September 2014


abandoned farm in Montana
Sep 26, 2014Modeling a Changing American Landscape

[By Jon Campbell, USGS] Land change is a signature activity of human civilization. Since the dawn of history, people have purposefully converted natural landscapes to human-dominated areas. Typical motivations for land change are cultivation [...]

Chart showing old-growth forest loss in Indonesia, 2000-2012
Jul 30, 2014A Closer Look at Old-Growth Forest Loss in Indonesia

Jul 30, 2014 • A group of researchers from the University of Maryland, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, and the World Resource Institute joined forces to remedy the lack of consensus about the amount of old-growth forest clearing [...]

Map of nations with land cover mapping satellites
May 30, 2014Insights Provided by New Compendium of Land Cover Mapping Satellites

May 30, 2014 • A compendium of civilian satellites with the potential to image global land surfaces has been compiled by Alan Belward and Jon Skøien from the Land Resource Management Unit of the European Commission’s Institute for [...]

Himilayas
May 28, 2014Glacier Monitoring in Nepal to Help Locals

A recently published report gives a comprehensive look at the glaciers of Nepal over the last three decades, at ten year increments (1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010). The information was derived from Landsat and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission [...]

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 [...]

CLASlite team
Mar 7, 2014Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (CLASlite) Classroom Launches in Spanish

[Source: Moore Foundation] On March 4, 2014, the CLASlite team at the Carnegie Institution for Science (Department of Global Ecology) launched the Spanish version of the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (or CLASlite) Classroom, hosted by [...]

CLASlite in Peru
Dec 18, 2013Forest Monitoring: Bringing the Power to the People

[Source: Carnegie Institution for Science] Forest conservation is an issue of major concern to communities large and small around the globe. But gathering the monitoring data needed to make the right decisions has proven extremely prohibitive [...]

North American forest changes 2000–2012
Nov 15, 2013When Trees Fall, Landsat Maps Them

The ravages of deforestation, wildfires, windstorms and insects on global forests during this century are revealed in unprecedented detail in a new study based on Landsat data. The maps resulting from the study are the first to document forest [...]

Springtime temp, 2090
Nov 13, 2013NASA Brings Earth Science ‘Big Data’ to the Cloud with Amazon Web Services

[Reported by Steve Cole and Ruth Marlaire, NASA] NASA and Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) of Seattle, Wash., are making a large collection of NASA climate and Earth science satellite data available to research and educational users through the [...]

Allen Pope
Oct 22, 2013Studying Ice and Snow with Landsat 8

Allen Pope, a research assistant at the National Snow & Ice Data Center, recently created this video showing some of the ways Landsat 8 data are used to study the cryosphere. . Ice & Snow with Landsat 8 from Allen Pope on Vimeo. Read more [...]

Aerial view of glacial outwash plain in Iceland
Oct 18, 2013Surveying Ice and Fire: The First Map of All of Iceland’s Glaciers and Subglacier Volcanic Calderas Released

For the first time, all of Iceland’s glaciers are shown on a single map, produced by the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), in collaboration with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Iceland Geosurvey. The map is the first to incorporate [...]

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 [...]

Burn severity map for Wallow Fire
Aug 29, 2013Landsat Revisits Old Flames in Fire Trends

The Wallow Fire burned over 500,000 acres, making it the largest fire in Arizona history, to date. It is one of many large fires that fire managers and researchers have seen scorch forests nationwide since the early 2000s. "We have entered a new [...]

Mauri Pelto in the field
Aug 27, 2013Meet Mauri Pelto, Glaciologist

At a small college in Dudley, Mass., a professor of Environmental Science is doing big things. Glaciologist Mauri Pelto is using Landsat imagery to monitor glaciers around the world from his office at Nichols College. Fieldwork is an essential [...]

BAER soil scientist
Aug 21, 2013After a Fire, Before a Flood

While the 138,000-acre Silver Fire still smoldered, forest restoration specialists were on the job. They analyzed maps created using Landsat satellite data to determine where the burn destroyed vegetation and exposed soil—and where to focus [...]

Burning structure in Black Forest fire
Aug 9, 2013NASA ‘Fire Towers’ in Space Watch for Wildfires

The Black Forest wildfire this June was one of the most destructive in Colorado history, in terms of homes lost. It started close to houses and quickly spread through the ponderosa pine canopies on the rolling hills near Colorado Springs. The [...]

Burning fields in Indonesia
Jul 30, 2013Using Landsat 8 to Locate Fires in Indonesia

In June, air pollution over Singapore and Malaysia spiked as forests in neighboring Sumatra (Indonesia) burned. Using NASA's daily fire alerts and official national maps, the fires were located in the vicinity of oil palm and acacia tree [...]

Jul 11, 2013Using Landsat to Study Juneau Icefield

Glaciologist Mauri Pelto, a professor at Nichols College in Massachusetts uses Landsat to look at nearly three decades of glacier change on the Juneau Icefield in his recent blog post, From a Glacier's Perspective. He begins: The Juneau Icefield [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Rocky Mountain National Park
Apr 11, 2012Forest Science Requires Long-Term Monitoring and Research

Part of the challenge for understanding how forests are affected by climate change is the need for long-term data. Satellites are a cost-effective way to gather wide-spread information on forests, and the Landsat program has been doing so across [...]

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 [...]

Feb 2, 2012How Plants React to Warming Temperatures

Using long-term Landsat time series data researchers at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center have found that warming temperatures alter the geographic distribution and health of arctic plants. Using Landsat 5 data of Northern Quebec from 1986–2010, [...]

Study Shows More Shrubbery in a Warming World
Dec 9, 2011Study Shows More Shrubbery in a Warming World

Scientists have used satellite data from NASA-built Landsat missions to confirm that more than 20 years of warming temperatures in northern Quebec, Canada, have resulted in an increase in the amount and extent of shrubs and grasses. "For the [...]

Dec 9, 2011Searching for thawing permafrost and at-risk infrastructure

Permafrost—ground that remains frozen for at least two years—allows soil substrate to act like bedrock. So when permafrost thaws there can be major problems for structures built atop of it. Imagine if the granite of Mount Rushmore turned to [...]

aspen stand suffering from sudden aspen decline
Dec 6, 2011Consequences of Aspen Die-off

Trembling aspen are dying. No tree species in North America has a broader habitat and no other is as large (a single clone can be a hundred acres in size). So their recent widespread mortality, caused by a severe five-year drought and higher [...]

Outer Banks barrier islands
May 10, 2011World Inventory of Barrier Islands Jumps by One Third

A new Landsat-based survey of worldwide barrier islands has discovered over 650 previously unrecognized islands. Length-wis,e the global stretch of barrier islands is now 37 percent greater than formerly thought. Barrier islands are long narrow [...]

Apr 20, 2011Most Detailed Maps of Forest Height, Biomass, and Carbon Released

Source: Elizabeth Braun, Woods Hole Research Center The Woods Hole Research Center has released the first hectare-scale maps of canopy height, aboveground biomass, and associated carbon stock for the forests and woodlands of the conterminous [...]

Part of Antarctica seen with the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica.
Mar 22, 2011EarthSky Interview with Robert Bindschadler: First ever image mosaic of entire Antarctica detail

Scientists have created a mosaic of digital images collected from space showing the frozen continent of Antarctica—one of the most remote and least known places on Earth—in amazing detail for the first time ever. The mosaic is called LIMA, Read [...]

World Water Day logo
Mar 22, 2011Thirst for Knowledge: NASA Eyes World’s Water

As the world moves toward adding a few more billion people in the coming decades, many people who keep an eye on the horizon find themselves worried about water. Drinking water, water for irrigation, water for industry. Getting clean water is [...]

Horticulturist David Ramming with grapes growing in the San Joaquin Valley
Dec 15, 2010Landsat Data Addresses Needs of California Growers

With the capability to provide valuable information about individual farm fields, vineyards, and orchards, NASA satellites soon will provide California growers in the San Joaquin Valley with important information about crop growth, irrigation [...]

Landsat-derived deforestation trends
Dec 6, 2010A Carbon Agreement That Would Rely on Landsat Data

At the UN climate talks in Cancun, a satellite-based protocol to track deforestation is being met with some optimism. In this new initiative to incentivize forest conservation in developing countries, Landsat data would be used to verify [...]

woodpecker
Mar 29, 2010Extreme Weather Impacts Migratory Birds

Every year, hurricanes and droughts wreak havoc on human lives and property around the world. And according to a pair of new NASA-funded studies, migratory birds also experience severe impacts to their habitats and populations from these events. [...]

Oct 20, 2009GEO Announces New Annual Assessments of Forest Carbon

Source: Group on Earth Observations “The only way to measure forests efficiently is from space,” Group on Earth Observations (GEO) director, José Achache said referring to the group's goal to make annual assessments of forest carbon stocks using [...]

Rick Allen (top) along with Bill Kramber (middle) and Tony Morse (bottom)
Sep 15, 2009Landsat-Based Water-Use Mapping Method Hailed as an Important American Government Innovation

Contributor: Laura E.P. Rocchio Last night, Harvard University’s prestigious Ash Institute selected a Landsat-based water-use mapping method as a 2009 Innovations in American Government Award winner. “The 2009 Innovations finalists epitomize [...]

Jun 3, 2009Scientists Use Landsat to Assess Potential Impacts of Ocean Acidification

In a new study published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series, scientists have used Landsat 7 data to assess coral reef productivity and calcification in Florida's northern reef tract (northeast of the Florida Keys). Landsat data were used to [...]

May 12, 2009Landsat Helps Researchers Measure Snowmelt

Source: Amber Jenkins, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Water is constantly being moved about our planet. The water, or hydrologic, cycle describes how water changes from liquid to solid to vapor and how it is stored in a variety of places: under the [...]

Apr 30, 2009Landsat Among Suite of Satellites Used in Study Linking Drought to Asian Wildfire Emissions

Source: Gretchen Cook-Anderson In the last decade, Asian farmers have cleared tens of thousands of square miles of forests to accommodate the world’s growing demand for palm oil, an increasingly popular food ingredient. Ancient peatlands have [...]

USGS Larsen Map
Apr 3, 2009Landsat Documents Rapid Disappearance of Antarctica’s Ice Shelves

Contributors: Joan Moody (DOI); Jessica K. Robertson (USGS) Antarctica’s glaciers are melting more rapidly than previously known because of climate change, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report prepared in close collaboration with [...]

Feb 19, 2009Landsat 5 Helps Create Carbon Dioxide Map of U.S. on Google Earth

Source: NASA Interactive maps that detail carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion are now available on the popular Google Earth platform. The maps, funded by NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy through the joint North American [...]

Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) false-color composite image of the terminus region of Knik Glacier and adjacent Lake George, east of Anchorage in the Chugach Mountains
Oct 6, 2008Most Alaskan Glaciers Retreating, Thinning, and Stagnating, Says Major USGS Landsat-Based Report

Most glaciers in every mountain range and island group in Alaska are experiencing significant retreat, thinning or stagnation, especially glaciers at lower elevations, according to a new book published by the U.S. Geological Survey. In places, [...]

glacially formed depressions that hold dynamic wetlands
Sep 30, 2008Landsat, Potholes, and Climate Change

Contributor: Laura E.P. Rocchio What could Landsat, potholes, and climate change have in common? Well—when you use the term “potholes” to refer to the glacially-formed wetland depressions of the Prairie Pothole Region of central North Read more [...]

Aug 12, 2008Taking Earth’s Temperature via Satellite

Contributor: Don Comis, USDA ARS Imagine adding a thermometer to Google™ Earth. That's the vision of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists Martha Anderson and Bill Kustas, who see the need for high-resolution thermal infrared imaging [...]

Aug 10, 2008Landsat Key in New UNEP Atlas of Africa’s Environmental Change

Glacial Retreat to Rapid Urbanization Chronicled in Landmark Satellite Report to Africa's Environment Ministers Source: United Nations Environment Programme Africa's rapidly changing environmental landscape, from the disappearance of glaciers in [...]

soil changes map
Mar 24, 2008Landsat Helps Map Soil Carbon Flux

Source: Sara Uttech, Soil Science Society of America, 608-268-4948, suttechsoils.org Changes in soil carbon occur with changes in land management. Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and The University of Tennessee investigated [...]

Feb 10, 2008Establishing Historical Land Cover

USGS and NASA researchers teamed together in a highly ambitious effort to reconstruct historical land cover and biophysical parameters of the eastern U.S. Their resulting data sets will support future climate modeling, studies concerning the [...]

The devastation of southern Gulf Coast forests by Hurricane Katrina was documented in before-and-after images from the Landsat 5 satellite.
Nov 15, 2007Landsat Helps Show That Forests Damaged by Hurricane Katrina Become Major Carbon Source

With the help of Landsat and MODIS data, a research team has estimated that Hurricane Katrina killed or severely damaged 320 million large trees in Gulf Coast forests, which weakened the role the forests play in storing carbon from the [...]