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PACE Applications Workshop Looks to Understand our Changing Planet

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 12:45:00

538 Participants
50 Speakers
71 Countries
480 Hours of planning
Endless connections and ideas exchanged

In September, PACE hosted a two-day virtual applications workshop inviting user communities and stakeholders to a discussion on practical uses of the mission's future data.

World map of worship attendees
The workshop attracted a worldwide audience.
PACE, which stands for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and Ocean Ecosystem, is slated to launch in early 2024. The satellite will give an in-depth view of Earth's oceans and atmosphere while providing critical information on water resources, air quality and health, climate, disasters and ecological forecasting decision making.

The workshop featured speakers ranging from NASA to academia.
The objectives of the virtual workshop were to:
  • Provide an overview of PACE, its data, products and mission applications.
  • Understand critical needs and challenges of communities that are interested in working with PACE data.
  • Promote partnerships and community development, encouraging engagement / inclusivity with the PACE user community and other Earth missions, resource managers, decision-makers, and identifying opportunities for capacity development.
  • Identify advanced and exploratory PACE products that align with stakeholders and identify potential applications not currently under consideration by the mission.
The workshop featured a variety of poster presenters, speakers, moderators, and panelists from across NASA, academia, non-governmental organizations, and research institutions. Through agenda activities and the virtual platform features, participants were able to have conversations, make connections, and offer insight to how the PACE data will help their communities.

Event organizers saw significant growth in the event since the first applications meeting was held in 2020.

"Aside from the sheer number of participants from 71 countries across the globe, the make-up of participants across all five NASA Applied Sciences areas (not just water) grew substantially," said Erin Urquhart, PACE Mission Applications Coordinator. "The first workshop was the initial step in engaging PACE user communities, surveying their user needs, their goals, and their challenges. This year's event built upon 2020's success and took the natural next step, moving toward transdisciplinary conversations around addressing these needs and challenges."

A few example discussion topics from the workshop included:
  • NASA Applied Sciences and the PACE mission.
  • The air quality and water quality communities, particularly their data needs, perspectives, and challenges in the context of Earth observations supporting society and decision making.
  • The NASA Capacity Building Program (CPB), including its support in communication, training, and broad expansion of reach for applications.
This session highlighted various CBP sub-programs for training, including ARSET and DEVELOP, and international development-focused satellite data applications, through SERVIR, highlighting how the PACE team can set up for success with these outreach programs post-launch.

Nine PACE Early Adopters presented during the virtual poster sessions, and two Early Adopters, Dr. Marcela Loria Salazar (University of Oklahoma) and Dr. Damian Brady (University of Maine) participated in live panel sessions. Six PACE Science and Application Team (SAT) members also shared posters.

"The relatively low spatial resolution of PACE, compared with high resolution products such as Sentinel 2A&B and LandSat 8, dictate that PACE products can inform offshore aquaculture applications rather than nearshore aquaculture," Brady said. "We are interested in creating better aquaculture site selection models in offshore locations for relatively low temperature tolerant bivalve species such as sea scallops and blue mussels."

Dr. Salazar intends to use future PACE data at the Atmospheric Aerosols and Air Quality Laboratory at University of Oklahoma to investigate long-range transport of aerosols (e.g., Saharan dust, smoke from wildfires) to the ones regionally emitted in the Southern Great Plains. Dr. Brady plans to use data to provide relevant remote sensing imagery to existing and prospective aquaculturists along a highly distributed network of estuaries along Maine's coast.

Virtual event
The two-day workshop was hosted virtually.
Overall, the workshop was highly successful in bringing together a diverse, international audience and highlighting future applications of PACE data, particularly in the atmosphere, air quality and health communities.

All workshop sessions were recorded and posted to the PACE Applications website.