Image from TERRA
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 13:00 EDT

The U.S. Forest Service now has a powerful way to view near-real time fire detection from NASA satellite data that they can include in their hourly air quality forecasts.

Image from TERRA
Thu, 23 Sep 2021 14:53 EDT

New NASA research shows that by releasing heat and moisture through a large hole in sea ice known as a polynya, the exposed ocean fuels the formation of more clouds that trap heat in the atmosphere and hinder the refreezing of new sea ice.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 24 Aug 2021 13:05 EDT

Smoke from several large wildfires burning in Northern California can be seen traveling miles into the atmosphere.

Category: News and Events

News and Events

Valley Fever is caused by the Coccidioides fungus, which grows in dirt and fields. The fungus, when inhaled, can cause fever, rash and coughing. Dust storms in the Southwestern United States carry these spores in the air, where they can be inhaled and cause illness.

Supported by NASA’s Health and Air Quality (HAQ), NASA researcher Daniel Tong, an associate professor at George Mason University, and his team are studying the impact of dust storms in the southwest U.S on the spread of Valley fever. Using a novel, yet simple technique, Tongs team catches dust using cake pans and marbles. The dust is tested for the Coccidioides fungus. Their research “combines this data with NASA satellite data and high-end computer modeling to enhance current forecasting and surveillance activities related to dust storms and the airborne spread of Valley fever across the southwestern states.” 

Mentions of Terra from NASA articles
NASA Applied Science – Dust Storms, Valley Fever… and Cake Pans

“The on-the-ground measurements were combined with Earth observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments aboard the NASA satellites Terra and Aqua. These satellites monitor vegetation and soil moisture, which can reveal where conditions are ripe for the growth of Coccidioides and the spread of arid dust. MODIS instruments also help track dust storms’ spread by detecting the light reflected from the tiny particles as they are swept across the country. The team also used these data to help “train” their models that assessed long-term trends of dust storms in the region.”

“Tong and his team are combining NASA satellite data and high-end computer modeling with homemade dust catchers made of pans for baking cakes and marbles.” – Dust Storms and Valley Fever in the American West

“While the team gathers data on the ground, NASA satellites are hard at work getting the view from above. Tong’s team uses data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments aboard the NASA satellites Terra and Aqua. These data show likely habitats for this fungus because they monitor vegetation and soil moisture, revealing where conditions are ripe for fungal growth and spread of arid dust”

But tracking dust storms’ movement through air is easier with the help of NASA’s Earth observing instruments – like MODIS – which can also detect the light reflected from the tiny particles as they’re swept across the country. These true color dust observations from MODIS even helped to “train” models developed by the team to assess how the frequency of dust storms is changing.

“This tool provides information that will help people track droughts or floods, make plans for when to plant crops, and forecast agricultural yields.”

Farmers, researchers, meteorologists, and others now have access to high-resolution NASA data on soil moisture, thanks to a new tool developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), NASA and George Mason University.

The app, Crop Condition and Soil Moisture Analytics (Crop-CASMA), provides access to high-resolution data from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument in an easy-to-use format. Soil moisture data are critical for professionals in the agriculture and natural resources sectors who use soil moisture in tandem with other data to plan crop planting, forecast yields, track droughts or floods, and improve weather forecasts.

Read the entire article at

An article from Earth Observatory shows MISR’s role in understanding plume height of the explosive eruptions from the Caribbean volcano that have flung ash and sulfate particles to the stratosphere.

“Explosions on April 10 were energetic enough that the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) on NASA’s Terra satellite measured part of the plume at altitudes up to 20 kilometers (12 miles).”

Read the entire article:

What NASA EOSDIS Earth science datasets were released in March 2021? Find new MODIS Terra/Aqua LAI datasets at #LPDAAC. Read more from NASA Earth Data

Dr. Marshall Shepherd, meteorologist and NASA astronaut, writes, “NASA has a really cool online resource in which you can test your skills by using Pi to calculate volume and water content of clouds as measured by a cloud-observing instrument called MISR (on NASA’s Terra satellite). You can even figure out how many Olympic-sized swimming pools could the cloud fill” in Forbes magazine for Pi Day, 2021.