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Applied Sciences

NASA satellites and sensors constantly take the pulse of our planet, measuring how Earth changes by the day, season, year, and decade. Researchers and resource managers analyze those measurements and apply them on local and regional scales to better manage things like our food and water supplies, health, safety, land use, and ecosystems. NASA data is also used by other government agencies to help with responses to natural disasters and emergencies around the country and the world.

A Fiery Month in Zulia
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A Fiery Month in Zulia

After dry weather parched the soil and vegetation, large fires burned in the northwestern Venezuela state.

Published Apr 28, 2020

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Tornado Leaves a Mark on Rural Texas
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Tornado Leaves a Mark on Rural Texas

Powerful thunderstorms moving through eastern Texas and western Louisiana spawned several tornadoes, including some that caused major damage.

Published Apr 27, 2020

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Mapping Moose Populations in Russia
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Mapping Moose Populations in Russia

Researchers using vegetation data to explain moose population dynamics run into a hidden variable and a possible signature of history.

Published Apr 24, 2020

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Tracking Water for the Navajo Nation
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Tracking Water for the Navajo Nation

A new web tool designed by NASA applied scientists could help the tribe anticipate and respond to drought.

Published Apr 16, 2020

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Could Satellites Help Head Off a Locust Invasion?
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Could Satellites Help Head Off a Locust Invasion?

Researchers are using satellite data to understand where locusts may spread during the largest infestation in eastern Africa in decades.

Published Mar 27, 2020

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Satellite Observations Aid Bison Management
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Satellite Observations Aid Bison Management

A new study has found a link between the effects of climate change, the productivity of grasslands, and the proliferation of bison in Yellowstone National Park.

Published Mar 11, 2020

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Habitat at Risk for Snow-Dependent Organisms
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Habitat at Risk for Snow-Dependent Organisms

Some species will be exposed to more cold winter air without the insulating protection of snow cover.

Published Mar 5, 2020

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Reflecting on a Tumultuous Amazon Fire Season
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Reflecting on a Tumultuous Amazon Fire Season

The reality of science, statistics, and satellites is that a deep understanding of the causes, effects, and severity of a fire season takes time.

Published Mar 3, 2020

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Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China
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Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China

NO2 amounts have dropped with the coronavirus quarantine, Chinese New Year, and a related economic slowdown.

Published Feb 28, 2020

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ECOSTRESS Sees Plants Waking Up
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ECOSTRESS Sees Plants Waking Up

An instrument on the International Space Station observed vegetation beginning to stir on summer mornings near Lake Superior.

Published Feb 25, 2020

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Rivers Are Getting Less Icy
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Rivers Are Getting Less Icy

The window of time available to make and use ice roads is closing.

Published Feb 18, 2020

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Drought Hits Thailand
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Drought Hits Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is affecting agriculture and drinking water in the region.

Published Feb 14, 2020

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Climate Change Could Trigger More Landslides in High Mountain Asia
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Climate Change Could Trigger More Landslides in High Mountain Asia

Warming temperatures will likely cause more intense rainfall, leading to increased landslide activity.

Published Feb 11, 2020

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Polar Bears Struggle as Sea Ice Declines
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Polar Bears Struggle as Sea Ice Declines

A new study shows that polar bears are spending less time on sea ice, leading them to fast longer, become thinner and have fewer cubs.

Published Feb 3, 2020

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Patchwork of Corn in the Snow
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Patchwork of Corn in the Snow

In the wake of a potent winter storm in late November in the U.S. Midwest, an unusual pattern turned up in satellite imagery.

Published Dec 6, 2019

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Night Lights Can Disrupt Wildlife
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Night Lights Can Disrupt Wildlife

A new study shows that nocturnal animals are less active when the nights are too bright with electric lighting.

Published Oct 23, 2019

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A Flash Drought Dries the Southeast
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A Flash Drought Dries the Southeast

After a wet spring, a quick-onset drought has parched fields.

Published Oct 22, 2019

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New Map Shows Risk of Sunburn Across the U.S.
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New Map Shows Risk of Sunburn Across the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using NASA data to help the public better understand their UV exposure.

Published Aug 6, 2019

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Water Cycle is Speeding Up Over Much of the U.S.
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Water Cycle is Speeding Up Over Much of the U.S.

Scientists have developed a new way to measure water cycle intensity over time.

Published Jul 25, 2019

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Measuring Movement from the Ridgecrest Quake
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Measuring Movement from the Ridgecrest Quake

Remote sensing scientists are getting better at measuring such events and showing how they disrupt and move the land surface.

Published Jul 23, 2019

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Study Projects Troubles for 1700 Vertebrate Species
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Study Projects Troubles for 1700 Vertebrate Species

Researchers examined how human land use will affect species habitats around the world.

Published Jul 19, 2019

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Green Space is Good for Mental Health
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Green Space is Good for Mental Health

New study uses satellite and demographic data to show how the prolonged presence of green space is important for a healthy society.

Published Jul 15, 2019

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Mapping the Land Between the Tides
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Mapping the Land Between the Tides

Harnessing 30 years of Landsat data, researchers have created the first three-dimensional model of Australia’s entire coastline.

Published Jul 1, 2019

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NASA Helps Warn of Harmful Algae in Lakes, Reservoirs
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NASA Helps Warn of Harmful Algae in Lakes, Reservoirs

With limited resources to monitor often-unpredictable blooms, water managers are turning to new technologies to detect and keep track of hazards.

Published Jun 21, 2019

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The Urbanization of Ulaanbaatar
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The Urbanization of Ulaanbaatar

The Mongolian capital is spreading outward as migrants from the countryside fill neighborhoods on the fringes of the city.

Published Jun 3, 2019

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Food Crisis Grows from Dry Soils
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Food Crisis Grows from Dry Soils

Drought is apparent across much of East Africa after seasonal rains failed to deliver much moisture to the region.

Published May 30, 2019

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Record-Setting Precipitation Leaves U.S. Soils Soggy
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Record-Setting Precipitation Leaves U.S. Soils Soggy

The continental United States recently finished its wettest twelve months in 124 years of modern recordkeeping.

Published May 24, 2019

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Lights Out after Cyclone Fani
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Lights Out after Cyclone Fani

The powerful storm, one of the worst to hit India since 1999, knocked out electricity across the state of Odisha.

Published May 8, 2019

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Tracking Peruvian Forest Loss from Space
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Tracking Peruvian Forest Loss from Space

The Madre de Dios region has a rich concentration of endemic species, but their habitats are being threatened by human activity.

Published Apr 18, 2019

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Sizing Up the Carbon Footprint of Cities
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Sizing Up the Carbon Footprint of Cities

Large and wealthy cities have the biggest carbon footprints.

Published Apr 10, 2019

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A Bloom after the Storm
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A Bloom after the Storm

Tropical cyclone Veronica appears to have stirred up swirls of phytoplankton.

Published Apr 3, 2019

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Understanding Evacuation Patterns with Social Media
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Understanding Evacuation Patterns with Social Media

Researchers are using Facebook data to observe population movements during disasters.

Published Mar 28, 2019

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Drought Harms Corn Crops in Southern Africa
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Drought Harms Corn Crops in Southern Africa

Dry conditions are bringing food insecurity to several countries.

Published Mar 20, 2019

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A Honking, Fluttering Spectacle
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A Honking, Fluttering Spectacle

Flooded rice fields in the winter help farmers soften plant stubble for spring tilling. They also provide an oasis for migratory birds.

Published Mar 15, 2019

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Satellites Find Greener Pastures
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Satellites Find Greener Pastures

Brazilian researchers are using satellites to calculate how many cattle can be supported by the country's pasturelands.

Published Mar 11, 2019

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Unstable Precipitation Leads to Unstable Pastures
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Unstable Precipitation Leads to Unstable Pastures

Fluctuations in rainfall are reducing the ability to sustain cattle on grazing lands.

Published Feb 21, 2019

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Night Lights Show Slow Recovery from Maria
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Night Lights Show Slow Recovery from Maria

The hurricane took a disproportionate toll on power supplies in remote areas of Puerto Rico.

Published Dec 12, 2018

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The Seasonal Rhythms of Ammonia
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The Seasonal Rhythms of Ammonia

Farms and feedlots are a key source of the pollutant.

Published Dec 7, 2018

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Looking to RECOVER After the Fire
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Looking to RECOVER After the Fire

A NASA project is providing maps of satellite data to emergency response teams during the Woolsey Fire.

Published Nov 16, 2018

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Which Way Will the Smoke Go?
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Which Way Will the Smoke Go?

A new experimental model that relies on data from NOAA and NASA satellites has proven remarkably good at simulating the behavior of wildfire smoke.

Published Nov 6, 2018

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Watching Out for Whales
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Watching Out for Whales

Environmental variables detected by satellites can help reduce collisions between ships and blue whales.

Published Nov 1, 2018

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Monitoring Outflow and Algae
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Monitoring Outflow and Algae

A NASA team was able to use satellite imagery to observe effects of a repair of Los Angeles' largest wastewater treatment plant.

Published Oct 30, 2018

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Smart Phones Bring Smart Irrigation
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Smart Phones Bring Smart Irrigation

A project using NASA satellite data helps reduce overwatering and enhances crop yields for Pakistani farmers.

Published Oct 18, 2018

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Early Warnings for Crop Failures
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Early Warnings for Crop Failures

The GEOGLAM Crop Monitor for Early Warning provides science-driven alerts for countries that may be in danger of low crop yields.

Published Oct 5, 2018

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Remotely Sensing Crop Prices
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Remotely Sensing Crop Prices

Economists are using satellite data to help make more accurate price predictions of important crops.

Published Sep 20, 2018

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Taking Stock of the World’s Sandy Beaches
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Taking Stock of the World’s Sandy Beaches

Sandy beaches are growing in some parts of the world and shrinking quickly in others, including one-third of marine protected areas.

Published Aug 1, 2018

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Where to Place a Rainwater Harvesting System
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Where to Place a Rainwater Harvesting System

Water shortages in the Middle East lead to sanitation issues in schools, resulting in periodic school closures. NASA is working to change that.

Published Jul 26, 2018

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Fizzy Tropical Rivers
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Fizzy Tropical Rivers

Long overlooked, it is increasingly clear that streams and rivers play a key role in the carbon cycle.

Published Jul 19, 2018

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The Water is Wider
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The Water is Wider

A new map of the world’s rivers and their widths shows that surface waterways are collectively wider and cover more area than previously thought.

Published Jul 17, 2018

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Satellites Investigate Irrigation in a Stressed Aquifer
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Satellites Investigate Irrigation in a Stressed Aquifer

Using Landsat to track patterns in irrigation may help water managers sketch out a more sustainable future for the Ogallala Aquifer in the central United States.

Published Jul 9, 2018

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NASA Soil Moisture Data Advances Global Crop Forecasts
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NASA Soil Moisture Data Advances Global Crop Forecasts

The amount of water contained in the top few centimeters of soil is small on a global scale, but it is critical for agriculture analysts trying to monitor commodity production and humanitarian need.

Published Jun 1, 2018

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Mapping Modern Threats to Ancient Chacoan Sites
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Mapping Modern Threats to Ancient Chacoan Sites

Risk maps can help land managers make more informed decisions about modern development in the vicinity of an ancient civilization.

Published May 31, 2018

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Probing Kilauea’s Plume
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Probing Kilauea’s Plume

Volcanic plumes can pose health hazards and offer clues about a volcano’s geology.

Published May 15, 2018

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Sulfur Dioxide Leaks from Kilauea
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Sulfur Dioxide Leaks from Kilauea

The eruption at one of Hawaii’s most active volcanoes has taken a turn for the worse.

Published May 8, 2018

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Cape Town’s Water is Running Out
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Cape Town’s Water is Running Out

A multi-year drought, a growing population, and management choices have put the city’s water supply in a precarious position.

Published Jan 29, 2018

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Using Scientific Muscle to Grow Safer Mussels
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Using Scientific Muscle to Grow Safer Mussels

Satellites can help inform predictions of harmful algae blooms off California.

Published Jan 17, 2018

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Bacteria Thrive as Ocean Warms
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Bacteria Thrive as Ocean Warms

Increasing numbers of Vibrio infections could be a direct consequence of dramatic ocean warming over the past few decades.

Published Jan 16, 2018

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Satellite Tracks Ozone Pollution by Monitoring Its Key Ingredients
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Satellite Tracks Ozone Pollution by Monitoring Its Key Ingredients

Understanding the chemical precursors of ground-level ozone may make it easier to prevent the pollutant from building up in the lower atmosphere.

Published Nov 6, 2017

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Erosion After the Fire
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Erosion After the Fire

Hillslope-scale erosion maps helped response teams decide how and where to focus recovery efforts following the Soberanes fire in California.

Published Aug 18, 2017

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Using Satellites to Assess a Reed Invasion
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Using Satellites to Assess a Reed Invasion

Aggressive phragmites can threaten native salt marsh vegetation.

Published Aug 2, 2017

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Using Satellites to Spot a Hail Scar
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Using Satellites to Spot a Hail Scar

Hail pummeled a long stretch of crops in South Dakota in June.

Published Jul 19, 2017

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Night Lights Change in the Middle East
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Night Lights Change in the Middle East

Changing patterns of nighttime lights are of great interest to demographers, engineers, and humanitarian relief organizations.

Published May 16, 2017

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Night Light Maps Open Up New Applications
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Night Light Maps Open Up New Applications

By removing natural and stray light sources, researchers get a clearer picture of the human footprint on Earth.

Published Apr 13, 2017

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Finding Fires in Peru
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Finding Fires in Peru

Peru’s intense fire season in 2016 saw burning extend into 11 of the country’s protected areas.

Published Feb 10, 2017

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Cleaning Up Cookstoves
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Cleaning Up Cookstoves

A new study suggests that health and climate benefits may come from unexpected parts of the world.

Published Feb 9, 2017

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Mapping a Tenacious Invader in Lake Thurmond
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Mapping a Tenacious Invader in Lake Thurmond

New maps could help managers control an invasive aquatic plant in the southeastern United States.

Published Jan 4, 2017

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Sap-sucking Bugs Threaten Hemlock Forests
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Sap-sucking Bugs Threaten Hemlock Forests

Tiny adelgids are killing off hemlock trees in the eastern United States.

Published Nov 15, 2016

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Puerto Rico Goes Dark
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Puerto Rico Goes Dark

A power plant fire left much of the island without electricity.

Published Sep 23, 2016

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Going High-Tech for Fire Detection
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Going High-Tech for Fire Detection

The Firecast project aims to bring current satellite data to fire managers as they manage forests in tropical nations. The hope is to improve the monitoring of wildfires and deforestation.

Published Aug 9, 2016

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Automating the Detection of Landslides
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Automating the Detection of Landslides

New open-source software called SLIP-DRIP uses satellite images and rainfall data to help identify otherwise overlooked landslides.

Published Jul 8, 2016

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A Clearer View of Fire
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A Clearer View of Fire

Scientists hope that higher-resolution data from VIIRS will lessen the pressure on firefighters.

Published Dec 8, 2015

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A Satellite View of River Width
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A Satellite View of River Width

As they prepare for a satellite that will measure the height and areal extent of rivers in unprecedented detail, hydrologists have released a better map of North American river widths.

Published Jul 9, 2015

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Exploring Reefs from Space
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Exploring Reefs from Space

An image of Fiji’s coast shows how modern satellites can help study underwater corals even in the most remote regions.

Published Jul 4, 2015

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Scientist-Volunteers Map Landslides from Nepal Quakes
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Scientist-Volunteers Map Landslides from Nepal Quakes

A multinational team is trying to map landslide hazards in Nepal before the summer monsoon adds to the region’s misery.

Published Jun 4, 2015

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Satellites Spot Fields Idled by Drought
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Satellites Spot Fields Idled by Drought

Analysis of Landsat and MODIS data showed where agricultural production was affected by long-term drought in California.

Published Jan 30, 2015

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Put a Lid on It
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Put a Lid on It

Devices that limit NOx emissions from electric power plants have helped clear the air over the United States.

Published Jun 27, 2014

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Sulfur Dioxide Increasing Over India
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Sulfur Dioxide Increasing Over India

A new analysis of data from the Aura satellite shows greater concentrations of this atmospheric pollutant.

Published Dec 20, 2013

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ISERV observes flooding in Calgary
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ISERV observes flooding in Calgary

A camera system on the International Space Station observed the high water and muddy aftermath in southern Alberta, Canada.

Published Jun 29, 2013

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Water Storage Maps Show Improvement
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Water Storage Maps Show Improvement

At the surface, moisture is more abundant than in 2012. But time will tell if it seeps down to restore aquifers parched by drought.

Published Jun 18, 2013

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New ISS Eyes See Rio San Pablo
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New ISS Eyes See Rio San Pablo

ISERV Pathfinder camera system may eventually provide needed Earth observations to developing countries.

Published Mar 3, 2013

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Signs of the U.S. Drought Are Underground
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Signs of the U.S. Drought Are Underground

The GRACE satellites can detect the movement and depletion of water supplies at and below Earth’s surface.

Published Sep 20, 2012

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Tiny Shrimp, Big Changes
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Tiny Shrimp, Big Changes

Aquaculture along the coast of the Gulf of Fonseca shows the delicate balance between coastal development and conservation.

Published Jun 15, 2012

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Oil Slick Around Mississippi Barrier Islands
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Oil Slick Around Mississippi Barrier Islands

On June 26, 2010, oil was visible in the waters surrounding Horn and Petit Bois Islands following the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Published Jun 29, 2010

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Human Ecosystems
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Human Ecosystems

This global map shows Earth’s anthropogenic biomes—ecological patterns caused or influenced by human activity.

Published Oct 2, 2009

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Crop Recovery in Afghanistan
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Crop Recovery in Afghanistan

A vegetation index image shows areas of above-average crop growth in northern Afghanistan, following beneficial rains in March and April 2009.

Published Jun 12, 2009

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Subsidence in New Orleans
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Subsidence in New Orleans

In the three-year period prior to Hurricane Katrina, the city subsided 8 millimeters per year relative to global mean sea level.

Published Jun 3, 2006

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