2019 News and Updates

May 8, 2019
VIIRS Black Marble imagery of nighttime lights in Bhubaneswar India, comparing April 30th and May 5th 2019. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory, Ranjay Shrestha / NASA GSFC
This interactive GIS map from the NASA Disasters Mapping portal lets you view Suomi NPP VIIRS "Black Marble" imagery before and after Cyclone Fani hit the region. This data helps disaster responders track which regions were affected by power outages.  VIIRS Black Marble imagery of nighttime lights in Bhubaneswar India, comparing April 30th and May 5th 2019. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory, Ranjay Shrestha / NASA GSFC In early May 2019, Tropical Cyclone Fani tore through the state of Odisha in eastern India as one of the worst storms to hit the country since 1999. The cyclone brought winds of more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) per hour when it made landfall on the morning of May 3. The storm caused several deaths and left millions of people homeless in the cities of Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Khurda. Fani also damaged or destroyed energy infrastructure and many buildings, leaving around 3.5 million households without electric power for days after the storm hit. The images on this page are data visualizations of where the lights went out across some of the worst affected areas in Odisha. The images show city lighting on April 30 (before the storm) and May 5, 2019, two days after Fani made landfall. The images above show Bhubaneswar, the capital and largest city in the state. The images below show nighttime lights in Cuttack, the second largest city, which lies just north of Bhubaneswar.


May 6, 2019
Temperatures within tropical Cyclone Fani off the coast of India, imaged by NASA's AIRS on May 2, 2019.
AIRS Images Cyclone Fani Before Landfall to Analyze Atmospheric Conditions // GPM IMERG Adds up Rainfall from Cyclone Fani


April 25, 2019
Screenshot of the cover of the SAR handbook
"The SAR Handbook: Comprehensive Methodologies for Forest Monitoring and Biomass Estimation" is the culmination of a two-year collaboration between NASA SERVIR and SilvaCarbon. Five trainings, led by six SAR subject matter experts, were held at hubs throughout the SERVIR network. The topics of these trainings included SAR basics, SAR for forest change detection, forest height estimation, biomass estimation, mangrove monitoring, and sampling design. Each of these training topics are covered in a SAR Handbook chapter, which includes the theoretical basics and applied exercises. You can download the entire SAR Handbook (PDF) below, or explore individual chapters, trainings and one-pagers. Each chapter of the SAR Handbook is divided into a theory section, which discusses the scientific background of the chapter topic; a tutorial section, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to put the theory into practice; and additional tutorial materials, which include data, scripts and slideshows necessary to complete the tutorial.  


April 16, 2019
Suomi-NPP VIIRS imagery of the midwest blizzard from 4/13/19. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
Suomi NPP VIIRS Tracks Blizzard in the U.S. Midwest


April 2, 2019
The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, created these flood proxy maps depicting areas of Mozambique that are likely flooded as a result of Cyclone Idai. The likely flooding zones ar
ARIA Team Uses Multiple Satellites to Create Flood Proxy Maps for Mozambique // Landsat 8 Used to Identify Landslides and Flood Areas in Zimbabwe from Cyclone Idai // Suomi NPP VIIRS Detects Hundreds of Wildfires in Venezuela


April 1, 2019
Sandra Cauffman, acting director of NASA’s Earth Science Division (left), and Dina Esposito, vice president of technical leadership at Mercy Corps, signed a Space Act Agreement between the two organizations on March 29 in Washington. Credits: Mercy Corps
NASA and global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps are partnering to help vulnerable communities in some of the most fragile places on Earth better withstand challenges such as population growth, resource scarcity and climate change. Eighty percent of Nigeriens are subsistence farmers. NASA and Mercy Corps are exploring how NASA’s satellite measurements can help the drought-prone, farming-intensive country create sustainable livelihoods for people like this Nigerien woman watering her garden. Credits: Mercy Corps/Sean Sheridan Under a three-year Space Act Agreement signed on March 29, the partnership will combine NASA’s Earth observation capabilities, including satellite data, imagery, and modeling and analysis, with Mercy Corps’ local insights and development expertise in more than 40 countries. Projects will assist communities in building resilience to complex stresses and making decisions that have long-term benefits for people and the environment. “This partnership enables NASA and Mercy Corps to amplify our collective capacities to reach communities in the most risk-prone regions of the world with the information they need the most,” said David Green, disasters program director in NASA’s Earth Science Division, Washington. “As NASA seeks to expand our understanding of the integrated Earth system from global to local scales, Mercy Corps’ extensive and practical knowledge of the human element – social, environmental, economic and political – is critical.”


March 26, 2019
VIIRS Black Marble imagery of Mozambique comparing before (March 9th, 2019) and after (March 24t,h 2019) flood impacts from Cyclone Idai. 
VIIRS "Black Marble" Product Used to Track Damage and Power Outages from Cyclone Idai // ESA Sentinal-1 SAR Data Used to Gauge Extent of Flooding in the Midwest // GPM IMERG Adds Up Rainfall from Cyclone Idai to Monitor Flooding in Mozambique


March 26, 2019
Dr. Amber Soja giving a presentation on wildfire research.
Click here to view the full tweet and video.  Dr. Amber Soja's work using remote sensing to study links between wildland fire and climate change was highlighted by NASA Earth on Twitter this week.  The tweet came as a salute to women in science on International Women's Day.  An interview with Dr. Soja posted on Twitter describes how she and her Applied Science teams use NASA data to reduce the cost of fire suppression through operational awareness, fire mitigation and prescribed landscape fires.  Dr. Soja further describes how NASA data are used to identify deviations in Northern hemisphere, upper latitude landscape fires that are largely driven by changing climate.  The interview has captured the attention of more than 16,000 followers, spreading valuable knowledge of Earth science.


March 19, 2019
Natural-color mosaic image acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites on March 13th, 2019. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
MODIS Helps Researchers Track Midwest "Bomb Cyclone" Storm System // Suomi NPP VIIRS Tracks Location and Spread of Fires in Victoria, Australia to Aid Firefighters // GPM Measures Precipitation in Destructive Cyclone Idai in Mozambique to Predict Potential Floods and Landslides


February 26, 2019
On February 21st, Jeremy Kirkendall gave an overview of the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal during a panel session at the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Outlook Forum. There were approximately 75 people in attendance for the talk, which was very well received. Several new contacts were established with the USDA disasters staff and other researcheres who wanted to colloborate and share data with the Disasters Program.    A number of people, including foreign users, expressed interest in ingesting near real-time services from the Mapping Portal to help with agricultural outlook forecasts and disaster recovery. The industry was very receptive of new data as they are always tyring to forecast the cost and yield of product.