Category: Responding to Human Health Risks
Project Team: Texas Water Resources II
Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center – Hampton, Virginia
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center)
Emily Adams (Center Lead)
Each year, Texas experiences severe droughts, making large areas of the state vulnerable to wildfires that damage agriculture, infrastructure, and habitats across Texas. Texas Fire Services stated in its most recent report that just under 18,500 wildland fires occurred in 2014 causing almost $2 million in damages. The Texas Forest Service utilizes precipitation, temperature, vegetation, and soil moisture data to identify particular areas in danger of wildfires. Several methods exist to monitor soil moisture, but these methods rely on estimates from precipitation and temperature data or from testing specific locations with sensors. By incorporating satellite data into their monitoring practices, the Texas Forest Service can monitor and compare changing soil moisture levels throughout the year. Soil Moisture data obtained from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite was correlated with in situ data from the Slow Climate Analysis Network (SCAN) and Texas A&M University (TAMU) Soil Moisture Database. A single correction model for Texas was created from trends identified in the data.