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Eyes on Earth: Natural Disasters

Earth observation satellites capture the big-picture view of natural disasters on the ground. Satellites can help identify risk, capture the incident, and determine post-disaster recovery actions. EROS plays a key role in an international effort to rapidly assess disasters.

Episode 84 – Hurricane Disturbance Mapping

Logo and man's mugshot on a hurricane satellite image

In this episode, we learn about the effort to map disturbances in Florida from Hurricane Ian in near real time. When disaster strikes, near-real-time images of its effects can be invaluable. In this episode, we learn about how a newly developed system using the Harmonized Landsat Sentinel-2 dataset and artificial intelligence was put to the test when Hurricane Ian tore through Florida in late September 2022. By comparing pre-storm and post-storm imagery, the system quickly flagged anomalies statewide such as brightness, which could indicate exposed sand or bare land after a hurricane. Harmonized Landsat Sentinel-2 data is available through the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center, or LP DAAC for short, located at EROS, which is also home to the entire Landsat archive.

Guest: Zhe Zhu, University of Connecticut’s Global Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory and Landsat Science Team

Host: Jane Lawson

Release date: Monday, November 21, 2022

Episode 36 - International Charter Turns 20

Color photo of Mike Budde with the logo for the USGS EROS podcast Eyes on Earth
Mike Budde of USGS EROS, pictured with the logo for the USGS EROS podcast "Eyes on Earth."

In this episode, we get a rundown on the International Charter Space and Major Disasters. 

When a disaster like a hurricane, flood or major wildfire hits a remote part of the world, the International Charter Space and Natural Disasters springs into action. The Charter’s members collect and distribute satellite-derived data that documents the damage, as well as derived products like as fire perimeter or structural damage maps – all at no cost to national emergency management agencies. In this episode of Eyes on Earth, we learn about the Charter and EROS’ involvement on the occasion of the collaborative organization’s 20th Anniversary.  

Guest: Mike Budde, USGS

Host: Tom Adamson

Release date: October 19, 2020

Episode 9: Famine Early Warning

Chris Funk, Research Geographer, pictured with USGS EROS Eyes on Earth podcast graphic
Chris Funk, Research Geographer with USGS EROS, pictured with the graphic for the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center podcast "Eyes on Earth."

In this episode, we learn how remote sensing helps the world respond to hunger. Nearly 85 million people around the world are currently considered “food insecure,” and that figure continues to grow. Remote sensing technology enables scientists to feed data into the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), which in turn can issue alerts that guide the distribution of humanitarian aid. In this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear from an EROS climate scientist who works with the Network to predict drought and famine.

Guest: Chris Funk, USGS EROS Research Geographer

Host: Steve Young

Release date: Nov. 18, 2019