NASA has unveiled a new Web site in which it publishes satellite images in near real time over natural hazards around the world. A new addition to NASA's Earth Observatory (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/), the Natural Hazards section contains images and information about major environmental events that are potentially hazardous to human populations.
Initially, the Earth Observatory team will track five categories of natural hazards: wildfires, severe storms, floods, volcanic eruptions, and major air pollution events (dust storms, smog, and smoke). The images—acquired by NASA Earth Science Enterprise and Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite missions—are freely available to the public as well as news media.
"We are pleased to be able to share these spectacular new images with the world in a timely manner," said Michael King, EOS senior project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "We are often able to publish these images within a matter of hours after they are acquired by the satellite sensors."
"We believe the combination of high quality and moderate to high resolution of the scenes we publish demonstrates the significant technological advancements NASA has made in the design of satellite remote sensors," King continued. "We hope the public finds the images informative as well as useful for educational purposes."
Earth scientists around the world use NASA satellite imagery to better understand the causes and effects of natural hazards. The goal in sharing these new images in the Earth Observatory is to help people visualize where and when natural hazards occur, and to possibly help mitigate their effects.
The site is cosponsored by the Solid Earth and Natural Hazards Program and will include representation of both climate/weather induced hazards such as floods and wildfires and hazards driven by solid earth processes such as volcanoes and earthquakes.
There are plans to expand the section's scope to include other types of natural hazards information, such as earthquakes, coastal erosion, and landslides. The Earth Observatory is managed by the EOS Project Science Office, and funded by NASA's Earth Science Enterprise.
The Earth Science Enterprise is a long-term research program dedicated to understanding how human-induced and natural changes affect our global environment.
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