5.4 NASA Earth Science Disasters Program Response Activities During Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 11:15 AM
Ballroom D (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Jordan R. Bell, Univ. of Alabama—Huntsville, Huntsville, AL; and L. A. Schultz, A. L. Molthan, D. B. Kirschbaum, M. Román, S. H. Yun, F. J. Meyer, K. A. Hogenson, R. Gens, H. M. Goodman, S. Owen, R. Amini, Y. Lou, M. Glasscoe, D. S. Green, J. J. Murray, J. C. Struve, J. Seepersad, and V. Thompson

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season included a series of major hurricanes that impacted the Gulf Coast of the United States, and the Caribbean breaking a 12-year drought of major hurricane landfalls in the mainland United States (Harvey and Irma), with additional extensive impacts from the combination of Irma and Maria felt in the Caribbean. These storms caused widespread devastation across Caribbean islands, U.S. territories, and impacted states resulting in a significant need to support federal partners in response to these destructive weather events.

The NASA Earth Science Disasters Program provided support to federal partners including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Guard Bureau (NGB) by leveraging remote sensing and other scientific expertise through the NASA Centers, principal investigator-led research activities, and partners in academia throughout the country. The NASA Earth Science Disaster Program leveraged NASA mission products from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission to monitor cyclone intensity, assist with cyclone center tracking, and quantifying precipitation. Multispectral imagery from the NASA-NOAA Suomi-National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (NPP) mission and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day-Night Band proved useful for monitoring power outages and recovery. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites operated by the European Space Agency were used to create flood inundation maps as well as damage assessment maps that were useful for FEMA’s flood and damage density mapping.

Using additional datasets made available through the USGS Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS) and the activation of the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters, the NASA Earth Science Disasters Program was able to create additional derived flood products from both optical and radar remote sensing platforms, including products, along with PI-led efforts to derive products from other international partner assets such as the Italian Space Agency’s Constellation of Small Satellites for the Mediterranean Basin Observation (COSMO)-SkyMed system.

Given the significant flooding impacts from Harvey in the Houston area, NASA provided airborne L-band collections from the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) system which provided daily monitoring capable of capturing the evolution of record flooding, helping to guide response and mitigation decisions for critical infrastructure and public safety. We will provide an overview of the response activities and data products provided by the NASA Earth Science Disasters program, partnerships with federal end-users and the International Charter, and preliminary feedback from end-user partners during response efforts following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

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