06 Jan 2011:
Satellites Will be Used
To Better Manage Irrigation Projects
NASA researchers have developed a computer program that will use satellite data, information from wireless sensors in fields, and weather observations to help farmers more efficiently irrigate their fields
. Irrigation accounts for nearly 70 percent of water use in the U.S., and NASA scientists say that their
Satellite view of Salinas, Calif.
high-tech approach could improve irrigation efficiency by 20 to 25 percent. NASA is doing a test project with farmers and vineyard managers in California’s San Joaquin Valley, one of the most intensively farmed regions in the U.S. The project will combine temperature and moisture data from soil sensors with satellite data on crop growth to estimate irrigation needs of individual farms and then distribute that information in near real-time to farmers via computers or hand-held devices. Using that information, farmers can precisely determine how much water to release into their fields and vineyards, enabling them to use less water to produce the same yield. The information generated by the project will be stored in a central database, allowing farmers to compare past and current seasons and better manage their irrigation systems.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.