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Eyes on Earth is a podcast on remote sensing, Earth observation, land change and science, brought to you by the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. 

Click here to subscribe to Eyes on Earth though our RSS feed. You can also find us on Google Podcasts.

Click here to download every episode.

Eyes on Earth Episode 73 – Global Water Use

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Color photos of Savanah Cooley with the logo for the USGS EROS podcast "Eyes on Earth"
Savanah Cooley

Summary: Some plants are simply better at making use of their water supply than others. More efficient plants can capture more carbon with less water, which has implications for carbon sequestration and ultimately for climate change modeling. In other words, the more we understand about water use efficiency, the more reliable our climate change models can be. And the only way to measure efficiency at the global scale is from space. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear from a scientist who studied global water use using a sensor called ECOSTRESS, whose data are housed at the USGS EROS Center, in NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).

Guests: Savannah Cooley, Applied Science Systems Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: May 2, 2022

More on ECOSTRESS and Global Water Use:

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 72 – Northward Shift of the Boreal Forest

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Color photo of Logan Berner with the logo for the USGS EROS podcast "Eyes On Earth"
Logan Berner

Summary: The boreal forest, or taiga, stretches across nearly 5.7 million square miles in the northern latitudes. That’s nearly a quarter of all forested lands in the world. This sprawling biome also happens to be one of the most rapidly shifting in the face of climate change. Many studies have suggested that the taiga tree line is moving northward as temperatures warm worldwide, edging itself into the colder tundra. On this episode of Eyes On Earth, we hear from Professor Logan Berner, part of team at Northern Arizona University’s Global Earth Observation and Dynamics of Ecosystems (GEODE) Lab that used USGS Landsat satellite data to track and quantify the northward shift of the boreal tree line.

Guests: Logan Berner, assistant research professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS), Northern Arizona University

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: April 18, 2022

More on Landsat and the Boreal Forest

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 71 – Blue Oak Forests of California

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Color image of Francis Dwomoh with the graphic for the USGS EROS podcast "Eyes on Earth"
Francis Dwomoh

Summary: In this episode of Eyes on Earth, we zero in on the use of USGS Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) products to examine the effects of drought on California’s Blue Oaks. LCMAP datasets are built from Landsat data and reveal the land cover and change of every pixel in the conterminous United States, dating back to 1985. In this case, LCMAP helped identify areas of declines and losses of the Blue Oak trees that are native to California and found in the foothills surrounding the central valley and along the coast.

Guests: Francis Dwomoh, contractor and landscape ecologist, USGS EROS Center

Host: Jane Lawson

Producer: John Hult

Release date: April 4, 2022

More on LCMAP and Blue Oak Forests:

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 70 – Aquatic Ecosystems and ECOSTRESS

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Color image of Cassie Nickles, Shruti Khanna and Becca Gustine with the graphic for the USGS EROS podcast "Eyes on Earth"
From top, Cassie Nickles, Shruti Khanna and Becca Gustine

Summary: The Earth observation data archived here have plenty of value to the study of aquatic ecosystems. Landsat satellites can capture harmful algal blooms, for example. Spaceborne sensors can also record land surface temperatures, and that includes water surfaces. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear about how a sensor called ECOSTRESS can be used to measure water temperatures at different times of day, and how those measurements could be useful in the monitoring and management of the endangered Delta smelt. ECOSTRESS data are available through the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), located in the USGS EROS Center.

Guests: Rebecca Gustine, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Cassandra Nickles, NASA JPL, Shruti Khanna, California Department of Water Resources

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: March 21, 2022

More on aquatic ecosystems and ECOSTRESS :

Eyes on Earth Episode 63 - ECOSTRESS and Post-Fire Recovery

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 69 – Thirty Years of Land Change in the U.S.

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color photo of Roger Auch with the graphic for the USGS EROS podcast Eyes on Earth
Roger Auch

Summary: Land change is a constant. Even land areas that see little major change can see disruptions from storms, heat waves, wildfires, or invasive species. But major changes aren't uncommon, either. Each year in the U.S., farm fields become tracts of suburban homes, wetlands become more permanent bodies of water, and shrublands burn to be replaced with grasslands. A team of researchers with the USGS Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection initiative (LCMAP) recently released a study documenting land cover class change from 1985-2016. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we talk to the study’s lead author about what they learned about land change, and about how land change ties in to policy, economic trends, weather patterns and more.

Guest: Roger Auch, Research Physical Geographer, USGS EROS Center

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: March 7, 2022

More on LCMAP and land change:

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 68 – Tracking Mangroves by Satellite

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color photo of Lola Fatoyinbo with the graphic for the USGS EROS podcast "Eyes on Earth"
Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo

Summary: The sturdy root systems of mangrove forests act as buffer zones along the coastlines of some of the planet’s most vulnerable communities, protecting lives, ecosystems and property from the rigors of hurricanes and tsunamis. The dual stressors of climate change and man-made changes to the environment such as offshore aquaculture have damaged these critical buffer zones in recent years. Remote sensing scientists are using satellite data to understand the impact those changes will have on the communities they protect as temperatures continue to warm worldwide and extreme weather events become more frequent. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we talk to one of those scientists.

Guest: Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh, Research Physical Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: February 21, 2022

More on remote sensing, mangroves and gold mining:

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 67 – ECOSTRESS and Water Use

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color photo of Kerry Cawse-Nicholson with the logo for the USGS EROS podcast Eyes on Earth
Dr. Kerry Cawse-Nicholson

Summary: If you want to know how much rain fell yesterday, you can catch it and measure it. Water vapor? That's not so easy. Which is a problem if you want to know how quickly that rate is returning to the atmosphere. Water vapor is the single largest part of the water budget, but without space-based observations, it would be all but impossible to measure at wide scale. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we learn how a sensor called ECOSTRESS helps improve the space-based measurement of evapotranspiration, or ET, which is the combined rate of evaporation from the Earth's surface and transpiration from plants.

Guest: Dr. Kerry Cawse-Nicholson, deputy science lead for ECOSTRESS at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: February 7, 2022

More on ECOSTRESS and ET:

Eyes on Earth Episode 63 - ECOSTRESS and Post-Fire Recovery

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 66 – Exotic Annual Grasses

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Color thumbnail for Eyes on Earth Episode 66 - Mapping Exotic Annual Grasses
From top, USGS EROS scientist Stephen Boyte, USGS EROS contractor Devendra Dahal, USDA Forest Service ecologist Matt Reeves

Summary: The rangelands of the western United States are changing more quickly than many other parts of the lower 48. Miles upon miles of the area or semi-arid landscapes in states like Idaho, Montana and Nevada are now carpeted by fire fueling invasive grasses. Cheatgrass is the most prevalent, which is troublesome for several reasons. First off, it greens up and browns down really quickly, leaving a layer of tinder-like vegetation. In many areas, it fills in the formerly barren spaces between thicker bunchgrasses and sagebrush, which in turn helps fires move rapidly from fuel source to fuel source. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear from the USGS EROS teams who use satellite data to map exotic annual grasses and a researcher who uses those maps to create monthly grass abundance estimates for firefighters and land managers.

Guests: Stephen Boyte, USGS EROS research physical scientist, Devendra Dahal, USGS EROS contractor, Matt Reeves, USDA Forest Service ecologist

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: January 24, 2022

More on Exotic Annual Grasses:

Eyes on Earth Episode 65 – Rapid Fire Mapping with Remote Sensing

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color thumbnail for Eyes on Earth Episode 65 - Rapid Fire Mapping with Remote Sensing
Pictured, from top: Andre Coleman, Rick Stratton, and Lee Miller.

Summary: Satellites like Landsat are valuable for mapping fire perimeters and for monitoring trends in burn severity or in post-fire recovery. Satellites can cover wide areas with a single pass, whereas helicopter, drone, or airplane fire line mapping can take hours. But civilian satellites with moderate resolution typically don't get imagery for the entire planet every day, and every day counts when large fires rage. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we talk through a tool called RADR-Fire built to pull data from a wide variety of sources to map disaster impacts on a day-by-day basis. ECOSTRESS, a sensor on the International Space Station whose data are archived at the NASA’s EROS-based Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), has been an especially useful source of information. 

Guests: Andre Coleman, senior research scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Lee Miller, remote sensing specialist, PNNL, Rick Stratton, USDA Forest Service

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: January 10, 2022

More on ECOSTRESS and RADR-Fire:

Eyes on Earth Episode 64 - Colorado Bark Beetles

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Color image of Dr. Zhiliang Zhu, Dr. Kyle Rodman, and Dr. Sarah Hart
From top, Dr. Zhiliang Zhu, Dr. Kyle Rodman, and Dr. Sarah Hart

Summary: Outbreaks of native bark beetles can lead to conspicuous changes in a forest landscape. They’ve been present for thousands of years with occasional outbreaks, but there’s a lot we don’t yet understand about them. Exactly when and where have outbreaks occurred? How severe were they? What happened to the forest afterward? How will a warming climate influence outbreaks? On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear from researchers Dr. Sarah Hart and Dr. Kyle Rodman, who use Landsat to help find answers to those questions. A recent study led by Dr. Rodman used Landsat to identify the locations and severity of bark beetle outbreaks in the southern Rocky Mountains. The researchers were surprised to find smaller areas of severe mortality than they expected. Landsat can even be used to help predict patterns of future outbreaks. Dr. Zhiliang Zhu, a USGS researcher, adds his perspective of the effects of forest disturbance as well.

Guests: Dr. Sarah Hart, forest ecologist, Colorado State University; Dr. Kyle Rodman, research scientist, Northern Arizona University’s Ecological Restoration Institute; Dr. Zhiliang Zhu, USGS biologic carbon sequestration researcher

Host: Jane Lawson

Producer: John Hult

Release date: December 27, 2021

More on forest disturbances:

Landsat: The Watchman That Never Sleeps

Image of the Week: Beetle Damage in the Black Hills

New York tries creative ways, including satellites, to fight hemlock-killing insect

Eyes on Earth Episode 63 – ECOSTRESS and Post-Fire Recovery

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color image of Dr. Helen Poulos, with the graphic for the USGS EROS podcast Eyes on Earth
Dr. Helen Poulos

Summary: Fires can be destructive or healthy for a landscape—often both. Fires have grown larger and more destructive in recent years, though, thanks to human activity, climate change, and a host of other factors. Satellite data helps us to map and monitor fire activity, but the study of post-fire plant life using remote sensing data goes further than fire mapping. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear from Dr. Helen Poulos, who used data from the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station, (ECOSTRESS), to study Arizona Pine Oak forest 5-7 years after severe fire. Dr. Poulos and her collaborators at Northern Arizona University and the University of Maine at Farmington learned that post-fire shrublands had surprisingly high rates of water use. ECOSTRESS data are available through NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center or LP DAAC, which is located at EROS.

Guest: Dr. Helen Poulos, forest ecologist, Wesleyan University

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: December 13, 2021

More on ECOSTRESS:

 

   

 

 

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