May 22, 2020
On May 17, 2020, heavy rain began pouring over the Tri-Cities region of central Michigan and, after two days, it provoked significant flooding in Midland County. The accumulating rainfall led to catastrophic dam failures that swelled rivers and streams and inundated several nearby communities. The governor ordered more than 10,000 residents of Edenville and Sanford to evacuate. This natural-color image shows flooding across Midland County, Michigan on May 20th, 2020 as observed by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory The National Weather Service reported record rainfall where more than 4 inches (10 centimeters) fell across parts of Midland in 48 hours. The Edenville Dam then collapsed on the evening of May 19, sending floodwaters south across the landscape. About an hour later, water spilled over the Sanford Dam and further flooded the Tittabawassee River and the surrounding area.
May 18, 2020
The first-ever Earth Applied Sciences segment aired in a May 2020 edition of NASA TV program, NASA Science Live: On Ice. NASA Science Live is a behind-the-scenes look into the broad range of all NASA science activities, from studying our home planet of Earth to the farthest reaches of our solar system. This edition of the show focused on the connections between how NASA studies ice and sea level rise as result of climate change and the segment focused on work supported by the Disasters program area in the city of Norfolk, Virginia.
May 8, 2020
As noted in a recent NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day (“A Fiery Month in Zulia”) satellites have detected lots of fire activity in western Venezuela in recent weeks. Just as that story was released, a surprisingly large, dark smoke plume appeared in VIIRS and MODIS imagery. It bore little resemblance to the smaller, gray plumes that we had been watching. Forest and crops fires had caused the earlier plumes; the new black smoke was caused by a brush fire that had spread into a crude oil storage area, according to news reports.
April 29, 2020
For much of March and April 2020, satellites have detected signatures of heat and smoke from fires burning in northwestern Venezuela. Some of them burned in and near Ciénagas del Catatumbo National Park, a flat swampy area west of Lake Maracaibo known for its rainforests full of unusual plant and animal life.
May 6, 2020
On Thursday May 7th at 5:30 PST / 8:30 EST attend the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) Virtual Science Pub to learn how Mercy Corps and NASA are working together to help small-scale farmers adapt to climate variability and a changing environment. Click here to RSVP for the event.
April 28, 2020
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image showing the trail of damage caused by an EF-2 tornado that tore through Jasper and Newton counties in Texas. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. On April 22-23, 2020, powerful thunderstorms blew across eastern Texas and western Louisiana and spawned several tornadoes, including some that caused severe damage.
April 27, 2020
ARIA Damage Proxy Map (DPM) showing potentially damaged structures from Cyclone Harold in red and yellow in Luganville, the second largest city in Vanuatu,. Credit: NASA ARIA, EOS, Google, Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2020, processed by ESA Tropical Cyclone Harold developed from a low-pressure system that was observed to the east of Papua New Guinea, and tracked to the southeast where it peaked as a Category 5 cyclone on April 6th, 2020. The cyclone brought destructive high winds and extreme rainfall to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga. The NASA Disasters Program activated to Tier 1 response for the disaster, and responded to a request from the World Food Programme (WFP) to help identify potentially damaged structures on the islands of Vanuatu. Using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, in collaboration with the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), created Damage Proxy Maps (DPMs) depicting areas that are likely damaged caused by Cyclone Harold. The DPMs were generated by comparing post-event SAR imagery acquired on April 10, 2020 with pre-event images taken in March 2020.
April 21, 2020
Greenland and coastal Louisiana may not seem to have a lot in common. An autonomous territory of Denmark, Greenland is covered in snow most of the year and is home to about 56,000 people. On the other hand, more than 2 million people call coastal Louisiana home and the region rarely sees snow. But their economies, though 3,400 miles (5,400 kilometers) apart, share a dependence on the sea. The majority of Greenland's residents rely on the territory's robust Arctic fishing industry. And in Louisiana, the coasts, ports and wetlands provide the basis for everything from shipping to fishing to tourism. As a result, both locales and the people who live in them are linked by a common environmental thread: melting ice and consequent sea level rise. NASA satellites are keeping an eye on both. The Mississippi River Delta contains vast areas of marshes, swamps and barrier islands — important for wildlife and as protective buffers against storms and hurricanes. Rapid land subsidence due to sediment compaction and dewatering increases the rate of submergence in this system. Credits: K.L. McKee / U.S. Geological Survey NASA Sees the Seas Thanks to altimetry missions, beginning with the U.S.-French TOPEX / Poseidon mission launched in 1992 and continuing through the present with the Jason series, we now have a nearly three-decade-long record of sea level change.
April 14, 2020
A Category 4 cyclone, the most powerful yet of 2020, made landfall on the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu on Monday, not long before this GPM overpass from April 6th, 2020 at 1:41 UTC. Tropical Cyclone Harold developed from a low pressure system that was observed to the east of Papua New Guinea last week, and has tracked to the southeast, where it has already caused flooding and loss of life in the Solomon Islands. Early reports from Vanuatu indicate heavy flooding and property damage.
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.