2017 News and Updates

December 14, 2017
Damage Proxy Map for Southern California Fire.
Graphic produced December 13, 2017 with imagery acquired 11/28/17 & 12/10/17 The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Caltech, also in Pasadena, created this Damage Proxy Map (DPM) depicting areas in Southern California, including Ventura, that are likely damaged (shown by red and yellow pixels) as a result of wildfires. The map is derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA). The images were taken before (Nov. 28, 2017 6AM) and after (Dec. 10, 2017 6AM, both Pacific Standard Time) the onset of the fires. The map covers an area of 107 by 107 miles (172 by 172 kilometers), shown by the large red polygon. Each pixel measures about 33 yards (30 meters) across. The color variation from yellow to red indicates increasingly more significant ground surface change. Preliminary validation was done by comparing to optical satellite imagery by the DigitalGlobe. This damage proxy map should be used as guidance to identify damaged areas, and may be less reliable over vegetated areas. For example, the colored pixels over mountainous areas may seem a little scattered even though the reality could be that the contiguous areas were burned. Patches of farm land can appear as signals due to plowing or irrigation.  


December 11, 2017
Acquired December 5-7th, 2017
Acquired December 5-7th, 2017 This data was acquired by the ”Classic” Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS-C) instrument on December 5-7th. This is an instrument that flies on NASA Armstrong Flight Center’s high altitude ER-2 aircraft. It observes light in visible and infrared wavelengths, measuring the full spectrum of radiated energy. Unlike regular cameras with three colors, AVIRIS-C has 224 channels from the visible through the shortwave infrared, which provides a chemical signature or fingerprint. Applications: Imaging Spectroscopy data permits mapping of fire temperature and fractional coverage, and surface properties including fuel type and condition (alive vs. dead, moist vs. dry). Spectroscopy is also valuable for characterizing forest drought conditions and health to assess fire risk. AVIRIS-C has been observing fire-prone areas in Southern California over the span of many years, forming a growing time series of before/after imagery. This is helping to improve scientific understanding of fire risk and ecosystem response to the California drought.


November 30, 2017
MODIS True Color Terra Image
Imagery Acquired November 27, 2017 This RGB image from MODIS/Terra on November, 27th shows the presence of ash vented out from the Agung volcano as gray and brownish areas above clouds and/or water. This contrasts with the whiter clouds on the left side of the image.


November 30, 2017
SO2 emission map
Acquried November 29, 2017 Figure 1 shows volcanic sulfur dioxide (VSO2) plume emitted from the eruption of Mt. Agung (Bali, Indonesia) and first captured by Aura/OMI and SNPP/OMPS UV spectrometers afternoon overpasses on November 26 2017, just hours after the beginning of the explosive magmatic phase of the eruption. The data show total SO2 column amounts in Dobson Units (1 DU = 2.69 1016 molecules SO2 per cm2). Background SO2 concentrations in this location are undetectable from space, providing high confidence in detecting and tracking VSO2 plumes (blue to red colors), which are used as proxy for fine airborne volcanic ash particles presenting hazards to aviation.  


November 29, 2017
Water resources icon
NASA Water Resources Associate Program Manager John Bolten co-organized a session, entitled "Using Earth Observations and Models for Improved Water Sustainability" at World Water Week in Stockholm on August 29, 2017. Other co-organizers included Andras Szollosi-Nagy (UNESCO and SWFP), Simon Langan (IIASA), Richard Lawford (NASA/Morgan State University), Matilda Gennvi Gustafsson (Ericsson). The session, which was sponsored by NASA, brought together experts in remote sensing, big data processing, information and communications technologies, Internet of Things platforms, water policy, scenario development, innovative water management strategies, and monitoring technologies. An estimated 60 participants attended the session and engaged in the discussions following four presentations. The presentations and discussion were supportive of the often-repeated observation, “if you can’t measure water, you can’t manage water.”


November 13, 2017
ESA Sentinel-1 Imagery
Acquired Nov. 11. 2017 Acquired Nov, 11 2017 NASA color coded SAR based flood detection maps reveal extensive flooding in areas of Vietnam. The SAR data used in analysis are Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA. In the figures, the blue tones represent flooding due to Typhoon Damrey while the black color represents water covered areas before the typhoon. Other colors indicate mostly land.  


November 13, 2017
Google map image with Inundation layer.
Inundation Layer from Project Mekong App as of 11/10/2017. Current inundation layer from the Project Mekong App as of 11/10/2017. Red indicates areas with detected flooding. The application uses LANCE MODIS imagery (collected today, 11/10/2017) and applies a dynamic surface water classifier based on statistical training and thresholding of NDVI values. The method is outlined in more detail in Ahamed and Bolten, 2017 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jag.2017.05.006).


November 13, 2017
Total rainfall map using IMERG model
NASA IMERG model generated from October 31 to November 6, 2017 data.  NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals data (IMERG) estimates precipitation from a combination of space-borne passive microwave sensors. This image shows IMERG rainfall estimates over Southeast Asia during the period from October 31 to November 6, 2017. IMERG estimated that more than 500 mm (19.7 inches) of rain was common in this part of south central Vietnam.


November 13, 2017
Topo relief map with flood modelling layer overlay.
Topographic relief map showing estimated flood extent. Darthmouth Flood Observatory of University of Colorado estimated maximum flood extent on November 7th, 2017 using NASA MODIS and Copernicus Sentinel 1 satelite data, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA). In the figure, the light gray denotes all previously-mapped flooding, and red is the active flooding. Blue shows the reference water extent.