Latest News and Updates

August 21, 2020
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured an image of storm-damaged fields around Marshalltown, Iowa, on August 11th, 2020. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
Despite facing a dry July, many farmers in Iowa were expecting a good harvest in the fall. Instead, many had their fields of corn and soybeans flattened by hurricane-force winds. On August 10, 2020, an unusually strong and long-lasting line of thunderstorms—a derecho—battered vast swaths of Iowa and the U.S. Midwest. More than a week after the storm, tens of thousands of Iowans were still without electric power, and many farmers were mulling whether they could salvage crops and repair grain silos before the coming harvest.


August 18, 2020
This slip model of the earthquake based on high-rate GNSS data from the TLALOCNet network in Mexico shows the amount of motion at the fault interface during the earthquake.
On June 23rd, 2020, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake occurred offshore of Oaxaca, Mexico. The location, magnitude and depth of the earthquake created the conditions necessary to cause a tsunami, leading to a tsunami warning being issued for the Pacific coasts of Mexico as well as Central and South America. While the tsunami’s impacts were minor, the event provided researchers with an opportunity to test the performance of the tsunami forecasting and early warning system.  Using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) displacement data from the Trans-boundary, Land and Atmosphere Long-term Observational and Collaborative Network (TLALOCNet) in Mexico, the NASA Applied Sciences A.37 ROSES research project “Enlisting Satellite Data to Modernize Local Tsunami Early Warning” lead by Diego Melgar produced a slip model and a predicted vertical deformation model to evaluate the impacts that the earthquake and tsunami had on the surrounding area.   This slip model of the earthquake based on high-rate GNSS data from the TLALOCNet network in Mexico shows the amount of motion at the fault interface during the earthquake. The data were processed by the University of Washington using the TRACK software. Credit: NASA, Diego Melgar


August 6, 2020
This Flood Proxy Map (FPM) shows areas that are likely flooded in blue across the Dominican Republic. The map was derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data acquired on July 31, 2020 by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites operated by the European S
In response to Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaias, the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters program area created maps showing areas of likely flooding and damage from the July 2020 storm in The Bahamas and Dominican Republic. This Flood Proxy Map (FPM) shows areas that are likely flooded (shown by light blue pixels of 30 m in size) in Grand Bahama, The Bahamas due to heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Isaias. This map should be used as a guidance to identify areas that are likely flooded, and may be less reliable over urban and vegetated areas. Derived from synthetic aperture radar data acquired by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) from 12 Dec 2019 to 2 Aug 2020. Analysed by the ARIA-SG team at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) in collaboration with NASA-JPL and Caltech.  The U.S. Southern Command and Caribbean Disasters Emergency Management Agency requested and received these detailed assessment maps following the heavy rains that occurred during the storm.  These maps are based on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, which are operated by the European Space Agency. The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California processed the data in collaboration with the Earth Observatory of Singapore. 


July 30, 2020
Banner for NASA Applied Sciences Week
Join us for Applied Sciences Week – a week-long virtual celebration of many ways NASA Earth science is being utilized to make our world a better place. Spearheaded by NASA Earth Applied Sciences Program, Applied Sciences Week will highlight experts and end users from within and outside the agency, speaking about everything from space-borne to boots-on-the-ground solutions to our planet's most pressing concerns.  To register for Applied Sciences Week, visit: provides access to plenary talks, project highlights, user panel, and more. Each day, Monday through Thursday, a plenary session will take place from 12-2p EDT. To foster engagement and connect speakers and the audience, breakout rooms will follow the daily plenary sessions Tuesday through Thursday. Do you want to learn more about a project? Hope to make a connection with one of our speakers? Keep the conversation going in one of the thematic breakout rooms! Daily reminder emails will be sent with login information.*


July 27, 2020
This preliminary map shows the slowdown of activity at Disneyland in California. Areas in blue indicate a reduction in vehicle concentration or movement as a result of COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/EOS at Nanyang Techn
The new projects look at food- and water-supply stability and how changes in human activity are affecting the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has touched most aspects of human life. In recent months, NASA has initiated research projects focused on how the human response to the pandemic has affected our environment, like how air quality has improved in the wake of reduced vehicular traffic in many places. But the tentacles of the pandemic extend well beyond that. How have production disruptions affected agriculture and food supply? What about our ability to forecast water availability in coming months? How do changes in activity levels affect environmental conditions? NASA's Earth Science Division recently selected three new projects that aim to answer these and other pandemic-related questions for Rapid Response and Novel Research (RRNES) awards. RRNES is funding quick-turnaround projects that make innovative use of the agency's resources and data to better understand regional-to-global environmental, economic, and societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new projects join a growing list of RRNES research now underway. This preliminary map shows the slowdown of activity at Disneyland in California. Areas in blue indicate a reduction in vehicle concentration or movement as a result of COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/EOS at Nanyang Technological University


July 23, 2020
This Building Exposure Map shows the location and estimated value of buildings in the Democratic Republic of Congo for 2020. Credit: METEOR Project Consortium
Researchers from the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program are working with building exposure datasets developed by the “Modelling Exposure Through Earth Observation Routines” (METEOR) project to estimate the number and value of buildings in Africa affected by flooding rainfall in the spring of 2020.  METEOR is co-funded through the second iteration of the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which uses space expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real world problems across the globe. The primary objective of METEOR is to develop innovative applications of Earth Observation (EO) technologies to improve understanding of the built environment or exposure, with a specific focus on the countries of Nepal and Tanzania. The METEOR project consortium is composed of eight organizations crossing four continents, with expertise in the fields of natural hazard science, remote sensing, exposure development, risk modeling and disaster risk management.


July 23, 2020
This Damage Proxy Map (DPM), produced by ARIA and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) to aid in response efforts for Cyclone Amphan, shows likely damaged areas in red and yellow near the border of India and Bangladesh. The product was produced using
Sang-Ho Yun, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), has maintained a passion for the Earth since he was young. Early on, he also developed an interest in physics. Physics, he says, is “simple, beautiful and scalable.” Physics is a foundational framework that we can use to understand our universe and, for Yun, the dynamic, ever-changing Earth. Yun first studied Earth science at Seoul National University, where he also went on to receive his Master of Science degree. It was during his studies for his master’s degree that he also gained an interest in remote sensing and radar. From there, he went to Stanford University to receive his PhD in geophysics, specializing in remote sensing using radar.


July 20, 2020
OMPS S02 Measurements from Raikoke
On June 22, 2019, the Raikoke volcano on Kuril Island erupted, spewing large volumes of ash and volcanic gases into the atmosphere. Volcanic ash (VA) and gasses pose a major threat to aviation, while gasses including sulfur dioxide (SO2) also impact climate and stratospheric ozone. Large concentrations of SO2 in the volcanic plumes pose a short-term hazard to aviation by impacting cabin air quality and also have possible long-term effects on aircraft. Traditionally, SO2 serves as a proxy for ash, which is the primary hazard to aircraft engines, frame and avionics. This map of the northern hemisphere is animated with daily data from the OMPS instrument onboard the Suomi NPP satellite from June 20 – August 31, 2019. Colors display the relative mass of SO2 from the volcanic plume, measured in Dobson Units (DU). The animated chart displays the exponential decay trend of the SO2 mass in kilotons over the same time period. Credit: NASA / Prof. Simon Carn (Michigan Technological University) In response to the eruption, SO2 maps and mass estimates were automatically produced by NASA’s near real-time (NRT) Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring system (, which was developed with funding from the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program. The VA and SO2 satellite data products are routinely used by nine international Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs) to issue VA advisories and short-term VA forecasts, which help re-route flights to avoid VA affected airspace. NASA has no formal responsibility for issuing aviation warnings, but regularly provides advice and consultation to partners at the USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory who consulted Anchorage-VAAC forecasters.


July 13, 2020
Screenshot of the NASA Disasters  mapping portal
Members of the NASA Disasters Program at the 2019 Esri User Conference. Credit: NASA The week of July 13, 2020, NASA’s Earth Applied Sciences Program is participating in the all-virtual Esri User Conference. Esri is the organization responsible for ArcGIS, a software that helps researchers map complex components of Earth’s systems. With learning opportunities like technical workshops and lightning talks, the event will connect NASA scientists to communities of potential users of NASA resources, to highlight how Earth observations and research products can be used to inform efforts to advance and protect human and ecological health. The NASA Disasters Mapping Portal can help connect emergency response managers quickly access satellite data related to natural events like floods, cyclones and fires. Credits: NASA


July 7, 2020
This animation shows NASA IMERG rain rates (blue shading) and accumulations (green shading) near Kyushu island, in the southwest of Japan from June 29 - July 5, 2020.
This animation shows NASA IMERG rain rates (blue shading) and accumulations (green shading) near Kyushu island, in the southwest of Japan from June 29 - July 5, 2020. Devastating floods and landslides swept through parts of Kyushu on July 4, 2020, resulting in over 40 deaths and orders for hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes according to media reports. Download video (right-click -> Save As) The rains that triggered the flooding occurred in the context of the Meiyu-Baiu rainy season, which arrives in east Asia every year from June to mid-July. “Meiyu” and “Baiu” are the Chinese and Japanese words for “plum rains”, so called because the rains usually arrive around the time that plum trees ripen. The east-west rain bands that can be seen in the animation are characteristic of the Meiyu-Baiu season. Climate scientists have determined that these rain bands are forced by a combination of warm air from the Tibetan Plateau that travels along a jet of air running eastward, as well as moist tropical air from the southwest. While the Meiyu-Baiu rains had been active in southern Japan in the days leading up to the recent flooding, the period beginning with July 3, 2020 saw particularly intense periodic rain pulses with rates exceeding 25 mm/hr (1 inch/hr) in the areas around Kyushu. Accumulations increased rapidly from July 3—July 5, to over 40 cm (~16 inches) over the entire southern half of the island, with some areas reaching as high as 60 cm (~2 feet). NASA's IMERG algorithm combines data from an international constellation of satellites to show precipitation measurements both over the ocean and over land.