Identifying drought-prone areas and developing an early warning system for crop damage. Protecting biologically diverse areas of the National Park System with a trail monitoring tool. Confirming flooded areas to better inform decision-makers during a disaster.

Each program area supports a variety of projects that utilize Earth observations to identify challenges around the world and create innovative solutions. Our portfolio demonstrates the benefits of using NASA Earth observations to enhance decision-making and improve life on Earth.

Sort by program area to find specific projects or explore them all below.

 

Principal Investigator

Karina Alvarez

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Turbidity calculated from Landsat 8 OLI imagery taken 01/23/2021 over Russian River, California. A turbidity algorithm was applied to visualize water quality and mask out land. In areas of water, red indicates high turbidity and blue indicates low turbidity. Land is displayed with a true color band combination (4, 3, 2) where dark blue indicates shadow. As turbidity can indicate poor water quality, visualization informs conservation agencies on estuary conditions.  Keywords: Image created by Roger Ly. Keywords: turbidity, water quality monitoring, California, estuary

Estuaries are vital ecosystems that serve important ecological functions. The Marine Life Protection Act aims to protect these ecosystems by establishing a network of marine protected areas (MPAs), in part by requiring regulatory agencies to monitor estuary extent and health...

Principal Investigator

Ahmed Baqai

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Landsat 8 OLI imagery from all of 2018, processed using Tasseled Cap Greenness to show changes in the range of vegetation. The map displays western Massachusetts, where the Connecticut River flows through Greenfield and Hadley. Darker shades indicate areas of low range of greenness, demonstrating little or no change in vegetation over 2018. Lighter areas indicate high change in vegetation. Dark areas may indicate the presence of water, which can inform users of local flooding.  Keywords: Tasseled Cap Greenness, Landsat OLI, flooding, Massachusetts, Ahmed Baqai, Rebecca Composto, E. Adelaide Gonzalez, Liana Stachowicz

North American beavers (Castor canadensis) are returning to Massachusetts after overhunting decimated their populations in the 1700s. Current regulations have allowed this species to recolonize, resulting in increasingly prevalent human-beaver conflicts. These ecosystem engineers can quickly change their environment through...

Principal Investigator

Paxton LaJoie

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NDVI-processed imagery from 2020 Landsat 8 OLI data of the greater Cincinnati, OH and Covington, KY area. Lighter blues show denser vegetation while darker blues depict highly urbanized areas. The darkest blue line represents the extent of the Ohio River. Urban areas lacking slope-stabilizing and run-off retaining vegetation are more susceptible to landslides and flooding.  Keywords: NDVI, landslide susceptibility, InVEST, urban flood mitigation

Landslides and flooding are reoccurring environmental hazards that lead to health risks and economic burdens in the urban areas of Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. These communities share underlying natural and artificial conditions that make them vulnerable to these hazards...

Principal Investigator

Trista Brophy

 

The Charles River watershed intersects 35 municipalities within the Boston Metropolitan Area and has a population of 1.2 million, making it one of the most densely populated watersheds in New England. In recent years, the watershed has observed higher...

Principal Investigator

Samuel Furey

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Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) 2018 through 2019 surface reflectance data were used to distinguish land use and land cover in the southern Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica, specifically around the Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands. These data were used to inform a land trend analysis to forecast land cover to 2030. Highlighted features include mangroves shown in turquoise, primary and secondary forest shown in light and dark blue and palm plantations shown in green.

La Amistad International Peace Park in the Talamanca Mountains and Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica are home to two isolated jaguar (Panthera onca) populations. As agricultural and urban land uses have expanded in Costa Rica...

Principal Investigator

Jared Kelly

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The Landsat 8 satellite and the Operational Land Imager sensor. The image displays the Normalized Difference Water Index, demonstrating water stress on vegetation. The area shows Northwestern Peru and the Pacific Ocean. The data was obtained through Google Earth Engine and processed manipulating the sensitivity, and classifying by color. The scale ranges from blue - red. Dark Blue areas maintain higher water stress levels and areas with a red  hue represent a lower water stress level.  Keywords: Rivers, Agriculture, Lambayeque, Chiclayo, Mesquite Algarrobo

The mesquite (Prosopis sp.) forests in Northwestern Peru have had a significant increase in tree mortality in the past fifty years. Within this time frame, 17% of the forest extent was lost and the forest saw an average annual declination...

Principal Investigator

Stephanie Rockwood

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A July 2018 Landsat 8 OLI scene processed to show Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values with the Upper Patuxent Watershed centered and Baltimore, Maryland, visible on the easternmost portion of the image. Darker tones helped the team locate crops and assess the proximity of crops and their associated nutrient runoff to the Rocky Gorge and Triadelphia Reservoirs.

The Patuxent Reservoirs Watershed, in Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland, is a significant source of water supply for the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The Patuxent Reservoirs Watershed Protection Group Technical Advisory Committee (PRWPG TAC) monitors water...

Principal Investigator

McKenna Brahler

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Likelihood of transition from wetland to other land cover by 2050, based on wetland loss patterns from 2010 Landsat 5 TM and 2020 Landsat 8 OLI imagery. Areas with highest likelihood of loss on the Eastern shore of Delaware are shown in red, with those likely to persist in light blue. A LiDAR Digital Elevation Model (2013-2014) indicates low elevation in dark blue. Predicting wetland trends allows local stakeholders to prioritize management of wetland areas.  Keywords: Delaware, Landsat, wetlands, marsh

Tidal wetlands provide vital resources for the state of Delaware, crucial not only for maintaining important ecosystem functions, but also for providing human populations with substantial services. Healthy wetland networks offer protection from severe weather, reduce flooding, improve water quality...

Principal Investigator

Brandy Nisbet-Wilcox

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Summer land surface temperatures across the Philadelphia region from Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS surface reflectance imagery (2017 - 2019).  Philadelphia has elevated temperatures (orange) compared to surrounding rural areas (dark purple).  Keywords: Philadelphia, Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS, land surface temperature, urban heat island, Brandy Nisbet-Wilcox, Samuel Meltzer, Spencer Nelson, Charlotte Wagner

Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the US, with heat-related hospitalizations increasing by 2-5% between 2001-2010. In Philadelphia alone, 137 heat-related deaths were recorded between 2010-2018, while a total of 18 daily temperature records have been set...

Principal Investigator

Caley Feemster

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An output raster using the Q-test algorithm showing land change in the Madre De Dios region in Peru is processed with NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) using elevation data from January 2019 derived from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), Global Digital Elevation Model 2 (GDEM2), USGS Global Multi-resolution Terrain Elevation Data (GMTED), and USGS National Elevation Dataset (NED). Darker areas of red show higher levels of elevation and lighter reds show lower elevation.   Keywords: SRTM, Q-Test, elevation, Peru

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is responsible for a large fraction of deforestation and disturbance in Amazonia. These activities cause severe impacts on the rainforest ecosystem and socioeconomic state of the region. NASA DEVELOP partnered with the Asociación para...