July 2014


Aftermath of Hurricane Mitch
Jul 24, 2014Mapping Disaster: A Global Community Helps from Space

[By Laura E.P. Rocchio] Year after year, somewhere on Earth, natural or manmade disasters cause loss of life and widespread destruction, frequently spawning refugee situations. Though the risk of a disaster is low in any one particular place, [...]

River Thames flood map
Jan 8, 2014Flooding in the UK

As part of the International Charter—Space and Major Disasters, a number of satellite-derived maps showing the extent of flooding across the UK have been released, including the above Landsat 8-derived map of flooding along the River Thames near [...]

Landsat 8 image of Rim Fire
Nov 7, 2013Wildfire Science Returns to Rim Fire

[Reported by Leslie Gordon, USGS] Although dousing the flames was foremost in people's minds during the recent Rim Fire in Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, U.S. Geological Survey scientific work continues well after the [...]

Location of Rim Fire
Sep 3, 2013Landsat 8 Satellite Sees Rim Fire from Space

Two recent images from the Landsat 8 satellite compare land conditions in the vicinity of Yosemite National Park before and during the Rim Fire. The images, from August 15 before the fire began and from August 31, can be contrasted and [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Shemya Island
Aug 29, 2012Analyzing Landsat to Mitigate Bird/Aircraft Collisions

The presence of birds near an aircraft runway is a constant concern. Although deadly crashes are rare, a bird strike to the windshield can cause visibility issues for pilots, and strikes to jet engines can cause engine failure. Flocks of birds [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

two satellite-derived images of the Wallow Fire
Aug 23, 2011Landsat Image Maps Aid Fire Recovery Efforts

Contributor: Melissa Quijada, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center NASA satellite images regularly map active fires around the world. Once a fire is out, satellite data and maps are also used by scientists to measure and protect the scorched land, [...]

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 [...]

Wallow North Fire in east central Arizona
Jun 16, 2011Landsat 5 Satellite Helps Emergency Managers Fight Largest Fire in Arizona History

Contributor: Rob Gutro, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center The largest fire in the history of the state of Arizona continues to burn and emergency managers and responders are using satellite data from a variety of instruments to plan their [...]

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 [...]

Wallow Fire in Arizona
Jun 9, 2011Arizona Wildfire Sweeps Through Apache National Forest

Source: Jan Nelson, USGS / Rob Gutro, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center The second largest fire in Arizona history, the Wallow Fire is graphically depicted by this Landsat image, taken June 7, which shows burning in the mountains of eastern [...]

Sturbridge, MA
Jun 8, 2011Landsat 5 Sees Tornado Track near Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Source: Michon Scott, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center On June 1, 2011, a supercell thunderstorm developed over western Massachusetts. The storm produced an EF3 tornado that cut a 39-mile (63-kilometer) track of destruction across southwest [...]

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 [...]

Mississippi River
May 13, 2011Landsat Images Display Extreme Mississippi River Flooding

Recent Landsat satellite data captured by the USGS and NASA on May 10 shows the major flooding of the Mississippi River around Memphis, Tenn. and along the state borders of Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas as seen from 438 miles above [...]

Apr 13, 2011Understanding Disaster Aftermath in Japan

Contributors: Laura Rocchio and Julia Barsi After the violent March 11 Tohoku earthquake and devastating Japanese tsunami, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) coordinated a volunteer GIS-based analysis effort as part of the International Charter [...]

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 [...]

Nov 18, 2009Evaluating Mangroves After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

During the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, more than 200,000 people lost their lives. Some coastal communities were shielded from the waves’ destruction by mangrove forests, which motivated efforts to protect and restore them.As a [...]

Landsat images
Jan 12, 2009Landsat Sees Wetland and Barrier Island Loss from Hurricane Gustav

Contributor: Rob Gutro Hurricane Gustav made landfall in coastal Louisiana on Sept. 1, 2008, as a very strong category 2 (almost category 3) hurricane and left its mark on wetlands and barrier islands. NASA‘s Landsat 5 satellite, which is [...]

Burma: Post-Flood Rice Impact Analysis
Jul 9, 2008USDA FAS Uses GIS, MODIS, and Landsat to Monitor Rice Production in Burma

Source: ESRI Press Release, Redlands, California, USA Subsequent to Cyclone Nargis, a category 3 tropical storm that struck the low-lying and heavily populated coastline of Myanmar (Burma) on May 2, 2008, the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) of [...]

NASA Data Helps Pinpoint Impacted Populations in Disaster Aftermath
Jun 12, 2008NASA Data Helps Pinpoint Impacted Populations in Disaster Aftermath

Contact: Gretchen Cook-Anderson, NASA/GSFC When two catastrophic natural disasters struck within days of each other in May 2008, disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and health officials, as well as members of the news media tapped into a unique [...]

satellite-detected flood waters
May 7, 2008Landsat Satellite Imagery Used to Assess the Impact of Burma’s Cyclone Nargis

Contact: Janice Nelson, USGS USGS is providing Landsat satellite imagery to aid rescue and recovery efforts in Burma (Myanmar) in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis’s landfall on May 3. International emergency response teams are using the Landsat [...]

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 [...]

Grecian fires
Sep 26, 2007Greeks Get Space-Based Help In Wake of Deadly Fires

Contributor: European Space Agency (ESA) Cleanup and rebuilding teams responding to the devastation across Greece caused by this summer’s deadly fires are getting help from space. A series of crisis map products based on satellite acquisitions [...]

Alabaugh Canyon Fire
Jul 27, 2007Landsat and ASTER Provide Images of Alabaugh Canyon Fire to Emergency Responders

Contributor: Janice Nelson Satellite View Useful For Rehabilitation Effort The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has provided satellite imagery in the rehabilitation effort of Alabaugh Canyon [...]

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 [...]