Examples of sea ice and melt-pond evolution in the Arctic Ocean
(Oct. 19, 2018) -- It’s called ArcCI (or Arctic CyberInfrastructure) and promises to combine the thousands of images that have been taken along the years of the Arctic Ocean into one global database that will help scientists and the world see the physical changes occurring in the region including ice loss. The hope is that this web-based repository will allow researchers to spend more time analyzing information rather than just collecting and processing data.
“This is to help scientists spend more time doing the science,” says Professor Alberto Mestas-Nuñez, one of two researchers at UTSA working on the on-demand data mining module. “At present time there isn’t a place on the internet that provides all these datasets but also an algorithm that allows to extract the information,” adds Mestas. “Most of the time scientists spend time getting data and preparing it. Typically, it’s about 80 percent preparing the data and 20 percent doing the actual science. We want to break that paradigm.”
The original idea to build ArcCI came from Professor Hongjie Xie, the principal investigator of the project at UTSA and a professor in the university’s Department of Geological Sciences. Although big data analytics, and dashboards are prevalent in many industries, the technology has yet to be applied fully to monitoring the Arctic’s sea ice.
“We have to harness the data revolution,” says Xie. “It’s about learning more in order to navigate the new Arctic.”
UTSA professors Hongjie Xie and Alberto Mestas-Nuñez examine images of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.
Xie along with Xin Miao at Missouri State University started working on the project five years ago. Now the National Science Foundation has given the green light in the way of funding to develop the online system which uses high resolution imaging either obtained on-site, via satellites, or via airborne monitoring.
The system will allow the scientific community the ability to readily extract detailed information of various ice properties including submerged ice, ice concentration, melt ponds or ice edge—the boundary between an area of ice and the open sea. The on-demand database will be dynamic and allowed to include new algorithms as well as additional datasets as they become available. Currently, the cloud-based system holds about a terabyte of images but that number will surely grow. The earliest dataset is from 1998 from the Sheba expedition which conducted 13 flights over the Beaufort Sea. Now researchers will include close to 1760 declassified images.
“We will use the power of the image,” says Xie about the large amount of declassified information that will be integrated into ArcCI.
The cloud framework and interface is being prototyped by Chaowei Yang at George Mason University, another investigator partnering with UTSA. A beta version of ArcCI will be presented at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union to be held in Washington D.C. in December 2018.
This on-demand service module for mining the geophysical characteristics of the Arctic sea ice allows for a wider circle of the scientific community to have a smart tool that will enable them to conduct research in a digital modality. The project will also include summer workshops for educators so they can take advantage and they in turn teach the new landscape of the Arctic to the next-generation of scientists and kids.
Emerging artists work in the full range of traditional methods and materials as well as in interdisciplinary and new media. Themes range from social and cultural critique to investigations that are challenging and exquisite explorations in creative form and image.UTSA Art Gallery, Arts Building, Main Campus
Juan Vallejo’s art conveys his experience as a childhood migrant worker. Opening reception: Thurs, Dec. 5, 6–9 p.m. Free and open to the public.UTSA Terminal 136, Blue Star Arts Complex, 136 Blue St., San Antonio
Portions of Cook Road will be closed for construction related to the new Student Success Center project and Americans with Disabilities Act sidewalk upgrades.Cook Road, Main Campus
Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music and peace. A remarkable true experience, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it. UTSA partners with The Public Theater for this event. Contact the theater at (210) 458-3288 for scheduling requests.Buena Vista Theater, Downtown Campus
Forty-six modular units will be delivered to Main Campus as part of the new Student Success Center project. The units will enter campus at Brennan Avenue and will travel to their final destination, south of the North Paseo Building and Graduate School and Research Building via Tobin Avenue, Bauerle Road and Devine Avenue.Brennan Avenue, Tobin Avenue, Bauerle Road, Devine Avenue, Main Campus
Enjoy two classic holiday performances. Children’s Ballet of San Antonio will present two of The Nutcracker. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church will perform a traditional Pastorela play, a morality tale about shepherds going to Bethlehem and the snares the devil uses to dissuade them. Performances are included with regular ITC admission.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chavez Blvd., San Antonio
Celebrating graduating students from the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. Guest speaker: Susan Pape '86, chairman of the San Antonio Express-News.Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
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