December 2014


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 [...]

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 [...]

LDCM launch
May 8, 2013Commissioning the Landsat Data Continuity Mission

On the beautifully clear Monday morning of Feb. 11, 2013, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission made its way from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base to low Earth orbit. The more than 1,000 Landsat scientists, engineers, data users, and fans [...]

Landsat Science Team, Feb. 2013
Mar 6, 2013Landsat Science Team Meeting Held

A Landsat Science Team Meeting was held from February 10–14, 2013 at the Santa Ynez Marriott in Buellton, Calif in conjunction with the Feb. 11 launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite launch. Science team members received [...]

Feb 8, 2013Pre-Launch Press Conference Held

A prelaunch news conference featuring NASA and USGS scientists was held on Feb. 8 at the Vandenberg AFB in California, where the launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, LDCM, is scheduled for Feb 11. LDCM will extend global land [...]

Jan 7, 2013Science Team Presentations Available

The USGS has released presentations given by the Landsat Science Team members during the last Science Team Meeting in Washington, D.C. (December 12 -13, 2012) which detail their research objectives and plans. Source: USGS Landsat Project + See [...]

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 [...]

HOBI award
Aug 28, 2012Landsat Data Bit by Bit: What Goes into Getting it Right

The great strength of Landsat data is its long record, the ability to look at our planet over the past 40 years and see what changes man and nature have wrought. Some change is visually staggering such as large tracks of deforestation or [...]

Aug 20, 2012Landsat Shows Yellowstone Burn Recovery

A combination of lightning, drought and human activity caused fires to scorch more than one-third of Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1988. Within a year, burn scars cast a sharp outline on the 793,880 acres affected by fire, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Kirtland's Warbler
Dec 9, 2011Satellite Data Shows that Kirtland’s Warblers Prefer Forests After Fire

Kirtland's warblers are an endangered species of lightweight little birds with bright yellow-bellies that summer in North America and winter in the Bahamas. But be it their winter or their summer home, a new study using data from NASA-built [...]

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 [...]

Yellowstone National Park
Aug 7, 2011Landsat Satellites Track Yellowstone’s Underground Heat

Yellowstone National Park sits on top of a vast, ancient, and still active volcano. Heat pours off its underground magma chamber, and is the fuel for Yellowstone's famous features—more than 10,000 hot springs, mud pots, terraces and geysers, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Yellowstone National Park and the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming
Sep 8, 2010Landsat Reveal Surprising Connection Between Beetle Attacks, Wildfire

If your summer travels have taken you across the Rocky Mountains, you've probably seen large swaths of reddish trees dotting otherwise green forests. While it may look like autumn has come early to the mountains, evergreen trees don't change [...]

A portion of the map showing mangrove forests distributions of the world.
Aug 18, 2010Landsat Enables World’s Most Comprehensive Mangrove Assessment

The most definitive map of Earth’s mangrove forests has been created with Landsat data. A group of scientists, led by Chandra Giri from USGS-EROS, has calculated that approximately 53,190 square miles (137, 760 km²) of mangroves exists, 12.3 [...]

Map of Antarctica's Landmass
Jul 22, 2010Most Accurate Map of Antarctica’s Landmass Made From Landsat Data

Antarctica may not be the world's largest landmass -- it's the fifth-largest continent -- but resting on top of that land is the world's largest ice sheet. That ice holds more than 60 percent of Earth's fresh water and carries the potential to [...]

Giuliano Guimaraes examines a fallen tree
Jul 13, 2010Study Using Landsat Finds Amazon Storm Killed Half a Billion Trees

A single, huge, violent storm that swept across the whole Amazon forest in 2005 killed half a billion trees, according to a new study funded by NASA and Tulane University. While storms have long been recognized as a cause of Amazon tree loss, [...]

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Jun 1, 2010Lasers Together with Landsat Help Researchers Predict Birds’ Preferred Habitat

Every spring, migratory birds like the Black-throated Blue Warbler journey from tropical Caribbean or South American refuges to North American forests. But which forest patch will they call home this year? And, how can researchers predict where [...]

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. [...]

urban heat island effect graphic
Dec 15, 2009Ecosystem, Vegetation Affect Intensity of Urban Heat Island Effect

NASA researchers studying urban landscapes have found that the intensity of the "heat island" created by a city depends on the ecosystem it replaced and on the regional climate. Urban areas developed in arid and semi-arid regions show far less [...]

NASA researcher Lola Fatoyinbo with one of her research assistants
Aug 20, 2009Landsat Helps NASA Researcher Map Endangered African Mangroves

Impoverished fishermen along the coast of tropical African countries like Mozambique and Madagascar may have only a few more years to eke out a profit from one of their nations’ biggest agricultural exports. Within a few decades, they may no [...]

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, [...]

canopy cover
Jul 18, 2008USDA Researchers Use Landsat to Estimate Horticultural Canopy Cover and Crop Water Demand

Horticultural crops account for almost 50% of crop sales in the United States, and these crops are carefully managed to ensure good quality. But more information is needed about the crops' growth and response to seasonal and climatic changes so [...]

Landsat-derived land use maps of St. Kitts and Nevis Islands.
Jul 10, 2008New Landsat-Based Maps of Complex Caribbean Islands Reveal Conservation Opportunities Where Sugar Cane Cultivation Has Become Unprofitable

A new set of vegetation maps for five islands of the Caribbean Lesser Antilles, including Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Eustatius and Barbados, appear in the June issue of the Caribbean Journal of Science.  Most of the maps are based on Landsat [...]

Landsat-derived water temperature in the Inland Bays
Apr 7, 2008Landsat Helps Locate Groundwater Discharge in Delaware

The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) at the University of Delaware has released a new technical report that identifies locations of groundwater discharge to estuaries and determines locations of discharge into the Inland Bays. Using satellite [...]

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 [...]

Asian mangrove
Oct 30, 2007A Landsat Survey of Mangroves in Tsunami Prone Regions

Agricultural expansion rather than shrimp farming is the major factor responsible for the destruction of tropical mangrove forests in the tsunami-impacted regions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka, [...]

Design concept of LDCM's Operational Land Imager instrument
Oct 25, 2007The Landsat Data Continuity Mission: Extending the Longest Legacy of Global Land Observation

In a world newly awash with geospatial information, only Landsat offers a rich archive of global mid-resolution, highly calibrated, multispectral data of Earth’s landmasses. To extend this legacy, plans are in the works for a July 2011 launch [...]

Pilot Jim Demers (left) and researchers John Lekki (center) and Norman Prokop (right)
Aug 28, 2007Sensor Synergy: Great Lakes Algae Monitoring

A rare bird has been flying over the Great Lakes recently, and it isn't migrating or searching for prey. This hawkeyed species is a Learjet aircraft outfitted with an advanced imaging system. Engineers at NASA's Glenn Research Center in [...]

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 [...]

Coastal erosion and lake evolution between 1985 and 2005 near Cape Halkett
Jul 2, 2007Landsat Helps Document Alaska Coastal Erosion

An article by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists on documentation of coastal land loss, lake expansion and drainage in Alaska from 1955–2005 was recently published in the July issue of Geology, a Geological Society of America publication. [...]

The Yangtze River in 1987 and 2006
Jun 14, 2007Landsat Watches as China Constructs Giant Dam

Some call it the eighth wonder of world. Others say it's the next Great Wall of China. Upon completion in 2009, the Three Gorges Dam along China’s Yangtze River will be the world's largest hydroelectric power generator and one of the few [...]

Road
Jun 8, 2007Landsat Helps Assess Impacts of Industrial Logging in Central Africa

Though the dense humid forests of Central Africa have been regarded as among the most pristine on Earth, the expansion of industrial logging and the accompanying proliferation of road density are threatening the future of this important [...]

southern tip of Madagascar
May 9, 2007Forest Trends in Madagascar

A recently released study provides evidence that social dictums influence the stability of tropical dry forests more than proximate population density. Often, it is assumed that a rising local population means rising pressure on forest [...]

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 [...]

Lake Vida
Mar 7, 2007Satellite Offers a Room With the Best View of Antarctica

Researchers from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Golden, Colo., have woven together more than a thousand images from the Landsat 7 satellite to create the most detailed, high-resolution map ever produced of Antarctica. The Landsat [...]

a portion of the natural color mosaic over McMurdo Station
Feb 27, 2007Landsat Mosaic of Antarctica

In support of the International Polar Year (2007-2008), the new Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA) brings the coldest place on Earth alive with a comprehensive view of Antarctica. The USGS, the British Antarctic Survey, and NASA, with [...]

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 [...]

map of Mississippi River Delta
Oct 3, 2006Using Landsat, USGS Reports Post-Katrina and Rita Land Change Estimates for Louisiana Coast

A new peer-reviewed analysis of land change data from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center indicates that 217 square miles of Louisiana’s coastal lands were transformed to water after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. How [...]

Landsat Image of the Amazon River, Brazil
Aug 1, 2006Small-Scale Logging Leads to Clear-cutting in Brazilian Amazon

A NASA-funded study has discovered an important indicator of rain forest vulnerability to clear-cutting in Brazil. This five-year study is the first to quantify the relationship between selective logging, where loggers extract individual trees [...]

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 mosaic of two major West Antarctic ice streams
Apr 6, 2006Monitoring Ice Sheet Activity in Antarctica

In this article, glaciologist Dr. Robert Bindschadler describes his use of Landsat data to study Antarctica. "The most impressive aspect of Antarctica is its shear enormity.  It’s larger than the United States, including Alaska.  Researchers [...]

Florida Keys coral reefs
Apr 6, 2006Mapping Coral Reefs

Not long ago, people searching for coral reefs traveled by boat or plane, and relied on notes from captains who spotted them on voyages in the 1800s.  Knowing the location and distribution of reefs is important for exploring their role in the [...]

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 [...]