NASA science instruments and Earth-orbiting satellites are providingdetailed insight about the environmental impact caused by HurricaneKatrina. Images and data are helping characterize the extent offlooding; damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure; and potentialhazards caused by the storm and its aftermath.
NASA, along with academic institutions and partner agencies, isworking to ensure the Department of Homeland Security and the FederalEmergency Management Agency have the best available information to aidin responding to this catastrophic event.
NASA's partner agencies in this endeavor include the U.S. GeologicalSurvey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, theNational Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the Environmental ProtectionAgency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Coordinated assistance by numerous academic institutions andlaboratories working under NASA grants will be employed by the GulfCoast relief and recovery efforts to provide geospatial informationuseful to first responders and decision makers.
NASA aircraft are providing detailed observations of the disasterarea. The aircraft are taking high-resolution observations that can beused to assess the amount of damage to communities and the environment.For example, at the request of the U.S. Geological Survey incooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the ArmyCorps of Engineers, NASA's Experimental Advanced Airborne ResearchLight Detection and Ranging system is surveying the gulf coastline.
This system, carried on a Cessna 310, surveyed the northern gulfcoastline on Thursday. Tomorrow the aircraft is scheduled to fly overthe perimeter and surrounding levee around New Orleans to assist indamage assessment of the system.
While making its observations of the land, the system has theability to "see" through vegetation, like trees and shrubs, to view theland underneath. Near the coast it can map the beach surface underwater. This will help in the recovery of the shoreline infrastructure;determine hazard areas and environmental loss.
The Terra, Aqua and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satelliteshave already provided Earth observations for land cover and rainfall.Terra's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometeris providing data on the magnitude and extent of damage and flooding tothe U.S. Geological Survey Emergency Response Team through its EarthResources Observation Systems Data Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. JPL isresponsible for the American side of the joint U.S.-Japan science teamthat is validating and calibrating that instrument and its dataproducts.
NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument onthe Terra and Aqua satellites provided images of flooding, includingpre- and post-disaster comparisons. Data from NASA's QuikScatsatellite, developed and managed by JPL, was one source of windobservations used by the National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration’s Hurricane Research Division to analyze the wind fieldof the storm and to track its path.
Another NASA satellite in use is the Earth Observing Mission 1. TheAdvanced Land Imagery multispectral instrument on this satelliteprovided land use and land cover observations useful in determininghurricane damage areas and in aiding in recovery, response andmitigation.
NASA satellites are used to improve weather predictions and to studyclimate and natural hazards. The knowledge gained during these missionsaids assessment and recovery operations.
For satellite images and additional information on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/hurricane ; and http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/katrina2005/wind.html .
For information about the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission andReflection Radiometer and QuikScat spacecraft on the Web, visit: http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/index.asp ; and http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/quikscat/index.cfm .
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/home .
JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
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