Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Recovery Act Notification (NEXRAD based precipitation estimate)

By SpaceRef Editor
September 4, 2009
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Sep 04, 2009

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNM09ZPS002K
Posted Date: Sep 04, 2009
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Sep 04, 2009
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: Yes
Original Response Date: N/A
Current Response Date: N/A
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541712 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)

Contracting Office Address

NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812


Background on project: This project is a collaborative effort among Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The overall objective of this effort is to create prototype hardware/software infrastructure to improve water management in the San Joaquin River watershed in California (scalable to other regions) that integrates NASA information products and models. MSFC component of this effort is in two distinct elements: a) generating precipitation product using data from NEXRAD radar and b) soil moisture and evapotranspiration estimation using a sophisticated distributed hydrologic model.

Precipitation estimation is a major component of this project. The NEXRAD based precipitation estimate will need to be produced at 2 km spatial resolution. The precipitation estimate will need to be produced at hourly temporal frequency and will cover the entire San Joaquin River watershed. The necessary data processing will be accomplished in an automated fashion in either real-time or in post-processing over domain and will include generation of imagery for visualization. The output from the precipitation estimation process will be compatible with the other elements of the projects, namely ARC and JPL modeling systems (Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System (TOPS) and Snow water Equivalent (SWE) products respectively).

The second element of MSFC component of this project involves estimation of evapotranspiration and soil moisture using a physically-based, multi-soil layer hydrologic model. All relevant hydrologic and energy processes will be modeled to determine temperature and moisture in each soil layer. The soil water dynamics algorithms in the hydrologic model include Darcy flow to model vertical and lateral sub-surface fluxes and an overland flow algorithm. Together, these modules will estimate the three-dimensional soil water fluxes. The temporal change in soil moisture content in each of the soil layers will be determined by considering the contributions of infiltration, runoff, evaporation, transpiration, and sub-surface vertical and lateral flow. In-stream routing algorithm, part of the hydrologic model, will estimate the flow once the water reaches the stream. The soil moisture and evapotranspiration products generated using the hydrologic model will be compatible with the ARC and JPL modeling systems (TOPS and SWE products respectively).

How it was selected: In early 2009, NASA Headquarters called for Centers to submit “ideas” for work to be done using possible stimulus funding. Functionally, there were two stages to this part of the process. The first stage involved exploration with project managers at HQ as to topical areas of interest. In the second stage written submissions were provided to HQ. MSFC sent in more than 20 ideas in Earth Sciences. The total number of ideas received at HQ was more than a hundred and covered all aspects of the Earth Science Directorate’s work.

Independently, a selection committee was formed. It consisted of senior Earth Science managers and two representatives from Centers doing Earth Science funded work. The committee’s task was several fold. They recommended how funds should be allocated, in terms of topic areas. They also recommended criteria for how projects should be selected. This committee worked for more than a month, meeting by telecon on a weekly basis.

With the committee guidance and the proposed work in hand, the HQs managers at the Directorate level selected ideas from those submitted. In the specific case of MSFC a single idea was initially selected. Final selection and funding was contingent on MSFC, JPL and ARC being able to integrate several ideas into a larger task, which required a formal proposal for HQs review. The proposal was submitted by the three Centers and after review by program managers at HQ, accepted. This one proposal, and the incorporated ideas, was the only package funded by the Applied Science Program out of the stimulus funds.

The MSFC work the final proposal offers is a pair of tasks related to measurement of precipitation and modeling of soil moisture in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The other two Centers are also focusing on the San Joaquin, to build a broad hydrological model for water management.

This project titled, “Water Supply and Management in California, Scalable to Regional and National Applications: An integrated framework for water resource management and irrigation optimization” will be awarded to The University of Alabama Huntsville and Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Both were named in the selected proposal as partners to MSFC.

Point of Contact

Name: Melinda E. Dodson
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 256-961-7454
Fax: 256-961-7524

Name: Vanessa M Rolf
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 256-961-7724
Fax: 256-961-7723

SpaceRef staff editor.