News & Events

Selected Proposals for NSPIRES’s The Science of Terra and Aqua

The Terra Team extends congratulations to the selected proposals for the Science of Terra and Aqua.  Fifty-six proposals were selected out of a total of 212 proposals submitted. Full list including abstracts

This solicitation followed from a 2009 NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES) Program Element. The Science of Terra and Aqua and provided an opportunity for scientists to undertake significant studies responsive to NASA’s and the Science Mission Directorate’s science objectives and the NASA Earth Science Research objectives through the use of data and derived products from two EOS satellites,  Terra and Aqua, and their measurement sensors. It represented a continuation of the research aspects of the EOS Instrument Teams for these satellites, emphasized new opportunities for scientists to analyze and exploit EOS data, as well as develop new products by combining multisensor and multiplatform data or by developing an innovative approach to data retrievals. This solicitation offered investigators an opportunity to conduct integrative research projects using the data and products resulting from these satellites and to become involved in the utilization of EOS data to provide answers to NASA’s Earth Science Research questions.

Three types of research were solicited including: Science Data Analysis, Algorithms–New Data Products, Real- or Near-Real-Time Data Algorithms.  The Terra Project Science Office welcomes those scientists new to Terra and welcomes back those who have made the Terra mission the great success that it is.

Selected Proposals

Steven Ackerman, University of Wisconsin – Madison
An Algorithm to Determine the Spatial and Temporal Distributions of Sea-Ice Leads in the Arctic

William Balch, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Science Data Analysis: Integrating the MODIS PIC Product Into the Climate Data Record

Michael Behrenfeld, Oregon State University
Global Ocean Phytoplankton Carbon and Physiology With MODIS Aqua

Ludovic Brucker, Universities Space Research Association, Columbia
Satellite Rain-On-Snow Detection: A New Climate Change Product

Ludovic Brucker, Universities Space Research Association, Columbia
Enhancing the Utility of the AMSR-E NASA Team 2 Sea Ice Concentration Product With Uncertainty and Variability Estimates

Mian Chin, Goddard Space Flight Center
Effects of Volcanic Eruptions on Climate and Environment-A Global Model Study With Satellite Data Constrained Source Functions

Josefino Comiso, Goddard Space Flight Center
Assessing the Magnitude of Change in the Arctic using Multisensor Satellite Data

Wade Crow, USDA ARS
Integrating Microwave and Thermal Remote Sensing for Continuous Dual Source Surface Energy Balance Modeling

Merritt Deeter, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Assimilation and Analysis of Terra Observations of Amazonian Biomass Burning Emissions

Sergio DeSouza-Machado, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Climate Studies Using Time Evolution of Probability Distribution Functions From 10+ years of AIRS Radiance Measurements

Larry Di Girolamo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
A Corrected Global View of the Spatial and Temporal Variability in Cloud Drop Effective Radius Through MODIS and MISR Fusion

Scott Doney, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Multi-Scale Satellite Analysis of the Biophysical Dynamics Governing Ocean Phytoplankton Community Structure

Steve Frolking, University of New Hampshire
Incorporating a New Urban Dataset From SeaWinds Into a Multi-Sensor Analysis of Global Daytime and Nighttime Urban Heat Islands

Robert Frouin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD
Retrieval of Marine Reflectance From MISR Data

Feng Gao, USDA-ARS
Fusing MODIS, Landsat and Geostationary Data for Daily Monitoring of Crop Condition and Water Use at Field Scales

Dennis Hartmann, University of Washington
Multi-Instrument Characterization of Clouds

Geoffrey Henebry, South Dakota State University
Change in Our MIDST: Detection and Analysis of Land Surface Dynamics in North and South America Using Multiple Sensor Datastreams

Shu-peng Ho, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
A New Reprocessing Scheme to Improve the Aqua AIRS Global Temperature and Water Vapor Retrievals in the Lower Troposphere and Stratosphere Using GPS Radio Occultation Measurements

Simon Hook, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Characterizing and Understanding the Impact of Climate Warming on Large Inland Water Bodies

N. Christina Hsu, Goddard Space Flight Center
High-Resolution, Enhanced MODIS Deep Blue Aerosol Products for Cloud-Free and Cloudy Conditions

Chuanmin Hu, University of South Florida
Maximize MODIS Potentials for Near Real-Time Ocean Applications Through Developing and Refining Novel Algorithms and Products

Chuanmin Hu, University of South Florida
Establish a Multi-Sensor Climate Data Record of Ocean Chlorophyll-A Concentrations Using a Novel Algorithm Concept

HL Huang, University of Wisconsin-Madison
International MODIS/AIRS Processing Package (IMAPP) Maintenance and Development of Real-Time Applications and Operational Usage of Terra and Aqua Direct Broadcast Products

Xianglei Huang, University Of Michigan – Ann Arbor
The Synergy Between Longwave Band-by-Band Radiation Budget From AIRS and CERES and Other A-Train Cloud Products in Evaluating Reanalysis Data and GCMs: Connecting Biases in Longwave Radiation Fields and in Cloud Fields

Karl Huemmrich, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Defining a MODIS Light Use Efficiency Product

Glynn Hulley, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
A New MODIS (MOD21) Land Surface Temperature and Spectral Emissivity Product for Earth Science Research

Fredrick Irion, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Single-Footprint Retrievals of Water Vapor Profiles and Cloud Properties From AIRS

Brian Kahn, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Advancing Ice Cloud Property Retrievals From AIRS and the A-train

Terry Kubar, Colorado State University
Radiative and Large-Scale Forcing of Tropical Clouds and Their Controls on High SST Environments Using Multi-Sensor Aqua and ECMWF-Reanalysis Datasets

ZhongPing Lee, University of Massachusetts Boston
Development of New Solar Radiation and Primary Production Products from MODIS Ocean-Color Measurements

Ira Leifer, Bubbleology Research International
Long-Term Satellite Data Fusion Observations of Arctic Ice Cover and Methane as a Climate Change Feedback<

Shunlin Liang, University of Maryland
Producing Incident Shortwave Radiation and Photosynthetically Active Radiation Products Over Land Surfaces From MODIS and Multiple Geostationary Satellite Data

Alexei Lyapustin, Goddard Space Flight Center
Advancing MODIS Climate Data Records with Algorithm MAIAC

Alexander Marshak, Goddard Space Flight Center
Study of Aerosol Properties in the Vicinity of Clouds Using Multiplatform and Multisensor Data Fusion

Peter Minnett, University of Miami, RSMAS
The Forward Solution to Sea-Surface Temperature Retrieval From MODIS Measurements

Karen Mohr, Goddard Space Flight Center
A Multi-Scale Investigation of the Structure and Dynamics of the Saharan Air Layer and Its Interactions With Tropical Waves

Lazaros Oreopoulos, Goddard Space Flight Center
Understanding the Links Between Clouds and Their Environment by Employing MODIS Cloud Regimes in Compositing Studies

David Pieri, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Mining the ASTER Volcano Archive (AVA): The New Global Volcanology (ASTER Science Team Renewal)

Fritz Policelli, Goddard Space Flight Center
Near Real-Time Surface Water Extent and Flood Mapping

Volker Radeloff, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Developing and Testing the Dynamic Habitat Index From Terra and Aqua MODIS Data for Biodiversity and Conservation Science

Michael Ramsey, University of Pittsburgh
Near-Real Time Data Acquisition and Modeling of Volcanic Processes Using a Multi-Instrument Approach: Affects on Climate, the Solid Earth and the Prospect of Eruption Forecasting

Oreste Reale, Universities Space Research Association
Using AIRS Data to Understand Processes Affecting Tropical Cyclone Structure and Extreme Precipitation in a Global Data Assimilation and Forecasting Framework

Jason Roberts, Marshall Space Flight Center
Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions in the Suppressed Phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation Using a Multiplatform Strategy

David Santek, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Real-Time Generation of Atmospheric Motion Vectors From AIRS Retrieval Data

JoelSusskind, Goddard Space Flight Center
Development, Validation, and Scientific Evaluation of a Multi-Year Sounder Based Climate Data Set Using Products Derived From AIRS/AMSU, CERES, MODIS, and TOVS Observations

Bastiaan van Diedenhoven, Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Global Variation of the Fundamental Radiative Properties of Ice Clouds

Tomislava Vukicevic, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological
Laboratories Evaluating and Comparing Assimilation of AIRS Cloudy and Cloud-Clear Radiances and Retrievals in Tropical Cyclone (TC) Data Analysis and Their Impact on TC Prediction

Juying Warner, University of Maryland
New Daily Global Products of N2O and HNO3 From AIRS

Paul Werdell, Goddard Space Flight Center
Advancing the Retrieval of Marine Inherent Optical Properties From Satellite Ocean Color Radiometry

Toby Westberry, Oregon State University
A Next-Generation Net Primary Production Model for Application to MODIS Aqua

Curtis Woodcock, Boston University
Near Real-Time Monitoring of Land Cover Disturbance by Fusion of MODIS and Landsat Data

Robert Wright, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Using Terra and Aqua to Forecast Changes in the Behavior of Earth’s Active Volcanoes

Feiqin Xie, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Boundary Layer Cloud Entrainment Study With MODIS, MISR, CALIPSO, GPSRO, AMSR-E Measurements and Global Reanalysis

Qingyuan Zhang, Universities Space Research Association (USRA)
Retrieval and Validation of fAPARchl From the MODIS Sensors Onboard TERRA and AQUA:A New Product

Zhibo Zhang, University of Maryland at Baltimore County
Using MODIS, ASTER, CloudSat and Large-Eddy-Simulation to Better Understand the Microphysical and Optical Properties of Heterogeneous and Precipitating Marine Boundary Layer Clouds

Jianglong Zhang, University Of North Dakota, Grand Forks
Quantifying Decadal Trends in Aerosol Direct Forcing Using Terra and Aqua

NASA’s Global Selfie: 100+ Countries, Thousands of Photos


The 3.2 gigapixel #GlobalSelfie mosaic, hosted by Gigapan, was made with 36,422 individual images that were posted to social media sites on or around Earth Day, April 22, 2014.

Find yourself here: #EarthRightNow

Fresh Lava Arrives at Ubinas Volcano


Despite a recent decline in earthquakes, Ubinas Volcano erupted another ash plume on April 28, 2014. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) collected this false-color view of the area on the same day. Red in the image indicates vegetation. Read more

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using data from the NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Robert Simmon.

China’s Great Wall of Dust

NASA images courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

NASA images courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

A wall of dust was barreling across northern China on April 23, 2014, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) acquired these images from NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites. The top image was taken at 12:35 p.m. local time, and the lower image is from 2:20 p.m. Turn on the image comparison tool to see how far the dust advanced in the two hours between images.  Read more

MODIS Science Team Meeting April 29 – May 1

The 2014 MODIS Science Team Meeting will take place at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel in Columbia, MD from April 29th through May 1.  Please see the agenda for times of sessions and a list of speakers.


Ship Wave Clouds Behind the Crozet Islands

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

Air flows like water in the atmosphere with invisible currents and waves. On April 9, 2014, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this view that evokes fluid-like movement in the atmosphere. Ship wave clouds fan out behind the Crozet Islands over the southern Indian Ocean looking exactly like the ripples behind a rock in a stream or the waves behind a boat moving through calm water. Read more


Painting with Islands and Sunglint

NASA image courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Adam Voiland and Michael Carlowicz.

NASA image courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Adam Voiland and Michael Carlowicz.

The satellites in NASA’s Earth Observing System collect data and imagery for scientific research. The data goes to one of twelve Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) across the United States, where it is processed and distributed to scientists who mine it for clues about our environment.

But sometimes the imagery is remarkable simply for its beauty. When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite looked down on the Lesser Antilles on August 1, 2013, the combination of sunlight, islands, and wind painted this scene on the surface of the Caribbean Sea. The right side of the image has a milky hue because of sunglint, an optical effect caused by the mirror-like reflection of sunlight off the water surface directly back at the satellite sensor. Read more


Drifting with Ice Island B31

      NASA images by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Michael Carlowicz.

NASA images by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Michael Carlowicz.

In early November 2013, a large iceberg separated from the front of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier. It thus began a journey across Pine Island Bay, a basin of the Amundsen Sea. The ice island, named B31, will likely be swept up soon in the swift currents of the Southern Ocean, though it will be hard to track visually for the next six months as Antarctica heads into winter darkness.

Over the course of five months in Antarctic spring and summer, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)—an instrument on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites—captured a series of images of ice island B31. Read more

Mapping Minerals with Light – ASTER

NASA image by Robert Simmon with ASTER data. Caption by Holli Riebeek with information and review provided by David Mayer, Robert Simmon, and Michael Abrams.

NASA image by Robert Simmon with ASTER data. Caption by Holli Riebeek with information and review provided by David Mayer, Robert Simmon, and Michael Abrams.

A satellite image is more than a photo. It is a picture of the amount and type of energy reflected or emitted by the Earth and recorded by a satellite instrument. There are many ways to combine those measurements to create an image, and each combination provides different insights.

The spectacular exposed geology of northwestern China offers an ideal landscape for illustrating how satellite measurements can identify minerals from afar. In satellite imagery, this area has three different sedimentary rock layers that are visible as rainbow stripes on a series of ridges. The Piqiang Fault has split the ridgeline, so the colored layers are offset by about three kilometers (two miles). All of the images on this page were made from data acquired on February 24, 2005, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Read more


Wildfire Burns Valparaiso, Chile

NASA image courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

NASA image courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

High winds propelled a wildfire through parts of Valparaiso, Chile, on April 13, 2014. It quickly became the largest fire in the history of this port city. The fire started in a forested area on April 12 and eventually reached wooden homes built on steep hills around the city. According to news reports, at least 12 people died, 2,000 homes were destroyed, and about 10,000 people evacuated as the fire moved through a section of the historic city.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image of the fire at 11:10 am local time (14:10 UTC) on April 13. Fire detections are outlined in red in the forest south of the city, which is pale gray. A long plume of smoke stretches northwest over the Pacific Ocean, a clear indication that winds were strong and blowing the flames toward the city. Read more