January 2016


Edits to NOAA Chart for Yukon River
Jan 18, 2016Satellite Images are Source for First-of-its-Kind Charts of Alaska’s Yukon River

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has issued provisional charts for barge operators and others traversing Alaska’s challenging Yukon River.

Banaue rice terraces
Jan 11, 2016Future Grains

When global food prices spiked dramatically in late 2007 and into 2008, the costs of many basic dietary staples doubled or even tripled around the world, sparking protests and riots. Panicked governments stopped exporting food, aggravating the crisis.

Rice fields
Dec 18, 2015Mapping Rice, Managing Water in Parched California

Liheng Zhong, a Senior Delineator with the California Department of Water Resources is working on a way to map rice fields with Landsat to better manage water use. He presented some of this findings at #AGU15, here's what he shared with us.

Mongolian Plateau lake
Dec 18, 2015Behind the Rapid Loss of Lakes on the Mongolian Plateau

Shengli Tao, from Peking University, has used the Landsat data archive to map, measure, and investigate the shrinking lakes of the Mongolian Plateau. We spoke to Tao about the work he presented at #AGU15.

Clopper Lake
Dec 18, 2015Tracking Global Surface Water Dynamics with Landsat

At #AGU15, Amy Hudson, from the University of Maryland College Park, presented a poster about her work to develop a global surface water dynamics map for the years 2000–2014 using data from three Landsat satellites. We spoke with her about this [...]

a river meander
Dec 18, 2015The Mechanics of Meander Migration

Joshua Ahmed from Cardiff University studies how river meanders evolve. Using Landsat data to examine river movement through time, his team has made new observations about river channel change. He presented his findings at #AGU15.

installing water gages in Kenya
Dec 18, 2015Monitoring Small Surface Water Bodies in Africa

Naga Manohar Velpuri, works with the USGS Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). The project has recently initiated a large-scale project to monitor surface water bodies in the pastoral regions of Africa using multi-source satellite [...]

Lake Clark
Dec 18, 2015Watching Glacial Sediment Plumes in Alaska’s Lake Clark

Carson Baughman, a geographer at the USGS Alaska Science Center, presented results of his study on seasonal glacial sediment plumes in Alaska's Lake Clark at #AGU15. We talked to Carson about his work.

wild horses
Dec 17, 2015An Integrated Look at Barrier Islands: Assateague to Metompkin

A new Landsat-based report from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center takes an integrated look at barrier islands.

Union Beach, NJ post-Sandy
Dec 17, 2015How Hurricane Sandy Affected New Jersey Coastal Marshes

Alex Riter, a graduate student at the University of Maryland College Park, presented her finding on how Hurricane Sandy affected New Jersey coastal marches at #AGU15. We talked to Riter about her research.

great blue heron
Dec 17, 2015Using Landsat to Measure Chlorophyll in the Chesapeake Bay

Sara Lubkin, previously with the NASA DEVELOP program, presented a poster at #AGU15 on her work using Landsat data in concert with MODIS data to measure chlorophyll levels in the Chesapeake Bay. We spoke with Lubkin about her work.

Denali, snow
Dec 17, 2015A New Landsat-based Snow Cover Product from USGS

David Selkowitz, a Research Geographer with the USGS Alaska Science Center, and his team have developed a snow cover product, that allows users to look at historical snow cover through time. Selkowitz presented a poster on the Landsat-based data [...]

longwall mining machine
Dec 16, 2015Assessing Longwall Mining Impacts on the Forests Above

Erin Pfeil-McCullough, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, gave a talk at #AGU15 on insights that she has gained from her research to determine what impacts longwall mining has on forest canopies above as the ground subsides and [...]

Niger River
Dec 16, 2015Monitoring Water Quality Trends in the Niger River Basin

Chase Mueller from NASA Ames Research Center shared the results of a project that uses Landsat and MODIS data to monitor water quality trends at #AGU15. We spoke with him about his findings.

Bagre Lake
Dec 16, 2015Tracking Microbiological Health Hazards in Burkina Faso

Elodie Robert from the French National Center for Scientific Research presented preliminary results of her research at #AGU15 that aims to track microbiological heath hazards based on surface water turbidity in West Africa.

Coropuna
Dec 15, 2015Survival of a Tropical Glacier

William Kochtitzky, a student from Dickinson College, presented a poster on glacial changes on Peru’s Nevado Coropuna volcano at #AGU15.

mosquito beach
Dec 14, 2015Landsat Helps Inform Restoration Decisions in the Great Lakes

Charles Perry, a Research Soil Scientist with the USDA's Forest Inventory and Analysis group, gave a talk about his research that uses Landsat to monitor land use and land cover change in watersheds surrounding the Great Lakes at #AGU15. He is [...]

close-up of study area land-terminating glacier
Oct 28, 2015Despite Warming, Landsat Reveals Decadal Slowdowns on Greenland Ice Sheet

Ice sheets are in perpetual motion, making their way downslope like a river. If the amount of snow that an ice sheet accumulates does not keep pace with its loss to the sea, sea level will rise. As temperatures have climbed, positive feedback [...]

Comparison of idle fields from 2011 to 2015
Oct 21, 2015Federal Agencies Release Data Showing California Central Valley Idle Farmland Doubling During Drought

NASA, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the California Department of Water Resources, released data today showing the effect the current drought has had on [...]

Ayse Kilic (University of Nebraska)
Oct 14, 2015Tracking Agricultural Water Use on a Smartphone

This fall scientists at the University of Nebraska, with partners at Google Inc., the University of Idaho and the Desert Research Institute, introduced the latest evolution of METRIC technology—an application called EEFLUX, which will allow [...]

Horn Island Lagoon Mississippi
Oct 13, 2015Barrier Island Shorelines Extracted From Landsat Imagery

Landsat enables coastal geomorphologists to observe changes to barrier islands on annual and decadal time scales—providing information about island size, shape and position, as well as erosion, land loss and island breakup.

Gombe ecosystem
Sep 29, 2015Landsat Images Advance Watershed Restoration in Western Tanzania

For those who live along its shores, Lake Tanganyika in east Africa is the backbone of local transportation and serves as an essential source of household water and protein. Every night, fishers lure nocturnal, sardine-like fish called dagaa [...]

shorebirds
Sep 24, 2015Landsat Helps Feed the Birds

The BirdReturns program, created by The Nature Conservancy of California, is an effort to provide "pop-up habitats" for some of the millions of shorebirds, such as sandpipers and plovers, that migrate each year from their summer breeding grounds [...]

water hyacinth in bloom
Sep 2, 2015A Beautiful Menace: Tracking Water Hyacinth with Landsat

Delivering maps and tabular summaries of live water hyacinth coverage in waterways of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from the latest cloud-free Landsat satellite imagery.

cropland in PA
Aug 18, 2015How Landsat Helps: New Agricultural Case Studies from USGS

The Social and Economic Analysis team at the Fort Collins Science Center recently added five new agriculture focused case studies to their "Landsat Imagery: A Unique Resource" website.

Superglacial lakes in Greenland. Photo credit: Washington University.
Aug 17, 2015Lakes On A Glacier

How deep is that icy blue water on Greenland's ice sheet? Dr. Allen Pope, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, is using data from the NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite to find out. In this video, Dr. Pope shares what he sees when he looks at a [...]

NOAA Ship Fairweather
Jul 23, 2015Avoiding Rock Bottom: How Landsat Aids Nautical Charting

On the most recent nautical chart of the Beaufort Sea where the long narrow Tapkaluk Islands of Alaska’s North Slope separate the sea from the shallow Elson Lagoon (Nautical Chart 16081) a massive shoal is immediately noticeable just west of the [...]

North American river widths derived from Landsat
Jul 9, 2015A Satellite View of River Width

Hydrologists from the University of North Carolina have come up with an innovative way to estimate the size of rivers via satellite images. Combing through data acquired by Landsat satellites, George Allen and Tamlin Pavelsky have compiled a new [...]

Coral reef with fish courtesy of Jeremy Cohen, Penn State University
Jun 17, 2015Satellites Enable Coral Reef Science Leap from Darwin to Online

With Earth-observing satellite data, scientists can now monitor the health of coral reefs, even in the most remote regions scattered around the globe where it is otherwise difficult to see changes.

ProPublica Landsat Las Vegas
Jun 4, 2015ProPublica Welcomes Readers to Las Vegas with Landsat

ProPublica has put together an interactive graphic called Welcome to Las Vegas*" that uses 40 years worth of Landsat data, together with a graphic representation of the city's changing skyline and its water use statistics.

Virginia wine country
May 20, 2015Landsat Helping in Virginia Wine Country

The Virginia Wine Board partnered with Wise DEVELOP to map the extension of Virginia vineyards. Vineyard extent was measured using data from Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI).

Algal bloom
Apr 7, 2015NASA, NOAA, EPA and USGS Join Forces to Put Satellite Eyes on Threat to U.S. Freshwater

NASA has joined forces with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Geological Survey to transform satellite data designed to probe ocean biology into information that will help protect [...]

Fremont Lake Basin
Mar 23, 2015Historical Satellite Images Reveal Snow is Melting Earlier in Wyoming

A NASA study of a basin in northwestern Wyoming revealed that the snowmelt season in the area is now ending on average about sixteen days earlier than it did from the 1970s through the 1990s.

Lake Urmia
Feb 17, 2015Vanishing Lake Urmia

Iran’s Lake Urmia is one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world. With eight times as much salt as seawater, it’s the globe’s largest habitat for brine shrimp, which attract flamingos, egrets and other birds as they migrate across Asia. But [...]

Turkana women gathering water
Jan 26, 2015Water Mapping Technology Rebuilds Lives in Arid Regions

Turkana County in northwest Kenya has been reeling from several years of crippling drought. As a consequence, the nomadic peoples in the region have suffered. Livestock such as goats and cattle, the sole source of income for these pastoralists, [...]

Water released from Morelos Dam
Dec 18, 2014Landsat Satellite Sees Green-up Along Colorado River’s Delta After Experimental Flow

A pulse of water released down the lower reaches of the Colorado River last spring resulted in more than a 40 percent increase in green vegetation where the water flowed, as seen by the Landsat 8 satellite. The March 2014 release of water – an [...]

From the River to the Sea
Dec 18, 2014From the River to the Sea

A pulse of water released down the lower reaches of the Colorado River last spring resulted in more than a 40 percent increase in green vegetation where the water flowed, as seen by the Landsat 8 satellite. The March 2014 release of water – an [...]

algae collection photo
Oct 21, 2014Bringing Climate Change Tools to Lower Mekong Region

NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a five-year project that will promote the use of satellite imagery to help Asia’s Lower Mekong region better predict and cope with floods and other natural disasters and [...]

Taking Landsat 8 to the Beach
Aug 22, 2014Taking Landsat 8 to the Beach

Some things go perfectly with a summer trip to the coast: sunscreen, mystery novels, cold beverages, and sand castles. Other things—like algae blooms or polluted runoff—are a lot less appealing. The newest generation of Landsat satellite is [...]

The Great Salt Lake shrank between 1985 and 2010
Aug 21, 2014Landsat and Water: Using Space to Advance Resource Solutions

A recent White House-led assessment found that Landsat is among the Nation’s most critical Earth observing systems, second only to GPS and weather. A new USGS study, Landsat and Water — Case Studies of the Uses and Benefits of Landsat Imagery in [...]

Lake Michigan phosphorus and turbidity predictions
Aug 7, 2014Landsat Aids Forest Service Research

Ensuring the health and sustainability of the nation’s forests requires scientifically credible and timely information about the extent, location, health, and ownership of these forests and the possible effects of global climate change. Forest [...]

Giant kelp
Jul 31, 2014Tracking Giant Kelp From Space

Citizen scientists worldwide are invited to take part in marine ecology research, and they won’t have to get their feet wet to do it. The Floating Forests project, an initiative spearheaded by scientists at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA, is calling [...]

Landsat-derived map of field use
Jul 23, 2014Landsat’s Role in Water Resource Management

Water availability and allocation are issues gaining a great deal of attention, particularly in arid climates. Increases in population growth and recent droughts bring urgency to measuring and monitoring water use in areas such as the western [...]

Cladophora
Jul 8, 2014At the Beach with Landsat 8

Scientists with the Michigan Tech Research Institute are tracking the spread of Chladophora, a hair-fine algae that attaches to shallow water rocks, or the shells of dead invasive zebra and quagga mussels. Occasionally, due to storms in the [...]

USGS Landsat Water Report
Jul 1, 2014Landsat and Water—Case Studies of the Uses and Benefits of Landsat Imagery in Water Resources

The Landsat program has been collecting and archiving moderate resolution earth imagery since 1972. The number of Landsat users and uses has increased exponentially since the enactment of a free and open data policy in 2008, which made data [...]

aquaculture operation
May 28, 2014Losing Tidal Flats Around the Yellow Sea

Using Landsat time series data, a group of Australian and British ecologist have found that the Yellow Sea has lost 28% of its tidal flats in the last three decades.

Tad Pfeffer
May 7, 2014Nearly 200,000 Glaciers Mapped for Better Sea Level Rise Estimates

An international team led by glaciologists from the University of Colorado Boulder and Trent University in Ontario, Canada has completed the first mapping of virtually all of the world’s glaciers—including their locations and sizes—allowing for [...]

Napa Valley Vineyard
Mar 11, 2014The Grapes of Landsat

California’s persistent drought is forcing grape growers to keep a more-attentive-than-normal eye on their vines, as water shortages and elevated temperatures alter this year’s growing season.

Landsat bathymetry
Feb 11, 2014Landsat and the Sea

One year ago today, Landsat 8 blasted off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base and arched over the shimmering Pacific on its way into orbit. Landsat 8’s main sensor, the Operational Land Imager (OLI), is the latest model in the long line [...]

Cropland
Feb 4, 2014NASA Maps Earth’s Croplands from Space

It takes a lot of land to grow food for the world's seven billion people. About a third of Earth's terrestrial surface is used for agriculture. And about a third of that, in turn, is used to grow crops. Now, a new NASA-funded effort aims to map [...]