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Disaster Updates

  • On December 16th, 2019 NASA’s Terra satellite flew over the eastern coast of Australia, capturing 3D data on the height of smoke plumes emanating from the fires with its Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument. Using data from this overpass, the NASA Disasters Program in collaboration with the Active Aerosol Plume-height (AAP) project has developed the first ever interactive...
    Screenshot of MISR from the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal. 
  • Figure 1: Suomi-NPP VIIRS true color imagery from December 31st, 2019 (background) is overlaid with VIIRS “hot spot” data (red areas) showing fire locations, and OMPS Aerosol Index (orange areas) showing the transport of the smoke plume over the Tasmanian sea. Credit: NASA Disasters...
    Figure 2: Data from the CALIPSO CALIOP lidar instrument shows the height, location and density of the smoke plume as it moved over New Zealand on January 1st, 2020. Credit: NASA Disasters Program, Jean-Paul Vernier (NASA LARC).
  • NASA scientists using data from its NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite, has traced the movement of the smoke coming off the Australian fires across the globe showing that it has circumnavigated the Earth. In an image created from data gathered by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) Nadir Mapper on Suomi NPP, a black circle shows the smoke which had been traced from its origins coming back to...
    This image was taken on Jan. 13, 2020 by NOAA/NASA's Suomi NPP satellite. The image shows the fires in eastern Australia and using the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) several reflective bands have been introduced into the image to highli
  • The devastating fires in southeastern Australia have renewed focus on the dangers that extreme drought and heat can pose to society. Last week, fires erupted near populated areas in Victoria and New South Wales with destructive effects, resulting in one of Australia’s largest evacuations. NASA’s CALIPSO satellite provided data for a new animation that showed the aerosols generated from the smoke...
    Credits: NASA Langley/Roman Kowch
  • Satellite data from the OMPS-NM instrument is used to create an ultraviolet aerosol index to track the aerosols and smoke. Credits: NASA/Colin Seftor A fleet of NASA satellites working together has been analyzing the aerosols and smoke from the massive fires burning in Australia. The...
    Satellite data from the OMPS-NM instrument is used to create an ultraviolet aerosol index to track the aerosols and smoke. Credits: NASA/Colin Seftor

About the NASA Disasters Program

The Disasters Applications area promotes the use of Earth observations to improve prediction of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from natural and technological disasters. Disaster applications and applied research on natural hazards support emergency preparedness leaders in developing mitigation approaches, such as early warning systems, and providing information and maps to disaster response and recovery teams.


Earth Observatory

January 24, 2020

Rain Brought Brief Relief to Australia
Bushfire counts dipped in mid-January when much-needed rainfall poured down on New South Wales and Victoria.


January 22, 2020

Windblown Ash from Taal Volcano
Low-level winds lifted ash lying on and around the volcano after its recent eruption.


January 21, 2020

Etosha Pan Refills
For much of the year, the salt pan is bone dry,. But when the wet season brings abundant rains, the large, shallow basin becomes a temporary oasis.


January 21, 2020

East Coast Snow and Lake Erie Color
The white landscape contrasts with the dark and colorful water, which at the time had very little ice cover.


January 15, 2020

Flash Flooding in Iran
In January 2020, three days of heavy rain led to flash floods across provinces in southern Iran.



Airborne Science
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