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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

 

March 12, 2020
Sang-Ho Yun from NASA (right) speaks with Eric Thompson from the USGS (left) at the 2020 National Earthquake Conference. Credit: NASA
On March 4th – 6th 2020 members of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program attended the 2020 National Earthquake Conference in San Diego, CA to connect and collaborate with other agencies and scientists on earthquake research and response. The NASA Disasters Program aids communities around the world in resilience, response, and recovery from earthquakes. The program develops both research and real-world applications of Earth-observing data for responding to earthquakes through its A.37  ROSES Project Portfolio, and is constantly seeking collaboration and feedback from partners in the earthquake and disaster communities through events such as National Earthquake Conference. With each earthquake the program responds to, more is learned about hazard, exposure, vulnerability and effective coordination. This improves the program’s ability to respond effectively and helps to develop more resilient communities around the world. Learn more about the NASA Disasters Program earthquake activities: https://disasters.nasa.gov/earthquakes

 

March 5, 2020
Flash Extent Density information from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper between 0445 UTC and 0835 UTC.
Overnight on March 2-3, 2020, several severe thunderstorms affected parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee, with the most notable damage occurring around the Nashville metropolitan area. At the time of this blog post, storm surveys continue in Tennessee by National Weather Forecast Offices in Nashville and Memphis TN (https://www.weather.gov/ohx/ , https://www.weather.gov/meg/). This post takes a preliminary look at the electrical characteristics of the thunderstorms responsible for this damage from the lens of the newer instruments on the GOES-R series of satellites, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). GLM measures optical lightning signatures in thunderstorms to determine the spatial extent and frequency of lightning as it propagates through the cloud.

 

March 4, 2020
Kristopher Bedka gives a presentation during the Severe Weather panel at the JPSS / GOES-R Proving Ground / Risk Reduction Summit. Credit: NASA
On February 24th – 28th the NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) hosted the first JPSS / GOES-R Proving Ground / Risk Reduction Summit in College Park, Maryland. Research Scientist Kristopher Bedka participated in the meeting on behalf of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program, serving as a panelist for the Severe Weather Panel and presenting a talk entitled “Analysis and Detection of Hazardous Thunderstorms Through Remote Sensing Data Fusion”. Kristopher Bedka gives a presentation during the Severe Weather panel at the JPSS / GOES-R Proving Ground / Risk Reduction Summit. Credit: NASA The meeting focused on delivering user-inspired science to maximize the utility of National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) operational and research products. Each meeting day featured individual sessions on various proving ground initiatives that use both GOES-R and JPSS data. The sessions offered opportunities for algorithm developers and users to share their perspectives on the current status and future needs within each product group. Learn more about the summit here: https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/star/meeting_2020JPSSGOES.php

 

February 25, 2020
Participants in the Tradewinds 2020 Mid Planning Conference, including NASA Disasters Program HQ Emergency Management Coordinator Brady Helms (second from right). Credit: NASA
Members of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program recently participated in the Tradewinds 2020 Mid Planning Conference, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored regionally oriented disasters management exercise that was conducted February 10th -14th 2020 in Georgetown, Guyana.  Participants in the Tradewinds 2020 Mid Planning Conference, including NASA Disasters Program HQ Emergency Management Coordinator Brady Helms (second from right). Credit: NASA The Mid Planning Conference is one of several activities held in preparation for the Tradewinds 2020 Exercise Execution activity to be held June 10th  – 14th, 2020. This year’s Tradewinds exercise will simulate both oil spills and flooding disaster scenarios in the host country of Guyana, and attendees will assist in executing Guyana’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan. These exercises promote regional security cooperation by involving security forces and disaster response agencies from partner nations, primarily from the Caribbean Basin, U.S., Canada, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

 

February 21, 2020
NASA Disasters Program GIS Specialist Garrett Layne speaks with visitors at the NASA ESD booth. Credit: NASA
NASA staff, including several members of the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program, attended and supported Esri’s Federal GIS Conference in Washington, D.C. on February 10th - 12th, 2020, to explore how to apply geospatial technology to better understand our changing planet. Several GIS products hosted on the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal were highlighted during the conference’s plenary session, which had over 5,000 people in attendance. NASA Disasters Program staff also supported NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) booth in the exhibit hall, interacting with several hundred attendees and sharing information on how to access NASA GIS products in support of disaster risk reduction and response. The NASA Disasters team also hosted a session providing an overview of the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal, which was given to a packed room. Many new connections were made during the session, including with groups within the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

February 18, 2020
Sandra Cauffman giving her keynote speech at the Understanding Risk Central America Forum. Credit: NASA
Sandra Cauffman, director (acting) of NASA's Earth Sciences Division opened the Understanding Risk Central America Forum with a keynote address on the strength of partnerships and building community resilience in Central America. The event was attended by more than 500 people and notable attendees included the President of Costa Rica - Carlos Alvarado, the General Secretary of SICA - Marco Vinicio, and the Director for World Bank Central America, Seynabou Sahko.

 

February 14, 2020
Attendees of the NASA / PDC floods and landslides monitoring and modeling workshop. Credit: NASA
Members of the Pacific Disaster Center and NASA’s Disasters Program met recently to advance their collaboration on global flood and landslide risk modeling and monitoring. Meeting at the Pacific Disaster Center headquarters in Kihei, Hawaii from February 11th to 14th, this workshop increased awareness of the technical and science opportunities and capabilities of each of the participating groups with a robust exchange of information and ideas. The workshop identified synergies between projects and PDC partner activities and identified next steps to collaborate scientifically and in support of disaster response activities. Discussion focused on advancing how the Pacific Disaster Center can integrate NASA flood and landslide models and maps into the DisasterAWARE™ application, a global early warning and decision support system to translate data into actionable information to improve situational awareness, disaster response and recovery of at-risk communities.

 

February 11, 2020
The model shows landslide risk for High Mountain Asia increasing in the summer months in the years 2061-2100, thanks to increasingly frequent and intense rainfall events. Summer monsoon rains can destabilize steep mountainsides, triggering landslides. Cre
      More frequent and intense rainfall events due to climate change could cause more landslides in the High Mountain Asia region of China, Tibet and Nepal, according to the first quantitative study of the link between precipitation and landslides in the region.  The model shows landslide risk for High Mountain Asia increasing in the summer months in the years 2061-2100, thanks to increasingly frequent and intense rainfall events. Summer monsoon rains can destabilize steep mountainsides, triggering landslides. Credits: NASA's Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens High Mountain Asia stores more fresh water in its snow and glaciers than any place on Earth outside the poles, and more than a billion people rely on it for drinking and irrigation. The study team used satellite estimates and modeled precipitation data to project how changing rainfall patterns in the region might affect landslide frequency. The study team found that warming temperatures will cause more intense rainfall in some areas, and this could lead to increased landslide activity in the border region of China and Nepal.

 

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