2019 News and Updates

July 26, 2019
Andrea Donnellan flies a Parrot Anafi with a 21 megapixel camera over the M6.4 rupture. Credit: NASA GeoGateway Team
On July 4 and 5 near the city of Ridgecrest in Southern California two large-magnitude earthquakes struck, generating surface ruptures and damaging homes and businesses. NASA's GeoGateway team, led by research scientist Andrea Donnellan, conducted a series of drone flights to map in 3D the post-earthquakes changes in topography and terrain. The data was requested by  the California Earthquake Clearninghouse and the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, with flight locations supplied by Christine Goulet, Executive Director for Applied Science at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

 

July 26, 2019
These highlights from the MISR Active Aerosol Plume-Height (AAP) Project  show smoke heights from the Bearnose Hill and Shovel Creek fires in Alaska on July 6th, 2019.
These images compiled by NASA’s Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) Active Aerosol Plume-Height Project illustrate smoke heights from the Bearnose Hill and Shovel Creek fires in Alaska on July 6. MISR’s stereo texture and color images enable accurate mapping of wildfire smoke-plume heights, distinguishing smoke plumes from clouds based on detected particle properties. On July 6 and 8, MISR observed multiple fire plumes emanating from a wildfire outbreak across Alaska. Imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on July 6 shows dense smoke from the Bearnose Hill fire near the Alaska-Canada border and the less-prominent Shovel Creek fire farther southeast. Imagery from July 8 shows the Kuzitrin River fire plume being swept east across the Seward Peninsula. The dispersion of these plumes and the data on their heights is influenced by topography and local weather conditions.

 

July 25, 2019
Screenshot of the IMERG Alaska wildfires visualization.
NASA’s satellite-based estimates of global precipitation can provide valuable information to officials monitoring the many wildfires that have been scorching Alaska this summer. Although wildfires regularly occur every Alaskan summer, July 2019 proved a particularly active month. Few rain gauges exist in the remote expanses of Alaskan wilderness, but wildfires unchecked can spread to populated areas within the state. Satellite-based precipitation estimates are therefore particularly valuable because of precipitation's relationship to wildfire hazard. The embedded video, above, shows data compiled from observations made by NASA's Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for Global Precipitation Measurement, or IMERG, part of the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite constellation that employs active and passive sensors to remotely record precipitation amounts worldwide. 

 

July 17, 2019
GPM IMERG rainfall accumulation from Hurricane Barry.
This animation shows the heavy precipitation that Hurricane Barry produced from July 11-16 in the Gulf of Mexico and the southcentral United States. While forecasters were initially concerned that the largest accumulations would extend far over land, the heaviest rainfall  remained mostly offshore.  Precipitation estimates are derived from the GPM IMERG product, which combines microwave and infrared observations from an international constellation of satellites united by the GPM Core Observatory. The left side of the movie shows the total accumulation starting in the early hours of July 11, while the right side shows the accumulation during the most recent 3-hour period observed.

 

July 17, 2019
The map shows estimated damage from the 2019 Southern California Earthquakes, with the color variation from yellow to red indicating increasingly more significant surface change, or damage.
The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, created this map depicting areas that are likely damaged as a result of the recent major earthquakes in Southern California. The color variation from yellow to red indicates increasingly more significant surface change, or damage. The map covers an area of 155 by 186 miles (250 by 300 kilometers), shown by the large red polygon. Each pixel measures about 33 yards (30 meters) across.

 

July 12, 2019
GPM Core Observatory rainfall rates from Tropical Storm Barry captured July 11th, 2019 at 8:26am CT. Credit: Jacob Reed / NASA GSFC
GPM Core Observatory rainfall rates from Tropical Storm Barry captured July 11th, 2019 at 8:26am CT. Credit: Jacob Reed / NASA GSFC NASA / JAXA’s GPM Core Observatory passed over developing Tropical Depression 2 (which was upgraded to Tropical Storm Barry later in the morning) in the Gulf of Mexico the morning of July 11th 2019 at 8:26am CT, capturing estimates of rainfall rates within the storm. The first image shows rainfall rates collected by GPM’s Microwave Imager, while the second image shows 3D rainfall rates within the atmospheric column from GPM’s Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The DPR measured storm top heights as high as 18 km, which is extremely high and indicative of intense thunderstorm activity south of central Louisiana. Rainfall rates with these storms exceeded 100 mm/hr as well. Despite these intense storms, activity was not yet organized near the storm center and so flooding due to rainfall, rather than strong winds and storm surge, are the primary threat with Barry at this time. Learn more about TD2 / Tropical Storm Barry on the NASA Hurricanes blog.

 

July 9, 2019
This imagery from the NASA-JPL ARIA team shows a decorrelation map on the left that shows surface rupture and disturbance, and an updated surface deformation map on the right produced at a higher resuolution of 30m. Credit: NASA-JPL, JAXA,
UPDATE 7/11/19: This new imagery from the NASA-JPL ARIA team shows a decorrelation map on the left that shows surface rupture and disturbance, and an updated surface deformation map on the right produced at a higher resuolution of 30m. Credit: NASA-JPL, JAXA, The ARIA team at NASA-JPL has produced this updated imagery of the recent California earthquakes. Shown on the left is a decorrelation map that shows surface rupture and disturbance in red. The background noise level is lower than in previous versions of this product, as the coherence was calculated using interferometric phase after being mildly filtered and removing dominant coseismic interferometric phase. On the right is shown an updated ALOS-2 surface deformation map produced at a higher resuolution of 30m vs. 90m in the previous imagery. These images can be downloaded in KMZ and GeoTIFF format at the following URL: http://aria-share.jpl.nasa.gov/20190704-0705-Searles_Valley_CA_EQs/Interferograms UPDATE 7/9/19:

 

July 9, 2019
Members of the NASA Disasters Program, including Program Manager David Green, attended the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction meeting in May 2019 to speak at the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference.
Planet Earth is hotter than ever. Seas are invading formerly dry land. Dry is dryer, and wet wetter. Weather extremes threaten life and property as never before, whether it’s ongoing flooding in the U.S. Midwest and, in June, extensive inundations in southern Uruguay or volcanic eruptions in the Kuril Island chain and Papua New Guinea.  The threat of natural disasters continues unabated, with populated areas especially susceptible to extreme damage from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, volcanos and wildfires, to name but several. At a recent meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations (U.N.) issued its biennial Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, or GAR (https://gar.unisdr.org/), that spells out worldwide efforts to anticipate and reduce disaster risks.  NASA has partnered with the U.N., offering its strengths in remote sensing and data analysis in a collaboration that aims to confront potential global hazards head on. “We have in-space and airborne instrumentation that can ‘look’ at Earth every day of every year. What they see, we translate,” says David Green, manager of NASA’s Disaster Program. “NASA takes that data, analyzes it, and produces images and overlays that tell decisionmakers and first responders where the threats are. When disasters do occur, we steer that information to those on the ground so they can provide as much help as possible where it’s most needed.”

 

June 21, 2019
This map shows water extent along the Missouri River and surrounding regions on May 29th, 2019. Areas with likely flooding detected are shown in red.
The NASA Disasters Program responded to a request from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to provide water extent maps for the regions affected by the recent flooding rainfall in the central U.S. Maps were generated using Sentinel 1A/B satellite overpasses of the central U.S. from 5/22/19 to 6/17/19...

 

May 30, 2019
Landsat 8 OLI imagery near Tulsa, Oklahoma comparing before and after the flood event (May 9th vs. May 28th 2019). Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
The Southern and Central United States have been drenched by rainstorm after rainstorm in the spring of 2019, leading to widespread flooding. Across the continental United States, river gauges at 404 locations were above flood stage on May 29, with the vast majority along the Missouri, Mississippi, and Arkansas rivers and their tributaries. The problem was most acute in late May along the Arkansas River. As of May 29, the National Weather Service reported flooding at 22 gauges along the river in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, not including nearby tributaries and lakes. Major flooding was observed at 13 of those gauges. News media and forecasters predicted flooding in every major community along the river in the coming days. Every county in Oklahoma was in a state of emergency, and evacuations were ordered or recommended in several communities in Arkansas.  MODIS imagery of flooding on the Arkansas River May 27, 2019. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory The false-color image above was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua and Terra on May 27, 2019.. The combination of near-infrared and visible light (MODIS bands 7-2-1) makes it easier to see rivers out of their banks and water spread across flood plains. Water is blue; vegetation is green; clouds are bright blue or white; and bare flood plains along the river are tan (2018 image).

 

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