• Heavy Weather: JT Reager and Gravity-Based Flood Prediction

    Award-winning NASA scientist J.T. Reager studies water resources using satellites that monitor the Earth’s gravitational field. Read More +
  • A New Kind of Drought: U.S. Record Low Windiness in 2015

    Widespread calming of the wind sapped U.S. wind energy power output in 2015, driven by the same weather patterns responsible for California’s severe drought. Read More +
  • Following the C: A Quick Introduction to Tracking Ocean Carbon

    With the rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon’s role in ocean chemistry and biology is being augmented. New tracking and modeling techniques help to reveal how a changing atmosphere may impact the oceans. Read More +
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Popular Features

  • Calamity in Kalimantan: Palm Oil Growth at the Expense of Diversity

    Category: Mapping Landscape Changes and Species Distribution Project Team: Indonesia Agriculture Team Location: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – Greenbelt, Maryland

    Using a variety of NASA Earth observations and ancillary data, a risk map of palm oil expansion in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, was generated. Image Credit: Indonesia Agriculture Team

    Using a variety of NASA Earth observations and ancillary data, a risk map of palm oil expansion in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, was generated. Image Credit: Indonesia Agriculture Team

    Authors: Kyle T. Peterson Michael Riedman Abigail Childs

    Mentors/Advisors: Dr. Naikoa Aguilar - Amuchastegui (World Wildlife Fund) Aakash Ahamed (Universities Space Research Association/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

    Past/Other Contributors: Sean McCartney (Center Lead)

    Abstract:

    Indonesia is the world’s leading producer of palm oil. To keep pace with the continued worldwide expansion of palm oil demand, the government of Indonesia formulated an agricultural policy with the express purpose of doubling palm oil production by 2020. Unfortunately, palm oil plantation expansion comes at the cost of natural rainforest and biodiversity loss in the Central Kalimantan region. Although the government imposed a moratorium on deforestation in 2011 and extended it to the present, there has been insufficient… Read More +
  • Bogged Down in Phragmites: Assessing Risk in the Great Lakes Basin

    Category: Monitoring Environmental Health and Disturbances Project Team: Great Lakes Ecological Forecasting Team Location: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – Greenbelt, Maryland

    Utilizing Earth observations and habitat models to generate a suitability risk map for Phragmites australis in the coastal Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. Image Credit: Great Lakes Ecological Forecasting Team

    Utilizing Earth observations and habitat models to generate a suitability risk map for Phragmites australis in the coastal Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. Image Credit: Great Lakes Ecological Forecasting Team

    Authors: Carl Issac Kinton Peter Jacobs Sean McCartney

    Mentors/Advisors: Dr. Laura Bourgeau-Chavez (Michigan Tech Research Institute) Dr. Kurt Kowalski (USGS Great Lakes Science Center)

    Past/Other Contributors: Sean McCartney (Center Lead)

    Abstract:

    Phragmites australis is an invasive species that threatens wetland habitats in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin. Governments in both Canada and the United States recognize that Phragmites detection is a first line of defense in limiting the spread of this species. Left untreated, Phragmites australis outcompetes native regional wetland species, resulting in monotypic stands of invasive Phragmites. As a result, habitat for native fish and wildlife becomes unsuitable, fire risk grows,… Read More +
  • Here, There, and Everywhere: Assessing SPB Outbreaks in Alabama

    Category: Monitoring Environmental Health and Disturbances Project Team: Alabama Ecological Forecasting Team Location: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center at NSSTC – Huntsville, Alabama

    The Future SPB Outbreak Susceptibility Map shows the probability of a Southern Pine Beetle outbreak occurring in 2050. Image Credit: Alabama Ecological Forecasting Team

    The Future SPB Outbreak Susceptibility Map shows the probability of a Southern Pine Beetle outbreak occurring in 2050. Image Credit: Alabama Ecological Forecasting Team

    Authors: Ryan Schick Kelsey Herndon Maggi Klug Leigh Sinclair

    Mentors/Advisors: Dr. Jeffrey Luvall (NASA at the National Space Science Technology Center) Dr. Robert Griffin (University of Alabama in Huntsville)

    Past/Other Contributors: Leigh Sinclair (Center Lead)

    Abstract:

    The Southern Pine Beetle (SPB), Dendroctonus frontalis, is an opportunistic species that attacks stressed trees weakened by drought, storm damage, or fire. In 2000, about 18,600 acres of pine forest were damaged throughout the Bankhead National Forest due to SPB. The U.S. Forest Service currently uses expensive manned aerial surveys to help with mitigation efforts, such as aerial photography and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) ForWarn and Forest Disturbance Monitor data. This project used remotely sensed data to identify… Read More +
  • Mission to Marsh: Using NASA Satellite Data to Monitor Coastal Marsh

    Category: Monitoring Environmental Health and Disturbances Project Team: Mobile Bay Ecological Forecasting Team Location: Mobile County Health Department – Mobile, Alabama

    MODIS NDVI showing photosynthetic activity of wetlands in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama. Image Credit: Mobile Bay Ecological Forecasting Team

    MODIS NDVI showing photosynthetic activity of wetlands in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama. Image Credit: Mobile Bay Ecological Forecasting Team

    Authors: Saranee Dutta Vishal Arya Jeanett Bosarge Courtney Kirkham Tyler Lynn

    Mentors/Advisors: Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center) Bernard Eichold, M.D., Dr. PH (Mobile County Health Department)

    Past/Other Contributors: Tyler Lynn (Center Lead)

    Abstract:

    Mobile and Baldwin counties encompass the region known as Coastal Alabama. The fresh, brackish, and saltwater marshes of this area shelter a wide variety of species and provide valuable ecosystem services. Over several decades, this area has experienced extensive marsh loss due to a combination of anthropogenic and natural stressors. This project partnered with the Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) to address community concerns of ecosystem decay within Coastal Alabama marshland. MOD13Q1 data products from the Terra satellite assisted in extracting vegetation indices, establishing baseline conditions for marsh health, and comparing… Read More +
  • Inundated: Diving into a Historical Perspective on Caribbean Sargassum

    Category: Managing Water Quality and Precipitation Anomalies Project Team: Caribbean Oceans Team Location: NASA Ames Research Center – Mountain View, California

    2003-2015 photosynthetically available radiation, primary productivity, and sea surface temperature data were overlaid with the Floating Algal Index to model Sargassum in the Caribbean Sea. Image Credit: Caribbean Oceans Team

    2003-2015 photosynthetically available radiation, primary productivity, and sea surface temperature data were overlaid with the Floating Algal Index to model Sargassum in the Caribbean Sea. Image Credit: Caribbean Oceans Team

    Authors: Jordan Ped Erica Scaduto Emma Accorsi

    Mentors/Advisors: Dr. Juan Torres-Pérez (Bay Area Environmental Research Institute)

    Past/Other Contributors: Chippie Kislik (Center Lead)

    Abstract:

    In the years 2011 and 2015, the nations of the Caribbean Sea were overwhelmed by the unprecedented quantity of Sargassum that washed ashore. This issue prompted international discussion to better understand the origins, distribution, and movement of Sargassum, a free-floating brown macro alga with ecological, environmental, and commercial importance. In the open ocean, Sargassum mats serve a vital ecological function. However, when large quantities appear onshore without warning, Sargassum threatens local tourist industries and near-shore ecosystems within the Caribbean. As part of the international response, this… Read More +
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