2019 Spring Preview

2019 Spring Preview

Amidst freezing temperatures up North and balmy temperatures throughout the South, NASA DEVELOP began its 21st year of operation. Across the country, we welcomed our 64 participants, some new and some returning, and began our 10-week journey. This term, DEVELOPers will be working alongside 39 partner organizations, all of whom offer unique expertise and invaluable insight into our projects. Through 16 different projects, DEVELOP is exploring the application of NASA Earth observations across the country and around the world.

Water Resources
This term we have six projects applying Earth observations to issues regarding Water Resources both domestically and internationally. At NC - National Centers for Environmental Information, the team is assessing the impact of drought on tree coverage throughout the state of Texas. At AL - Mobile and VA - Langley nodes, teams are assessing the effect of land cover change on water quality parameters in Weeks Bay in southern Alabama and the Patuxent reservoir in eastern Maryland respectively. The ID - Pocatello node is exploring water availability and soil moisture in Argentina, while the team at CA - Ames is examining water quality in Chile. At CA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a team is constructing a tool to help the Great Lakes region map wetlands. These water projects highlight the breadth of a single application area and will use satellite imagery and data to better manage this resource.

Ecological Forecasting
Many of our projects are interdisciplinary and consider many environmental factors to produce helpful results. In GA - Athens, the team is assessing deforestation and forest fragmentation in Costa Rica and will identify optimal biological corridors for jaguar movement. The team is taking into consideration both environmental and human factors in their forecasting model. The second project at CA - JPL is creating a tool to predict wetland environments in Alaska. In CO - Fort Collins, a team is constructing predictive mapping tools for the National Park Service to better identify the spread of invasive plants. Projects crossover applications because of the inherent complexity in the natural systems we study and the many factors that influence the environment.

Agriculture & Food Security
Partners, new and old, help shape our projects to assist their decision making, as seen clearly through the projects in the Agriculture & Food Security application area this term. At MD - Goddard, the team is completing its third term working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), US Geological Survey, and Maryland Department of Agriculture. When complete, they will have a fully functioning tool to verify if farmers are implementing cover crop practices. In Colorado, the team is continuing work with the USDA Agricultural Research Service and the University of Minnesota to identify wild crops in Minnesota. And at AL - Marshall, the team is working with a new partner from the Climatology Bureau of Iowa to use the recently launched ECOSTRESS instrument to improve drought monitoring across the state. Whether our partners are familiar with DEVELOP or new to the program, DEVELOP strives to create products that enhance their decision making.

Satellites and sensors are integral to the products we produce and teams working on projects in our Disasters application area are utilizing numerous NASA and other agency Earth observations this term. At AL - Marshall, the Alaska Disasters team is using fire imagery from Aqua and Terra MODIS, Suomi NPP VIIRS, and land surface temperature from JPSS-1/NOAA 20 VIIRS to assess fire potential in Alaska. In MA - Boston and AZ - Tempe, teams are assessing flooding disasters in Niagara Falls and the greater Lake Ontario region using precipitation from GPM IMERG, soil moisture from SMAP, elevation from SRTM, and flood extent imagery from Landsat 8 OLI and Sentinel-1 C-SAR. Coupling data from multiple satellites allows our teams to learn more skills and create dynamic products.

Urban Development
Partners also learn about the application of NASA Earth observations through the partnership with DEVELOP. Organizations like Groundwork USA have collaborated with us to improve their decision making throughout the country. This term, Groundwork is partnering with a VA - Langley team to assess tree coverage and flooding in Providence, Rhode Island, and Elizabeth, New Jersey. The methodologies from this project will be used in other urban environments and improve Groundworks understanding of heat- and flood-related vulnerabilities. Although this project aligns with the Urban Development application area, Groundwork has worked with DEVELOP previously on projects in the areas of Water Resources and Health & Air Quality. From each partnership, representatives from Groundwork gain new insight and spread the benefit of Earth observations throughout their organization.

In many ways, a DEVELOP term is like the spring. It is quick: blink one minute and the next it is gone. It is also challenging, as the changing seasons test our adaptability. And the spring, like a DEVELOP term, is quite fruitful and offers ample opportunity for growth. In the coming weeks we intend to do just that with our new participants, new partnerships, and new projects. Stay tuned to see what the next few weeks have to offer.

Follow us