December 2011


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 [...]

Karen Seto
Jul 4, 2007Landsat Links Urban Growth and Rainfall Pattern Change

For the first time, scientists have used satellite images to demonstrate a link between rapid city growth and rainfall patterns, as well as to assess compliance with an international treaty to protect wetlands. The results have been published in [...]

May 23, 2007Michigan State University Uses Landsat to Monitor Global Climate Change

Source: Walter Chomentowski, Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services, Michigan State University Scientists at Michigan State University’s Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services – or GOES – have a treasure trove of resources many of their [...]

A map showing where the ancient Northern Darfur Mega-lake once existed.
Mar 29, 2007Landsat Provides Evidence of Ancient Mega-Lake in Northern Darfur

Researchers at the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing used recently acquired topographic data from satellites to reveal a now dry, ancient mega-lake in the Darfur province of northwestern Sudan. Drs. Eman Ghoneim and Farouk El-Baz made [...]

Diminished lake sizes on Alaska's Yukon Flats
Oct 13, 2006Landsat Shows Shrinking Ponds in Alaska

A first-of-its kind analysis of fifty years of remotely sensed imagery from the 1950s to 2002 shows a dramatic reduction in the size and number of more than 10,000 ponds in Alaska. The analysis, by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists and [...]

A Landsat 7image of a coral reef near Key Largo, Florida.
Oct 3, 2006Landsat and MODIS Data Help Assess the Health of Florida’s Coral Reefs

Contributor: Mike Bettwy NASA satellite data was used to help monitor the health of Florida's coral reef as part of a field research effort completed this August and September. The project was the first comprehensive assessment of the resiliency [...]

Modeled precipitation differences
Apr 6, 2006Conducting Mesoscale Atmospheric Modeling Studies

Investigating the Influence of Land Cover Changes on Regional Weather and Climate Variability Land cover datasets derived from 1992-93 Landsat TM played a key role in regional atmospheric modeling studies. Joint research by Colorado State [...]

Landsat GeoCover mosaic of Australia.
Apr 6, 2006Assessing Carbon Stocks: The Australia National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS)

Carbon dioxide and methane are both greenhouse gases that trap solar energy within the Earth's atmosphere. Increases in the concentration of these gases since the industrial revolution have been linked to global warming. To a large degree, their [...]