Latest News and Updates

April 18, 2018
GPM IMERG rainfall accumulation from 4/10/18 - 4/16/18.
Video of A Week of Heavy Rainfall Over Hawaiian Islands A low pressure trough moving slowly westward through the northwestern Hawaiian Islands caused destructive flooding and mudslides over the past weekend. The trough disrupted the normal northeast trade winds flow north of Oahu on April 12, 2018. This caused extremely heavy rainfall as the trough deepened and moved very slowly over Kauai during the weekend. The 28.1 inches (713 mm) of rain reported in Hanalei within a 24 hour period was close to a record for the small town on Kauai's northern coast. Almost 32.4 inches (822 mm) of rain was reported during the same period over Wainiha, Kauai. Flooding and mudslides over Kauai's North Shore led to numerous people being rescued and evacuated. Hawaii's governor issued an emergency proclamation for Kauai County on Sunday April 15, 2018. GPM microwave imager data of heavy rainfall in Hawaii on 4/14/18.


April 3, 2018
Disasters Mapping Portal Screenshot
Video of NASA Disasters Program The NASA Earth Science Disasters program has recently launched the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal, an ESRI ArcGIS-based web interface for viewing and analyzing the latest near-realtime products and disaster response datasets.  Visit the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal:


March 7, 2018
Optical images acquired by Planet Labs’ dove satellite constellation
To map the spatial extent of the Montecito mudflows that occurred on 9th January 2018, east of Santa Barbara we used optical images acquired by Planet Labs’ dove satellite constellation (Planet Team, 2018). We used a total of eight images, three from before (December 28, 29, 30) and five after (January 10, 11, 12, 13, 18) the mudflow event. To quantify changes between the 3.7 m resolution images we differenced the mean of the visible bands (455-515 nm, 500-590 nm, 590-670 nm) and near-infrared bands (NIR, 780-860 nm) for all image pairs using QGIS and MATLAB. We then stacked the visible and NIR results to suppress random changes between images. Areas of debris flow in the visible differencing result appear as bright, positive regions due to changes from vegetation to mud and soil, also capturing smaller debris flows upstream in the drainage basins. The NIR result better resolves the spatial extent of the toes of the debris flows towards the coast (darker areas), likely due to damage and loss of vegetation.  The first image is the geotiff of the stacked NIR band and the second image is an image of the visible band. Both images are in UTM Zone 11 N co-ordinate system, WGS-84 datum. 


March 15, 2018
The NASA Earth Science Division (ESD), Applied Sciences Program solicits proposals for user-centric applications research enabling risk-informed decisions and actions. Please review the entire Disasters Program Element Appendix here:!


February 17, 2018
Motion towards satellite (up and west) in radar line-of-sight direction.
Interferogram from modified Copernicus Sentinel-1 SAR data acquired 2018/02/17 and 02/05 shows earthquake fault slip on subduction megathrust beneath coast caused up to 40 cm of uplift of the ground surface. Interferometric SAR (InSAR) analysis was automatically performed by Caltech-JPL ARIA data system. Main image shows motion towards satellite (up and west) in radar line-of-sight direction. Additional images show motion contoured with 9 cm (image 2) and 2.8 cm (image 3) color contours, also known as fringes, displayed in Google Earth. Symbols show preliminary USGS and Mexican seismic network (SSN) estimated locations of earthquake epicenter. The interferogram shows that the location of the earthquake was close to the coast, far from the initial USGS epicenter location. This information was used to revise the USGS fault model, ShakeMap, and PAGER damage estimate.


February 17, 2018
SARs image of the Oaxaca Mexico Earthquake.
Rewrapped Sentinel-1 Interferogram for the M7.2 Pinotepa de Don Luis, Mexico earthquake from Feb 16, 2018.  Ascending Sentinel-1 SAR interferogram rewrapped to 10cm color contours of line-of-sight surface deformation. The frame was processed automatically by the UAF SARVIEWS processing service ( Sentinel-1 data from 02/05/18 and 02/17/18 was used. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2018]. Data accessed through the Alaska Satellite Facility. Information was available for public download within 24 hours of event. Intererograms show surface deformation and can be used to estimate damage and shaking during event. Image products can be used for damage assessment.


February 9, 2018
UAVSAR image of Montecito debris flows.
Extreme winter rains in January 2018 following the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties caused severe debris flows, destroying 73 homes and damaging over 160 structures in the town on Montecito, just east of Santa Barbara. NASA UAVSAR airborne radar platform detected changes caused by the debris flows between two images acquired on November 2, 2017 and February 5, 2018. An enhanced image pair (top left) show disturbed areas in orange. The two image pairs can’t be matched and decorrelate in areas of severe surface disruption from the fire scar and debris flows (top right). In the middle panels the radar images are overlaid on the structure damage map produced by the County of Santa Barbara. The fire scars and damage correspond well with the risk map (lower left) and damage map (lower right).  With an operational system, products such as this have the potential to augment the information available for search and rescue, and for damage assessment for government agencies or for the insurance industries. Radar has the advantage of being all-weather with the ability to image through clouds.


February 3, 2018
Mt. Fuego eruption
  It is one of Central America’s most active volcanos. Volcán de Fuego puffs continuously without notice by nearby communities, punctuated by episodes with explosive activity, huge ash plumes, and lava flows. The Guatemalan volcano is at it again, beginning its latest bout of unruly behavior on January 31, 2018. On the next day, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured these natural-color images of the eruption. Ash in a volcanic plume typically appears brown or gray, while steam appears white. You can see a wider view of the volcano here. Fuego is located about 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Guatemala City. According to the Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), the plume reached an altitude of 6,500 meters (21,300) feet above sea level and was carried 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the west and southwest by the winds. Falling ash affected tens of thousands of people, primarily in the provinces of Escuintla and Chimaltenango. Lava from two active conduits flowed through four ravines, leading officials to preemptively close National Route 14 to vehicles.


February 2, 2018
NASA Applied Sciences Disasters Logo
A groundbreaking new study by researchers at Old Dominion University and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) challenges decades of conventional wisdom about the sinking of land in southeastern Virginia. That land in Hampton Roads is sinking is not in question. But David Bekaert, radar scientist at JPL, and Ben Hamlington, assistant professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences at ODU, have gathered data suggesting that land subsidence is occurring at substantially different levels in different parts of the region.


January 29, 2018
NASA Applied Sciences Disasters Logo
NASA’s satellite instruments are often the first to detect wildfires burning in remote regions, and the locations of new fires are sent directly to land managers worldwide within hours of the satellite overpass. Together, NASA instruments, including a number built and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, detect actively burning fires, track the transport of smoke from fires, provide information for fire management, and map the extent of changes to ecosystems, based on the extent and severity of burn scars.