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Monday, June 30, 2014

NASA Tracking Carbon- NY Times

An illustration of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, ready to launch Tuesday to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide. Credit Image by JPL/NASA
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On an average day, some 100 million tons of carbon dioxide is liberated from oil and coal by combustion, wafting into the air. The gas traps heat in the atmosphere, resulting in the gradual warming that has alarmed scientists and much of the public.

But only half of the carbon dioxide stays up there; the other half falls back to earth. While scientists know what happens to half of that half — it dissolves into the oceans — the rest is a continuing puzzle. It is taken up by growing plants, but nobody knows exactly where and how. “Somewhere on earth, on land, one-quarter of all our carbon emissions released through fossil fuel emissions is disappearing,” said David Crisp, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We can’t identify the processes responsible for this. Wouldn’t it be nice to know where?”
Now NASA is launching a satellite to help solve the puzzle. 

The satellite, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, is scheduled to lift off Tuesday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Passing over the North and South Poles at an altitude of 438 miles, it will observe the same spots every 16 days as the earth rotates beneath. 

These repeated measurements will allow scientists to observe the rise and fall of carbon dioxide with the seasons. They may also figure out how the balance changes with droughts or floods. 

That should give them a better idea of whether the oceans and land plants will continue to absorb half of the carbon dioxide emissions as in the past or whether any of these so-called carbon sinks are close to overflowing, leaving even more gas in the air.

In particular, scientists do not understand how plants have kept pace with fossil fuel emissions that have nearly tripled since 1960. “Have you seen a new rain forest spring out of nowhere that wasn’t there before?” asked Dr. Crisp, the leader of the science team for the mission. “No.”

The orbiting observatory carries a single instrument, to measure colors of sunlight bouncing off the earth. The relative intensity of the colors will tell how much carbon dioxide the light beam passed through, and the spacecraft will take a million measurements a day. 

Because of intervening clouds, only a tenth of the measurements — about 100,000 a day — will prove useful data. Still, that will dwarf what 150 carbon dioxide measuring stations on the ground are able to provide. A Japanese satellite is making similar measurements, but with less precision. 

An earlier Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission failed in 2009, when the clamshell nose cone surrounding the spacecraft did not open and the satellite splashed into the ocean a few minutes after liftoff — a $273 million loss. “That was a heartbreak, utter devastation,” said Ralph R. Basilio, the project manager for the current mission.

At the end of 2009, the Obama administration decided to build a nearly identical satellite scheduled for launch in February 2013. But those plans were disrupted when the same launch failure that had doomed the first mission occurred again, destroying another NASA satellite, the Glory mission, in 2011.

The space agency then decided to switch rockets, putting the new satellite on a Delta 2 rocket, which has long history of successful launches.

The switch delayed the launching date, and the bigger Delta 2 added to the cost — which totaled $467.5 million this time. The cost also includes an extra copy of the carbon dioxide measuring instrument, which was built to ensure against delays if problems arose during testing. That extra instrument may be flown to the International Space Station to provide another set of observations.

Levels of carbon dioxide in the air have jumped 40 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution, but the amount is still tiny: Of every million molecules of air, just 400 are carbon dioxide. Over a power plant or a city where emissions are higher, that number rises by perhaps one molecule per million. A field of corn stalks at the height of growing season might reduce the number by a similar amount. 

To detect such minute changes, Dr. Crisp said, the parts of the 300-pound instrument had to be aligned within the width of a human hair. The scientists think they may also be able to discern a faint infrared fluorescent glow emitted by plants as they photosynthesize, which could indicate their health.
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 is part of a busy year for NASA’s earth sciences division — the second of five launches — reflecting increased financing for this segment of NASA even as other parts have been squeezed by tight budgets. 

Michael Freilich, director of the earth sciences division, said, “There is no question that the Obama administration puts a very high priority on understanding the earth.”

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Fire Safety in Building Design- National Instiute of Building Sciences

Fire Protection

by the WBDG Secure/Safe Committee
Last updated: 09-26-2013


The United States has the highest fire losses in terms of both frequency and total losses of any modern technological society. New facilities and renovation projects need to be designed to incorporate efficient, cost-effective passive and automatic fire protection systems. These systems are effective in detecting, containing, and controlling and/or extinguishing a fire event in the early stages. Fire protection engineers must be involved in all aspects of the design in order to ensure a reasonable degree of protection of human life from fire and the products of combustion as well as to reduce the potential loss from fire (i.e., real and personal property, information, organizational operations). Planning for fire protection in/around a building involves knowing the four sources of fire: natural, manmade, wildfire and incidental and taking an integrated systems approach that enables the designer to analyze all of the building's components as a total building fire safety system package. The analysis requires more than code compliance or meeting the minimum legal responsibilities for protecting a building; that is, building and fire codes are intended to protect against loss of life and limit fire impact on the community and do not necessarily protect the mission or assets, or solve problems brought upon by new projects with unique circumstances. Therefore, it is necessary to creatively and efficiently integrate code requirements with other fire safety measures as well as other design strategies to achieve a balanced design that will provide the desired levels of safety (evacuation, recovery, egress/smoke. Identify critical systems: diesel generators, etc.).

Performance-Based Design (PBD)

The success of any complex project hinges on getting all the stakeholders, owners, designers, special consultants, and AHJs working together in a collaborative manner to achieve performance-based design solutions. The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) has developed and published (in collaboration with NFPA) the SFPE Engineering Guide to Performance-Based Fire Protection Analysis and Design of Buildings and the SFPE Code Official's Guide to Performance-Based Design Review (developed and published in collaboration with ICC).


Issues to address in developing a successful fire protection design usually include:
Design Team—It is most important that the project delivery team include a Fire Protection Engineer with adequate experience and knowledge in fire protection and life safety design. The Fire Protection Engineer should be involved in all phases of design, from planning to occupancy.
Design Standards and Criteria (i.e., Building Code, etc.)—to be utilized by the design team, including statutory requirements, voluntary requirements addressing owner's performance needs, and requirements that are sometimes imposed by insurance carriers on commercial projects.
Site Requirements—A quality site design will integrate performance requirements associated with fire department access, suppression, and separation distances and site/building security.
  • Fire department access
    • Design buildings with uncomplicated layouts that enable firefighters to locate an area quickly.
    • Provide rapid access to various features such as fire department connections (FDCs), hose valves, elevators and stairs, annunciators, key boxes, etc.
    • Accommodate the access of fire apparatus into and around the building site
    • Comply with local authorities having jurisdiction to accommodate the access of fire apparatus into and around the building site and to coordinate access control point layout.
  • Fire hydrants
Coordinate with security measures
Building Construction Requirements, at a minimum will address the following elements:
  • Construction type, allowable height, and area
  • Exposures/separation requirements
  • Fire ratings, materials, and systems
    Photo of accessible exits
  • Occupancy types
  • Interior finish
  • Exit stairway enclosure
Egress Requirements, at a minimum will address the following elements:
Fire Detection and Notification System Requirements, at a minimum will address the following elements:
  • Detection
  • Notification
  • Survivability of systems
Photo of standpipes and fire department hose outlets
Fire Suppression Requirements, at a minimum will address the following elements:
  • Water supply
  • Type of automatic fire extinguishing system
    • Water-based fire extinguishing system
    • Non-water-based fire extinguishing system
  • Standpipes and fire department hose outlets
Emergency Power, Lighting, and Exit Signage, at a minimum will address the following elements:
Special Fire Protection Requirements, at a minimum will address the following elements:
  • Engineered smoke control systems
  • Fireproofing and firestopping
  • Atrium spaces
  • Mission critical facility needs

Related Issues

Balancing Safe and Secure Design Requirements

The concern for terrorist attacks has caused design and engineering professionals to address integrated fire protection and security measures for the building site as well as within the building. For example, perimeter protection measures must be well-designed to ensure that fire departments can still access sites and buildings. Another example is the increased need to coordinate HVAC design and proper automatic emergency operations in the event of a fire or chemical/biological/radiological (CBR) event.
Virtually every project that requires fire protection must also meet sustainability goals. Thus, it is important to balance security/safety goals with those for sustainability for example, specify fire resistant materials that are durable and can meet green products standards whenever possible. Further, consider life-cycle cost when making decisions on materials, equipment and systems.

Mass Notification

Notifying building occupants and visitors both inside and outside facilities of hazardous events has become a critical aspect of personnel safety and health. Whether it is a fire, chemical spill, criminal activity, or act of terrorism, everyone in the vicinity of such events must be warned so they know whether to shelter in place or flee—including which direction to go. Mass notification systems can be employed in single buildings or on campuses and military bases. Notices can be sent over loudspeakers, to computer monitors and to cell phones. See UFC 4-021-01 Design and O&M: Mass Notification Systems

Bollard Spacing

Bollard spacing for accessibility related to access for fire vehicles and personnel. The Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act calls for bollards to have 36 inch clear space between them to meet clear opening requirements. Site security designers need to balance security with access, considering bollard location and spacing respective to vehicular traffic, bus stops, hardened street furniture, and pedestrian traffic. Innovative arrangements of passive bollards and use of active barriers permit access while providing security.

Related Issues

Green Roofs

With the proliferation of vegetative roofs on buildings to reduce heat island effect and control storm water runoff, consideration must be given to firefighters having to ventilate a structure during a major fire event. Provide adequate roof hatches and other access points for firefighters.

Permeable Pavement

Permeable pavement is being specified more frequently as a means of controlling storm water runoff from building sites. Not all types of permeable pavement are designed to hold emergency fire and rescue vehicles. Coordinate with site designer/landscape architect to ensure permeable pavement selected will meet load requirements of emergency vehicles. Another option to consider is to use permeable pavement in parking lots for passenger vehicles and standard pavement for access roads, loading docks and driveways to building entrances.

Occupant Emergency Plan

Occupant emergency plans are an integral part of an emergency management program. Properly developed plans can reduce the risk to personnel, property, and other assets while minimizing work disruption during and immediately following an emergency. See U.S. Department of Energy Model Occupant Emergency Plan.

Relevant Codes and Standards

Building codes and fire codes vary across the nation. For federal projects, consult with the appropriate federal agency or the Contracting Officer. For non-federal projects consult with the appropriate building code and fire code official, for minimum and recommended fire safety measures.


Federal Standards & Guidelines

Codes and Standards

Other Publications

Major Resources


Design Objectives

Design Discipline

Standards and Code Organizations






Forgotten New York- Architectural Landmarks No Longer With Us

gone but not forgotten
top 100 demolished or destroyed New York
Office Buildings        
wtcbasedet.jpg (204867 bytes) Singer Tower<br>(HABS, NY,31-NEYO,71-4) world3.jpg (49526 bytes) 1889_Tower_Building_NYC_Museum_of_the_City_of_NY_21.5_ft_wide.jpg (63160 bytes)
cityinvest.jpg (83046 bytes)   t_stpaul.jpg (14937 bytes) gillenderbuilding.jpg (121601 bytes)   hanover1.jpg (89082 bytes) hudson.jpg (66743 bytes)
011  City Investing Tower 012  The St. Paul Building 013  The Gillender Building 014  Hanover Bank Building 015  The Hudson Terminal
1874_New_York_Tribune_Building_NY_NY_LOC_PP_119933pr.jpg (23924 bytes)
021- New York Tribune Building 050- WASHINGTON BUILDING 053- WESTERN UNION BUILDING 060- Manhattan Life Building 069- Exchange Court
073- Commercial Cable Building 074- American Surety Building 085- Bennett Building 086- Union Trust 084- New York Produce Exchange
075- Liberty Building 076- German American Insurance 080- Merchants & Manufacturers Exchange 078- Dun Building 079- Equitable Life
090- Wolfe Building 091- Cotton Exchange 092- Transit Building 093- Columbia Building 088- Number One Wall Street
nycity_old_concourse.jpg (60205 bytes) West Side Highway 1933 Tammany Hall
004 Penn Station 020 West Side Viaduct 022- City Hall Post Office 034- Tamany Hall 072- New York Tombs
056- Corn Exchange Bank 089- American Exchange National Bank 095- Union Dime Savings Bank    
087- Produce Exchange Bank 071- National Bank of Commerce 077- First National Bank 082- New York Clearing House 081- Knickerbocker Trust
madison_sq.jpg (83811 bytes) 027-hippocolor.jpg (22940 bytes) 691.jpg (43343 bytes)
016  Madison Square Garden 027- The Hippodrome 028-The New York Coliseum 037- Helen Hayes Theater 038- OLD METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE
039- LEWISOHN STADIUM 066- Ziegfeld Theater      
002 Church of St. Nicholas 040- ALL ANGELS’ CHURCH 051- Church of the Disciples    
34a.jpg (6746 bytes) 026-temple-beth-el.jpg (62805 bytes)    
025- Temple Emanu-El  026- Temple Beth-El 043- MOUNT NEBOH SYNAGOGUE    
spitehousedisp.jpg (49714 bytes) NYC064 - Old Apartment Bldg & Car 11th Street NYC GON10A.jpg (99385 bytes)  
005 Spite House 009 116 West Eleventh Street 010 13 Washington Street (Store Front) 019 Coogan Building 029- 51 West 10th St. Studios.
img015.jpg (85318 bytes) GON033-Vanderbilt_Houses_Fifth_Avenue.jpg (72026 bytes)
032- Charles M. Schwab mansion 033- Vanderbilt house 044- DVORAK HOUSE 052- Henry Marquand House 054- BROKAW HOUSE
055- Dakota Stables 058- Cornelius Vanderbilt II House 059- William Vanderbilt’s Petit Chateau 094- Navarro Flats  
wal1.jpg (31921 bytes) manhattanhotel1.jpg (70882 bytes) Savoy-Plaza03.jpg (43572 bytes)
017  The Waldorf Astoria 018  The Manhattan Hotel 041- BILTMORE HOTEL 024-Savoy-Plaza Hotel 036- Ritz Carlton Hotel
139108.jpg (6814 bytes)
035- Park Avenue Hotel 023- Astor Hotel 061- The Commodore Hotel 047- PABST HOTEL 068- Sheraton Russell Hotel
045- HOTEL NEW NETHERLAND 046- First Hotel Savoy 063- YWCA 048- ST. REGIS HOTEL 062- Drake Hotel
070- Hotel Piccadilly        
nyherald.jpg (43001 bytes)      
006 New York Herald Building 057- NY Times Building      
The corner of Cortlandt and Greenwich  
030- Wannamaker's 031- Radio Row 042- LÜCHOW’S 065- Studebaker Building  
090.jpg (47210 bytes)  
064- Centurion 067- Wilkie Memorial Building 083- Victory Arch Gone gallery