13B.1A The NASA–Rio de Janeiro Partnership: Enhancing Rio de Janeiro’s Climate Resilience and Environmental Monitoring

Thursday, 10 January 2019: 10:30 AM
North 122BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Margaret Hurwitz, Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Greenbelt, MD; and D. Kirschbaum and F. Mandarino

In December 2015, NASA’s Earth Science Division and the Rio de Janeiro Mayor’s Office signed a five-year agreement to support innovative efforts to better understand, anticipate, and monitor natural hazards and climate change impacts around the city. Since then, the NASA-Rio de Janeiro partnership has enhanced the city’s environmental monitoring activities by pioneering applications of remote sensing and model-based Earth Observations at the urban scale. Further, the use of NASA Earth Observations is enabling Rio de Janeiro’s regional viewpoint and strengthening its relationships with neighboring cities.

Collaborative NASA-Rio de Janeiro research focuses on natural hazards, environmental monitoring and climate change adaptation. Jointly, Rio de Janeiro and NASA identified the areas of Rio de Janeiro most vulnerable to future sea level rise, by combining local tide gauge measurements, a Lidar survey of city topography, satellite altimetry data from TOPEX/Poseidon and the Jason missions, with CMIP5 climate projections. Similarly, Rio de Janeiro has proposed climate adaptation and heat mitigation plans, using Landsat-based land surface temperature maps that identify Rio de Janeiro’s urban heat island.

Rio de Janeiro is enhancing its resilience to natural hazards, by implementing a custom version of NASA’s Landslide Hazard System for Situational Awareness (LHASA-Rio). The LHASA-Rio system will provide landslide hazard maps at high spatial and temporal resolution, integrating the city’s automatic weather stations and landslide susceptibility maps.

Collaborative work in environmental monitoring is providing an opportunity to test NASA products while meeting the needs of the Rio de Janeiro city government. Landsat-Sentinel maps of water quality indicators such as chlorophyll and total suspended solids are enhancing Rio de Janeiro’s capacity for regional water quality monitoring, as compared with the city’s single in situ monitoring site at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Likewise, joint work with NASA has enhanced Rio de Janeiro’s understanding of regional air quality spatial variability and trends. The NASA-Rio team is comparing air quality measurements of e.g., ozone and NOxat eight ground-based stations around the city with NASA estimates of air pollutants from remote sensing (e.g., OMI NO2) and with output from NASA’s GEOS Chemical Forecast (GEOS-CF) system.

The strong relationship between the NASA and Rio de Janeiro teams, coupled with Rio de Janeiro’s high level of technical capacity and investment in joint projects, have made for a productive partnership. In the next phase of the partnership, Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor’s Office plans to embed the LHASA-Rio into its AlertaRio landslide public alert system, and incorporate NASA products into its operational water quality and air quality monitoring activities.

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