Disasters Program Highlights week of 3/18/19

VIIRS "Black Marble" Product Used to Track Damage and Power Outages from Cyclone Idai

VIIRS Black Marble imagery of Mozambique comparing before (March 9th, 2019) and after (March 24t,h 2019) flood impacts from Cyclone Idai. 

VIIRS Black Marble imagery of Mozambique comparing before (March 9th, 2019) and after (March 24th, 2019) flood impacts from Cyclone Idai. 

These nighttime images of Beira’s nighttime lights are based on data captured by the Suomi NPP satellite. The data were acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared, including reflected moonlight, light from fires and oil wells, lightning, and emissions from cities or other human activity. The base map makes use of data collected by the Landsat satellite.

These data are used by researchers to assess the extent of damage in areas affected by natural disasters and to track power outages to aid ground response and infrastructure repair efforts. Black Marble is helping researchers better determine the spatial allocation of vulnerable communities without access to basic services, and to better develop approaches for improving both the resilience of local communities and the effectiveness of disaster response efforts.

The image on the left shows the extent of electric lighting across Beira on March 9, 2019, a typical night before the storm hit; the image on the right shows light on March 24, 2019, three days after Idai had passed. Most of the lights in Manga, Matacuane, and Macuti appeared to be out. According to news reports, the storm destroyed nearly 90 percent of city.

 

ESA Sentinal-1 SAR Data Used to Gauge Extent of Flooding in the Midwest

Water extant map of Nebraska using ESA Sentinal-1 SAR data from 3/16/2019 and 3/18/2019. Credits: This product contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA; USGS; NASA/MSFC

Water extent map of Nebraska using ESA Sentinal-1 SAR data from 3/16/2019 and 3/18/2019. Flood waters are shown as red, known water is blue, and tan represents wetlands. Credits: This product contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA; USGS; NASA/MSFC

Using data collected from the European Space Agency's (ESA) Sentinel-1A satellite, scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) are able to create maps of the extent of water in the aftermath of the flooding in the Midwest United States. The synthetic aperture radar (SAR) aboard Sentinel-1A allows for the detection of water on the surface when clouds are present as well as during the night time hours.

These flood water extent maps help responders determine the exact locations impacted by flooding in order to best allocate their resources. 

 

GPM IMERG Adds Up Rainfall from Cyclone Idai to Monitor Flooding in Mozambique

Cyclone Idai brought heavy rainfall and deadly flooding to Mozambique. This GPM IMERG animation shows accumulated precipitation for the region from March 3rd - 19th, 2019. Early rainfall saturated the ground, which made later flooding much worse.

IMERG is a multi-satellite precipitation product combining microwave and infrared measurements from a constellation of NASA and partner satellites united by the GPM Core Observatory. Rainfall accumulation analysis such as this are used by researchers to model and predict the occurrence of landslide and flood hazards on the ground. GPM data is also fed into Numerical Weather Predication models to improve the accuracy and precision of storm track predications and provide people on the ground with advanced warning of impending hazards.