Texas Tech University

Grant Funds at Work

Sandip Pal Awarded Grants from NOAA and NASA

6.10.2021 | The College of Arts & Sciences

TTU atmospheric scientist Sandip PalAtmospheric scientist Sandip Pal, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, has received two important grants, one from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the 2021-NOAA-OAR program, and one from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) within the 2021 NASA SBIR/STTR program. 

Pal is the lead principal investigator of the $335,981 NOAA grant, which will fund the research of urban heat islands in cities with populations of a few hundred thousand; until now, studies of urban heat islands have been conducted only in metropolitan areas with populations in the millions. Thus, using both field-campaign based observations and model simulations, Pal's NOAA research team will fill a knowledge gap in understanding urban heat patterns in and around cities much the size of Lubbock. For this work, Pal has teamed up with the researchers and forecasters from the NOAA-ATDD laboratory and the National Weather Service office in Lubbock.

The $17,096 grant from NASA funds a Phase 1 project in which machine learning will be applied to flight planning on research flights to maximize targeted data collection. 

“This research is small in award size but very broad in scope for future airborne science missions,” Pal said. 

Pal's already considerable work with an ongoing NASA-funded research project has yielded vast amounts of datasets during a series of airborne field missions where Pal was mission manager. He will conduct the Phase 1 research in collaboration with lead principal investigator Jeremy Dobler at Spectral Sensor Solutions in Albuquerque. 

Then, based on the research results obtained in Phase 1, Pal will work to develop and compete for funding Phase 2 of the project, which will come under the NASA Small Business Innovation Research Program.

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