Mauri Pelto in the field
Aug 27, 2013Meet Mauri Pelto, Glaciologist

At a small college in Dudley, Mass., a professor of Environmental Science is doing big things. Glaciologist Mauri Pelto is using Landsat imagery to monitor glaciers around the world from his office at Nichols College.

Feb 1, 2013Landsat Monitors Chesapeake Bay Change

Feb 1, 2013 • Landsat is a critical and invaluable tool for characterizing the landscape and mapping it over time. Landsat data provides a baseline of observations for science about how human activities on the land affect water quality, affect wildlife habitat, affect air quality. Without it we wouldn’t be able to really understand how […]

Jan 23, 2013Landsat Applications

  Agriculture, Forestry and Range Resources Land Use and Mapping Geology Hydrology Coastal Resources Environmental Monitoring Discriminating vegetative, crop and timber types Classifying land uses Mapping major geologic features Determining water boundaries and surface water areas Determining patterns and extent of turbidity Monitoring deforestation Measuring crop and timber acreage Cartographic mapping and map updating Revising […]

Jan 22, 2013What is the Economic Value of Satellite Imagery?

Does remote-sensing information, such as that from Landsat and similar Earth-observing satellites, provide economic benefits to society, and can this value be estimated? Using satellite data for northeastern Iowa, U.S. Geological Survey scientists modeled the relations among land uses, agricultural production, and dynamic nitrate (NO3) contamination of aquifers.

Forests in SE U.S.
Jan 17, 2013Detecting Forest Change in the Southeast U.S.

Jan 17, 2013 • The southeastern United States is a hotspot for forestry activity. The cyclical harvest and planting of trees on lands dedicated to timber and pulp production result in some of the highest rates of forest change observed in the country. Over the past 40 years scientists have used USGS-NASA Landsat satellite data […]

Washington's Olympic Peninsula
Jan 16, 2013Determining range readiness, biomass and health

Contributor: Curtis E. Woodcock, Boston University Fire, drought, and humans all can destroy forests and their ecosystems. While much attention is paid to deforestation in tropical rainforests, very few comprehensive studies have been done to address changes in the Earth’s temperate conifer forests. Temperate conifer forests lie at latitudes above tropical forests and below boreal […]

image looking towards the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Jan 16, 2013Measuring changes and extent of glacial features

Contributor: Robert Bindschadler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center The stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is an issue of active research and societal concern because of the potential economic impact resulting from an increase in global sea level. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, riddled with deep crevasses and flowing ice streams, contains over 700,000 […]

Jan 14, 2013Sensing Forest Disturbance: Landsat Sees Insect Outbreaks From Space

Jan 14, 2013 • A new way of studying and visualizing Earth science data from a NASA and U.S. Geological Survey satellite program is resulting in, for the first time, the ability to tease out the small events that can cause big changes in an ecosystem. Called LandTrendr, this computer program is able to find […]

Jan 7, 2013Science Team Presentations Available

Jan 7, 2013 • 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 presentations

Lake Djoudj
Aug 18, 2006Lake Djoudj, Senegal

In August 2006, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), released an atlas entitled: “Africa’s Lakes: Atlas of Our Changing Environment.” The atlas relies heavily on Landsat imagery from the past 34 years to show changes in lakes around the African continent. Above, are two Landsat images of the Djoudj Sanctuary in Senegal that are featured […]

false-color infrared image of U.S./Mexico border
Jun 18, 2006Tracking socioeconomic impacts on land use

Location: California-Mexico Border Source: USGS Earthshots These images show the different land use patterns of El Centro, California, and the urban area of Mexicali/Calexico on the California-Mexico border. From 1970 to 1990, these cities’ populations grew by the following amounts: El Centro: 19,272 to 31,384 (63%) Calexico: 10,625 to 18,633 (76%) Mexicali: 459,900 to 712,400 […]

Landsat TM mosaic of Minnesota made with six Landsat images
Jun 18, 2006Characterizing forest range vegetation

A mosaic of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images with overlays of aerial photography flightlines (N-S lines) and boundaries of physiographic strata was created to help inventory the forests of Minnesota. The image data for the project consisted of portions of six Landsat TM scenes. Data were collected between 5/29/88 and 6/14/88, with scenes along the […]

dramatic forest fires that occurred in and adjacent to Yellowstone National Park
Jun 18, 2006Assessing and monitoring grass and forest fires

Contributor: Jan van Wagtendonk, U. S. Geological Survey In recent years, wildland fires have become more intense resulting in increased loss of human life and natural resource damage. An important factor in dealing with this problem is information on the amount and condition of dry biomass on the ground, which acts as fuel that feeds […]

Estimated usable aquifer lifetime of the High Plains Aquifer on the Nebraska/Colorado border overlayed on a Landsat image.
Jun 18, 2006Assessing drought impact

Contributor: Alexander F. H. Goetz, University of Colorado at Boulder More than 10 percent of the United States’ High Plains region is made up of sand dunes and sand sheets that are currently stabilized by the natural grasses growing on them and by irrigated farming. If future climate change leads to increased temperatures and less […]

Steam from the Pu'u O'o eruption as lava enters the ocean, on the island of Hawai'i in May 2001.
Jun 18, 2006Mapping volcanic surface deposits

Contributor: Luke Flynn, University of Hawaii To understand the complex “plumbing” beneath active volcanic lave lakes and determine the amount of lava flowing from them, Luke Flynn of the University of Hawaii has been using time series of Landsat images. Much of his work has focused on the persistence of volcanic eruptions at Hawaii’s Kilauea […]

This Landsat 7 thermal image shows the thermal bar along the shore of Lake Ontario
Apr 21, 2005Monitoring lake inventories and health

Contributor: John Schott, Rochester Institute of Technology As snow begins to melt at the close of winter, large lakes receive warm spring river run-off carrying pollutants that are potentially harmful to phytoplankton and the fish that feed on them. The warmer water initially stays near the shoreline, not mixing with the cold winter lake water. […]

False-color infrared images of Mt. St. Helens
May 18, 2000Monitoring volcanic flow activity

Location: Mt. St. Helens, Washington These satellite images show the area around Mount St. Helens, in southwestern Washington, before and after its eruption of May 18, 1980. The initial volcanic blast devastated more than 150 square miles of forest within a few minutes and 60 people were dead or missing. In the following nine hours, […]

image shows urban growth in the Washington D.C. metropolitan region
Jan 15, 2000Monitoring urban growth

Contributor: Jeffrey G. Masek, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Traffic jams and air pollution in large metropolitan areas are sure signs of expanding populations. Across the globe, 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, a gain of over one billion individuals in the last 30 years. In the United States, urban […]

Jan 15, 2000Monitoring crop and forest harvests

Contributor: David Skole Michigan State University Even though tropical deforestation is a well-known problem, the rate of deforestation in the tropics is currently known to only a very general degree. Recent research using Landsat images of forest loss over a decade from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s found that an average of 6200 square miles of […]

Landsat false-color infrared image of Long Island, Bahamas.
Jan 15, 1999Mapping shoals, reefs and shallow areas

Location: Long Island, Bahamas The red colors in this Landsat false-color infrared composite image of Long Island, Bahamas, give us an indication of its lush vegetation. The different shades of blue, west of the island represent varying water depths in a very shallow area. Landsat 7 imagery has been used to map the world’s coral reefs.