Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shuttle Radar Clears The Air On Central America's Topography

Date:
October 23, 2002
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Underscoring how space technology can help us to better understand and protect our home planet, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has completed the first comprehensive high-resolution topographic map of Central America, a region where persistent cloud cover had made high-quality satellite imagery difficult to obtain.

Underscoring how space technology can help us to better understand and protect our home planet, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has completed the first comprehensive high-resolution topographic map of Central America, a region where persistent cloud cover had made high-quality satellite imagery difficult to obtain.

A mosaic image created from the map, which was collected during the 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, is available on the JPL Planetary Photojournal at:

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA03364 .

The image depicts all of Central America-Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama-plus southern Mexico and portions of Cuba and Jamaica. Home to 37 million people, Central America comprises just one-half percent of Earth's land mass, yet houses seven percent of Earth's animal species.

The dominant topographic feature of northern Central America is the Sierra Madre Range, spreading east from Mexico between the narrow Pacific coastal plain and the limestone lowland of the Yucatan Peninsula. Parallel hill ranges sweep across Honduras and extend south, past the Caribbean Mosquito Coast to lakes Managua and Nicaragua. The Cordillera Central Mountains rise to the south, gradually descending to Lake Gatun and the Isthmus of Panama. A highly active volcanic belt runs along the Pacific seaboard from Mexico to Costa Rica.

"Central America is a unique geographic region dominated by rugged mountains, heavy vegetation and influenced by two major oceans," said Dr. Michael Kobrick, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission project scientist at JPL. "Its proximity to Earth's equator and the Pacific and Caribbean results in frequent cloud cover, which makes traditional satellite imagery difficult. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission's synthetic aperture imaging radar was able to penetrate that cloud cover, allowing the region to be mapped more precisely than ever before. Residents of Central America stand to benefit greatly from this more precise digital elevation data, which can help them better prepare for natural hazards such as landslides and floods, improve aviation safety through a better understanding of mountainous terrain, and increase the efficiency of critical infrastructure developments such as roads, reservoirs, aqueducts and communications."

Two visualization methods were combined to produce the image: shading and color coding of topographic height. The shade image was derived by computing topographic slope in the north-south direction. Color-coding is directly related to topographic height, with green at the lower elevations, rising through yellow, red and magenta, to white at the highest elevations.

NASA is processing mission data for research purposes in response to requests from NASA principal investigators and other qualified scientists. NASA expects to release the Central America data for broad public access in 2003.

The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, flown from Feb. 11 to Feb. 22, 2000, made 3-D measurements of the more than 80 percent of Earth's landmass between 60 degrees north and 56 degrees south of the equator, areas home to nearly 95 percent of the world's population. The mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by JPL for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, D.C.

For more information on the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, visit:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/.

The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Shuttle Radar Clears The Air On Central America's Topography." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021023070027.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2002, October 23). Shuttle Radar Clears The Air On Central America's Topography. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021023070027.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Shuttle Radar Clears The Air On Central America's Topography." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021023070027.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — The alert warning for the area surrounding Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was kept at orange on Tuesday, indicating increased unrest with greater potential for an eruption. Smoke is spewing from the volcano, and lava is spouting nearby. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins