Research and Application News
When waters rise: NASA improves flood safety
20 March 2014
Flooding is the most frequent and widespread weather-related natural disaster, taking a huge toll in lives and property each year. NASA Earth-observing satellites and airborne missions provide vital information to emergency planners, relief organisations and weather forecasters, helping to improve flood monitoring and forecasting, as well as providing a more comprehensive understanding of one of Mother Nature's most damaging hazards.
NASA's Earth-observing satellites provide detailed images of flood-affected areas, which are vital for mapping flood extent. For instance, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites monitor a broad area of our planet, providing visible-light imagery, infrared information and other types of data on a daily basis to scientists and emergency managers. The Landsat satellites in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey provide even higher-resolution imagery, which can be used to map Earth's land surfaces before and after disasters. Landsat serves as an essential tool for assessing flood risk and mapping the extent of damage for post-disaster recovery. Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) is an advanced land-imaging mission that includes three advanced land imaging instruments and five revolutionary cross cutting spacecraft technologies.