A Geology scholar is using a system that typically measures earthquakes to help federal agencies predict drought and perhaps climate change. Kristine Larson, a geodesist at Colorado University, works with EarthScope, a project that is giving geologists a new understanding of the Earth's surface and volcanic movement. Geodesists study changes in the Earth's surface. Larson helps drought monitoring agencies by providing a new source of useful data.
"My goal is to get it to those scientists that do those big data assimilation models of prediction, both short and long term."
Larson uses data collected from GPS receivers, including those installed west of Bloomington...
"It's not so much that I'm measuring the ground getting wet, as the ground drying out. As the ground dries out I can see a little further into the ground."
Unlike weather-data focused on the amount of rain or snowfall, Larson's work allows scientists to predict how much water will remain in the ground, affecting crop yields and water supplies. Federal Agencies like NASA and NOAA are better able to predict droughts and their potential impact thanks to a Colorado University professor.
Larson is able to do this at no cost...
"The primary thing that is good about it, is that it is so inexpensive, compared to, you know, tens of millions of dollars of people putting in weather stations."
Larson says her goal is not to replace other systems for gathering data, but to compliment and augment them, by providing another resource. Larson will speak about her work at Illinois State University today/tomorrow, the Midwest's EarthScope Project Coordinator.
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