Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center
Authors: Kenneth Hall, Taylor Beard, Myles Boyd, Ande Ehlen.
Advisors/Mentors: Dr. Kenton Ross, Jamie Favors.
Acknowledgements: Tom Spencer, Curt Stripling.
Abstract: Since the first outbreak of fires in November 2010, Texas has experienced several periods of severe wildfires that have burned nearly 4 million acres of land. The cause of this disaster can be attributed to excessive heat and drought brought on by La NiÌ±a conditions, and exacerbated by the strong winds from Tropical Storm Lee. These wildfires caused significant damage to the regionÛ÷s ecosystems and greatly affected the livelihoods of many Texans. Using NASA Earth Observing Systems (EOS) such as Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper, burn severity was mapped for two locations (Bastrop and Possum Kingdom Lake) in Texas. These maps will be used to show the impact of fires on the ecosystem and the magnitude of ecological change they caused. The methodologies for acquiring our end product will be provided to the Texas Forest Service in the form of a user tutorial to allow for a better understanding of how wildfires modify the ecology of Texas. Our methodologies, together with in-situ data from the Texas Forest Service, will assist in determining the best use of resources for monitoring and responding to wildfires, as well as mitigating their effects.
Video transcript available here.