’s research centers on understanding what drives variability in the climate system. He often uses large-scale models of the atmosphere and ocean to simulate past and future climate conditions.