November 25, 2019
In the first NASA study to calculate the value of using satellite data in disaster scenarios, researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, calculated the time that could have been saved if ambulance drivers and other emergency responders had near-real-time information about flooded roads, using the 2011 Southeast Asian floods as a case study. Ready access to this information could have saved an average of nine minutes per emergency response and potential millions of dollars, they said. The study is a first step in developing a model to deploy in future disasters, according to the researchers. The Mekong River crosses more than 2,000 miles in Southeast Asia, passing through parts of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, China and other countries. The river is a vital source of food and income for the roughly 60 million people who live near it, but it is also one of the most flood-prone regions in the world. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
November 19, 2019
Refugee camps built in the Bangladeshi hillside are vulnerable to sudden landslides. Credits: UN Development Programme/Eno Jonathan Camp managers and other local officials overseeing Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh are now incorporating NASA satellite observations into their decision making in order to reduce the risk to refugees from landslides and other natural hazards. Information like daily rain totals can help inform how to lay out refugee camps and store supplies. More than 740,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017. Many of them have sought shelter in camps located in the hilly countryside, where landslide risk may be the greatest. Increasing this danger is Bangladesh’s intense monsoon season. Approximately 80 percent of Bangladesh's yearly rain falls in just five months, from June to October, bringing with it an increased risk of flash flooding and landslides. When these refugee camps were built in the southeastern part of the country, plants and trees were removed and their roots no longer helped to hold the soil in place. The soaked hillsides are at even greater risk of cleaving off with heavy rains. In July 2019, after 14 inches of rain fell in 72 hours, 26 landslides in Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, killed one person and left more than 4,500 without shelter. “We have little information on landslides," said Hafizol Islam, who is in charge of one of the most densely populated camps of the Kutupalong mega-camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. "It is unpredictable for us and can happen at any time.”
November 1, 2019
Members of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program will be attending the American Geophysical Union 2019 Fall Meeting this year in San Francisco, CA to give talks, present posters, and teach people about the program and the services it provides.
November 1, 2019
This is the first in a series of articles profiling NASA’s role in contributing to the Sendai Framework, a United Nations initiative to help communities worldwide manage, mitigate and plan responses to a wide array of disasters. The Sendai Framework was adopted by U.N. member states on March 18, 2015 during a conference on disaster risk reduction in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.
October 23, 2019
Groups are meeting in Rio de Janeiro this week to discuss the progress made in the landslide modeling work and kick off a new project focused on urban flood modeling. The “Applied Sciences for Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop” and other outreach and scientific engagement events will feature technical discussions with city management and scientists to connect the scientific modeling efforts to decision making needs around the city.
August 30, 2019
As Hurricane Dorian slowly approaches Florida’s Atlantic coast, NASA personnel have engaged with federal, state and local emergency responders in preparation for landfall as soon as Labor Day. A team of NASA disaster coordinators from the Earth Science Division’s Disasters Program has been activated to work with emergency agencies to determine what NASA information assets derived from satellite data can be provided to help decision makers direct resources and help communities likely to be affected by the storm. NASA has already created a map of Florida showing current soil moisture conditions to help scientists and response agencies predict the impact of heavy rainfall from Hurricane Dorian on flooding and runoff across the state. The map uses data from the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite. This and other data products are made available from the program’s mapping portal.
July 9, 2019
Planet Earth is hotter than ever. Seas are invading formerly dry land. Dry is dryer, and wet wetter. Weather extremes threaten life and property as never before, whether it’s ongoing flooding in the U.S. Midwest and, in June, extensive inundations in southern Uruguay or volcanic eruptions in the Kuril Island chain and Papua New Guinea. The threat of natural disasters continues unabated, with populated areas especially susceptible to extreme damage from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, volcanos and wildfires, to name but several. At a recent meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations (U.N.) issued its biennial Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, or GAR (https://gar.unisdr.org/), that spells out worldwide efforts to anticipate and reduce disaster risks. NASA has partnered with the U.N., offering its strengths in remote sensing and data analysis in a collaboration that aims to confront potential global hazards head on. “We have in-space and airborne instrumentation that can ‘look’ at Earth every day of every year. What they see, we translate,” says David Green, manager of NASA’s Disaster Program. “NASA takes that data, analyzes it, and produces images and overlays that tell decisionmakers and first responders where the threats are. When disasters do occur, we steer that information to those on the ground so they can provide as much help as possible where it’s most needed.”
May 30, 2019
The Southern and Central United States have been drenched by rainstorm after rainstorm in the spring of 2019, leading to widespread flooding. Across the continental United States, river gauges at 404 locations were above flood stage on May 29, with the vast majority along the Missouri, Mississippi, and Arkansas rivers and their tributaries. The problem was most acute in late May along the Arkansas River. As of May 29, the National Weather Service reported flooding at 22 gauges along the river in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, not including nearby tributaries and lakes. Major flooding was observed at 13 of those gauges. News media and forecasters predicted flooding in every major community along the river in the coming days. Every county in Oklahoma was in a state of emergency, and evacuations were ordered or recommended in several communities in Arkansas. MODIS imagery of flooding on the Arkansas River May 27, 2019. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory The false-color image above was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua and Terra on May 27, 2019.. The combination of near-infrared and visible light (MODIS bands 7-2-1) makes it easier to see rivers out of their banks and water spread across flood plains. Water is blue; vegetation is green; clouds are bright blue or white; and bare flood plains along the river are tan (2018 image).
May 28, 2019
On June 1, the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season begins. But worldwide there really is no off-season for these tropical storms; they affect the globe in one way or another year-round. At NASA, we leverage the power of our views of Earth from space and research aircraft to assist communities around the world as they plan for — and recover from — these severe, often life-threatening, events. Data from NASA’s robust constellation of orbiting satellites and airborne and ground sensors are used to assess, predict and describe disaster impacts to inform the actions of leaders, first responders, and those providing relief.
May 13, 2019
Landsat 8 Monitors Flooding on the Mississippi River // Suomi NPP VIIRS Used to Detect Wildfires Across the UK in 2019