Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering 2017 SURE and SROP Research Projects

CLASP Project #1: Mobile Device Sensors for Earth and Space Science Observations
Faculty Mentor: Mark Moldwin
Project Details: Low-cost mobile phone technology enables innovative solutions for research and science education. The spread of internet-enabled devices and the low cost of smartphones with built-in sensor packages (now readily equipped with GPS receivers, battery thermometers, accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, HD video and multi-megapixel cameras), coupled with the wide-spread global adoption of cell phones (there are over 6 billion active mobile phones in a world that has a human population of 7 billion [MobiThinking, 2013]) has given rise to a new field of science and education called m-Science [Matthews, 2011]. We propose to exploit the tremendous potential of cell phone technology to make densely-covered environmental monitoring a reality. The project consists of an environmental science observing network that will specifically use cell-phone technology to develop a dense crowd-sourced environmental monitoring network.

CLASP Project #2, QB50 CubeSat Operations and Data Analysis
Faculty Mentor:  Aaron Ridley
Project Details: The University of Michigan has built two small satellites that are being deployed from the International Space Station in April 2017. These satellites, along with about 40 other satellites, will measure the density of the upper atmosphere. We will use this data to help understand how the upper atmosphere responds to energy inputs, like the northern lights.  We are looking for students who are interested in helping to operate the satellites and help interpret the data to learn more about the atmosphere.

CLASP Project #3, Space Weather Research
Faculty Mentor: Shasha Zou
Project Details: The Earth’s ionosphere is a “thin” shell (several hundred km thick) of ionized particles located at about tens of kilometers above the surface. The amount of ionized particles within the ionosphere can vary significantly. The ionospheric density variations can affect the propagation of radio signals that pass through or are reflected by the ionosphere, leading to severe signal loss of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), including the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS). In this project, students will participate in analyzing data from ground-based radars to investigate the ionosphere density structures and their evolution during Space Weather events.

CLASP Project #4, Effect of precipitation on Lake Erie hazardous algal blooms
Faculty Mentor: Allison Steiner
Project Details: The long-term sustainability of coastal ecosystems is influenced by anthropogenic activity, and in particular, climate change. Informing effective decisions to prevent and respond to these threats can only be accomplished through an enhanced understanding of the interplay among social, biological, and physical systems. Anticipating and managing future changes is a unique challenge requiring accurate representation and integration of climate drivers, biophysical responses, economic impacts, and adaptation decisions, but also the production of model outputs that are usable for decision making.  How does climate influence the biophysical dynamics of freshwater ecosystems and ecosystem services, and how can scientist and stakeholder co-production of information enhance coastal decision-making and sustainability? This project will evaluate the role of precipitation change and how uncertainty in climate model precipitation affects simulations of phosphorous loading, and the role of cold season processes (e.g., snow, frozen soil) on climate and phosphorous loading.