Latest News and Updates

September 4, 2019
Screenshot of TEMPEST-D Dorian data.
A new view of Hurricane Dorian shows the layers of the storm, as seen by an experimental NASA weather satellite that's the size of a cereal box. TEMPEST-D reveals rain bands in four layers of the storm as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida on Sept. 3, 2019. The multiple vertical layers show where the strongest convective "storms" within the hurricane are pushing high into the atmosphere, with pink, red and yellow corresponding to the areas of heaviest rainfall.


September 3, 2019
 NASA's ARIA team used satellite data acquired on Sept. 2, 2019, to map flooding in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech, ESA
NASA's ARIA team used satellite data acquired on Sept. 2, 2019, to map flooding in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech, ESA While many NASA missions are tracking Hurricane Dorian as the storm makes its way toward the United States, some researchers are looking at what Dorian has already left behind.  The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, used synthetic aperture radar data from the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites to produce this flood map of the Bahamas. The light blue color indicates areas that were likely flooded when the data were acquired on Sept. 2, 2019. In particular, the map shows flooding in and around Marsh Harbour in the Abaco Islands. The map covers an area of about 109 miles by 106 miles (176 kilometers by 170 kilometers) shown by the large red polygon. Each pixel measures about 32 yards (30 meters) across. Authorities and responders can use flood maps like this one as guidance to identify areas that are likely experiencing flooding; the map may be less reliable over urban or vegetated areas. NASA works to leverage the power of our views of Earth from space and research aircraft to assist communities around the world as they plan for — and recover from — a wide range of disasters, from earthquakes to wildfires and severe weather events like hurricanes. NASA’s Disasters Program, part of the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate, draws together expertise from across the agency when disaster strikes to provide information products for emergency responders. 


August 30, 2019
Satellite view of Hurricane Dorian on Thursday, Aug. 29. (Credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory)
As Hurricane Dorian slowly approaches Florida’s Atlantic coast, NASA personnel have engaged with federal, state and local emergency responders in preparation for landfall as soon as Labor Day. A team of NASA disaster coordinators from the Earth Science Division’s Disasters Program has been activated to work with emergency agencies to determine what NASA information assets derived from satellite data can be provided to help decision makers direct resources and help communities likely to be affected by the storm. NASA has already created a map of Florida showing current soil moisture conditions to help scientists and response agencies predict the impact of heavy rainfall from Hurricane Dorian on flooding and runoff across the state. The map uses data from the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite. This and other data products are made available from the program’s mapping portal.


August 30, 2019
Screenshot of SPORT-LIS soil moisture map for Florida on August 25th, 2019. 
NASA data shows that in many parts of the state the soil is already saturated with moisture - a condition that could lead to increased flooding as Hurricane Dorian heads for a potential landfall in central Florida.   Analyzing soil moisture conditions in advance of an approaching weather system helps researchers and disasters response agencies anticipate the impact of heavy rainfall and identify regions which are more likely to experience runoff and flooding. Using a land surface modeling system which incorporates near real-time satellite observations, NASA developed soil moisture maps for the region. This interactive slider allows comparison in SPoRT-LIS soil moisture between the near-surface layer on the left (0 – 10cm) and the deeper layer on the right (0 – 2m) on Sunday, August 25, 2019.  Relative soil moisture is reflected by the colors shown, ranging from gray (0%) to red (100%). 0% represents the wilting point of soil moisture, which means that vegetation can no longer extract water from the ground. 100% indicates complete saturation, which means that the soil can no longer hold any more water. Click the layers icon in the upper right corner to view the full colorbar and legend.


August 29, 2019
GPM IMERG estimated rainfall totals for Hurricane Dorian from August 31st - September 5th, 2019. Credit: Owen Kelley (NASA GSFC)
UPDATE 9/5/19: Hurricane Dorian continues to generate tremendous amounts of rainfall, and has left over three feet of rain in some areas of the Bahamas and is now lashing the Carolinas. NASA’s IMERG product provided a look at those rainfall totals.


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.