January 22, 2020
Figure 1: Suomi-NPP VIIRS true color imagery from December 31st, 2019 (background) is overlaid with VIIRS “hot spot” data (red areas) showing fire locations, and OMPS Aerosol Index (orange areas) showing the transport of the smoke plume over the Tasmanian sea. Credit: NASA Disasters Program, Jean-Paul Vernier (NIA / NASA LaRC). Created using NASA Worldview. On New Year Eve 2019 a series of massive thunderstorms generated by devastating fires across the states of New South Wales and Victoria in Australia produced a gigantic smoke layer of 1.75 million square kilometers across the Tasmanian Sea, as observed by the VIIRS and OMPS instruments onboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi-NPP satellite (figure 1).
January 14, 2020
NASA scientists using data from its NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite, has traced the movement of the smoke coming off the Australian fires across the globe showing that it has circumnavigated the Earth. In an image created from data gathered by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) Nadir Mapper on Suomi NPP, a black circle shows the smoke which had been traced from its origins coming back to the eastern region of Australia after having traveled around the world. Suomi NPP carries carry five science instruments and is the first satellite mission to address the challenge of acquiring a wide range of land, ocean, and atmospheric measurements for Earth system science while simultaneously preparing to address operational requirements for weather forecasting. Suomi NPP also represents the gateway to the creation of a U.S. climate monitoring system, collecting both climate and operational weather data and continuing key data records that are critical for global change science.
January 9, 2020
The devastating fires in southeastern Australia have renewed focus on the dangers that extreme drought and heat can pose to society. Last week, fires erupted near populated areas in Victoria and New South Wales with destructive effects, resulting in one of Australia’s largest evacuations. NASA’s CALIPSO satellite provided data for a new animation that showed the aerosols generated from the smoke has spread high into the atmosphere and far to the east over the Pacific Ocean.
January 9, 2020
Satellite data from the OMPS-NM instrument is used to create an ultraviolet aerosol index to track the aerosols and smoke. Credits: NASA/Colin Seftor A fleet of NASA satellites working together has been analyzing the aerosols and smoke from the massive fires burning in Australia. The fires in Australia are not just causing devastation locally. The unprecedented conditions that include searing heat combined with historic dryness, have led to the formation of an unusually large number of pyrocumulonimbus (pyrCbs) events. PyroCbs are essentially fire-induced thunderstorms. They are triggered by the uplift of ash, smoke, and burning material via super-heated updrafts. As these materials cool, clouds are formed that behave like traditional thunderstorms but without the accompanying precipitation. PyroCb events provide a pathway for smoke to reach the stratosphere more than 10 miles (16 km) in altitude. Once in the stratosphere, the smoke can travel thousands of miles from its source, affecting atmospheric conditions globally. The effects of those events -- whether the smoke provides a net atmospheric cooling or warming, what happens to underlying clouds, etc.) -- is currently the subject of intense study. NASA is tracking the movement of smoke from the Australian fires lofted, via pyroCbs events, more than 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) high. The smoke is having a dramatic impact on New Zealand, causing severe air quality issues across the county and visibly darkening mountaintop snow.
January 15, 2020
The NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program has activated a “Tier 1” response to the earthquakes in Puerto Rico, which entails collecting information and coordinating with stakeholders and university partners. The program is participating in inter-agency calls with federal agencies leading the response effort including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, to provide NASA Earth-observing data in support of the response and recovery for this disaster.
January 13, 2020
NASA scientists are using satellite data to help federal and local agencies identify areas with potential damage. Earthquakes cause permanent changes to the ground surface. By comparing interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data acquired on Jan. 9, 2020, with data acquired on Dec. 28, 2019, from the Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite, the scientists were able to map where, how much and in what direction those changes occurred.
January 9, 2020
In part supported by NASA’s Disasters Program, the system known as LANCE — short for Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (Earth Observing System) — collates satellite data to deliver imagery of intense disturbances across the globe: usually less than three hours after initial observations. As it enters its second decade of operation, LANCE provides subscribers free and open access to more than 130 near real-time data products and imagery from 12 satellite instruments.
January 10, 2020
Members of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program will be attending the American Meteorological Society 2020 Annual Meeting this year in Boston, MA to give talks and teach people about the program and the services it provides.
December 31, 2019
The NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT) was established in 2002 to transition NASA satellite data and capabilities to improve short-term weather forecasting with an emphasis on National Weather Service (NWS) end users. With the goal of maximizing the benefit of NASA research and capabilities to benefit society, SPoRT has developed innovative solutions to bring research products to operations and tailor them to meet end user needs. Over the past decade SPoRT has been at the forefront of a range of activities, making notable contributions to NASA LIS and WRF Hydro, the GOES-R/JPSS Proving Grounds, and the GPM, SMAP, and SWOT Early Adopter Programs. With an initial focus on partners in the southeastern U.S., SPoRT has expanded partnerships to include end users in all NWS Regions, National Centers, and other government agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, U.S.D.A., and state environmental agencies.
December 23, 2019
Arkansas lives up to its nickname of The Natural State, with three national forests covering 2.9 million acres, seven national parks, scenic mountains and plains, and dozens of rivers bordering and crossing the state, including the mighty Mississippi. But with all those rivers, flooding is a recurring natural hazard. For those providing relief and other emergency services to flooded areas, timely NASA Earth observations help determine the scope of the disaster.