NASA Works to Improve Disaster Resilience

CWU GPS Network in Roseburg, Oregon 

CWU GPS Network in Roseburg, Oregon 

The NASA Earth Science Disasters program works to improve disaster resilience by working with other organizations that have valuable insight on natural hazards. Tim Melbourne, Professor at Central Washington University (CWU) and Director of the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA) Geodesy Laboratory works with the Disasters team to provide valuable information on earthquake and tsunami activity in the Pacific Northwest. PANGA analyzes and measures crustal deformation which is the changing earth’s surface caused by tectonic forces that are accumulated in earth’s crust that causes and accompanies large earthquakes and many tsunamis. Measuring and analyzing the changing earth’s surface helps agencies, governments and other entities mitigate natural hazards throughout the circum-Pacific Ring of Fire, where natural hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and coastal sea-level encroachment.Melbourne’s group at CWU provides real-time analysis of information streamed in from their real-time GPS systems that have been installed by CWU throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as by many other network operators throughout the world. Analyses from these systems are then passed on to NASA, The National Weather Service, NOAA, and other agencies to research, reduce and mitigate natural disasters. At NASA in particular, Melbourne works directly with the Disasters program to analyze seismic activity from an earthquake that has occurred and provide valued input to the team on information that can be relayed back to NASA partners and stakeholders such as FEMA.