Image from TERRA
Fri, 14 Sep 2018 01:33 EDT

NASA's MISR instrument captures Hurricane Florence just off the East Coast. Data from two of its nine cameras is combined to show the storm in 3D

Image from TERRA
Mon, 27 Aug 2018 16:33 EDT

For the first time ever, measurements from NASA Earth-observing research satellites are being used to help combat a potential outbreak of life-threatening cholera. Humanitarian teams in Yemen are targeting areas identified by a NASA-supported project that precisely forecasts high-risk regions based on environmental conditions observed from space.

Image from TERRA
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 20:50 EDT

Instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites were watching as Hurricane Lane -- a category 2 storm as of Friday, Aug. 24 -- made its way toward Hawaii.

Tag: MISR

MISR News and Events

Ralph Kahn: “The Stories Data Tell.”

February 1, 2016


Headshot of Ralph KahnNASA climate scientist Ralph Kahn presented a Maniac lecture at Goddard Space Flight Center entitled, “The Stories Data Tell.” At an early age, Ralph found that separating causality from coincidence can be the lynchpin of understanding, and at times can help identify prerogatives or highlight the path toward the better options. Ralph shared his experiences, professional, personal, and at the intersection of the two, where the difference seemed to matter. And how data can help address this challenge, providing evidence one way or the other – sometimes!


Ralph Kahn, a Senior Research Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, received his PhD in applied physics from Harvard University. He spent 20 years as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he studied climate change on Earth and Mars, and also led the Earth & Planetary Atmospheres Research Element. Kahn is Aerosol Scientist for the NASA Earth Observing System’s Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. He focuses on using MISR’s unique observations, combined with other data and numerical models, to learn about wildfire smoke, desert dust, volcano and air pollution particles, and to apply the results to regional and global climate-change questions. Kahn has lectured on Climate Change and atmospheric physics at UCLA, Caltech and many other venues, and is editor and founder of PUMAS, the on-line journal of science and math examples for pre-college education.

Terra showcased in 100 Remote Sensing Uses from GIS Geography

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Image from GIS Geography. 100 Earth Shattering Uses and Applications of Remote Sensing.

GIS Geography published a list of 100 uses and applications of remote sensing, where data from NASA’s Terra satellite appeared in over 10%.

Listed below are some examples of Terra data uses that made the list (numbered by their original order in the article from GIS Geography):

13. Identifying forest stands and tallying their area to estimate forest supplies (MODIS)

26. Fighting wildfires by planning firefighter dispatch (MODIS)

27. Monitoring air quality in the lower atmosphere (MOPITT)

38. Keeping tabs on the shift from rural to urban growth (MODIS)

39. Quantifying crop conditions with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI from MODIS)

59. Monitoring active volcanoes using thermal remote sensing (ASTER, MISR, and MODIS)

66. Looking at the Earth as an art masterpiece NASA’s Earth as Art | NASA Visible Earth

70. Comparing climatic factors from past to present (MODIS, CERES, MOPITT)

75. Studying geology of the Earth’s surface (ASTER, MISR, MODIS)

77. Measuring albedo for Earth’s radiation budget (CERES)

83. Delineating watersheds using DEMs for hydrologists (ASTER)

85. Using a least-cost analysis and vegetation to understand wildebeest migration (NDVI from MODIS)

Read the whole list and learn more about each of the uses and applications of remote sensing at 100 Earth Shattering Remote Sensing Applications Uses from GIS Geography

In Africa, More Smoke Leads to Less Rain

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The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of numerous fires burning in the transition zone between the Sahara Desert to the north and the greener savannas to the south. The image, dating from November 2004, includes parts of Sudan, Chad and other nations to the south and west. Image credit: NASA

A new study is the first to use satellite observations to look at how smoke affects rainfall. Specifically focusing on agricultural fires in North Africa that reduce the amount of rainfall during the dry season.

African agricultural fires, a major source of fires globally, are used to increase agricultural productivity and clear land for farming.  Large plumes are formed by these fires, impacting weather and precipitation patterns, while carrying nutrients to land and ocean regions downwind.

Using satellite data from three NASA satellites from varying passover times along with weather records, Michael Tosca and his colleagues from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, assessed how microscopic smoke particles affect the formation of clouds and rainfall in Africa, north of the equator and south of the Saharan Desert.

Using images of smokey areas taken by  the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument (MISR) on-board Terra from 2006 to 2010, Tosca and his colleagues were able to match “each smoky image with a smoke-free scene in statistically identical weather conditions.” From this information they compared the changing cloud cover throughout the day, using data from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and Aqua, which pass over the same region at later times in the day.

Clouds need small airborne particles, aerosols, to act as a nucleus on which water vapor can condense and form clouds. Black carbon, a common aerosols in African fires, absorbs radiation from the sun and heats up the surrounding air.  When a layer of this soot-filled warm air forms, rising air from Earth’s surface is blocked by the warm layer, causing air from Earth’s surface to spread out horizontally. Rain clouds are produced from air moving up in updrafts and then condensing and falling, a process called convection.  When the air cannot penetrate the soot-filled layer, rain cloud formation is suppressed. “The researchers found that less cloud cover built up throughout the day in smoky scenes than in scenes without smoke.”

The NASA press release is available online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4681

The study is available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL065063/full

Read More on NASA’s Earth Observatory

Ship Tracks off the Kamchatka Peninsula

PacificOcean_amo_2015208 A scientist, Yi-Chun (Jean) Chen, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and his colleagues were able to show how open-cell versus closed cell clouds affect the brightness, or albedo, of ship tracks.

Using data from MODIS on-board both Aqua and Terra and from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) on Terra, the team studied the relationship between ship-emitted aerosols and cloud properties. The results suggested that aerosol plumes increased the amount of clouds and albedo in open-cell formation areas; where as, areas with closed-cells were less susceptible to aerosol plumes.

Research available in the April 2015 Journal of Geophysical Research

Read more on NASA’s Earth Observatory

 

ASTER After Fifteen Years: Review of Global Products

The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) is a 15-channel imaging instrument operating on NASA’s Terra satellite. A joint project between the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, ASTER has been acquiring data for 15 years, since March 2000. The archive now contains over 2.8 million scenes; for the majority of them, a stereo pair was collected using nadir and backward telescopes imaging in the NIR wavelength.The majority of users require only a few to a few dozen scenes for their work. Studies have ranged over numerous scientific disciplines, and many practical applications have benefited from ASTER’s unique data. A few researchers have been able to mine the entire ASTER archive, that is now global in extent due to the long duration of the mission. Six examples of global products are described in this contribution:the ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM), the most complete, highest resolution DEM available to all users; the ASTER Emissivity Database (ASTER GED), a global 5-band emissivity map of the land surface; the ASTER Global Urban Area Map (AGURAM), a 15-m resolution database of over 3500 cities;the ASTER Volcano Archive (AVA), an archive of over 1500 active volcanoes; ASTER Geoscience products of the continent of Australia; and the Global Ice Monitoring from Space (GLIMS) project.

Access the complete article on International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation