May 21, 2018 -- Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen today announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities.
“The administration remains committed to strengthening the security and resilience of our state and local communities,” said Secretary Nielsen. “The DHS grant programs are flexible by design and will be used to help address evolving threats. They will go toward building and sustaining capabilities across all levels of government and the whole community to maximize preparedness.”
The FY 2018 grant guidance will continue to focus on the nation’s highest risk areas, including urban areas that face the most significant threats. For FY 2018, the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will enhance regional preparedness and capabilities by funding 32 high-threat, high-density urban areas. This represents Congressional intent to limit FY 2018 UASI funding to those Urban Areas that represent up to 85 percent of the nationwide risk, as stated in the Explanatory Statement accompanying the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. No. 115-141).
Consistent with previous grant guidance, dedicated funding is provided for law enforcement and terrorism prevention throughout the country to prepare for, prevent and respond to pre-operational activity and other crimes that are precursors or indicators of terrorist activity.
Grant recipients are encouraged to use grant funding to maintain and sustain current critical core capabilities through investments in training and exercises, updates to current planning and procedures, and lifecycle replacement of equipment. New capabilities that are built using homeland security grant funding must be deployable if needed to support regional and national efforts. All capabilities being built or sustained must have a clear linkage to the core capabilities articulated in the National Preparedness Goal.
Preparedness Grant Program Allocations for Fiscal Year 2018:
Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)—provides more than $350 million to assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities.
Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)—provides more than $1 billion for states and urban areas to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other threats.
State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)—provides $402 million to support the implementation of risk-driven, capabilities-based State Homeland Security Strategies to address capability targets. States are required to dedicate 25 percent of SHSP funds to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities. Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)—provides $580 million to enhance regional preparedness and capabilities in 32 high-threat, high-density areas. States and Urban Areas are required to dedicate 25 percent of UASI funds to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities. Operation Stonegarden (OPSG)—provides $85 million to enhance cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, state and federal law enforcement agencies to jointly enhance security along the United States land and water borders. Since the enactment of the 9/11 Act, FEMA has required states to ensure that at least 25 percent of the total funds awarded to them under SHSP and UASI are dedicated toward law enforcement terrorism prevention activities (LETPA). The total LETPA allocation can be satisfied from SHSP, UASI or both. In addition, states must obligate at least 80 percent of the funds awarded under SHSP and UASI to local or tribal units of government within 45 days of receipt of the funds.
Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP)—provides $10 million to eligible tribal nations to implement preparedness initiatives to help strengthen the nation against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.
Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP)—provides $60 million to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. This year, $50 million is provided to nonprofits in UASI-designated urban areas, and $10 million is provided to nonprofits located in any state or territory.
Intercity Passenger Rail - Amtrak (IPR) Program—provides $10 million to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of the Amtrak rail system.
Port Security Grant Program (PSGP)—provides $100 million to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management, and maintain or reestablish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities.
Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP)—provides $88 million to owners and operators of transit systems to protect critical surface transportation and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.
Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP)—provides $2 million to owners and operators of intercity bus systems to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.
All preparedness Notices of Funding Opportunities can be found at www.grants.gov. Final submissions must be made through the Non-Disaster (ND) Grants system located at https://portal.fema.gov.
Lead by Li Yuanjing the Senior Vice President of Nuctech, Nuctech participated in the Second Technical Meeting on Radiation Detection Instruments for Nuclear Security of IAEA held in Vienna the capital of Austria from 16th to 20th, April, 2018. The topic was: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities. The conference is aimed at gathering the professionals, users, and manufacturers to discuss the emerging threats and the development trend in the field of radiation detecting.
During the conference, Mr.Li communicated thoroughly with the leaders of the bureau of radiation security of IAEA on deepen the cooperation of system maintenance and staff training, as well as to participate in the global project of IAEA, and other topics. On behalf of Nuctech, Li Yulan the engineer delivered a speech in which she introduced Nuctech briefly, and introduced the characteristics and application prospects of different types of products of Nuctech in detail.
During the exhibition, the high purity germanium detector attracted a great attention from the professionals of IAEA members and of the industry with its background of independent R&D and the leading capability of radiation detecting. The booth of Nuctech welcomed the professionals from France, Malaysia, Austria, Egypt, Bangladesh, and other countries and regions.
BETHESDA, Md., May 21, 2018 -- Today Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced Michele Evans has been named Deputy Executive Vice President for its Aeronautics business area, effective June 4. Evans will report to the business area's Executive Vice President, Orlando Carvalho, and will be based at the Aeronautics headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
Evans will be responsible for all programs, including F-35, F-16, C-130 and Advanced Development Programs, and will partner with Carvalho to ensure Lockheed Martin Aeronautics continues to meet customer commitments and grow the business.
Evans was most recently Vice President and General Manager for Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors in Lockheed Martin's Rotary and Mission Systems business area. In this role, she oversaw the strategy and execution of the Littoral Combat Ship program, Aegis Combat Systems and sea-based missile defense, as well as a host of other systems. The programs she led in this role supported all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and more than 40 countries. She also was Vice President of Modernization and Sustainment, where she was responsible for the A-10 weapons system, and avionics programs on the C-130 and F-35.
"The variety of her experiences make Michele uniquely qualified to take on this new role," Carvalho said. "Aligning program leadership to her will enable us to maintain and enhance best practices; and further build a cohesive, strategic operating rhythm for our programs."
Evans holds a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University. She serves on the corporate boards for Lockheed Martin Australia and the United Kingdom, and is a member of Clarkson University's Coulter School of Engineering Advisory Board.
With her appointment, Paul Lemmo has been named Vice President and General Manager for Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors in the Rotary and Mission Systems business area. Paul most recently served as Vice President of Fire Control/SOF GLSS line-of-business which provides a wide range of logistics support services.
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
CIVITAVECCHIA, Italy, May 21, 2018 -- Percepto, developers of on-site autonomous drone systems, today announced that Enel, a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global, power, gas and renewables markets, has completed deployment of Percepto's Sparrow drone system for use at its Torrevaldaliga Nord power plant in Italy. The multipurpose drone platform will support operation and maintenance activities at the site.
At Enel's power plant, Sparrow will fly in automated mode, under the supervision of an operator who can take control of the device at any moment as Italy's regulatory framework does not currently allow fully autonomous drone flight.
Powered by computer vision and AI technology, the drone carries a permanent dual payload of day and night-vision (thermal) cameras enabling around-the-clock operations, including the collection of aerial video, snapshots and data that can be transmitted to Enel personnel in real-time.
When flying autonomously, Sparrow conducts inspection missions without any human intervention.
Percepto's drone-in-a-box solution makes aerial missions easier to conduct, increasing flight frequency and the probability of anomaly detection at an early stage. Once an anomaly is detected, the drone sends out an alert in real-time, describing the nature of the problem and reporting its location. Sparrow's ongoing data collection and analysis enables preventative maintenance, ultimately leading to a reduction in operational costs and improved site productivity.
"While drones are touted as the technology of the future, the ability to act autonomously unlocks their true potential, enabling them to act as a responsible, independent and smart 'team member' that provides not only a bird's-eye view of facilities, but real, actionable insights," said Dor Abuhasira, CEO of Percepto. "We're proud to be working with Enel and look forward to many years of cooperation with a company that excels in terms of generation of safe, low-cost, and environmentally-conscious energy."
Sparrow is stationed on-site at Enel's Torrevaldaliga Nord power plant and is housed in a self-contained base unit from where it launches and lands autonomously. The Percepto Base shelters, charges, transfers data and conducts "health checks" on the drone when it is not in operation. The system is also designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow and dust, allowing it to operate year-round.
To view Percepto's Sparrow drone operating at Enel's Torrevaldaliga Nord power plant, please click here.
Founded in 2013, Percepto is pioneering the use of commercial drones in industrial environments. Percepto's on-site drone system operates autonomously without human intervention. It is also capable of performing multiple security, safety and inspection missions around the clock. As a long time supplier of real-time machine vision and AI technology to the defense industry, Percepto now offers its unique set of capabilities to commercial markets. For more information, please visit us at: http://www.percepto.co
PASADENA, Calif., May 21, 2018 -- Parsons today announced its acquisition of Polaris Alpha, an advanced, technology-focused provider of innovative mission solutions for complex defense, intelligence, and security customers, as well as other U.S. federal government customers. Parsons' acquisition of Polaris Alpha, from private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners, is the latest in the company's series of strategic investments focused on companies with technologies aligned to evolving threats in the land, sea, air, space, and cyber domains.
Parsons' existing artificial intelligence (AI), signals intelligence, and data analytics expertise supporting defensive and offensive cybersecurity missions will be expanded by the integration of Polaris Alpha's machine learning, data, video, multi-source analytics, and automated reasoning technologies. Polaris Alpha's portfolio of electromagnetic (EM) warfare, signals intelligence (SIGINT), space situational awareness, and multi-domain command and control (C2) technologies will significantly increase the scale and scope of Parsons' capabilities and customer relationships. Both companies support the U.S. intelligence community, numerous U.S. Department of Defense agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Justice.
"The acquisition of Polaris Alpha is the latest transformative move for Parsons that takes our technology solutions strategy to a new level with customers needing advanced solutions to rapidly evolving threats," said Chuck Harrington, Parsons' Chairman and CEO. "With the integration of Polaris Alpha into Parsons, we enhance our proven artificial intelligence and data analytics expertise with new technologies and solutions, the demand for which is growing exponentially."
Polaris Alpha has more than 1,300 employees, with nearly 90% maintaining security clearances. The company's major office locations are in Colorado Springs, CO; Columbia, MD; Aberdeen, MD; and Fredericksburg, VA; with additional offices, research and development facilities, and onsite customer operations in several other states and the United Kingdom.
"Parsons and Polaris Alpha customers, many of which are common to both companies, will benefit from existing, complementary technologies and increased scale, enabling end-to-end solutions under our shared vision of rapid prototyping and agile development," said Carey Smith, President of Parsons' Federal business unit. "Our integration plan for the two companies is simple: combine Parsons' and Polaris Alpha's capabilities and cultures for the benefit of our customers and employees. We are fully committed to continuing to attract, develop, and retain the best talent in our industry."
Peter Cannito, Polaris Alpha's CEO, added, "The combination of Polaris Alpha into Parsons is a logical continuation of our strategy to deliver highly differentiated technical capabilities for the government's most critical missions. Joining Parsons significantly broadens our access to new markets, solidifies our ability to deliver at scale, and provides a unique opportunity for our employees to continue to have a meaningful role in a transformative culture and premier organization."
Polaris Alpha was formed through Arlington Capital's merger of EOIR Technologies, Intelligent Software Solutions (ISS), and Proteus Technologies. In 2017, Intelesys and Solidyn were added, and in April 2018, 4D was acquired.
"Polaris Alpha has grown rapidly both organically and through strategic acquisitions to become a recognized leader in the space and cyber domains. The strength of the Polaris Alpha management team has enabled the company to combine leading technical capabilities with a deep understanding of its customers' missions while establishing a strong, unified culture," stated Michael Lustbader, a Managing Partner at Arlington Capital. "We are excited to watch many of our key technology and infrastructure investments continue to pay dividends under Parsons' leadership."
David Wodlinger, a Partner at Arlington Capital, added, "Polaris Alpha occupies a unique market position by not only architecting and developing new cutting-edge technologies through its research and development programs, but also efficiently transitioning those same technologies to support the most critical operations conducted by the national security community in the emerging domains of warfare. We are thrilled to have played a role in that strategy and believe Parsons' increased scale and dedication to the same customers can take it to the next level."
Polaris Alpha will become part of Parsons' Federal business unit, led by Carey Smith. Baird advised Parsons on this deal.
Parsons is a digitally enabled solutions provider focused on the defense, security, and infrastructure markets. With nearly 75 years of experience, Parsons is uniquely qualified to deliver cyber-physical security, advanced technology solutions, and other innovative services to federal, regional, and local government agencies, as well as to private industrial customers worldwide. For more about Parsons, visit parsons.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
GIVAT SHMUEL, Israel, May 21, 2018 --DSIT Solutions Ltd. revealed today that it was invited by the Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Program to demonstrate its Underwater Security Systems at a US Navy base. The Stiletto program, sponsored by the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Rapid Reaction Technology Office, coordinated and executed the demonstration. The capability demonstration was specifically aimed at Counter Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) operations.
For the demonstration, DSIT deployed its AquaShield long range Diver Detection Sonar (DDS) and PointShieldPortable Diver Detection Sonar (PDDS) off a pier at a US Navy base. The systems were calibrated by the company to support automatic detection, tracking, classification and alert of various underwater threats including UUVs and divers. During the four-day demonstration, DSIT's systems successfully monitored the underwater surroundings and alerted when UUVs penetrated the guarded zone. The capability demonstration included various types and sizes of UUVs approaching DSIT's systems from different angles and at changing diving altitudes.
Dan Ben-Dov, DSIT'S Vice President for Sales and Marketing, added, "We are very satisfied from the performance demonstrated by our systems in this capability demonstration and continue to discuss DSIT's participation in different US Navy programs."
DSIT provides detection solutions for HLS, Naval and Critical infrastructure markets. Our product lines include the Shield™ family of Diver Detection sonars, Blackfish™ Hull mounted sonar, portable acoustic range and SeaShield™ Coastal Surveillance system. On the ground, DSIT also offers a long-range Fiber Optic sensing solution called Lightline™.
HANOVER, Md., May 17, 2018 -- Dragos, Inc., the industry's trusted leader in industrial threat detection and response, announced today it has been selected as a Cool Vendor in the April 2018 "Cool Vendors in Industrial IoT and OT Security, 2018" report by Gartner, Inc. Industrial security companies selected for the report have been identified by the leading research firm as vendors who "bring notable approaches to protecting converging IT/OT for critical infrastructure ecosystems."
"The Dragos mission set out to do something different," said Dragos' CEO and Co-Founder Robert M. Lee. "We focused on combining our expert ICS cybersecurity practitioners with threat intelligence into our technology. It's exciting to see it working so well as to be recognized by Gartner as a Cool Vendor."
Dragos offers a comprehensive industrial threat detection and response solution that uses an intelligence-driven approach to detect threats and empower its customers with the knowledge of how to respond to them. The Dragos solution ecosystem includes: the Dragos Platform, software providing industrial control system (ICS)-specific asset discovery, threat detection, and investigation capabilities; Dragos Threat Operations Center, providing ICS threat hunting, incident response services, and ICS cybersecurity training; and Dragos ICS WorldView, providing global, ICS-specific threat intelligence in the form of weekly reports and critical alerts.
Dragos' technology and services are focused on helping its customers gain better visibility of their ICS assets, understand their networks' specific threats, and put proper security infrastructure in place for those specific threats. Dragos codifies the ICS-specific knowledge of its threat intelligence team through the technology to its customers, which means more effective and efficient defense and on-the-job training through its investigation playbooks—step-by-step guides that aid analysts during investigations and incident response.
Disclaimer from Gartner: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
About Dragos Dragos applies expert human intelligence and threat behavior analytics to redefine industrial control system (ICS) cybersecurity. Its industry-first, ICS cybersecurity ecosystem provides industrial security practitioners with unprecedented situational awareness over their environments, with comprehensive threat intelligence, detection, and response capabilities. Dragos' solutions include: the Dragos Platform, software providing ICS-specific asset discovery, threat detection, and investigation capabilities; Dragos Threat Operations Center, providing ICS threat hunting, incident response services, and ICS cybersecurity training; and Dragos ICS WorldView, providing global, ICS-specific threat intelligence in the form of weekly reports and critical alerts upon discovery. Headquartered in metropolitan Washington DC, Dragos' team of ICS cybersecurity experts are practitioners who've lived the problems the industry faces, hailing from across the U.S. Intelligence Community to private sector industrial companies. For more information, please visit dragos.com.
FRIBOURG, Switzerland, May 17, 2018 -- Morphean launches significant upgrade to cyber secure cloud platform with two-factor authentication to increase data protection and ensure GDPR compliance
Cloud analytics and security-as-a-service innovator, Morphean, has put cybersecurity at the heart of the design of its upgraded intelligent software platform. Morphean takes cybersecurity to the next level, allowing users to deploy two-factor authentication to access the platform and the insights derived using artificial intelligence. This ensures the PII held remains impenetrable, readying its customers for a cyber secure future.
In light of the increasing global cyber threats, Morphean's VSaaS platform delivers a robust and secure cloud environment. The upgrade will remove some of the burden of regulatory compliance such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), meaning the user can focus on implementing the insights delivered by the platform to drive business performance.
Rodrigue Zbinden, CEO at Morphean, states, "Security as a Service means exactly that. Creating world class business intelligence technology is no longer enough in today's cybersecurity landscape. We must ensure our solution is more secure in every way than an on-premise alternative. That is why Morphean only hosts its platform in Tier 3 data centres or higher. We collaborate with proven hosting partners, respecting the strongest certification standards in all regions we operate. Morphean has already begun upgrading its existing customers as part of the as-a-service model."
The growing number of network connected devices, and the resulting volume of data, provides new opportunities for businesses to extract meaningful insights from that hosted data, but also puts the security of such data firmly in focus. Where once these data sources were limited to physical security devices such as surveillance cameras and access control, with the growth of IoT the Morphean platform will now collect data, and extract insight from any network connected technology.
This is possible in a variety of sectors, including retail, transportation, industrial applications and government-related industries. In retail, utilising data from IoT devices is enabling immersive shopping experiences that appeal to today's digitally-native shopper, allowing for customer journey mapping and ongoing stock replenishment.
"From very early on, cybersecurity has been an important consideration within our technology," Mr. Zbinden continues. "Having access to game changing business intelligence is only effective if the technology utilised is 100% cybersecure, and compliant with local legislation. We believe the new Morphean platform effectively achieves this."
RESTON, Va., May 17, 2018 -- Leidos (NYSE: LDOS), a global science and technology leader, was awarded a task order by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Ala., to provide information technology support services to more than 37,000 USACE customers around the world. The single-award, firm-fixed-price task order has a one-year base period of performance and two option years with a total contract value of approximately $239.5 million if all options are exercised. Work will be performed nationwide.
USACE provides vital engineering services for U.S. citizens around the world, with the mission to strengthen the nation's security by building and maintaining infrastructure and military facilities where service members train, work and live. The task order, placed under the U.S. General Services Administration's Alliant Government-wide Acquisition Contract, is part of the USACE Information Technology Enterprise Services – Next Generation program. Leidos will partner with both large and small companies to ensure the right technology and mix of technical experts are available to perform agile and responsive IT support services at all times.
"For over 33 years, we've partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers to deliver innovative solutions that support their critical missions," said Senior Vice President Liz Porter, Leidos Federal Energy Environment Operations Group Manager. "We will continue to institute a culture focused around preparation, communication and quick identification and elevation of issues to provide USACE with reliable and secure IT services."
Leidos has previously partnered with the Corps to provide project management, engineering, environmental, and construction services across its 13 districts, Europe, and Asia. The company currently holds prime contracts with more than half of USACE districts – Louisville, Ky.; St. Louis; Baltimore; Kansas City, Mo.; Fort Worth, Texas; Mobile, Ala.; and Huntsville, Ala.
About Leidos Leidos is a Fortune 500® information technology, engineering, and science solutions and services leader working to solve the world's toughest challenges in the defense, intelligence, homeland security, civil and health markets. The company's 31,000 employees support vital missions for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $10.17 billion for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2017. For more information, visit www.Leidos.com.
Statements in this announcement, other than historical data and information, constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause our actual results, performance, achievements, or industry results to be very different from the results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the risk factors set forth in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 29, 2017, and other such filings that Leidos makes with the SEC from time to time. Due to such uncertainties and risks, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof.
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2018 -- In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists have combined an array of NASA satellite observations of Earth with data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe and to determine why.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, finds that Earth's wet land areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier due to a variety of factors, including human water management, climate change and natural cycles.
A team led by Matt Rodell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, used 14 years of observations from the U.S./German-led Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) spacecraft mission to track global trends in freshwater in 34 regions around the world. To understand why these trends emerged, they needed to pull in satellite precipitation data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project, NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat imagery, irrigation maps, and published reports of human activities related to agriculture, mining and reservoir operations. Only through analysis of the combined data sets were the scientists able to get a full understanding of the reasons for Earth's freshwater changes as well as the sizes of those trends.
"This is the first time that we've used observations from multiple satellites in a thorough assessment of how freshwater availability is changing, everywhere on Earth," said Rodell. "A key goal was to distinguish shifts in terrestrial water storage caused by natural variability – wet periods and dry periods associated with El Niño and La Niña, for example – from trends related to climate change or human impacts, like pumping groundwater out of an aquifer faster than it is replenished."
Freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, soil, snow, groundwater and ice. Freshwater loss from the ice sheets at the poles – attributed to climate change – has implications for sea level rise. On land, freshwater is one of the most essential of Earth's resources, for drinking water and agriculture. While some regions' water supplies are relatively stable, others experienced increases or decreases.
"What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change," said co-author Jay Famiglietti of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "We see a distinctive pattern of the wet land areas of the world getting wetter – those are the high latitudes and the tropics – and the dry areas in between getting dryer. Embedded within the dry areas we see multiple hotspots resulting from groundwater depletion."
Famiglietti noted that while water loss in some regions, like the melting ice sheets and alpine glaciers, is clearly driven by warming climate, it will require more time and data to determine the driving forces behind other patterns of freshwater change.
"The pattern of wet-getting-wetter, dry-getting-drier during the rest of the 21st century is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models, but we'll need a much longer dataset to be able to definitively say whether climate change is responsible for the emergence of any similar pattern in the GRACE data," he said.
The twin GRACE satellites, launched in 2002 as a joint mission with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), precisely measured the distance between the two spacecraft to detect changes in Earth's gravity field caused by movements of mass on the planet below. Using this method, GRACE tracked monthly variations in terrestrial water storage until its science mission ended in October 2017.
However, the GRACE satellite observations alone couldn't tell Rodell, Famiglietti and their colleagues what was causing the apparent trends.
"We examined information on precipitation, agriculture and groundwater pumping to find a possible explanation for the trends estimated from GRACE," said co-author Hiroko Beaudoing of Goddard and the University of Maryland in College Park.
For instance, although pumping groundwater for agricultural uses is a significant contributor to freshwater depletion throughout the world, groundwater levels are also sensitive to cycles of persistent drought or rainy conditions. Famiglietti noted that such a combination was likely the cause of the significant groundwater depletion observed in California's Central Valley from 2007 to 2015, when decreased groundwater replenishment from rain and snowfall combined with increased pumping for agriculture.
Southwestern California lost 4 gigatons of freshwater per year during the same period. A gigaton of water would fill 400,000 Olympic swimming pools. A majority of California's freshwater comes in the form of rainfall and snow that collect in the Sierra Nevada snowpack and then is managed as it melts into surface waters through a series of reservoirs. When natural cycles led to less precipitation and caused diminished snowpack and surface waters, people relied on groundwater more heavily.
Downward trends in freshwater seen in Saudi Arabia also reflect agricultural pressures. From 2002 to 2016, the region lost 6.1 gigatons per year of stored groundwater. Imagery from Landsat satellites shows an explosive growth of irrigated farmland in the arid landscape from 1987 to the present, which may explain the increased drawdown.
The team's analyses also identified large, decade-long trends in terrestrial freshwater storage that do not appear to be directly related to human activities. Natural cycles of high or low rainfall can cause a trend that is unlikely to persist, Rodell said. An example is Africa's western Zambezi basin and Okavango Delta, a vital watering hole for wildlife in northern Botswana. In this region, water storage increased at an average rate of 29 gigatons per year from 2002 to 2016. This wet period during the GRACE mission followed at least two decades of dryness. Rodell believes it is a case of natural variability that occurs over decades in this region of Africa.
The researchers found that a combination of natural and human pressures can lead to complex scenarios in some regions. Xinjiang province in northwestern China, about the size of Kansas, is bordered by Kazakhstan to the west and the Taklamakan desert to the south and encompasses the central portion of the Tien Shan Mountains. During the first decades of this century, previously undocumented water declines occurred in Xinjiang.
Rodell and his colleagues pieced together multiple factors to explain the loss of 5.5 gigatons of terrestrial water storage per year in Xinjiang province. Less rainfall was not the culprit. Additions to surface water were also occurring from climate change-induced glacier melt, and the pumping of groundwater out of coal mines. But these additions were more than offset by depletions caused by an increase in water consumption by irrigated cropland and evaporation of river water from the desert floor.
The successor to GRACE, called GRACE Follow-On, a joint mission with the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), currently is at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California undergoing final preparations for launch no earlier than May 22.
For more information on how NASA studies Earth, visit: