NASA's Science Resources Help Agencies Respond to Katrina
NASA science instruments and Earth-orbiting satellites are
providing detailed insight about the environmental impact
caused by Hurricane Katrina. Images and data are helping
characterize the extent of flooding; damage to homes, businesses
and infrastructure; and potential hazards caused by the storm
and its aftermath.
NASA's partner agencies in this endeavor include the U.S. Geological
Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the Environmental
Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Image right: This image of Louisiana was acquired August 30, 2005, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer on NASA's Terra spacecraft soon after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. The data strip covers Baton Rouge, Louisiana (the city area on the middle left) and the Mississippi River. The western edge of Lake Maurepas can be seen on the on the right in the browse image. This image is typical of the type of data that will be delivered to various agencies by the U.S. Geological Survey in support of the hurricane recovery efforts. Over the next several weeks, the instrument will continue to acquire data throughout the Gulf Coast. + Browse version of image
NASA, along with academic institutions and partner agencies, is
working to ensure the Department of Homeland Security and the
Federal Emergency Management Agency have the best available
information to aid in responding to this catastrophic event.
Coordinated assistance by numerous academic institutions and laboratories
working under NASA grants will be employed by the Gulf Coast relief and
recovery efforts to provide geospatial information useful to first
responders and decision makers.
NASA aircraft are providing detailed observations of the disaster area.
The aircraft are taking high-resolution observations that can be used to
assess the amount of damage to communities and the environment. For
example, at the request of the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation
with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers,
NASA's Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Light Detection and Ranging
system is surveying the gulf coastline.
This system, carried on a Cessna 310, surveyed the northern gulf coastline on
Thursday. Tomorrow the aircraft is scheduled to fly over the perimeter and
surrounding levee around New Orleans to assist in damage assessment of the system.
While making its observations of the land, the system has the ability to "see"
through vegetation, like trees and shrubs, to view the land underneath. Near
the coast it can map the beach surface under water. This will help in the recovery
of the shoreline infrastructure; determine hazard areas and environmental loss.
The Terra, Aqua and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellites have already
provided Earth observations for land cover and rainfall. Terra's Advanced Spaceborne
Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer is providing data on the magnitude and extent
of damage and flooding to the U.S. Geological Survey Emergency Response Team through its
Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. JPL is responsible
for the American side of the joint U.S.-Japan science team that is validating and
calibrating that instrument and its data products.?
NASA's?Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument on the Terra and
Aqua satellites provided images of flooding, including pre- and post-disaster comparisons.
Data from NASA's QuikScat satellite, developed and managed by JPL, was one source of wind
observations used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?s Hurricane
Research Division to analyze the wind field of the storm and to track its path.
Another NASA satellite in use is the Earth Observing Mission 1. The Advanced Land Imagery
multispectral instrument on this satellite provided land use and land cover observations
useful in determining hurricane damage areas and in aiding in recovery, response and mitigation.
NASA satellites are used to improve weather predictions and to study climate and natural
hazards. The knowledge gained during these missions aids assessment and recovery operations.
For satellite images and additional information on the Web, visit:
For information about the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer
and QuikScat spacecraft on the Web, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Alan Buis (818) 354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Dolores Beasley/Erica Hupp (202) 358-1753/1237
NASA Headquarters, Washington