Environmental science alum Marius Necsoiu ('98 M.S., '00 Ph.D.) is searching for clues about global climate change in the mountains of Eastern Europe. With the help of a National Science Foundation grant, Necsoiu traveled to his native Romania twice this year to investigate the movements of rock glaciers. A principal scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, he is conducting the research with Petru Urdea, right, and other scientists from the West University of Timisoara in Romania.
The interdisciplinary team is testing remote sensing techniques -- analyzing high-resolution optical and radar satellite imagery -- to measure rock glacier movement in the Southern Carpathian Mountains for the benchmark study. The key to his current research in Romania lies within the permafrost -- ground that remains frozen for at least two consecutive years and is particularly sensitive to climate change.
"Investigating rock glacier dynamics is a key factor in understanding the evolution and movement of permafrost-related formations under changing climate conditions," he says.
As an environmental scientist and electrical engineer, with previous work experience at NASA, he uses his expertise in remote sensing systems, GPS and geospatial technologies.
"'Remote sensing,' a blend of science, technology and art, is an essential tool to further our understanding of climate change and permafrost dynamics," Necsoiu says.
The field allows him to share knowledge and learn from other science disciplines -- an interdisciplinary approach he was exposed to at UNT.
Studying in the Retezat Mountains, which he describes as "one of the wildest and lesser-known mountainous areas," is especially meaningful for Necsoiu, who hiked there in his high school and college days. He says it's an exciting opportunity, with little research having been done there.
"I love these wild mountains," he says, "and to connect with people from around the globe who have different experiences and interests."