October 2014


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

[By Janet Anderson, Marshall Space Flight Center] 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 [...]

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

[By Kate Ramsayer, with Michael Carlowicz] 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. Read [...]

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

[By Jon Campbell, USGS] 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 [...]

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

[Source: Forest Service, Northern Research Station] Research highlights of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service—Northern Research Center feature two projects that relied on Landsat data. Ensuring the health and sustainability Read [...]

Giant kelp
Jul 31, 2014Tracking Giant Kelp From Space

[By: Julie Cohen, UC Santa Barbara] 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 [...]

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

[By Larisa Serbina and Holly M. Miller, USGS] 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 [...]

Cladophora
Jul 8, 2014At the Beach with Landsat 8

[excerpted from Kate Ramsayer, NASA Goddard] 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 [...]

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

[Source: USGS] 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 [...]

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

May 28, 2014 • 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. The Yellow Sea lies east of mainland China and west of the [...]

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

[Source: CU-Boulder] 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 [...]

Napa Valley Vineyard
Mar 11, 2014The Grapes of Landsat

[By Matt Davenport for the AGU GeoSpace blog] 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. “This [...]

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

[Source: Kate Ramsayer, NASA Goddard] 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, [...]

Child looking at Landsat image
Sep 27, 2013Mapping the World with Landsat

Speeding around the Earth at 16,800 mph (27,000 kph), two Landsat satellites are quietly, expertly watching and recording changes in Earth’s lands from space. They are gathering data for people to make maps–all kinds of wonderful maps–of our [...]

UNESCO photo of water discovered in Kenya
Sep 12, 2013Vast Water Reserves Found in Drought-Prone Northern Kenya

Large underground water reserves have been found in Turkana, one of Kenya’s driest and poorest regions. The discoveries were made by the natural resources exploration firm, Radar Technologies International, during the course of a survey of [...]

Leonard Lopate
Aug 8, 2013Environmental Monitoring with Public Domain Satellites

WNYC's Leonard Lopate talks with SkyTruth president, John Amos, about using public domain satellite imagery, such as Landsat, to monitor the environment. SkyTruth uses all types of satellite imagery to monitor environmental changes and [...]

May 9, 2013Landsat Images Provide the Gold Standard for New Earth Applications

Images from Landsat satellites provided free to the public by the Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey were the starting points for “a new breakthrough” reported today by Time and announced on the Official Google Blog. Using its [...]

Estimated mean annual ratio of ET to P
Feb 19, 2013New Maps Provide Crucial Information for Water Managers

For the first time, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have mapped long-term average evapotranspiration rates across the continental United States—a crucial tool for water managers and planners because of the huge role evapotranspiration plays in [...]

Feb 1, 2013Landsat Monitors Chesapeake Bay Change

Landsat is a critical and invaluable tool for characterizing the landscape and mapping it over time. Landsat data provides a baseline of observations for science about how human activities on the land affect water quality, affect wildlife [...]

Jan 22, 2013What is the Economic Value of Satellite Imagery?

Does remote-sensing information, such as that from Landsat and similar Earth-observing satellites, provide economic benefits to society, and can this value be estimated? Using satellite data for northeastern Iowa, U.S. Geological Survey [...]

Cladophora on shore of N. Manitou Island
Sep 26, 2012Using Landsat to Map Cladophora in the Great Lakes

Cladophora, a nuisance, native green algae that grows attached to solid substrate in all of the Laurentian Great Lakes, has expanded its range partially due to invasive quagga and zebra mussels. During significant storm events it detaches and [...]

Dr. Martha Anderson, research scientist, USDA
Aug 26, 2012Mapping Water Use from Space

[Source: Library of Congress] Dr. Martha Anderson, research scientist, USDA, talks about using images from the Landsat satellite program to monitor water use and drought on U.S. farms with pinpoint accuracy to measure evapotranspiration, the [...]

Precipitation patterns of Tibetan Plateau
Aug 8, 2012Changing Precipitation Patterns Impacting Tibetan Plateau Glaciers

In the July issue of Nature Climate Change, Tandong Yao and colleagues report on the changing status of Tibetan Plateau glaciers over the past three decades. Using an array of data sources including Landsat (MSS, TM, and ETM+), the researchers [...]

Chesapeake Bay region
Jun 19, 2012EarthSky Interview with Peter Claggett: Seeing Chesapeake Bay Changes with Landsat

Satellite images show big changes happening to Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S., where freshwater meets the sea. Peter Claggett is a research geographer with the U.S. Geological Survey's Eastern Geographic Science Center. [...]

Apr 26, 2012Landsat Satellites See Texas Crop Circles

A water-rich polka dot pattern takes over the traditional rectangular patchwork of fields in this time series animation of 40 years of Landsat images. In the dry Texas panhandle near the town of Dalhart, this transformation is due to [...]

Pine Island Glacier
Apr 19, 2012Landsat Shows West Antarctic Ice Shelves Tearing Apart at the Seams

A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating [...]

Apr 17, 2012Looking to Landsat for Idaho Water Management

Source: Times-News Magic Valley Since 2000, Dr. Rick Allen has been using Landsat to manage water in Idaho. By using Landsat to measure evapotranspiration, water consumption can be accurately estimated. Allen says that Landsat images are [...]

Map of northern Mason Valley, NV
Apr 10, 2012Landsat can be an Impartial Arbitrator in Water Conflict Issues

• Speaking at an important state-wide water summit in March, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval lauded DRI's METRIC program calling its Landsat satellite technology an important tool in monitoring water usage. In his keynote address at the [...]

Projected flooding in Williston, ND after catastrophic dam failure.
Apr 2, 2012Landsat Key Element in Flood Study

• Floods are considered the number one natural hazard, causing more deaths and damage year after year. The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided funding to a college in North Dakota for GIS and remote sensing technology and training [...]

Saudi Arabia fields
Mar 29, 2012Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia

The green fields that dot the desert draw on water that in part was trapped during the last Ice Age. In addition to rainwater that fell over several hundred thousand years, this fossil water filled aquifers that are now buried deep under the [...]

Mar 22, 2012World Water Day

• Water is an essential resource for food cultivation. With 7 billion humans to feed, efficiently managing the planet's water supply is essential. On March 22, 2012 the UN celebrates World Water Day.The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) on [...]

Landsat 8
Feb 2, 2012A New Way To Map Drought and Water Use Worldwide

Every month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Center for Climate Prediction has a drought briefing by teleconference to identify the latest drought areas in North America. ARS scientists Martha Anderson and Bill [...]

Pinnacle III reef in Discovery Bay
Jan 26, 2012Detecting Detrimental Change in Coral Reefs

Over dinner on R.V. Calypso while anchored on the lee side of Glover's Reef in Belize, Jacques Cousteau told Phil Dustan that he suspected humans were having a negative impact on coral reefs. Dustan—a young ocean ecologist who had worked in the [...]

Flooding on Mozambique's coast, Jan. 2012.
Jan 26, 2012Measuring Flood Extent in Mozambique

• On January 16, 2012, Mozambique's coast was hit by the tropical depression “Dando” followed by cyclone “Funso.” With wind speeds up to 220 km/hour and torrential rains, the storms have caused severe damages and floods.This map shows Read [...]

Fafen Upper Valley in Ethiopia
Jan 25, 2012Combating drought in the Horn of Africa

• UNESCO began mapping groundwater this January in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, in order to bring the population a sustainable water supply. Drought has caused the region's worst famine in 60 years, with 12 million people at risk of [...]

The Balayan-Souroumba region in Guinea
Nov 10, 2011USGS and USAID Partner to Conserve Forests, Water in Africa

Contributor: Vicky Fakan, USAID USAID has long been a major actor helping to conserve Guinea's forest reserves, which replenish many of West Africa's life-sustaining waterways. Now, a recent partnership between USAID and the U.S. Geological [...]

Drought map for 2007
Oct 10, 2011EarthSky Interview with Martha Anderson: Using Landsat to Monitor Water Use from Space

Martha Anderson, a research scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, uses images from the Landsat satellite program to monitor water use and drought on U.S. farms with pinpoint accuracy, even at the scale of individual fields. As water [...]

Sep 2, 2011Landsat Images Illustrate Flooding from Irene in New York State

Remnants of Hurricane Irene caused heavy flooding, as shown in thisAugust 31 Landsat 5 image, in the hamlet of Pine Island in the town of Warwick (Orange County), New York. Sometimes called "the drowned lands" (long before Irene), the fertile [...]

Caernarvon freshwater diversion in Louisiana.
Aug 11, 2011Wetland Restoration Challenges

A recent publication inGeophysical Research Letters has called into question the effectiveness of current wetland restoration methods. Using more than two decades worth of Landsat data, Dr. Michael Kearney of the University of Maryland analyzed [...]

geographic reference map
Jul 28, 2011Landsat-Based Maps Aid German Relief Work in East Africa

Eastern Africa is in the grip of the worst drought it has seen in 60 years and the region is facing severe famine. In Somalia alone, it is estimated that 3.7 million people have been affected by the drought. The uncertain political situation [...]

Flooding down the Missouri River
Jul 20, 2011Landsat Satellites Track Continued Missouri River Flooding

Flooding along the Missouri River continues as shown in recent Landsat satellite images of the Nebraska and Iowa border. Heavy rains and snowmelt have caused the river to remain above flood stage for an extended period. A Landsat 5 image of the [...]

Missouri River surrounding Omaha
Jul 6, 2011Landsat 5 Captures Missouri River Flooding Near Omaha

Landsat 5 captured an image of flooding occurring along the Iowa/Nebraska border on June 30, 2011. Flooding is still occurring on July 6, and Flood Warnings are still in effect from the National Weather Service. This Landsat 5 image shows the [...]

Souris River
Jun 28, 2011Landsat Images Reveal Extent of Historic North Dakota Flooding

Heavy rains in Canada caused historic flooding in Minot, N.D. Landsat satellite images taken before and during the flooding reveal the water's extent. The Souris River finally crested on June 26, but not before more than 4,000 homes and hundreds [...]

flooding near Vicksburg, MS
Jun 11, 2011Landsat 5 Satellite Sees Mississippi River Floodwaters Lingering

In a Landsat 5 satellite image captured June 11, 2011, flooding is still evident both east and west of the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss. Standing water is most apparent, however, in the floodplain between the Yazoo and Mississippi Read [...]

Kelp forest in Santa Barbara Channel.
May 24, 2011Scientists Track Environmental Influences on Giant Kelp with Help from Landsat Data

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have developed new methods for studying how environmental factors and climate affect giant kelp forest ecosystems at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales. The scientists merged data collected underwater by [...]

May 19, 2011Landsat Offers Stunning Comparison Of Flooding

Extreme rainfall and heavy snowmelt have combined this spring to bring the Mississippi River roaring beyond its banks. While humans on the ground have scrambled to evacuate, build sandbag walls, and have taken dramatic measures not seen in [...]