September 2014


Landsat coverage density
Sep 3, 2014A Call for Open Access Earth Observations

Sep 3, 2014 • This month in Nature, an emphatic plea to make more Earth satellite imagery free was made by Michael Wulder, a senior research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service and Landsat Science Team member; along with Nicholas [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

beached giant kelp
Dec 23, 2011Explaining Beached Kelp

Have you ever walked along a California coast and wondered about all of the kelp washed-up on shore? In winter when storms are more frequent, giant kelp is regularly washed ashore. University of California, Santa Barbara researcher David Reed [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Rice paddies
Jul 19, 2011Monitoring Waterbird Habitat

In an article published this month in The International Journal of Avian Science,Spanish researchers used Landsat data to map waterbird habitat in rice paddies adjacent to the Doñana National Park in southwestern Spain. As the area of natural [...]

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 [...]

Forest height in southern Eleuthera
Jul 31, 2010Landsat Time Series Used to Map Tropical Dry Forest Height

A team of researchers led by Landsat Science Team member Eileen Helmer has used Landsat time series data to map forest height on the island of Eleuthera. In the past, forest height and vertical structure have more typically been mapped with [...]

forest conversion in each Eastern U.S. ecoregion
Apr 14, 2010U.S. Eastern Forests in Decline

In an article published in BioScience, USGS scientists Mark Drummond and Tom Loveland show that forests in the Eastern U.S. have declined four percent since 1973. Using Landsat data along with field work and statistical data Drummond (a USGS [...]

Mar 10, 2010Landsat and the “Human Invader”

• In an article titled “Modeling the human invader in the United States,” USGS scientists Thomas Stohlgren, Catherine Jarnevich, and Chandra Giri modeled humans as an “invasive species” as they “spread” in the conterminous U.S. from Read [...]

Feb 25, 2010Landsat Helps Assess Crop Water Productivity

Xueliang Cai and Landsat Science Team member, Prasad Thenkabail, have used satellite data, including Landsat, to calculate crop water productivity, i.e. how much water is used for crop production—the so called “crop per drop.” Details of their [...]

Feb 23, 2010Deforestation Driven by 21st Century Urbanites

• A recently published Nature Geoscience article by Ruth DeFries et al. reveals that urban pressures (for food and resources) have replaced subsistence farmers as the leading driver of tropical deforestation this century. The study used [...]

Jul 6, 2009Research Examines Elevated Mercury Levels in Prairie Lakes with Landsat

Source: South Dakota State University Prairie lakes that expand greatly in area during wet cycles are more likely to have elevated mercury levels soon after, South Dakota State University research suggests. That’s one finding in a study by [...]

Jul 3, 2009Sensor Synergy: Landsat Together with SAR and Lidar Maps Boreal Wetlands

Researchers from Columbia University and the University of Western Ontario have combined Landsat TM data with European Remote Sensing 2 radar data and lidar-derived elevation data to map a remote boreal landscape in northern Alberta, Canada at a [...]

Jun 24, 2009Landsat Looks at Land Use Trends Around Mobile Bay

• A recent NASA Technical Report from Stennis Space Center has used Landsat data to document land use changes in Alabama's Mobile Bay watershed between 1972 and 2008. Over those 36 years, researchers found a 55 percent increase in urban [...]

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 [...]

coral reef map
Mar 31, 2009Landsat Used to Map Persian Gulf Coral Reefs

Contributor: Rashmi De Roy, World Wildlife Foundation In 2006, the WWF helped prepare the first map of coral habitats in the southeastern Persian Gulf, highlighting some of the most extensive and biologically important coral reefs around the [...]

vineyard
Feb 26, 2009Researchers Estimate Vineyard Area Using Landsat

In a study published in the Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, Spanish researchers demonstrate that Landsat data can be used to locate vineyards and estimate their relative area. This work is important because the European Union requires [...]

lowland forest age images
Jan 27, 2009Landsat, GLAS, and Google Earth Used in Concert to Study Amazonian Forests

Contributor: Eileen Helmer In a study published today, carbon accumulation rates of tropical forests biomass regrowth in areas of abandoned agriculture have been measured entirely from space for the first time. Study authors combined [...]

Sep 26, 2008Fusing Landsat and MODIS Data to Better Estimate Boreal Forest Loss

This month in Remote Sensing of Environment, Potapov et al. report on their method of combining MODIS and Landsat imagery to estimate forest loss in the world’s boreal forests. Understanding forest loss in boreal forests is especially important [...]

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 [...]

Jul 31, 2008Landsat 7 SLC-off Data Evaluated for Forest Change Detection

Researchers from the Canadian Forest Service's Pacific Forestry Centre and the U.S. Geological Survey have published a study which evaluates the utility of histogram– and segment–based Landsat SLC-off gap-filled data products for change [...]

Jul 24, 2008New NASA Grant to Facilitate Landsat Usability

Dr. David Roy of South Dakota State University, Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence (GIScCE), is the recipient of a $3.29M, 5-year grant funded by NASA’s  Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments [...]

Jul 10, 2008Diversity and Biomass of Tropical Forests Cleared for Land Development

• To learn more about the tropical forests that are cleared when urban and residential development spreads, scientists assembled the most comprehensive time series of land cover maps to date for the island of Puerto Rico.  They learned that [...]

May 28, 2008Monitoring Conservation Tillage Via Landat 5 Data

Source: Sharon Durham, USDA ARS To find out how much acreage is being farmed using conservation tillage, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have gone up high--to satellites.Soil scientists Dana G. Sullivan and Timothy C. Strickland, [...]

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 26, 2008Landsat Used to Quantify Sumatran Deforestation and Elephant Peril

The World Wildlife Federation released a report this week warning that accelerated deforestation rates in Sumatra are increasing CO2emissions and pushing native elephants to the brink of extinction. A WWF team of researchers used Landsat data to [...]

Ayora region
Jan 31, 2008Fire Prevention in Spain

Science brief summary by: Laura E. P. Rocchio A group of European researchers have used Landsat data collected over a quarter of a century to evaluate fire management methods in Eastern Spain. Just 40 miles southwest of the Spanish city of [...]

Journal cover
Jan 9, 2008Global Land Survey 2005

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) continue to enable better land-cover change research with the creation of the Global Land Survey 2005 (GLS2005). The GLS2005 data set is a collection of 9500 orthorectified leaf-on medium-resolution [...]

A Landsat 7 image of Okawa Bay
Jan 24, 2007Landsat Helps Monitor Toxic Algal Blooms in New Zealand

Every summer in New Zealand, recreational swimming in Okawa Bay is often prohibited because of toxic algal blooms. According to a Jan. 20 article in the New Zealand Herald, Waikato University biologist Brendan Hicks is using Landsat data to both [...]

Cover of USGS Professional Paper 1726
Jan 9, 2007As Population Grows, So Do Urban Areas

Source: USGS News Release Contact: Jonathan H. Smith, 703 648-4516 USGS Release : December 27, 2006 A new USGS publication – Rate, Trends, Causes, and Consequences of Urban Land-Use Change in the United States (Professional Paper 1726)– Read [...]