Image from TERRA
Mon, 30 Oct 2017 12:25 EDT

Former Tropical Storm Saola transitioned into an extra-tropical storm on Oct. 29 as it tracked southeast of the big island of Japan.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 24 Oct 2017 11:36 EDT

When Typhoon Lan made landfall in Japan on Oct. 22, the Global Precipitation Measurement mission core satellite or GPM analyzed the storm and added up the high rainfall that it generated.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:22 EDT

A new image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite shows the growing fire scar on the landscape.

Category: News and Events

News and Events

Terra on the Earth Observatory: May

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The Rains of Roanu

May 24, 2016 

Tropical Storm Roanu made landfall in Bangladesh, unleashing heavy winds and rain on the country’s populous coastal communities. On May 21, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image of the storm. Roanu progressed northeast over the Bay of Bengal before making landfall in Bangladesh.


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Early Breakup of the Beaufort Sea Ice 

May 20, 2016 

The Beaufort Sea ice pack starts to thin and break up in spring when temperatures begin to rise, usually in late May. However, much of the Beaufort Sea’s ice had already broken by mid-April. Images from the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the progression in April in 2014, 2015, and 2016.


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Widespread Warmth Envelops Greenland 

May 18, 2016

Land surface temperature data from the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite shows a much warmer than average April in Greenland.


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Heat Fuels Fire at Fort McMurray

May 7, 2016 

Land surface data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer showed increased land surface temperatures near Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta, Canada, where a destructive wildfire burned.


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Heat Wave Hits Thailand, India

May 4, 2016

Land surface temperature map based on data from the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite shows a warmer than average Southeast Asia in April.

The Atmospheric Trail of the Fort McMurray Fire

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NASA  Images from NASA Worldview (above) and created with data from MOPITT and MODIS (below) provided by the MOPITT Science Team. Caption by Sara Martinez-Alonso with Tassia Owen.

May 24, 2016
The Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, Canada not only had devastating impacts on its community, but the effect on air quality was also far reaching. Along with drifting smoke, wildfires cause increases in atmospheric carbon monoxide levels.

These maps were produced using data acquired by MOPITT and MODIS, two of the instruments on board NASA’s Terra satellite. These maps document the extent and composition of the Fort McMurray fire plume on May 6th and 7th.

MOPITT measures tropospheric carbon monoxide (CO). CO is mostly produced by incomplete fuel combustion, biomass burning, and oxidation of methane and other hydrocarbons. Shown here are MOPITT retrievals of CO total column generated in near real-time for use in the ECMWF MACC-III global data assimilation and forecasting system.

MODIS analyzes, among others, atmospheric aerosols, one of the greatest sources of uncertainty in climate modeling. The MODIS map shown here depicts aerosol optical depth (AOD), a measure of the extinction of solar light by atmospheric particles.

The similarity in the features shown in the two maps is quite obvious. The plume originates near Fort McMurray (shown with an asterisk) and extends mostly southeast for more than 1000 miles (1600 km), crossing state and country boundaries.

Terra on the Earth Observatory: April

April 26, 2016

A Sudden Color Change on Lake KivuThe Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra Satellite captured images of a whiting event in Lake Kivu. The seasonal event is stronger this year, giving Lake Kivu a milky color. 



April 22, 2016

Using Clouds to Map Life – A team of researchers are using cloud data from the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra Satellite to create detailed maps of cloud cover and variability. The team found that cloud cover could be an indicator and a better predictor of a songbird and flower’s range than temperature and precipitation.


April 17, 2016

Yellowstone National Park – Learn about Yellowstone National Park and view an image made possible by the Digital Elevation Model from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite.


April 14, 2016

Sierra Nevada Snowpack is Better, But not Normal – Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains dwindled over recent years; however, the winter of 2015-2016 and the strong El Nino provided a thicker and more extensive snowpack. Regardless, snow levels in the Sierra Nevada mountains were still below average. Images from NASA’s Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) clearly show the difference between years.


April 13, 2016

Antarctic Ice Shelf Sheds Bergs – The Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra Satellite captured this striking image of the formation of two new icebergs as they broke away from the Nansen Ice Shelf into the Southern Ocean on April 7, 2016.


April 9, 2016

Greening Ascension Island – When Charles Darwin first visited Ascension Island it was barren, but with the assistance of Joseph Hooker in the 1800s plants were introduced and now cover much of this once bleak island. The image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emissions and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite shows the now green Ascension Island and it’s Green Mountain.


April 3, 2016

Pavlov Erupts Again – Pavlov Volcano, Alaska’s most active volcano, began erupting for the first time since November 2014. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites acquired images of the ash plume at 11:45 a.m on March 28, 2016.

NASA, Japan Make ASTER Earth Data Available At No Cost

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Beginning today, all Earth imagery from a prolific Japanese remote sensing instrument operating aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft since late 1999 is now available to users everywhere at no cost.

The public will have unlimited access to the complete 16-plus-year database for Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument, which images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER’s database currently consists of more than 2.95 million individual scenes. The content ranges from massive scars across the Oklahoma landscape from an EF-5 tornado and the devastating aftermath of flooding in Pakistan, to volcanic eruptions in Iceland and wildfires in California.

Previously, users could access ASTER’s global digital topographic maps of Earth online at no cost, but paid METI a nominal fee to order other ASTER data products.

In announcing the change in policy, METI and NASA cited ASTER’s longevity and continued strong environmental monitoring capabilities. Launched in 1999, ASTER has far exceeded its five-year design life and will continue to operate for the foreseeable future as part of the suite of five Earth-observing instruments on Terra.

“We anticipate a dramatic increase in the number of users of our data, with new and exciting results to come,” said Michael Abrams, ASTER science team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, home to ASTER’s U.S. science team. ASTER data are processed into products using algorithms developed at JPL and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan. A joint U.S./Japan science team validates and calibrates the instrument and data products.

ASTER is used to create detailed maps of land surface temperature, reflectance and elevation. The instrument acquires images in visible and thermal infrared wavelengths, with spatial resolutions ranging from about 50 to 300 feet (15 to 90 meters). ASTER data cover 99 percent of Earth’s landmass and span from 83 degrees north latitude to 83 degrees south. A single downward-looking ASTER scene covers an area on the ground measuring about 37-by-37 miles (60-by-60-kilometers).

ASTER uses its near-infrared spectral band and downward- and backward-viewing telescopes to create stereo-pair images, merging two slightly offset two-dimensional images to create the three-dimensional effect of depth. Each elevation measurement point in the data is 98 feet (30 meters) apart.

The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provide scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and changes over time. Example applications include monitoring glacial advances and retreats, monitoring potentially active volcanoes, identifying crop stress, determining cloud morphology and physical properties, evaluating wetlands, monitoring thermal pollution, monitoring coral reef degradation, mapping surface temperatures of soils and geology, and measuring surface heat balance.

ASTER data are now available via electronic download from NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) at the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and from AIST. To access the data, visit:

https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/dataset_discovery/aster

or

https://gbank.gsj.jp/madas/

NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

For more information about ASTER, visit:

http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/

For more information on NASA’s Terra mission, visit:

https://terra.nasa.gov

For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/earth

 

News Media Contact

Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-0474
Alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

Tracking Deer Habitat by Satellite

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NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using NDVI data from Aqua/MODIS and mule deer habitat data courtesy of Stoner et al. (2016). Caption by Tassia Owen with Mike Carlowicz.

Raising a new fawn is no easy task. A mother mule deer needs a lot of food for herself and her growing fawn. New satellite-based research suggests that those mule deer mothers are in tune with their environment, with reproduction patterns closely matching the cycles of plant growth in their habitat.

Mule deer need a rich supply of vegetation for the late stages of pregnancy and for nursing their offspring after birth. For this reason, birth rates peak when food sources are increasing, shortly before the peak of annual plant growth. What is surprising is that mule deer in the colder, snowy northern parts of their range give birth earlier in the year than deer in the warmer southern reaches. Through a combination of satellite measurements and ground-based population counts, scientists can see the reason for the difference from space.

Mule deer, a commonly hunted species, are closely monitored and counted by biologists and land managers. A great deal of data about the size and health of the population is collected each year in order to determine the proper number of hunting permits to issue. At the same time, remote sensing scientists have a space-based way to track the health of vegetation. It is called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is a measure of the “greenness” of the landscape. NDVI measures how plants absorb and reflect light; the more infrared light is reflected, the healthier the vegetation. So by measuring the greenness of the mule deer habitat, scientists were able to mark the beginning and peak of the plant and deer growing season.

The map above shows the range of mule deer from southern Idaho to central Arizona. The habitat is divided into a green southern zone, a purple northern zone, and a gray transition zone. The mean NDVI for the northern and southern regions is displayed in the graph, which plots the vegetation index for each day of the calendar year. NDVI was measured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

According to lead author David Stoner of Utah State University, vegetation greenness in the northern latitudes peaks earlier than in the southern latitudes. Since nutrient-dense food sources were available earlier in the year, there was more food available for mule deer mothers and babies at the time when they needed it most. That greenness is partly a result of a consistent steady stream of snowmelt moisture feeding the deeply rooted mountain vegetation.

“We had never tracked the deer population this way, and we had never been able to predict it with such precision,” said Stoner. “We can estimate the start and peak of the season using satellite imagery, and then we can map and predict when the deer are giving birth.”

In southern latitudes, on the other hand, the plants are more dependent on rain from summer monsoonal showers. This means vegetation quality peaks later in the year, after a brief drought that comes before the summer monsoons. As a result, does give birth later in the south than in the north.

“This kind of applied research is very important for making remote sensing data relevant to wildlife management efforts,” said Jyoteshwar Nagol, a researcher at the University of Maryland. Deer have a huge economic impact in the United States, from hunting to crop damage to car accidents. As regional climates shift or droughts occur, deer could migrate farther or expand their range to find food.

Reference
Stoner, D., Sexton, S. and Nagol, J. (2016) Ungulate Reproductive Parameters Track Satellite Observations of Plant Phenology across Latitude and Climatological Regimes. PLoS One, 11 (2) e0148780.