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Topic: NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive

NASA satellite instruments help detect, track Wildfires

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s satellite instruments are often the first to detect wildfires burning in remote regions, and the locations of new fires are sent directly to land managers worldwide within hours of the satellite overpass.

Together, NASA instruments, including a number built and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, detect actively burning fires, track the transport of smoke from fires, provide information for fire management, and map the extent of changes to ecosystems, based on the extent and severity of burn scars.

The concentration and global transport of carbon monoxide pollution from fires burning in Russia, Siberia and Canada is depicted in this NASA photo created with data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft. (NASA)

The concentration and global transport of carbon monoxide pollution from fires burning in Russia, Siberia and Canada is depicted in this NASA photo created with data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA says Wet Winters May Not Dampen Small Wildfires

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA scientists conducting research on the connection between fuel moisture and fires have uncovered a paradox: a wet winter corresponds to more small wildfires in the following fire season, not fewer, as is commonly assumed. Large fires behave more “logically,” with fewer large fires after a wet winter and more after a dry one.

“This is the most surprising result from our study, because we would expect small fires to follow suit with larger fires,” said Daniel Jensen, a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA who worked on the project under the direction of scientist J.T. Reager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. When there is ample moisture for plant growth, Jensen pointed out, “It seems that the buildup of fuel content alone causes there to be more fires — but not necessarily more devastating fires.”

A wet winter allows grasses to grow profusely, but during the next fire season, the abundant dried grass fuels more small wildfires. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Carol Rasmussen)

A wet winter allows grasses to grow profusely, but during the next fire season, the abundant dried grass fuels more small wildfires. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Carol Rasmussen)

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NASA uses resources to help Agencies Provide Hurricane Harvey Response

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA is using its assets and expertise from across the agency, including from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to help respond to Hurricane Harvey — now Tropical Storm Harvey — which has been a disaster of unprecedented proportions for those who live and work in Southeast Texas.

With no atmospheric steering mechanism to move the storm once it made landfall, Harvey has been producing rainfall totals measured in feet, rather than inches, presenting exceptional challenges to local, state and federal emergency managers and first responders.

JPL's Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis team created this Flood Proxy Map showing areas of Southeast Texas likely flooded from Hurricane Harvey (light blue). The map is derived from radar images from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 satellite before and after landfall. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA/METI/Google Earth)

JPL’s Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis team created this Flood Proxy Map showing areas of Southeast Texas likely flooded from Hurricane Harvey (light blue). The map is derived from radar images from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 satellite before and after landfall. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA/METI/Google Earth)

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NASA’s SMAP mission provides Climate, Weather and Agriculture data

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new study of the first year of observational data from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission is providing significant surprises that will help in modeling Earth’s climate, forecasting our weather and monitoring agricultural crop growth.

The findings are presented in a paper published recently in the journal Nature Geosciences by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge; and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. They used SMAP measurements to estimate soil moisture memory in the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of Earth’s topsoils.

Artist's rendering of NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Satellites and Airborne Instruments examine Hurricane Matthew

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Hurricane forecasters use many different types of data to forecast a storm’s intensity and track. NASA satellites and airborne instruments, including several developed and operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, contribute to scientists’ understanding of tropical cyclones and help improve forecasts.

Here are some of the latest data on Hurricane Matthew from JPL-developed satellites and instruments:

JPL’s HAMSR instrument flew above Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 7 aboard a NASA Global Hawk aircraft. Right: atmospheric temperatures overlaid atop ground-based radar and satellite visible images. Reds are areas without clouds; blues show ice and heavy precipitation. Upper left: Global Hawk visible image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech HAMSR team/NOAA SHOUT Team/NASA Global Hawk Team)

JPL’s HAMSR instrument flew above Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 7 aboard a NASA Global Hawk aircraft. Right: atmospheric temperatures overlaid atop ground-based radar and satellite visible images. Reds are areas without clouds; blues show ice and heavy precipitation. Upper left: Global Hawk visible image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech HAMSR team/NOAA SHOUT Team/NASA Global Hawk Team)

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NASA’s next CubeSat mission to test ways of detecting and discarding Radio-Frequency Interference

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – It’s getting noisier and noisier out there and now the cacophony of broadcast and other communications signals has begun to seriously interfere with important Earth science research.

A NASA team at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is collaborating with Ohio State University and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to build and launch a new CubeSat mission that will test next-generation techniques for detecting and discarding radio-frequency interference (RFI).

Jared Lucey, Jeffrey Piepmeier, and Priscilla Mohammed, a research engineer at Morgan State University, are developing a new CubeSat mission to test RFI-mitigation strategies. They are shown here with a testbed for testing mitigation algorithms. (Bill Hrybyk/NASA)

Jared Lucey, Jeffrey Piepmeier, and Priscilla Mohammed, a research engineer at Morgan State University, are developing a new CubeSat mission to test RFI-mitigation strategies. They are shown here with a testbed for testing mitigation algorithms. (Bill Hrybyk/NASA)

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NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory’s Radar fails

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission managers for NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory have determined that its radar, one of the satellite’s two science instruments, can no longer return data.

However, the mission, which was launched in January to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed, continues to produce high-quality science measurements supporting SMAP’s objectives with its radiometer instrument.

The SMAP mission is designed to help scientists understand the links between Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles and enhance our ability to monitor and predict natural hazards like floods and droughts.

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA begins Study into Rapid Climate Change in Alaska and Northwestern Canada

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As part of a broad effort to study the environmental and societal effects of climate change, NASA has begun a multi-year field campaign to investigate ecological impacts of the rapidly changing climate in Alaska and northwestern Canada, such as the thawing of permafrost, wildfires and changes to wildlife habitats.

The Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) will bring together on-the-ground research in Alaska and northwestern Canada with data collected by NASA airborne instruments, satellites and other agency programs, including the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), and upcoming Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) and NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) missions.

NASA's ABoVE campaign will combine field work, airborne surveys, satellite data and computer modeling to study the effects of climate change on Arctic and boreal ecosystems, such as this region at the base of the Alaska Range south of Fairbanks. (NASA/Ross Nelson)

NASA’s ABoVE campaign will combine field work, airborne surveys, satellite data and computer modeling to study the effects of climate change on Arctic and boreal ecosystems, such as this region at the base of the Alaska Range south of Fairbanks. (NASA/Ross Nelson)

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NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite experiences instrument problem

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission managers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, are assessing an anomaly with the radar instrument on NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite observatory.

The radar is one of two science instruments on SMAP used to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed.

On July 7th, at about 2:16pm PDT, SMAP’s radar halted its transmissions. All other components of the spacecraft continued to operate normally, including the radiometer instrument that is collecting science data.

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will produce high-resolution global maps of soil moisture to track water availability around our planet and guide policy decisions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory starts three year mission

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed has begun science operations.

Launched January 31st on a minimum three-year mission, SMAP will help scientists understand links among Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles; reduce uncertainties in predicting climate; and enhance our ability to monitor and predict natural hazards like floods and droughts. SMAP data have additional practical applications, including improved weather forecasting and crop yield predictions.

High-resolution global soil moisture map from SMAP's combined radar and radiometer instruments, acquired between May 4 and May 11, 2015 during SMAP's commissioning phase. The map has a resolution of 5.6 miles (9 kilometers). The data gap is due to turning the instruments on and off during testing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC)

High-resolution global soil moisture map from SMAP’s combined radar and radiometer instruments, acquired between May 4 and May 11, 2015 during SMAP’s commissioning phase. The map has a resolution of 5.6 miles (9 kilometers). The data gap is due to turning the instruments on and off during testing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC)

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