Latest News and Updates

September 7, 2017
Water resources icon
The Bureau of Reclamation announced the launch of a prize competition seeking innovative, interactive, and user-driven visualizations to improve the understanding of past, current, and projected water conditions in the Colorado River Basin (CRB). The goal is to leverage the power of crowd-sourcing and diverse solver skillsets to find new ways to display data. A total cash prize purse of $60,000 is available, to be split among the winners. Competition closes on November 17, 2017. View the video and get more details at


September 7, 2017
Image 1.  89 GHz image over Cat-5 Hurricane Irma from approx 0548 UTC 7 Sep 2017.  Background imagery is SPoRT SSTs from approx 18 UTC 6 Sep 2017.
The NASA SPoRT program has been providing Passive Microwave data to the National Hurricane Center for use in the NWS Automated Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), which allows for data-layering capabilities, and has helped improve the method for tracking center fixes on tropical systems.  These data have been provided to the NHC as part of an on-going collaborative effort for several years now.  These first two images are 89 GHz RGBs taken over Cat-5 Irma from this morning.  Importantly, these data/imagery help forecasters to better analyze the internal hydrometeorological structure of tropical systems over other traditional satellite imagery. Image 1.  89 GHz image over Cat-5 Hurricane Irma from approx 0548 UTC 7 Sep 2017.  Background imagery is SPoRT SSTs from approx 18 UTC 6 Sep 2017.


September 6, 2017
GPM overpass of Hurricane Irma on 9/5/17
The GPM core observatory satellite had an exceptional view of hurricane Irma's eye when it flew above on September 5, 2017 at 12:52 PM AST (1652 UTC). This image shows a rainfall analysis that was derived from GPM's Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) data. Irma was approaching the Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of about 178 mph (155 kts). This made Irma a dangerous category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Intense rainfall is shown within Irma's nearly circular eye. GPM's DPR (shown in lighter shades) uncloaked precipitation that was falling at a rate of more than 10.8 inches (274 mm) per hour in the solid ring of powerful storms within Irma's eye wall. This 3-D cross-section through Irma's eye was constructed using GPM's radar (DPR Ku band) data. GPM's radar revealed that the extremely powerful storms rotating around the eye were reaching altitudes greater than 7.75 miles (12.5 km). The tallest thunderstorms were found by GPM's radar in a feeder band that was located to the southwest of Irma's eye. These extreme storms were reaching heights of over 10.0 miles (16.2 km). Intense downpours in the eye wall were found to be returning radar reflectivity values of over 80dBZ to the GPM satellite.


September 1, 2017
Financial Loss Potential Index for Hurricane Harvey v3, dated 1 Sep 2017
This Financial Loss  Potential Index map combines extent of flooding and depth information and overlays it with exposed property values located in the flooded areas. The Financial Loss  Potential Index represents the concentration of high flood hazard and/or high value property locations at a grid level and can be used to validate loss estimates as well as review flood claims.  The data is posted at 500m grid cells. The property exposure data is derived from years of research with support from NASA’s Applied Sciences program by integrating EO-data and information on property attributes as well as disaster forecasting and modeling parameters.  The valuation data on US residential, commercial and industrial properties derived from NASA EO-data offer a key parameter for exposure quantification and is applicable for disaster response, relief as well as private insurance industry use.


September 1, 2017
SMAP-derived flood map of Texas from Hurricane Harvey
Video of SMAP-derived Flood Map of Texas from Hurricane Harvey 8/25/17 - 8/27/17 This animation depicts the flooded areas of Texas from August 25th – August 27th 2017 at 9km resolution and 3 hour intervals. The product shown is derived from SMAP data with a new algorithm developed by the post-flood crop damage assessment project (RF-CLASS system) funded the NASA Earth Science Disatsers Program. Please note this is an experimental product without full validation. 


September 1, 2017
Sea surface temperature map of Harvey acquired August 30th 2017
Acquired August 23rd 2017. Acquired August 30th 2017. Hurricane Harvey dropped unfathomable amounts of rainwater on Houston and southern Texas from August 25–30, 2017. The potent category 4 hurricane and long-lived tropical storm also churned up the Gulf of Mexico with its winds and storm surges, dispersing warm surface water and mixing up cooler water from the depths. All of that falling fresh water and ocean mixing had the combined effect of drastically cooling off the surface waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The maps above show sea surface temperatures in the northern Gulf on August 23 and August 30, 2017. The data were compiled by Coral Reef Watch, which blends observations from the Suomi NPP, MTSAT, Meteosat, and GOES satellites with computer models.


September 1, 2017
On August 31, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the Texas coast and the Houston metropolitan area.
On August 31, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the Texas coast and the Houston metropolitan area. Note the brown rivers and bays, full of flood water from Hurricane Harvey. Along the coast, muddy, sediment-laden waters from inland pour into a Gulf of Mexico that also was churned up by the relentless storm.


August 31, 2017
ISS Georeferenced Digital Camera Images from Houston Flooding 2017
Click here to view the full image collection and download  high quality georeferenced images. This collection of digital camera images was taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station on August 31st, 2017, then manually georeferenced by members of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA Johnson Space Center


August 31, 2017
Flood Proxy Map depicting areas of Southeastern Texas that are likely flooded as a result of Hurricane Harvey, shown by light blue pixels.
The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, created this Flood Proxy Map depicting areas of Southeastern Texas that are likely flooded as a result of Hurricane Harvey, shown by light blue pixels. The map is derived from synthetic aperture radar amplitude images from the European Space Agency's (ESA) Sentinel-1 satellite, taken before (August 5, 2017) and after (August 29, 2017) Hurricane Harvey made landfall. The map covers an area of 155 miles x 211 miles (250 km x 340 km). Each pixel measures about 33 yards x 33 yards (30 m x 30 m). Local ground observations provided anecdotal preliminary validation. Also cross-validated with ARIA ALOS-2 flood proxy map v0.2. This flood proxy map should be used as guidance to identify areas that are likely flooded, and may be less reliable over urban areas. Sentinel-1 data were accessed through the Copernicus Open Access Hub. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2017. 


August 30, 2017
Surface Flooding from Hurricane Harvey Shown in New SMAP Imagery
A new series of images generated with data from NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite illustrate the surface flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey from before its initial landfall through August 27, 2017. The SMAP observations detect the proportion of the ground covered by surface water within the satellite's field of view. The sequence of images depicts successive satellite orbital swath observations showing the surface water conditions on August 22, before Harvey's landfall (left), and then on Aug. 27, two days after landfall (middle). The resulting increase in surface flooding from record rainfall over the three-day period, shown at right, depicts regionally heavy flooding around the Houston metropolitan area. The hardest hit areas (blue and purple shades) cover more than 23,000 square miles (about 59,600 square kilometers) and indicate a more than 1,000-fold increase in surface water cover from rainfall-driven flooding. SMAP's low-frequency (L-band) microwave radiometer features enhanced capabilities for detecting surface water changes in nearly all weather conditions and under low-to-moderate vegetation cover. The satellite provides global coverage with one to three-day repeat sampling, which is well suited for monitoring dynamic inland waters around the world. SMAP is managed for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech. A consortium of researchers from other universities participate on the SMAP science team, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge; Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey; and the University of Montana in Missoula, which provided the SMAP surface water imagery. For more information about SMAP, visit