16B.4 Applications of Earth Remote Sensing Data for Severe Weather and Disaster Assessment

Friday, 3 July 2015: 11:15 AM
Salon A-5 (Hilton Chicago)
Andrew L. Molthan, NASA/MSFC, Huntsville, AL; and J. E. Burks, L. A. Schultz, K. Angle, J. P. Camp, K. M. McGrath, and J. R. Bell

Earth remote sensing offers several opportunities for supporting near real-time damage assessments following severe weather and other natural or manmade disasters. For example, moderate resolution imaging of the land surface from instruments like NASA's Terra/Aqua MODIS or Suomi NPP VIIRS allow for identification of damage scars to vegetation, barren fields, and urban areas resulting from tornadoes, with improved spatial resolution available from the Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus, Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager, and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) aboard NASA Terra. Higher spatial resolutions are available over smaller areas from other international and commercial sensors provided in collaboration with the USGS. Mapping of surface vegetation damage is most relevant to identification of tornado and hail damage, however, changes in surface reflectance also provide information about flood extent and retreat. Mapping of areas over time can also provide additional information about recovery. To support the use of Earth remote sensing in disaster response, NASA's Applied Sciences Program has sponsored a research and development project to incorporate imagery within the National Weather Service Damage Assessment Toolkit (DAT), an application suite that allows smartphones and tablets to collect, geolocate, and aggregate various damage indicators that are collected during storm surveys. This presentation will provide an update on applications of Earth remote sensing data for response to severe weather events, including continued development of algorithms to improve the detection of surface damage from severe weather, including hail damage to vegetation that occurs during the growing season. In addition, the presentation will provide an update regarding ongoing collaborations between NASA and NOAA/NWS to prototype use of imagery within the DAT for select offices in NWS Southern and Central Region, reviewing successes and challenges to resolve in streamlining the use of Earth remote sensing imagery in the disaster assessment process.
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