April 3, 2020
Instead of looking up to the sky for bright bursts of fiery color, a research team spent Fourth of July 2018 peering down at fiery globs of molten lava from a sky-diving airplane. Bolted to their plane was a new NASA instrument designed to detect each time the volcano took a breath, as its caldera swelled and deflated. The ash plume from the Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii was pictured May 12, 2018, from the International Space Station. Credits: NASA The team flew multiple flights above the Kīlauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from July 3 to 5, 2018, to demonstrate how a new instrument could pave the way for a future constellation of small satellites dedicated to monitoring impacts from volcanic activity, earthquakes and changes in land surfaces, said Lauren Wye, the principal investigator who led and recently concluded the instrument’s development at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. A global map detailing land elevation changes over time can help scientists pinpoint ground motion before, during and following earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and help identify impacts from floods and groundwater pumping. “The CubeSat Imaging Radar for Earth Sciences, or CIRES, can help decision-makers and emergency managers obtain observations sooner after a hazardous event so that they are better prepared to deal with disaster relief,” Wye said.
March 30, 2020
The first interviews for a brand-new, regularly occurring segment on NASA TV are "in the can." NASA Science Live is a monthly program airing on NASA TV, focusing on NASA research and people. For this first segment, it highlighted work supported by the Disasters program area on how city managers in Virginia and others are using NASA Earth observations to help communities prepare for flooding and sea level rise. NASA 360 TV producer Jessica Wilde, who conducted the interview with Spencer, is familiar with the Norfolk area’s propensity for flooding. Though she lives in the area on her sailboat, there have been times where even she couldn’t get to work due to flooded streets. Credit: Lia Poteet In Norfolk, Virginia flooded streets are a regular occurrence – even on sunny days. Derek Loftis, an assistant research scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Kyle Spencer, deputy resilience officer with the city of Norfolk, worked with the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters program area to integrate satellite data in a high-resolution flood website. City planners and emergency managers are using this “street-level model” to run detailed flood simulations, down to the building level.
March 24, 2020
Refugee camps built in the Bangladeshi hillside are vulnerable to sudden landslides. Credit: UN Development Programme/Eno Jonathan More than 925,000 Rohingya refugees currently reside in Bangladesh, but the camps they stay in are at risk from deadly landslides, especially during monsoon season. Decision makers there are using NASA Earth observations to inform which areas are most at risk – and now, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has incorporated these practices into a set of recommendations. Titled "Recommendations for Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into Humanitarian Response," these UNDRR guidelines highlight opportunities for scientists, humanitarian agencies and local decision makers to collaborate on risk reduction in crisis-prone settings. Those settings include southeastern Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of refugees live in camps built in hillsides prone to landslides and flash floods. This puts camp residents and staff at risk and makes it extremely difficult for organizations to provide humanitarian assistance.
March 16, 2020
On Thursday, March 19th, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its "Spring Outlook" for 2020 to inform the public what weather patterns they can expect for the upcoming season. This outlook will help emergency managers and community decision-makers along the nation’s major waterways prepare people and businesses for the threat of floods. According to the report, "NOAA forecasters predict widespread flooding this spring, but do not expect it to be as severe or prolonged overall as the historic floods in 2019. Major to moderate flooding is likely in 23 states from the Northern Plains south to the Gulf Coast, with the most significant flood potential in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota." Read the full press release here
March 12, 2020
On March 4th – 6th 2020 members of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program attended the 2020 National Earthquake Conference in San Diego, CA to connect and collaborate with other agencies and scientists on earthquake research and response. The NASA Disasters Program aids communities around the world in resilience, response, and recovery from earthquakes. The program develops both research and real-world applications of Earth-observing data for responding to earthquakes through its A.37 ROSES Project Portfolio, and is constantly seeking collaboration and feedback from partners in the earthquake and disaster communities through events such as National Earthquake Conference. With each earthquake the program responds to, more is learned about hazard, exposure, vulnerability and effective coordination. This improves the program’s ability to respond effectively and helps to develop more resilient communities around the world. Learn more about the NASA Disasters Program earthquake activities: https://disasters.nasa.gov/earthquakes
March 5, 2020
Overnight on March 2-3, 2020, several severe thunderstorms affected parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee, with the most notable damage occurring around the Nashville metropolitan area. At the time of this blog post, storm surveys continue in Tennessee by National Weather Forecast Offices in Nashville and Memphis TN (https://www.weather.gov/ohx/ , https://www.weather.gov/meg/). This post takes a preliminary look at the electrical characteristics of the thunderstorms responsible for this damage from the lens of the newer instruments on the GOES-R series of satellites, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). GLM measures optical lightning signatures in thunderstorms to determine the spatial extent and frequency of lightning as it propagates through the cloud.
March 4, 2020
On February 24th – 28th the NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) hosted the first JPSS / GOES-R Proving Ground / Risk Reduction Summit in College Park, Maryland. Research Scientist Kristopher Bedka participated in the meeting on behalf of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program, serving as a panelist for the Severe Weather Panel and presenting a talk entitled “Analysis and Detection of Hazardous Thunderstorms Through Remote Sensing Data Fusion”. Kristopher Bedka gives a presentation during the Severe Weather panel at the JPSS / GOES-R Proving Ground / Risk Reduction Summit. Credit: NASA The meeting focused on delivering user-inspired science to maximize the utility of National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) operational and research products. Each meeting day featured individual sessions on various proving ground initiatives that use both GOES-R and JPSS data. The sessions offered opportunities for algorithm developers and users to share their perspectives on the current status and future needs within each product group. Learn more about the summit here: https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/star/meeting_2020JPSSGOES.php
February 25, 2020
Members of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program recently participated in the Tradewinds 2020 Mid Planning Conference, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored regionally oriented disasters management exercise that was conducted February 10th -14th 2020 in Georgetown, Guyana. Participants in the Tradewinds 2020 Mid Planning Conference, including NASA Disasters Program HQ Emergency Management Coordinator Brady Helms (second from right). Credit: NASA The Mid Planning Conference is one of several activities held in preparation for the Tradewinds 2020 Exercise Execution activity to be held June 10th – 14th, 2020. This year’s Tradewinds exercise will simulate both oil spills and flooding disaster scenarios in the host country of Guyana, and attendees will assist in executing Guyana’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan. These exercises promote regional security cooperation by involving security forces and disaster response agencies from partner nations, primarily from the Caribbean Basin, U.S., Canada, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
February 21, 2020
NASA staff, including several members of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program, attended and supported Esri’s Federal GIS Conference in Washington, D.C. on February 10th - 12th, 2020, to explore how to apply geospatial technology to better understand our changing planet. Several GIS products hosted on the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal were highlighted during the conference’s plenary session, which had over 5,000 people in attendance. NASA Disasters Program staff also supported NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) booth in the exhibit hall, interacting with several hundred attendees and sharing information on how to access NASA GIS products in support of disaster risk reduction and response. The NASA Disasters team also hosted a session providing an overview of the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal, which was given to a packed room. Many new connections were made during the session, including with groups within the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
February 19, 2020
Researchers from the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program are using data from multiple satellites to study the formation of fire-induced clouds from the Australian bushfires, known as pyrocumulus clouds, and their potential impacts to Earth’s atmosphere and climate. Data from the NASA-NOAA OMPS (above) and ESA TROPOMI instruments (below) show aerosols and carbon monoxide from the Australia fires spreading across the Tasman Sea. Credit: NASA On February 2nd, 2020 the Ozone Monitoring Profiler Suite (OMPS) onboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar Orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite observed a 3000 km-long smoke plume extending from the Australian East Coast to New Zealand across the Tasman Sea. The visualizations above show the so called "Aerosol Index" from OMPS (top image), which indicates the presence of aerosols such as soot, and would be seen as black and brown clouds through human eyes. These aerosols absorb solar radiation, which contributes to the warming of the atmosphere and has potential long-term implications for Earth’s climate.