Vipers attend 2016 HyspIRI Workshop

posted Oct 22, 2016, 8:48 AM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Oct 22, 2016, 8:49 AM ]

Four members of the Viper Lab attended the 2016 HyspIRI Science Workshop at Caltech. This workshop provided an update on mission status and ongoing science results for the proposed HyspIRI satellite mission. This workshop always provides a diverse sampling of ongoing spectroscopy projects in a variety of topics. Advisor Dar Roberts presented a talk titled "Developing Methods for Fractional Cover Estimation Toward Global Mapping of Ecosystem Composition".  Susan Meerdink presented a talk titled "Spectral emissivity features of plants: Prospects for the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HyTES) sensor". In addition, Alana Ayasse and Sarah Shivers attended the workshop for a couple days. Also attending the three day workshop were a couple of Viper alumni who also gave presentations: Phil Dennison and Andrew Thorpe. Slides from the above mentioned presentations will be available on this website:

NASA and USFS Facebook Live with Zach Tane

posted Sep 1, 2016, 11:46 AM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Sep 1, 2016, 11:50 AM ]

On August 30 at 11 am, scientists Natasha Stavros from NASA and Zach Tane (VIPER lab PhD candidate) with the U.S. Forest Service were found on NASA Earth's facebook page hosting a facebook live event. They discussed way NASA data and technology are helping the Forest Service understand wildfire behavior and improve wildfire recovery. With Griffith Park as their backdrop, Zach and Natasha explained how remote sensing can aid wildfire prevention, status, and recovery. Zach explained how spectroscopy using AVIRIS is a great tool for forest management. People from around the world logged on and asked questions about wildfires in California. Log on to to watch the full video now!

Dar Roberts named AGU Fellow

posted Jul 26, 2016, 11:21 AM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Jul 26, 2016, 11:21 AM ]

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) today announced its 2016 Fellows, an honor given to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and gained prominence in their respective fields of Earth and space sciences. Since the AGU Fellows program was established in 1962, and according to the organization’s bylaws, no more than 0.01 percent of the total membership of AGU is recognized annually. This year’s class of Fellows are geographically diverse coming from 18 states and eight countries.

“Although AGU Fellows represent the many diverse sciences of AGU members and come from different career backgrounds, they’ve each played a leading role in promoting discovery and developing solutions for a sustainable future for Earth,” said Margaret Leinen, AGU President. “We’re pleased to recognize and honor the newest class of Fellows for their significant and lasting contributions to Earth and space sciences.”

Our very own Dr. Dar Roberts has been chosen as an AGU fellow. He will be honored at the AGU annual meeting in San Francisco.

Link to full article:

Zach Tane's Research featured by JPL, NPR

posted Jul 11, 2016, 12:01 PM by Zachary Tane   [ updated Jul 26, 2016, 11:27 AM by Susan Meerdink ]

VIPER lab member Zach Tane had his on going research on identifying tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada Mountains via AVIRIS data featured by JPL recently:

A few days later NPR affiliate KVPR ran a follow up story on the piece:

The story was also feature on NASA's front page on July 20th, 2016:

PhD alumni Andrew Thorpe published in Washington Post

posted Jun 28, 2016, 11:25 AM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Jun 28, 2016, 11:25 AM ]

Recent research on the massive Aliso Canyon methane gas leak of late last year, conducted by researchers including Viper Lab PhD alumni Andrew Thorpe, was featured in The Washington Post after initial publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The size of the leak was of such large proportion that a NASA satellite could see the plumes of gas from space. 

Link to the Washington Post Article:

Comparison of detected plumes. D: AVIRIS-C flightline at 12 January 2016, 20:25 UTC. B: Hyperion on 1 January 2016, 16:39 UTC. (source Geophysical Research Letters)

Taking the ASD for a spin

posted Jun 16, 2016, 12:40 PM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Jun 16, 2016, 12:53 PM ]

Alana Ayasse, Nina Bingham, Susan Meerdink, Sarah Shivers, and Erin Wetherley spent a couple hours learning about an ASD FieldSpec 4 spectrometer. Lots of fun and spectra were collected!

Team VIPER wins the Geography Scavenger Hunt!

posted Jun 10, 2016, 2:09 PM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Jun 10, 2016, 2:09 PM ]

Ready, Set, Go! Seven teams of undergraduate and graduate students participated in the Geography Department’s Scavenger Hunt on Thursday, June 2. Planned and executed by the Outreach Committee (Heather Frazier, Nina Bingham, Sari Blakeley, Mike Johnson, Susan Meerdink, and Rafael Ramos) the event was hosted to promote interaction among the geocommunity and other participants, and to celebrate the end of the academic year.

Featuring clues and activities all over campus, the participants had to combine team-work, strategy, endurance, and lots of enthusiasm. Some of the tasks included getting to one of the good surfing spots on campus, taking a photo with a duck couple, and even finding a sunken place where testudines call home!

This Scavenger Hunt was for sure a competitive one. All the teams did very well and in the end there were some very close scores. Tying for 1st Place was Team VIPER (Alana Ayasse, Dan Phillips, Sarah Shivers, Zach Tane, and Erin Wetherley) and Spatial Forces (Thomas Hervey, Sara Lafia, and Georgios Technitis). 3rd place was awarded to the undergraduate Raster Masters (Chris Chien, Lucine Garibian, Ryan Linhart, Cole McLaughlin, and Andrew Westerman). These teams won a variety of prizes including: Geography T-shirts from the thirtieth and fortieth anniversaries, Geography Bags, $50 Bookstore gift cards, ESRI pens and notebooks, passes to the Natural History Museum and Sea Center, and Geography pencils. After finishing the scavenger hunt, the participants also enjoyed a graduate student poster showcase while eating Woodstock’s pizza.

According to Sara Lafia, from the Spatial Forces team, participating in the Scavenger Hunt allowed her to appreciate our beautiful UCSB campus, and her coworkers at the Spatial Center, who also participated. “I’m really happy to have participated and hope that we can make it an annual department end-of year tradition”, Sara remarked. That is indeed an idea to look forward to.

Erin Wetherley Awarded NASA NESSF Award

posted May 25, 2016, 8:43 AM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated May 25, 2016, 8:44 AM ]

Erin Wetherley was awarded a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) for her proposal, "Using HyspIRI-like Data to Quantify the Effects of Urban Vegetation and Materials on Microclimate at Sub-Pixel Scales." This is a competitive, multi-year award, so congratulations to Erin for her accepted proposal! 

AGU features many VIPERs

posted Jan 11, 2016, 6:46 PM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Jan 11, 2016, 7:40 PM ]

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) held it's annual fall meeting in San Francisco December 14-18, 2015. As the largest worldwide conference for the geophysical sciences, the AGU conference presents a great opportunity to talk and interact with top researchers in the field. Of course the majority of the VIPER lab made the jaunt up north to present their current research. While enjoying the conference, we gathered all current and past VIPERs for a reunion! We had a great showing of alumni: Mike Alonzo, Phil Dennison, Ryan Perroy, Becky Powell, Keely Roth, and Andrew Thorpe. All in all AGU was a lot of fun and good research was conducted.
Pictured: Erin Wetherley, Susan Meerdink
Pictured: Sarah Shivers, Alana Ayasse
Pictured: Gabriel Daldegan, Fernanda Ribeiro
Pictured: Zach Tane

VIPERs attend the 2015 HyspIRI Workshop

posted Oct 15, 2015, 3:03 PM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Oct 15, 2015, 3:03 PM ]

Six members of the Viper Lab attended the 2015 HyspIRI Science Workshop at Caltech. This workshop provided an update on mission status and ongoing science results for the proposed HyspIRI satellite mission.
Advisor Dar Roberts presented a talk titled "Combined hyperspectral VSWIR and broadband thermal infrared analysis  of vegetation-substrate mixtures in a mixed natural and anthropogenic landscape".  Also attending the three day workshop was a number of Viper alumni: Matt Clark, Keely Roth, and Andrew Thorpe.

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