News

June 1, 2020
GPM overpass of Hurricane Dorian
Tropical cyclones, known as hurricanes in the western hemisphere, can bring damaging high winds, storm surge, and flooding rainfall to the coastal communities they hit.  Satellite instruments - and the detailed near real-time atmospheric data that they provide - have revolutionized the way we see hurricanes and other disasters as they happen. But it’s about more than just seeing. NASA, working with counterparts at NOAA, FEMA, and elsewhere are sharing ever more precise data to aid local communities in coping with disasters. With better information, emergency responders have the tools to make informed decisions at critical moments.  As we prepare for the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season on June 1st, take a look at 2019’s Hurricane Dorian and how NASA and partner satellites tracked the storm and its impacts to aid response and recovery efforts in the Bahamas.  Studying past hurricanes like Dorian can help us better prepare for the hurricanes of the future.  Click here for the storymap

 

May 28, 2020
NASA's Shanna McClain describes how NASA partnerships help communities, decision makers and organizations use Earth observations for humanitarian and environmental benefit. Credit: NASA/Lia Poteet
NASA and Mercy Corps hosted a “virtual science pub” – a Facebook live event with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – on May 7, 2010. Titled Adapting to a Changing World: NASA + Mercy Corps, it was an interactive discussion on the ways the two organizations are working together to help communities and small-scale farmers adapt to climate variability and a changing environment. The event had over 2,600 views on Facebook as of 1 p.m. Eastern Time, Friday May 8. Shanna McClain, Global Partnerships manager for NASA’s Earth Sciences Division and advisor for Risk Reduction and Resilience for the Applied Sciences program, shared how Earth observations can be used to help protect food security through collaboration with local experts and decision makers. NASA's Shanna McClain describes how NASA partnerships help communities, decision makers and organizations use Earth observations for humanitarian and environmental benefit. Credit: NASA / Lia Poteet

 

May 18, 2020
NASA data user Kyle Spencer, of the City of Norfolk, describes his work for the NASA Science Live TV crew. Credit: NASA/Lia Poteet
The first-ever Earth Applied Sciences segment aired in a May 2020 edition of NASA TV program, NASA Science Live: On Ice. NASA Science Live is a behind-the-scenes look into the broad range of all NASA science activities, from studying our home planet of Earth to the farthest reaches of our solar system. This edition of the show focused on the connections between how NASA studies ice and sea level rise as result of climate change and the segment focused on work supported by the Disasters program area in the city of Norfolk, Virginia.

 

May 6, 2020
Satellite image of Mount Kilamanjaro. Credit: Mercy Corps
On Thursday May 7th at 5:30 PST / 8:30 EST attend the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) Virtual Science Pub to learn how Mercy Corps and NASA are working together to help small-scale farmers adapt to climate variability and a changing environment. Click here to RSVP for the event.

 

April 28, 2020
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image showing the trail of damage caused by an EF-2 tornado that tore through Jasper and Newton counties in Texas. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data fro
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image showing the trail of damage caused by an EF-2 tornado that tore through Jasper and Newton counties in Texas. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.  On April 22-23, 2020, powerful thunderstorms blew across eastern Texas and western Louisiana and spawned several tornadoes, including some that caused severe damage.

 

April 21, 2020
The Mississippi River Delta contains vast areas of marshes, swamps and barrier islands — important for wildlife and as protective buffers against storms and hurricanes. Rapid land subsidence due to sediment compaction and dewatering increases the rate of
Greenland and coastal Louisiana may not seem to have a lot in common. An autonomous territory of Denmark, Greenland is covered in snow most of the year and is home to about 56,000 people. On the other hand, more than 2 million people call coastal Louisiana home and the region rarely sees snow. But their economies, though 3,400 miles (5,400 kilometers) apart, share a dependence on the sea. The majority of Greenland's residents rely on the territory's robust Arctic fishing industry. And in Louisiana, the coasts, ports and wetlands provide the basis for everything from shipping to fishing to tourism. As a result, both locales and the people who live in them are linked by a common environmental thread: melting ice and consequent sea level rise. NASA satellites are keeping an eye on both. The Mississippi River Delta contains vast areas of marshes, swamps and barrier islands — important for wildlife and as protective buffers against storms and hurricanes. Rapid land subsidence due to sediment compaction and dewatering increases the rate of submergence in this system. Credits: K.L. McKee / U.S. Geological Survey NASA Sees the Seas Thanks to altimetry missions, beginning with the U.S.-French TOPEX / Poseidon mission launched in 1992 and continuing through the present with the Jason series, we now have a nearly three-decade-long record of sea level change.

 

April 3, 2020
The ash plume from the Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii was pictured May 12, 2018, from the International Space Station. Credits: NASA
Instead of looking up to the sky for bright bursts of fiery color, a research team spent Fourth of July 2018 peering down at fiery globs of molten lava from a sky-diving airplane. Bolted to their plane was a new NASA instrument designed to detect each time the volcano took a breath, as its caldera swelled and deflated. The ash plume from the Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii was pictured May 12, 2018, from the International Space Station. Credits: NASA The team flew multiple flights above the Kīlauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from July 3 to 5, 2018, to demonstrate how a new instrument could pave the way for a future constellation of small satellites dedicated to monitoring impacts from volcanic activity, earthquakes and changes in land surfaces, said Lauren Wye, the principal investigator who led and recently concluded the instrument’s development at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. A global map detailing land elevation changes over time can help scientists pinpoint ground motion before, during and following earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and help identify impacts from floods and groundwater pumping. “The CubeSat Imaging Radar for Earth Sciences, or CIRES, can help decision-makers and emergency managers obtain observations sooner after a hazardous event so that they are better prepared to deal with disaster relief,” Wye said.

 

March 30, 2020
NASA 360 TV producer Jessica Wilde, who conducted the interview with Spencer, is familiar with the Norfolk area’s propensity for flooding. Though she lives in the area on her sailboat, there have been times where even she couldn’t get to work due to flood
The first interviews for a brand-new, regularly occurring segment on NASA TV are "in the can." NASA Science Live is a monthly program airing on NASA TV, focusing on NASA research and people. For this first segment, it highlighted work supported by the Disasters program area on how city managers in Virginia and others are using NASA Earth observations to help communities prepare for flooding and sea level rise. NASA 360 TV producer Jessica Wilde, who conducted the interview with Spencer, is familiar with the Norfolk area’s propensity for flooding. Though she lives in the area on her sailboat, there have been times where even she couldn’t get to work due to flooded streets. Credit: Lia Poteet In Norfolk, Virginia flooded streets are a regular occurrence – even on sunny days. Derek Loftis, an assistant research scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Kyle Spencer, deputy resilience officer with the city of Norfolk, worked with the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters program area to integrate satellite data in a high-resolution flood website. City planners and emergency managers are using this “street-level model” to run detailed flood simulations, down to the building level.

 

March 24, 2020
Refugee camps built in the Bangladeshi hillside are vulnerable to sudden landslides. Credit: UN Development Programme/Eno Jonathan
Refugee camps built in the Bangladeshi hillside are vulnerable to sudden landslides. Credit: UN Development Programme/Eno Jonathan More than 925,000 Rohingya refugees currently reside in Bangladesh, but the camps they stay in are at risk from deadly landslides, especially during monsoon season. Decision makers there are using NASA Earth observations to inform which areas are most at risk – and now, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has incorporated these practices into a set of recommendations. Titled "Recommendations for Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into Humanitarian Response," these UNDRR guidelines highlight opportunities for scientists, humanitarian agencies and local decision makers to collaborate on risk reduction in crisis-prone settings. Those settings include southeastern Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of refugees live in camps built in hillsides prone to landslides and flash floods. This puts camp residents and staff at risk and makes it extremely difficult for organizations to provide humanitarian assistance.  

 

March 16, 2020
Screenshot of the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal Flood Dashboard
On Thursday, March 19th, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its "Spring Outlook" for 2020 to inform the public what weather patterns they can expect for the upcoming season.  This outlook will help emergency managers and community decision-makers along the nation’s major waterways prepare people and businesses for the threat of floods. According to the report, "NOAA forecasters predict widespread flooding this spring, but do not expect it to be as severe or prolonged overall as the historic floods in 2019. Major to moderate flooding is likely in 23 states from the Northern Plains south to the Gulf Coast, with the most significant flood potential in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota." Read the full press release here

 

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