United States of America


Screenshot of the SMAP tool in action. Image: NASA

Officially launched in 2015 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the SMAP mission is an orbiting satellite that measures the amount of wetness in the top layer of soil incrementally every 2-3 days. These Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) measurements rely on radiation frequencies that point to different levels of moisture on the surface of  earth’s soil and are useful for... read more

Publishing Date: 25/11/2020

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Republic of Korea are working together on a global satellite constellation of three space-based instruments that could track global pollution on an hourly basis. These air quality satellites will measure pollutants, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde and tiny atmospheric particles... read more

Publishing Date: 30/03/2020
Modeled catchment mean annual loss. For clarity, only catchments with a mean annual loss of >$1.5 million have been plotted. Image: Quinn, N., Bates, P. D., Neal, J., Smith, A., Wing, O., Sampson, C., et al. ( 2019).

A recent study, published in the Water Resource Research journal, presents a new method for a spatially realistic national flood risk assessment.

Researchers expanded an existing statistical model, based on U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) river flow data, to simulate a thousand years of potential flood events. By calculating the damage for each event in dollars, they were able to estimate the probability of... read more

Publishing Date: 04/07/2019
FV3: Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core

In June 2019, NOAA upgraded its flagship weather model, the Global Forecast System (GFS), with a new dynamic core, called Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core (FV3). This upgrade of the GFS will enhance global numerical weather forecasting and better forecast precipitation, heavy rainfall and weather types at both regional and global level. Besides, the FV3-based GFS revealed improvements in predicting the track and intensity of tropical cyclones compared to the older GFS.

Combining the superior... read more

Publishing Date: 27/06/2019
 “Space for U.S.”, disaster search

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has recently released a new website, SpaceforUS, which intends to highlight how NASA has used its Earth observation data to better the living conditions of people in all 50 states of the United States of America.

SpaceforUS includes contains a total of 56 stories that illustrate NASA’s science and the impact it has had across the country. The aim is to showcase the power of Earth observation through state-by-state project examples, such as the use of... read more

Publishing Date: 08/05/2019
Synthetic aperature radar patterns of seismic deformations associated with a model earthquake on the San Francisco section of the San Andreas Fault.

Earthquakes are a major concern in increasingly populated regions, however their prediction is a difficult task. Researchers have recently made progress in the use of complex simulation and modeling techniques to better forecast the occurrences of earthquakes.

In a recent study, researchers used Gradient Boosted Regression Trees, a machine learning technique for regression and classification problems that incorporates training data, to better determine spatiotemporally complex loading histories within subduction zones. The researchers simulated tens of earthquakes using a small‐scale experimental replica of a subduction zone and show that machine... read more

Publishing Date: 13/03/2019
Drone view of Seychelles coastline

The  Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), a grant-funding mechanism managed by the World Bank, has released a new report that analyzes how machine learning (ML) can be applied in disaster risk management (DRM) projects. The publication provides a concise, demystifying reference that readers - from project managers to data... read more

Publishing Date: 26/02/2019
Air photo of the Mud Creek landslide, taken on May 27, 2017.

While several studies have already highlighted how global warming and its consequences are predicted to increase the frequency and magnitude of geohazards such as landslides, the relation between ongoing climate shifts and landslide behaviour is still difficult to assess, especially due to uncertainties in both models. In a new research paper, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and collaborating institutions have now documented the transition of a stable, slow-moving landslide into catastrophic collapse for the first time.

... read more
Publishing Date: 20/02/2019
Image: USGIF, 2018

The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) has recently released a new report on “Building Resilient Communities Through Geospatial Intelligence”. The report highlights the importance of raising awareness about the value of space-based information for early warning systems and risk and disaster management. Moreover, it suggests the need for a better definition of GEOINT within the framework of... read more

Publishing Date: 31/10/2018
Delta State University Logo

Delta State University became the 23rd member of the network of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices (RSO) on 1 October. As an RSO, Delta State University will communicate and coordinate with UN-SPIDER on a regular basis, engage in outreach and capacity-building efforts, and contribute to the programme’s technical advisory support activities.

Through its Geospatial Information Technologies Centre (GIT), Delta State University provides in-depth education about the theory, ethics, and practice of GIT that encompasses the use of geographic information systems, remote sensing... read more

Publishing Date: 23/10/2018
SAOCOM 1A launching Credit: NASAspaceflight.com

The Argentina National Space Activities Commission (CONAE) launched a new Earth observation satellite that will support disaster management efforts. SAOCOM 1A is the first of a constellation of two radar satellites. The... read more

Publishing Date: 09/10/2018
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
Lava flows erupting from a fissure on 5/5/18. Image: US Geological Survey.

The International Charter Space and Major Disasters has been activated for an earthquake and eruption of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, USA on Monday.

The volcano erupted on 4 May alongside a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, spraying lava up to 70 metres and causing the evacuation of 2000 individuals, in addition to the destruction of several buildings. Dangerous levels of toxic sulfur dioxide from the lava flows also present a... read more

Publishing Date: 11/05/2018
Wildfire in California in October 2017

An advanced weather satellite to track storm systems,... read more

Publishing Date: 05/03/2018

275 people were rescued within the United States of America and its surrounding waters in 2017 with the help of satellites operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Of the 275 rescues, 186 were in water, 15 were from aviation incidents and 74 were on land using personal locator beacons (PLBs).


NOAA satellites are part of COSPAS-SARSAT (Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking) – an international satellite system for search and rescue. The system which uses a network of international spacecraft to detect and locate distress signals quickly from... read more

Publishing Date: 21/02/2018
GOES-R. Courtesy of NASA

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R), recently launched by NASA, is the first in a sequence of highly advanced geostationary weather satellite to serve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The main goal of this satellite is to generate precise data to be used to create and isue opportune and precise watches, forecasts, and... read more

Publishing Date: 22/11/2016
Image courtesy of NASA by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.

On the 1 September 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration caught this image of Hurricane Hermine reaching Florida.

The storm reached Florida coasts on the 2 of September with winds up to 120 kilometers announced the National Hurricane Center. 

Publishing Date: 03/09/2016
Image courtesy ofNASA by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption and image cropping by Adam Voiland.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) captured a space image of sediments on 17 August 2016 in Lake Pontchartrain, located in the state of Louisiana, United-States. 
Due to the heavy rainfall which affected Louisiana in August 2016, most of the rivers “crested at record-high levels” and some materials coming from Lake Maurepas via Pass Manchac were drained into Lake Pontchartrain. 
Those brown sediments are picked up during the streaming of the rivers... read more
Publishing Date: 23/08/2016
Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory by Joshua Stevens, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE). Caption by Adam Voiland.

On the 16th of August 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) detected smoke and warm surfaces affecting San Bernardino, California. 

 On the 17th, the fire had burned 30,000 acres and forced more than 82,000 people to abandon their houses. 

"In my 40 years of fighting fire, I've never seen fire behavior so extreme," Incident... read more

Publishing Date: 19/08/2016
Map image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory by Joshua Stevens, using IMERG data provided courtesy of the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Science Team's Precipitation Processing System (PPS). Caption by Pola Lem.

The Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for Global Precipitation Measurement (IMERG) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) gathered data on heavy rainfall in the southeast part of the United-States of America.

The downpour affected mostly the north of the Gulf of Mexico with precipitations between 500 and 900 millimeters over the Gulf... read more

Publishing Date: 12/08/2016
Image courtesy of NASA by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.

On the 16th of July 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) caught smoke images from space which are related to a fire on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The red spot on the picture show where the MODIS system detected unusual high temperatures.

The fire was still burning on the 26th of July, according to the National Interagency Fire Fighter.

Publishing Date: 28/07/2016
Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

On the 22nd of July 2016 a fire occurred in southern California, United States. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) acquired some images of the phenomenon during and after the burn.

On July 25th the fire burned more than 33,100 acres displacing people from more than 10,000 homes. Dozens of buildings have been destroyed in the nearby cities of Santa Clarita and San Fernando. The sand fire left a scorch dark mark on the landscape as... read more

Publishing Date: 28/07/2016
Satellite image Erskine Fire. NASA Earth Observatory, image courtesy of Jesse Allen, using VIIRS day-night band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership

A wildfire called Erskine started on 23 June 2016 in California due to an unknown cause. It burnt 18,368 hectares of forest and 250 structures in the southwest of the United-States, causing the death of two people.

The space-based images have been captured by the Suomi NPP satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Thanks to the day-night... read more

Publishing Date: 29/06/2016
Fort McMurray Fires, Alberta, Canada. Image courtesy of NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

A destructive wildfire burned through Canada’s Northern Alberta region, destroying neighborhoods in Fort McMurray and displacing nearly 90,000 people.  The fire began on the 1st of May and the exact cause is still unknown. High temperatures and strong winds pushed it north-east two days later. Despite the work of more than 500 firefighters, by the 8th of May the fire had burnt 1,610 square kilometers of forest. By the 24th, the fire was still not extinguished but it had not grown either.

Thanks to the images captured by Landsat 8 – an Earth Observation satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – some precise and relevant... read more

Publishing Date: 26/05/2016
Argo 10-day ocean observation cycle (Image: Argo).
The Array for Real-time Geostrophic Oceanography (ARGO) is an international collaboration effort that has been established to collect temperature and... read more
Publishing Date: 25/11/2015
Landsat Earth observation images enables knowledge on land and resources (Image: USGS).
In 2008, Landsat Earth observation images became available to all users free of charge. Since then, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) portal has provided roughly 30 million Landsat Earth observation images for users to download. Within the next years, downloads of satellite imagery are expected to increase further. 
Landsat imagery is useful in different fields such as environmental monitoring,... read more
Publishing Date: 18/11/2015


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