Latest News and Updates

May 2, 2018
Ash Deposition on Ambae Island from March-April 2018 Aoba eruptions
Multiple eruptions from the locally named “Manaro” volcano on the Ambae (Aoba) Island in Vanuatu have led the evacuations of thousands of people affected by the disposition of thick volcanic ash layers on the Ground leading to widespread destructions of Farm lands. Satellite imageries from ESA/Sentinel 2B using wavelength bands sensitive to monitor crops show the extension of the devastation since March, 10th. The quasi-continous eruptions (see ash plume, image on March, 15th) have led to new larger dark patches of ash in the Northern, Eastern and Southern Parts of the Island (see image on  April,24th). More than 70% of the island seems to be recovered by volcanic ash as shown by a satellite image a few days ago (April, 24th). The island has become quasi inhabitable and thousands of people are now searching to new places to live.


April 24, 2018
Brightness Temperature Difference-based detection of sulfur dioxide (SO2).  The larger (absolute value) differences suggest larger quantities of SO2.
Examples of Ambae data products from the AIRS Rapid Response Website at JPL.  This site, currently under development, contains data products generated automatically for AIRS granules, or scenes.   The AIRS Rapid Response products may be used to track the dispersion of SO2 (Image 1) and ash clouds (Image 2) following an explosive volcanic eruption. The cloud cover product (Image 3) is an aid to interpreting the SO2 and ash detection products. The cloud cover was dense, with a tropical cyclone developing off the coast of Australia. The apparent lack of ash, relative to the presence of SO2, suggests that much of the ash produced by the eruption was  below the altitude of the cloud deck.   Brightness Temperature Difference-based detection of sulfur dioxide (SO2).  The larger (absolute value) differences suggest larger quantities of SO2.


April 20, 2018
Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on EOS Aura satellite measures ~0.12 Tg  SO2 emission from Aoba (Vanuatu) volcanic eruption
This volcanic SO2 plume data from the Aoba volcano (Vanuatu) explosive eruption on April 5 2018 was retrieved using the Ozone monitoring Instrument (OMI) operational Principal Component Analysis (PCA) algorithm (OMSO2) on April 6. Volcanic SO2 measured by satellite UV sensors allows tracking fast movements of volcanic ash clouds , which present hazard to aviation. In large explosive eruptions volcanic SO2 can be injected directly into lower stratosphere where it converts to long-lived sulfate aerosols, which have climate and chemistry effects.


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 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:!


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. 


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.