April 2016


tornado destruction
Apr 27, 2016April 27, 2011–Five Years Later: A Satellite Imagery Perspective

On April 27, 2011, a severe weather outbreak occurred across the southeastern United States, resulting in 199 tornadoes across the region and over 300 fatalities.

Landscape of West Kalimantan, Indonesia by Yayan Indriatmoko , CIFOR
Apr 27, 2016Staying Alert: How a New Landsat-Based Tool Spots Deforestation

Forests are commodities. The biggest driver of deforestation worldwide is the economic value of trees and the land they stand on. With the high demand for agricultural land and wood products, deforestation has become an intractable problem.

Antennae at a ground receiving station
Apr 26, 2016AIA White Paper Focuses on Importance of Earth Observation

Landsat is mentioned often in this 22-page report.

Preparing an optical profiler
Apr 25, 2016A Real-Life Bay Watch: NASA Helps Monitor LA Coastline

When a Los Angeles water treatment plant had to discharge treated water closer to shore than usual in the fall of 2015 due to repair work, NASA satellite observations helped scientists from the City of Los Angeles and local research institutions [...]

report cover
Apr 18, 2016USGS Open-Report File: Users and uses of Landsat 8 satellite imagery—2014 survey results

In 2013, Landsat 8 began adding high quality, global, moderate-resolution imagery to the more than 40-year archive of Landsat imagery. To assess the potential effects of the availability of Landsat 8 imagery on users and their work, the U.S. [...]

Canadian forest changes 1985-2011
Apr 18, 2016Landsat Used to Recreate the History of Canada’s Forests

Canada has recreated the recent history of its forest disturbance and related recovery using Landsat data; a history that would otherwise not be possible to recreate in a manner that is spatially explicit and at a spatial resolution of relevance [...]

TIRS telescope
Apr 12, 2016USGS TIRS Update

Toward the end of April, reprocessing efforts will begin for Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS scenes acquired from January 1 to March 31, along with data acquired during April, to create nominal Level-1 products containing valid TIRS data. 

tornado damage Perry Co. 2015
Apr 11, 2016Landsat Imagery Helps Determine Tornado Tracks

On December 23, 2015, an unusual early winter season tornado outbreak struck much of the Tennessee Valley.

WELD data product; Collyer, Kansas
Mar 31, 2016WELD View: Using the Big Picture to See the Finer Details

A first of its kind, the WELD data products were designed with the purpose of providing scienctific quality Landat data consistent in both temporal resolution and quality at a continental scale with limited clouds. WELD products are available at [...]

20 Landsat Images Provided to International Charter, March 2016
Mar 31, 201620 Landsat Images Provided to International Charter, March 2016

The Charter concept is this: a single phone number is made available to authorized parties providing 24/7 contact to a person who can activate the charter.

diagram about social benefits of data
Mar 29, 2016Thinking on the Socioeconomic Impacts of Data Democracy

If the impact that data democracy and the knowledge commons has on society is of interest to you, you'll be interested to know that USGS has published an Open Report of the Workshop on Assessing the Impact and Value of Open Geospatial Information.

EAA4 brochure cover
Mar 29, 2016Earth as Art 4: A Fusion of Science and Art

At first glance, science and art might seem like an unlikely pairing. Yet throughout history, the intersection of these two fields has often resulted in science-based works of sublime beauty.

2016 William T. Pecora Award Announcement
Mar 28, 20162016 William T. Pecora Award Announcement

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. The Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Aeronautics and [...]

wetlands in winter
Mar 16, 2016New Technique Tracks ‘Heartbeat’ of Hundreds of Wetlands

Across the U.S. and particularly in Washington state, very little is known about the acreage, yearly flooding cycles and even the actual locations of wetlands. Even hazier is what could happen to these vital ecosystems under climate change.

Sentinel-2A
Mar 15, 2016USGS Partners with European Space Agency to Deliver Copernicus Earth Data

USGS and ESA have established an innovative partnership to enable USGS storage and redistribution of Earth observation data acquired by Copernicus program satellites.

126 Landsat Images Provided to International Charter, Feb. 2016
Feb 29, 2016126 Landsat Images Provided to International Charter, Feb. 2016

This month, 126 Landsat scenes were ingested by the USGS Hazard Data Distribution System to provide data for Charter activations.

Landsat 8 Used to Pinpoint Shipwrecks
Feb 23, 2016Landsat 8 Used to Pinpoint Shipwrecks

Nearshore shipwrecks can leave telltale sediment plumes at the sea’s surface that reveal their location. Using Landsat 8 data, researchers have detected plumes extending as far as 4 kilometers (~2.5 miles) downstream from shallow shipwreck [...]

Tim Assal
Feb 16, 2016Documenting Spatial and Temporal Trends of Drought

We turned to the remote sensing archive to determine if drought altered forest structure over the course of a decade-and-a-half. We analyzed 22 years of Landsat satellite data to determine changes in forest condition between 1985 and 2012.

TIRS diagram
Feb 12, 2016Landsat 8 TIRS Updates from USGS

As of Feb. 12, 2016, many of the Landsat 8 scenes acquired from October to December 2015 have been reprocessed into nominal Level-1 products containing valid TIRS data and are available for download, and can also be submitted for higher-level [...]

in the field
Feb 2, 2016A New Observation Method That Sees the Forest for the Trees

A marriage in the remote forests of China promises to unite two important forces to better inform the health and future of biodiversity. The union is reported in this week’s journal Ecological Indicators by Michigan State University researchers.

56 Landsat Images Provided to International Charter, Jan. 2016
Jan 31, 201656 Landsat Images Provided to International Charter, Jan. 2016

The Charter as a one-stop-shop for impact maps—an essential resource, since in many cases satellite data are the only practical method to assess current ground conditions after a disaster.

paper graphic from Kays et al.
Jan 29, 2016Science, Nature, and Landsat in 2015

Last year, Landsat data were used in some aspect to inform more than a dozen research papers published in Science, Nature and Nature’s discipline-specific journals. The paper topics included animal migration patterns, [...]

D.C. covered in snow
Jan 26, 2016Landsat Sees a Blizzard, January 24, 2016

On January 24, 2016 Landsat 8 acquired a clear view—from South Carolina to Pennsylvania—the day after a blizzard covered much of the eastern United States in snow. Watch as more than 620 miles (1,000 km) of landscape are shown in detail.

Tim Newman at LSTM
Jan 25, 2016Landsat Science Team Meeting – Jan. 2016

The USGS Landsat website has made all presentations given at the January 2016 Landsat Science Meeting available online.

Edits to NOAA Chart for Yukon River
Jan 18, 2016Satellite Images are Source for First-of-its-Kind Charts of Alaska’s Yukon River

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has issued provisional charts for barge operators and others traversing Alaska’s challenging Yukon River.

field day in Alice Springs
Jan 13, 2016Satellite Data Help Australian Ranchers Meet the Rising Demand for Meat in a Changing World

When Russell Lethbridge walks his property in northern Australia — kicking-up clouds of dust that catch the sunlight as he assesses the grasses, shrubs and brush that fill the landscape with muted tones of green — he carries the legacy of five [...]

TIRS diagram
Jan 13, 2016Landsat 8 Thermal Data Update

Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) data continue to be collected with the scene select mirror encoder electronics disabled (mode 0). While in this mode, the TIRS line of sight model (LOS) will be regularly updated and modifications are [...]

Banaue rice terraces
Jan 11, 2016Future Grains

When global food prices spiked dramatically in late 2007 and into 2008, the costs of many basic dietary staples doubled or even tripled around the world, sparking protests and riots. Panicked governments stopped exporting food, aggravating the crisis.

Newman Library
Jan 6, 2016Future Science Products for Landsat Satellite to be Discussed at Landsat Science Team Meeting

Virginia Tech faculty members and graduate students will get to present their remote sensing research to scientists from across the world when the Landsat Science Team meets on the Blacksburg campus Jan. 12-14.

OLI
Dec 31, 2015Letter Contract for Landsat 9 Imager-2 Awarded

NASA has awarded a sole source letter contract to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, Boulder, Colo., to build the Operational Land Imager-2 instrument for the Landsat 9 project.

79 Landsat Images Provided to International Charter, Dec. 2015
Dec 31, 201579 Landsat Images Provided to International Charter, Dec. 2015

The Charter concept is this: a single phone number is made available to authorized parties providing 24/7 contact to a person who can activate the charter. Once activated, a project manager takes charge. The project manager knows what satellite [...]

Rice fields
Dec 18, 2015Mapping Rice, Managing Water in Parched California

Liheng Zhong, a Senior Delineator with the California Department of Water Resources is working on a way to map rice fields with Landsat to better manage water use. He presented some of this findings at #AGU15, here's what he shared with us.

Mongolian Plateau lake
Dec 18, 2015Behind the Rapid Loss of Lakes on the Mongolian Plateau

Shengli Tao, from Peking University, has used the Landsat data archive to map, measure, and investigate the shrinking lakes of the Mongolian Plateau. We spoke to Tao about the work he presented at #AGU15.

Clopper Lake
Dec 18, 2015Tracking Global Surface Water Dynamics with Landsat

At #AGU15, Amy Hudson, from the University of Maryland College Park, presented a poster about her work to develop a global surface water dynamics map for the years 2000–2014 using data from three Landsat satellites. We spoke with her about this [...]

2015 Antarctica velocity map
Dec 18, 2015Measuring Movement at the Bottom of the Earth

Alex Gardner, a Research Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has used 30 years of Landsat data—some 3 million scenes—to measure the velocity of Antarctica's ice sheet. He spoke with us about the work he is presenting at #AGU15.

a river meander
Dec 18, 2015The Mechanics of Meander Migration

Joshua Ahmed from Cardiff University studies how river meanders evolve. Using Landsat data to examine river movement through time, his team has made new observations about river channel change. He presented his findings at #AGU15.

installing water gages in Kenya
Dec 18, 2015Monitoring Small Surface Water Bodies in Africa

Naga Manohar Velpuri, works with the USGS Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). The project has recently initiated a large-scale project to monitor surface water bodies in the pastoral regions of Africa using multi-source satellite [...]

Lake Clark
Dec 18, 2015Watching Glacial Sediment Plumes in Alaska’s Lake Clark

Carson Baughman, a geographer at the USGS Alaska Science Center, presented results of his study on seasonal glacial sediment plumes in Alaska's Lake Clark at #AGU15. We talked to Carson about his work.

houses in nepal
Dec 17, 2015Detecting Landslides in Nepal with Landsat

Justin Roberts-Pierel from the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, uses Landsat 8 to detect landslides in the Himalayas. He provided information about his studies at #AGU15. We talked with him about his work.

wild horses
Dec 17, 2015An Integrated Look at Barrier Islands: Assateague to Metompkin

A new Landsat-based report from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center takes an integrated look at barrier islands.

Union Beach, NJ post-Sandy
Dec 17, 2015How Hurricane Sandy Affected New Jersey Coastal Marshes

Alex Riter, a graduate student at the University of Maryland College Park, presented her finding on how Hurricane Sandy affected New Jersey coastal marches at #AGU15. We talked to Riter about her research.

earthquake aftermath
Dec 17, 2015How the 2010 Haitian Earthquake & Resulting Human Migration Affected Landslide Occurrences

At #AGU15 Yurika Kato, a Geosciences graduate student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, presented his research about how the 2010 Haitian earthquake and resulting human migration affected landslide occurrences in the Port-au-Prince [...]

great blue heron
Dec 17, 2015Using Landsat to Measure Chlorophyll in the Chesapeake Bay

Sara Lubkin, previously with the NASA DEVELOP program, presented a poster at #AGU15 on her work using Landsat data in concert with MODIS data to measure chlorophyll levels in the Chesapeake Bay. We spoke with Lubkin about her work.

Antarctic rock outcrop map
Dec 17, 2015Mapping Antarctic Rock Outcrops with Landsat 8

Alex Burton-Johnson, Martin Black, and Peter Fretwell from the British Antarctic Survey have used Landsat 8 data to create a new rock outcrop map for Antarctica, which will become part of the Antarctic Digital Database. The team presented their [...]

Denali, snow
Dec 17, 2015A New Landsat-based Snow Cover Product from USGS

David Selkowitz, a Research Geographer with the USGS Alaska Science Center, and his team have developed a snow cover product, that allows users to look at historical snow cover through time. Selkowitz presented a poster on the Landsat-based data [...]

longwall mining machine
Dec 16, 2015Assessing Longwall Mining Impacts on the Forests Above

Erin Pfeil-McCullough, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, gave a talk at #AGU15 on insights that she has gained from her research to determine what impacts longwall mining has on forest canopies above as the ground subsides and [...]

Niger River
Dec 16, 2015Monitoring Water Quality Trends in the Niger River Basin

Chase Mueller from NASA Ames Research Center shared the results of a project that uses Landsat and MODIS data to monitor water quality trends at #AGU15. We spoke with him about his findings.