Latest News and Updates

October 26, 2018
NASA Global Flood Risk Workshop in Boulder, CO
NASA Global Flood Risk Workshop in Boulder, CO The NASA Earth Science Disasters Team attended the Global Flood Risk Workshop held on October 1-3, 2018 in Boulder, CO. The workshop brought together government agencies, humanitarian aid organizations, insurance and re-insurance providers, private sector industries, as well as academic and research institutions from around the world to increase collaboration and improve access to and flow of information around flood risk. Flood risk assessments of both exposure and vulnerability should leverage the best available data- but often those producing or using such assessments are unaware of what is available. The goal of the workshop was to reach a consensus of priority actions as a new Flood Risk Community of Practice (FRCP) to solve the main challenges in flood risk estimation at global scales, and aligning those actions with the goals of GEO Global Flood Risk Monitoring (GEO 2017-2019 Work Programme) and of The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. During the meeting, the following discussions occurred: Status quo - what flood data is out there, what is missing; Flood financing – how best to move towards forecast based financing to assure release of aid in time and to have a proper insurance system in place for flooding; and new technologies – how can online and social media and commercialization of space help in identifying flood risk areas.


October 26, 2018
Photo control panels and screens.
Rio De Janeiro Center of Operations  Research Physical Scientist and Landslide Disaster Event Lead at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Dalia Kirschbaum met with the Rio de Janeiro City Government, the City Operations Center (COR) and the Instituto Pereira Passos (IPP) September 12-14th, 2018. NASA has formed a partnership with the City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to utilize NASA’s earth observation data to improve landslide prediction, studies on urban heat islands, air and water quality monitoring, and education activities in Rio de Janeiro. Information on the partnership is available at:


October 26, 2018
AMSR-2 precipitation aquired 10/22/18.
AMSR-2 precipitation from Hurricane Willa acquired 10/22/18. On October 22, 2018 the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) instrument, onboard Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Global Change Observation Mission (GCOM)-W1 satellite, observed the surface precipitation rates of Hurricane Willa as it approached Mexico. This Land, Atmosphere Near-Real Time Capability for EOS (LANCE) NRT AMSR2 image shows high precipitation rates in red, yellow and light blue and lower precipitation rates in dark blue and purple. LANCE NRT AMSR2 products include surface precipitation rate, wind speed over ocean, water vapor over ocean and cloud liquid water over ocean. NRT AMSR2 products are generated within three hours of observation, using algorithms provided by the NASA-funded US AMSR2 Science Team, with JAXA NRT L1R as input. Discover and access LANCE AMSR2 NRT data: View AMSR2 image using the NASA Worldview website:


October 26, 2018
GFMS flood prediction maps
Hurricane Willa has brought life-threatening storm surge, wind, and rainfall to portions of west-central and southwestern Mexico. A few powerful convective storms within Willa were dropping rain at a rate of over 6.3 inches per hour on October 21, 2018. The Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS) is providing flooding information to the general public, local and federal government and scientific communities based on real-time precipitation measurements.   


October 26, 2018
NASA/NOAA GOES-16 aquires image of Hurricane Willa 
NASA / NOAA GOES-16 aquires image of Hurricane Willa  Around midday on October 23, 2018, the center of Hurricane Willa passed the Islas Marías as it closed in on Mexico’s mainland. The Category 3 hurricane was expected to bring strong winds, heavy rainfall, and a storm surge to west-central and southwestern Mexico. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-16 (GOES-16) acquired data for this composite image at 12:15 p.m. local time (18:15 Universal Time) on October 23. GOES-16 data (band 2) were overlaid on a MODIS “blue marble.” GOES-16 is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); NASA helps develop and launch the GOES series of satellites. When this image was acquired, Willa had sustained peak winds of 195 kilometers (120 miles) per hour. The storm’s eye was located just 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the Islas Marías, and its effects were starting to be felt along the mainland coast. The U.S. National Hurricane Center called for landfall along Mexico’s coast by evening. Willa was briefly a category 5 storm on October 22. It has weakened since then, but the NHC noted that it was still expected to be a “dangerous hurricane” at the time of landfall. According to news reports, heavy rainfall could lead to flash floods and landslides. Thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas ahead of the storm.


October 23, 2018
ISS Georeferenced Digital Camera Images of Areas Effected By Hurricane Michael 2018
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station took a collection of visible-wavelength (RGB) digital camera images on October 17, 2018. RGB, or Red, Green and Blue imagery helps to visually identify areas that have been damaged during a natural hazard. These images were then manually georeferenced by members of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA Johnson Space Center.The images provide regional context, and may be useful for visualization of Hurricane Michael’s impacts. Higher spatial resolution images may be suitable for spatial analysis to support decision making or research applications, such as identifying changes to infrastructure (roads and bridges) as a result of a severe storm event, or changes in forest cover due to landslides or wildfires.


October 23, 2018
Observed Flooding Areas Using SAR Data after Hurricane Michael
The picture above is a flooding map created by Professor Robert Brackenridge at The University of Colorado. The data to create this map was derived from The European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite. Sentinel-1 is a two satellite constellation with the prime objectives of Land and Ocean monitoring. Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B satellites carry the single C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments, which can provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth's entire surface every 6 days. 


October 19, 2018
VIIRS Nighttime Imagery
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) nighttime sensor (also called the Day/Night Band, or DNB), on the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite captured the magnitude of power outages during Hurricane Michael. To watch the video of this imagery please visit: The NASA Disasters Mapping Portal


October 11, 2018
ARIA Damage Proxy Map Using Sentinel-1
The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, created this Damage Proxy Map (DPM) depicting areas of Florida and Georgia that are likely damaged (shown by red and yellow pixels) as a result of Hurricane Michael. The map is derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA). The pre-event images were taken before (September 10, 2017 and September 16, 2017) and the co-event image was acquired 18 hours after the hurricane's landfall (October 11, 2018 7:41 AM local time). The map covers an area of 155 miles x 175 miles (250 km x 280 km), indicated with the big red polygon. Each pixel measures about 33 yards x 33 yards (30 m x 30 m). The color variation from yellow to red indicates increasingly more significant ground surface change. Media reports provided anecdotal preliminary validation. This damage proxy map should be used as guidance to identify damaged areas, and may be less reliable over vegetated areas and flooded areas. For example, the scattered single colored pixels over vegetated areas may be false positives, and the lack of colored pixels over vegetated areas does not necessarily mean damage has not occured.  For more information about ARIA, visit:


October 17, 2018
Radarsat-2 Change Detection Map 
Radarsat-2 imagery was produced using images from October 11-14, 2018 in response to Hurricane Michael.The areas in red show regions with a 50% lower radar backscatter energy after the storm. The reddened areas identify locations where potential damage and/or flooding may have occured as a result of Hurricane Michael .  RADARSAT-2 is Canada's next-generation commercial SAR satellite, the follow-on to RADARSAT-1. The new satellite was launched in December, 2007 on a Soyuz vehicle from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. RADARSAT-2 has been designed with significant and powerful technical advancements which include 3m high-resolution imaging, flexibility in selection of polarization, left and right-looking imaging options, superior data storage and more precise measurements of spacecraft position and attitude. RADARSAT-2 is a unique collaboration between government - the Canadian Space Agency, and industry - MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA). MDA is responsible for the operations of the satellite and the ground segment. The CSA, who contributed funds for the construction and launch of the satellite, will recover its financial investment in the program through the supply of RADARSAT-2 data to Canadian government agencies during the lifetime of the mission Radarsat-2 Change Detection Map