Using NASA’s advanced Earth-observing satellites, scientists have discovered a new opportunity to build early detection systems that might protect thousands of people from floods and landslides.
According to NASA, this potential breakthrough in disaster monitoring and warning links satellite observations of soil type, vegetation and land slope with observations of rainfall, rivers and topography.
“Flood and landslides are the most widespread natural hazards on Earth, responsible for thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in property damage every year,” said Bob Adler, project scientist for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission at NASA’s
“Our use of space as a vantage point to better understand floods and landslides will enable agencies and other public officials charged with doing so to actually apply what we’re learning in ways that will make a tangible difference in a lot of lives all over the world,” said Yang Hong, a research scientist at Goddard and lead scientist of one of the research projects.
The research used data from several NASA satellites — the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, Aqua, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, QuikSCAT and Earth Observing-1 — and NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental satellites.
The havoc of landslides and floods is felt most acutely in parts of the world without extensive flood and rainfall monitoring ground networks.
Scientists approached the study of how satellite remote sensing can be applied to create flood and landslide detection from several angles. Space-based remote sensing allows scientists to look at the whole earth from above, improving their understanding of how Earth’s system components behave and interact with each other.
Robert Brakenridge and his colleagues at
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Kwabena Asante, a senior scientist at U.S. Geological Survey in
NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring
Researchers presented their findings yesterday during the American Geophysical Union meeting in