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USGS - science for a changing world

Land Remote Sensing Program

The USGS is fostering the use of land remote sensing technology to meet local, national, and global challenges.

Olympic Skiing and Land ChangeTheewaterskloof Reservoir, South AfricaOil Fires in IraqUpdate on Pine Island GlacierSouthern California Wildfires UpdateSouthern California Wildfires, December 2017New Rift on Greenland\Isle de Jean Charles, LouisianaThe Belo Monte Dam Complex, BrazilWildfires Devastate California Wine Country
Olympic Skiing and Land Change
Images from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) onboard NASA’s Terra satellite show how one area in South Korea transformed from mountainous forest to a world-class downhill skiing venue to get ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Theewaterskloof Reservoir, South Africa
A three-year drought is threatening to cause city officials in Cape Town, South Africa, to shut off the tap water.
Oil Fires in Iraq
Over the past few years, black smoke has been seen in satellite images billowing from various locations in Iraq.
Update on Pine Island Glacier
A massive iceberg broke off Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica, in September 2017.
Southern California Wildfires Update
Santa Ana winds rapidly spread wildfires through shrubland, tall grasses, and brush in southern California in December 2017.
Southern California Wildfires, December 2017
Santa Ana winds rapidly spread wildfires through chaparral shrubland, tall grasses, and brush in southern California in December 2017.
New Rift on Greenland's Petermann Glacier
A new rift has been forming on Petermann Glacier, Greenland, throughout 2017.
Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana
Is Louisiana falling into the sea, or is the sea inundating Louisiana? It's actually a bit of both.
The Belo Monte Dam Complex, Brazil
In northern Brazil, the Belo Monte Dam complex on the Xingu River, a major tributary of the Amazon, has changed the course of the river and surrounding landscape.
Wildfires Devastate California Wine Country
Residents had little warning when wildfires that ignited late Sunday night, October 8, 2017, were fanned by wind gusts of 50 miles per hour and blasted across California's wine country.
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Remote Sensing Highlights

2018 William T. Pecora Award: Nominations being accepted through June 15, 2018

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. Nominations for the 2018 award must be received by June 15, 2018.

Dr. Darrel Williams and International Charter for Space and Major Disasters Team receive 2017 Pecora Awards

Dr. Darrel Williams, individual award, and International Charter for Space and Major Disasters Team, group award, were announced as the recipients of the award.

Visit the Highlights Archive for information highlighted here in the past.

Featured Science

Multiple Satellite Eyes to Track Algal Threat to U.S. Freshwater
Algal Blooms

Landsat 8 is demonstrating promising new capabilities for water quality assessment. Satellite-based instruments allow for more frequent observations over broader areas than physical water sampling. Four federal agencies—NASA, NOAA, EPA, and USGS—are joining forces to develop an early warning system for toxic and nuisance algal blooms. Through this project, satellite data on harmful algal blooms will be converted to a format that stakeholders can use through mobile devices and web portals. This will improve detection of these blooms and help researchers better understand the conditions under which they occur.

Landsat Data aids in Study: U.S. Eastern Ecosystems Helps Counter Greenhouse Gas Emissions Contributing to Climate Change
Eastern Ecosystems Helps Counter Greenhouse Gas Emissions

USGS scientists used Landsat data to determine that forests, wetlands and farms in the eastern U.S. naturally store 300 million tons of carbon a year, which is nearly 15 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions EPA estimates the country emits each year or an amount that exceeds and offsets yearly U.S. car emissions. In conjunction with the national assessment, USGS has a LandCarbon site which allows users to see the land and water carbon storage and change in their ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states. Biological carbon storage - also known as carbon sequestration - is the process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in vegetation, soils and sediment. The USGS estimates the ability of different ecosystems to store carbon now and in the future, providing vital information for land-use and land-management decisions. Management of carbon stored in our ecosystems and agricultural areas is relevant both for mitigation of climate change and for adaptation to such changes.

Visit the Featured Science Archive for information highlighted here in the past.

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Page Last Modified: March 05, 2018