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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. 

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

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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:

Eyes on Earth Episode 62 – Landsat 9 Launch Part 3

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Color photo of Kate Fickas and Virginia Norwood
Dr. Kate Fickas, USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, left, with Virginia Norwood, designer of the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) for early Landsat Missions.

Summary: For our third and final episode of Eyes on Earth from the September launch of Landsat 9, we hear from Virginia Norwood. She blazed a trail for women in remote sensing in the 1960s and 70s while working for Hughes Aircraft, a contractor for NASA. Norwood is known as the “Mother of Landsat” for her design of the Multispectral Scanner, or MSS, the sensor used to image the Earth’s surface by early Landsat satellites. Norwood met her fans during a Q&A a few hours after the launch sponsored by the USGS and Ladies of Landsat. The episode also features an appearance from Kass Green, who founded a company in the 1980s that used Landsat data to map landscape change.

Guests: Virginia Norwood, physicist, Kass Green, Kass Green and Associates

Hosts: John Hult, Kate Fickas

Producer: John Hult

Release date: November 30, 2021

More on Landsat 9:

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 61 - Landsat 9 Launch Part 2

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Pictured, from top left, are Andres Espejo, Naikoa Aguilar-Amuchastegui, Ann Bray, and Marc Jochemich.

Summary: Hundreds of scientists, officials, international representatives, and others witnessed the launch of Landsat 9 on September 27, 2021, from a handful of viewing sites around Santa Barbara County, California. Their interests were as varied as their backgrounds, but the new satellite’s extension of the Landsat program’s invaluable 50-year record of Earth observations was top of mind for the international partners who help the USGS collect Landsat data and the scientists who rely on those data to monitor the health of the planet. In this episode of Eyes on Earth, we talk with guests from around the world about their role in the Landsat program, and the importance of the program to their work.

Guests: Andres Espejo, Senior Forest Carbon Specialist, World Bank; Naikoa Aguilar-Amuchastegui, Senior Director of Forest Carbon Science and MRV Lead, World Wildlife Fund; Ann Bray, Minister-Counsellor for Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Australian Embassy; Marc Jochemich, Head of Washington, D.C. office, German Aerospace Center

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: November 15, 2021

More on Landsat 9:

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 60 – Landsat 9 Launch Part 1

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Landsat 9 in the payload fairing of an Atlas V rocket

Summary: Landsat 9 launched into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Monday, September 27, 2021, to carry on the legacy of a nearly 50-year record of continuous Earth observation that began in 1972. The days leading up to the event saw guests from around the world descend upon Santa Barbara County in California to watch the historic event take place. Over the next few weeks, we’ll bring you some of the interviews we collected with scientists, government officials and Mission partners. This episode of Eyes on Earth focuses on the day before the launch, when we spoke about the importance of the Landsat program with guests at the launchpad and a Landsat for Climate event.

Guests: Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior for Water and Science; Tony Willardson, Director of the Western States Water Council; Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the California Water Resources Control Board; Kevin Gallagher, Associate Director of USGS Core Science Systems

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: October 13, 2021

More on Landsat 9:

 

Eyes on Earth Episode 59 - Landsat 9 Ground System

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Color photo of Kari Wulf and Mike O'Brien with the logo for the EROS podcast "Eyes on Earth"
Kari Wulf (above), and Mike O'Brien

Summary: The launch of Landsat 9 in September of 2021 represents a milestone for a joint USGS/NASA program that stretches back nearly 50 years. Landsat 9 will continue the legacy of unbroken, repeat Earth observations and contribute to our understanding of a changing planet. The primary USGS roles for Landsat satellites, which are built and launched by NASA, are to operate the ground system, process and archive the data, and distribute it to users around the world. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear from two people who’ve been involved in the development of the Landsat 9 ground system to learn what it takes to bring Landsat data to the Earth and transform it into the data products and imagery we all recognize.

Guests: Kari Wulf, Aerospace Corp, Landsat 9 mission integration lead and ground system manager, Mike O’Brien, contractor and ground system engineer

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: Sept. 20, 2021

More on Landsat 9:

   

 

 

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