Science Highlights


December 19, 2018

October / November / December 2018 MSR Slides


  • Disaster Response and Engagement: Hurricane Michael 
  • Disaster Response and Engagement: Hurricane Florence 
  • UAVSAR Mission
  • Disasters Program Responds to California Fires
December 5, 2018

November 2018 California Wildfires Highlights Slide

On November 9, 2018 MISR observed multiple fire plumes over California. These distinct fires display a range of dispersion dynamics providing insights into the energy of the fire. The plumes from the largest fires can been seen in MODIS imagery dispersing into the Pacific. The MISR instrument obtains less coverage than MODIS, but provides smoke plume injection heights and particle properties. 

July 31, 2018

July 2018 MSR Slides


  • Tracking the generational 2018 Kilauea eruption
  • Air quality risks from the Volcanic fOG (VOG)
  • Tracking Evolution of the Lava from Kilauea Eruption 
  • Response to Laos Dam Failure


June 30, 2018

June 2018 MSR Slides


  • NASA HAQAST Responding to Kilauea Eruption
May 31, 2018

May 2018 MSR Slides


  • When Minutes Really Matter: NASA Disaster Program Supports the International Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Community 
  • NASA Black Marble Team Highlights 
  • Kilauea Disaster Response & Research


Workshop Reports


October 17, 2018

2018 Flood Risk Workshop

Group photo of attendees of the 2018 Flood Risk Workshop in Boulder, CO.

Group photo of attendees of the 2018 Flood Risk Workshop in Boulder, CO.

Flood Risk Workshop

October 1-3rd 2018 in Boulder Colorado, USA

Thank You

On behalf of the workshop organizers, we thank the Keynote Speakers, Breakout Chairs, Poster Presenters, members of the meeting and Steering Committees, and every participant who helped to make this a productive and successful meeting. Special thanks to the NASSA program manager David Green for supporting this meeting, as well as to Remote Sensing Solutions and CSDMS.


Click here to view the final agenda. 


Click here to view the participants. 

Click here to view the full workshop report, including Keynote Talks and Breakout Group Notes

September 6, 2018

10th Annual Cities on Volcanoes Conference

The NASA Disasters Program attended the 10th annual Cities on Volcanoes conference in Naples, Italy from September 3-7, 2018. The program debuted its mixed reality interferogram that integrates JAXA, ESA, and NASA data of the Kilauea volcano.

Photo from the 10th Annual Volcano Conference

NASA presented in a number of sessions on topics including the data products developed in support of the Kilauea disaster response and the role of CEOS in volcanic disasters. While in past years the conference previously focused more on understanding the hazard dimensions, future conferences have identified the need to benefit from an expanded vision of looking into other elements of risk including vulnerability, exposure, and impact.

Photo from the 10th Annual Volcano Conference

September 4, 2018

CYGNSS Applications Workshop II Summary Report


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission is a constellation of eight microsatellites that were successfully launched on 15 December 2016. The constellation frequently measures ocean surface winds in the tropics, with a primary objective of monitoring the location, intensity, size and development of tropical cyclones.

The second CYGNSS Applications Workshop was conducted from 31 October through 2 November 2017 in Monterey, CA. It consisted of both plenary and breakout sessions, as well as two panel discussions. This workshop was convened post-launch with four primary objectives:

  1. Mission status update with a summary of routine and major operations and observations.
  2. Applications community engagement to provide opportunity to fully develop applications science and data assimilation for CYGNSS observations.
  3. End-user community engagement to address the development of specific applications for CYGNSS observations.
  4. Broad stakeholder engagement to address issues such as data latency and the complementarity of CYGNSS with current and future satellite and non-satellite missions.

This meeting comprised a post-launch, Phase-E (operational observations) applications workshop. A pre-launch CYGNSS applications workshop was held in June 2015 to explore and define the potential applications space and to develop an applications traceability matrix for the mission. An extensive report from that workshop is also available which provides additional detail to that in some of the overview sections of this report and allows us to focus more on post-launch results and the current applications space.

July 30, 2018

Highlights from the 2018 GEONETCast Americas Workshop, Mexico City

Highlights from the 2018 GEONETCast Americas Workshop, Mexico City

Disaster tabletop exercise at UNAM's Institute of Geography facilitated by NASA and NOAA.

NASA scientist Dr. Miguel Román, on behalf of NASA’s Disasters Program, participated in the 2018 GEONETCast Americas (GNC-A) workshop in Mexico City from July 26-27. The workshop was organized in collaboration with NOAA’s Satellite Products and Services Division, NASA’s Disasters Program, UNAM’s Institute of Geography, AEM (Mexican Space Agency), CENAPRED (Mexico’s Disaster Management Agency), and INEGI (Mexico’s Statistical Institute). 

As part of the GNC-A workshop, Dr. Miguel Román and NOAA colleagues facilitated a fictional disaster scenario focusing on regional needs.  The goals of the exercise were: (1) to provide participants with the opportunity to experience the unique roles of different stakeholder groups, (2) to discover interdependencies, (3) test collaborations, and (4) validate assumptions.  Multiple scenario situations (e.g., hurricane impacts, flooding, and power outages) were seated in a regional context to reveal how satellite data and knowledge of earth and social systems could be effectively used.  

Highlights from the 2018 GEONETCast Americas Workshop, Mexico City

Over 100 local and international participants were able to assess the capabilities and needs of policy leads, regional, and on-the-ground decision makers, public media outlets, and learn what information products from the International Disasters Charter could be produced, and when and how they were available.

June 25, 2018

Volcano Monitoring: Reducing the Risks of Volcanic Hazards for Society

NASA LaRC scientist Dr. Jean-Paul Vernier provided an update to the Congressional Hazards Caucus on NASA Disaster Program’s response to assess and reduce the impacts to people and property for the recent volcanic eruptions of  Kilauea, Hawaii, and Fuego, Guatemala.

Dr. Vernier was accompanied by Director of Science Dave Young (LaRC), Shanna McClain (NASA HQ), Batu Osmanoglu (GSFC), and Donna Lawson (OLIA/ LaRC).

The Congressional Hazards Caucus briefing drew a record number of 65 attendees, including approximately 50 staff members representing a diverse geographic group of Congressional offices and committees.  The brief was informative and included updates from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) program coordinator for volcano hazards, Dr. Charles Mandeville,  a professor of seismology at the University of South Florida, Dr. Stephen McNutt, as well as NASA’s Disaster Coordinator for the Kilauea response efforts. USGS recognized NASA’s numerous contributions to the disaster response with technological support for lava flow direct broadcast from helicopters and UAVs, the GLISTIN aircraft mission to measure volumetric lava fields through elevation maps, satellite supports with radar, thermal imageries and air quality monitoring systems through NASA’s satellites and international partners. NASA demonstrated that the diversity of its satellite and airborne assets is key to provide a comprehensive perspective on the impacts of volcanoes from lava destruction of homes and infrastructures to reduction in air quality. Staff had several questions regarding number of active volcanoes being monitored globally, resources needed, and USGS’ use of the recent funding plus up.  Transportation committee staff asked whether data feeds into the earthquake monitoring system. Questions directed at NASA focused on air quality and monitoring of long-term impacts.

May 25, 2018

2018 Transboundary Water Workshop Report

Many countries strategically important to US national security will start to experience water related challenges, contributing to the risk of instability and state failure, amid increased regional tension. River basins for which transboundary coordination and governance is a factor are of particular concern. Water related hazards, such as floods and droughts, can create humanitarian emergencies and lead to migration and outbreaks of disease further stressing existing regional or in-country tensions. Drought in particular is a secondary driver of recent conflicts around the world. Providing targeted water hazard and risk forecasting information to support national security decision-making is paramount. In recognition of this, US federal agencies and key stakeholders convened a 2017 meeting to examine case studies of areas at risk and identify how to align research and analysis to drive concerted action. NASA, US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Air Force worked together to promote federal coordination around research capabilities that can address transboundary water and water security. This work has resulted in a number of joint activities, including a recent transboundary water workshop. Findings from the workshop confirm that water, as a global issue for US national security, lacks a reliable and timely source of information products, including hydrological forecasting, mapping, and assessment tools. Furthermore, it was found there is a need for collaboration and data sharing, as well as integration and interoperability of models through a multi-functional operation center that can develop and deliver these products.

The report describes the recommendations based on the workshop findings, and also provides a roadmap for planned activities in 2018. Notably, the development of a cross-agency working group and steering committee dedicated to supporting the technical and institutional advancements required. The group will also work to identify organizations that can support the establishment of operational support to deliver the data needed for addressing global and transboundary water security. 

Click here to download the full report (.pdf)

November 16, 2016

2016 NASA Flood Response Workshop Report

Flooding is one of the most frequent and costliest natural disasters in terms of lives lost and destruction of property1. By 2050 costs of floods in coastal cities alone are said to reach $1 trillion annually2. Recently, globally, floods have been of exceptionally high magnitude with rainfalls exceeding record amounts as well as causing unprecedented damage in many countries (e.g. US East Coast, Malawi, Philippines, India, US Southwest, Northern England, US Mississippi/Midwest, etc.). Recent events have covered spatial scales well beyond what we have seen in the past and are frequently surpassing traditional regional disaster response coverage. In essence, these large-scale events have demonstrated that there is a need to achieve global response to flood disasters in rapid response, so that relief teams and decision-makers can have the information they need to act quickly and agencies as well as international organizations can deal swiftly with successive big events and deliver relevant geospatial data and flood imagery when and where needed all around the world.

Workshop Goal: The workshop goal was to enable a unique dialogue between EO mission technology & science, capacity-building and the flood response community in order to foster better coordination in flood response worldwide. More specifically, the workshop agenda set out to address these 3 objectives:

  • The identification of existing NASA system, research and product owners, capabilities, and limitations. Suggest solutions/way forward for a global response to act/deliver locally with integrated solutions for decision-making
  • Develop an Action Plan for a "Coordinated Response Strategy"

Also desired was the goal to develop a number of complementary follow-on activities to:

  • Develop a new “flood community of practice” with the SAR and the optical teams such that respective PIs will be required to periodically adjust their teams (to re-compete for multi-annual R&A funding).
  • Attempt to build this into the hydrology strength at the NASA Centers, which will require discussions with relevant PIs, and initiative leads (e.g. CEOS Flood Pilot).
  • Create and inform the NASA Applied Sciences Disasters Program’s Flood Response Playbook

Exercise Reports


February 8, 2018

Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction Across the Americas Summit - Simulated Exercise Engineering Report

View full report:


Disasters are responsible for major socioeconomic damages. Global initiatives call for the improvement of information technology infrastructure to better share data and advance multinational collaboration.

The "Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction Across the Americas: A Regional Summit on the Contributions of Earth Observations" held on September 3-8 in 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina strengthened the collective ability to share the many challenges of disaster risk reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) while promoting the awareness and better use of earth observations (EO).

A simulation exercise took place during the summit. The exercise brought together government, emergency managers, earth observation data providers, academics, non-governmental organizations, and commercial companies. The participants assessed the capabilities and needs of policymakers, regional and on-the-ground decision makers, and learned what information products can be produced, and when and how such products are available.

This ER describes the description and results of the simulated scenario including the post-exercise activity that captured the lessons learned from the participants.