NASA Satellites Analyze Tornado Paths in Oklahoma Wheat Fields

MODIS NDVI image showing intra-seasonal change detection for May 16-June 9, 2010

This MODIS NDVI intra-seasonal change detection for May 16-June 9, 2010, was useful to show the paths of two EF4 tornadoes that occurred in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, on May 10, 2010.

Team Location: John C. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

Authors: Brandie Mitchell, Cody Dockens, Shelby Latino, Virginia Thomas, Shelby Barrett, Hunter Starring.

Advisors/Mentors: Joe Spruce, Stennis Space Center; Cheri Miller, Stennis Space Center.

Abstract: Agricultural crops in the United States are vulnerable to storm damage, yet regional maps of crop loss from storms are not routinely produced. Billions of dollars worth of drought, hail, and tornado crop damage is estimated to occur annually in the U.S. and is most prevalent in the Midwest and High Plains regions. Oklahoma, in the heart of tornado alley, is a major producer of crops vulnerable to storms, such as Hard Red Winter Wheat. This project aimed to determine the feasibility of using MODIS NDVI phenology products to assess storm damage and monitor the recovery of wheat fields in Oklahoma after severe weather events. The project employed methods and products used by the U.S. Forest Service in monitoring regional forest disturbances. It also leveraged a previous DEVELOP project for detecting lush vegetation areas and identifying points in the growing seasons to aid in wildfire mitigation. The results of this study will provide the agriculture-monitoring community with a new potential tool for assessing storm damage to crops and a better understanding of crops’ ability to recover from storm devastation.

Summer VPS > Agriculture