2017 News and Updates

April 17, 2017
SAR flood extent map for Aukland New Zealand.
Following a Sentinel-1 acquisition over eastern North Island, covering Auckland on April 14, 2017 at 17:37h UTC, a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) flood proxy map (FPM)  was developed as a KMZ overlay (available for download here) This FPM covers an area of 175-by-500 km, derived from Sentinel-1's pre- (2016-04-02) and post-event (2017-04-14) SAR amplitude images. The colored pixels represent areas of possible floods mostly due to Cyclone Cook (Red: usually flooded vegetation, Blue: usually open water flood).  Different irrigation conditions on the two data acquisition dates can produce errors on agricultural lands and may be less reliable over urban areas. No preliminary validation was implemented, including topographic corrections. As a result, the map may show flooded areas over sloped terrain. The FPM was created by the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at JPL/Caltech. The FPM Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel-1 data 2017 and there are no restrictions on its release.


April 17, 2017
GFMS flood detection map for 2017 Argentina floods
Overview of northern Argentina floods on April 17th 2017  Model inundation estimates at 1 km. Forecasted rainfall for the next 3 days. Resulting flood forecast overview for April 20th 2017  


April 11, 2017
Flood extent map from the 2017 floods in Argentina.
This is a draft map using two (Terra and Aqua) NASA MODIS WorldView scenes from April 11, 2017. Water was classified using an "isodata" unsupervised classification method (7-17 classes, three iterations, three classes were combined into one "water" class). A before scene is shown above for comparison purposes, but no change detection approach has been used so far. There are abundant "false water" areas shown; this map will be revised to remove these errors. Data processing of Sentinel 1 SAR scenes is in progress. Many rivers in this dry region of the Pampas are ephemeral and ofter without surface flow (see view from MODIS obtained prior to the flooding). Layers, top to bottom: Light Blue is reference water extent mapped via NASA 90 m (spatial resolution) SWBD. Red is flood water mapped from ESA Sentinel 1 SAR data. Dark Blue is all previous satellite-mapped flooding. If visible, straight red markings define limit of satellite coverage. Urban areas (satellite visible lights) are shown in light gray. MODIS WorldView bands 7,2,1 color composites, April 11, 2017 (flooding, left), and March 13, 1017 (pre-flood, right)   Image Data Sources:


April 13, 2017
SAR flood maps of 2017 New Zealand floods.
Below are images of a SAR Flood Map derived from ESA Sentinel-1 data for April 4, 2017. Flood regions were detected by measuring the difference in radar images acquired on April 4 and March 11 by Sentinel-1. Newer products will be developed when the data becomes available from ESA. On the KML file, red areas indicate flood presence. The point of contact for this data is: robert.brakenridge@colorado.edu Layers, top to bottom: Light Blue is reference water extent mapped via NASA 90 m (spatial resolution) SWBD. Red is flood water mapped from ESA Sentinel 1 SAR data. Dark Blue is all previous satellite-mapped flooding. If visible, straight red markings define limit of satellite coverage. Detail View:


April 14, 2017
IMERG precipitation accumulation from New Zealand.
Two extra-tropical cyclones recently dropped very heavy rain over New Zealand, Debbie and Cook. As Cook's remnants continue to move away, NASA analyzed the heavy rainfall generated from the double extra-tropical punch. Tropical cyclone Debbie dumped extreme amounts of rain over the northeastern coast of Australia when it hit the Queensland coast on March 28, 2017. After drenching northeastern Australia Extra-tropical Cyclone Debbie transported a river of water over New Zealand last week. Debbie's remnants dropped heavy rainfall that caused widespread flooding near the Bay of Plenty on New Zealand's northeastern coast. Thousands of residents needed to be evacuated with extra-tropical cyclone Debbie. This week extra-tropical Cyclone Cook added to the recent unusually heavy rainfall over New Zealand. Tropical Cyclone Cook earlier killed one person and dropped a reported 300 mm (11.8 inches) when it hit New Caledonia first on April 10, 2017. New Zealand's Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay on the northeastern coast of the North Island were again the most affected by this second extra-tropical cyclone to hit New Zealand. Video of NASA Examines New Zealand's Extreme Rainfall   The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM satellite, a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA measures rainfall from space, and that data was used to calculate rainfall. GPM data was included in NASA's IMERG to tally the rainfall from both extra-tropical cyclones.


April 11, 2017
2017 New Zealand flood forecast from the GFMS.
The GFMS uses real-time TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) precipitation information as input to a quasi-global hydrological runoff and routing model. 
  • In addition, the latest maps of instantaneous precipitation and totals from the last day, three days and seven days are displayed.
  • Flood detection/intensity estimates are based on 13 years of retrospective model runs with TMPA input, with flood thresholds derived for each grid location using surface water storage statistics. 
  • Streamflow, surface water storage, and inundation variables are also calculated at 1km resolution. 
  Plots of forecast rain from NASA GEOS-5 global model. New Zealand flood forecasts from the Global Flood Monitoring System (http://flood.umd.edu


April 12, 2017
NASA's new Black Marble image of the Earth at night.
NASA scientists are releasing new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet.


April 5, 2017
Group photo of the attendees of the 2017 Ambassador Dialogue on Disaster Risk Reduction across the Americas.
On April 5, 2017, the Embassy of Costa Rica in the United States hosted an Ambassador-level Dialogue on Disaster Risk Reduction across the Americas. The goal of the dialogue was to build cohesion, promote strong partnerships amongst stakeholder countries, and build on the emphasis of science and technology in disaster risk reduction, as called for under the SENDAI framework. The event, which was facilitated by the NASA Disasters Program, with participation from NOAA and USGS leadership, also highlighted the important role that Earth Observations and remote sensing imagery and data have in helping decision makers better prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. The event took place as one of a series of related meetings and conferences across the Americas, which will culminate with a regional Disaster Risk Reduction across the Americas Summit in Buenos Aires on September 4, 2017. Representatives from embassies of 15 countries attended, including many Ambassadors.


April 4, 2017
Sentinel-1 flood map from Australia.
The NASA SPoRT team provided change detection products that highlight recent flood waters in Australia from Tropical Cyclone Debbie using Sentinel-1 data. These products were developed in conjunction with colleagues at the Alaska Satellite Facility (https://www.asf.alaska.edu/). The change detection is a simple algorithm is based detecting change that is consistent with flooding using a pre- and post-event scene. The product’s final form is a binary geotiffs and a simple training guide was provided to end users.  Download GeoTIFF's and Training Materials Here: ftp://geo.nsstc.nasa.gov/SPoRT/disasters/201703_tropical_cyclone_debbie/


April 3, 2017
Deadly Flooding Rains Near Mocoa, Colombia Measured By GPM IMERG
Click here to view animated GIF Late Friday night and Saturday morning flash flooding and mudslides killed over 250 people in Mocoa, Colombia. Extremely intense storms added heavy rain to water logged terrain around Mocoa. Water from this heavy rainfall converged into a river that runs close to Mocoa causing it to overflow it's banks with deadly results.  Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals (IMERG) data were used to estimate the amount of rain that fell near Mocoa, Colombia during the seven day period from March 26 to April 2, 2017. IMERG indicates that area rainfall totals during the week were frequently greater than 80 mm (3.1 inches). This analysis also shows the locations of heavy rainfall that extended from east of Mocoa into the high mountains that surround the city. Torrents of water rushed from the high terrain and were funneled into the valley where Mocoa is located. IMERG rainfall totals have been adjusted to reflect observed values in other similar extreme rainfall events.