New Landslide Model Helps to Improve Operational Warnings in Rio de Janeiro

Photo control panels and screens at Rio De Janeiro Center of Operations 

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:

Rio de Janeiro’s COR demonstrated how NASA’s new global landslide system has been retrofitted with local data and implemented within the Alerta Rioplatform (, which provides operational warnings across the city. According to Felipe Mandarinoof theInstituto Pereira Passos, Rio de Janeiro, “The new LHASA-Rio models provided us a framework where we can have real time results on landslide hazard situational awareness with the data that is available within the City Government.” NASA is planning to co-author a publication on the performance of thenewLHASA-Rio model after Rio de Janeiro’s rainy season that spans November – February, 2018.The Rio City Government is also consulting other NASA datasets including NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) within their meteorological group for situational awareness of major weather systems that could impact the city.. 

In addition to the thematic area of extreme weather and landslides, the partnership has ongoing activities on water and air quality. The NASA-Rio team is also looking for new opportunities to advance the use of Earth observation data at the city scale through trainings, such as through the NASA Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) program. ARSET offers satellite remote sensing training that builds stakeholder capacity to integrate NASA Earth science data into decision support activities. 

A summary of the materials, training sessions, webinars and publications produced as part of this partnership are available at, with many resources available in both English and Portuguese. The implementation of the NASA global landslide modeling tool within the operational activities of the city represents a promising step towards continued engagement and advancement on using Earth observations for decision making at the city level. This work may also serve as a model for knowledge sharing and applications of Earth observations in other cities around the world.