Podcast Overview

Data

Learn more about the data by hearing straight from the experts. 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. Listen to episodes on how data distributed by the LP DAAC are being used.

ECOSTRESS

Listen to episodes on how International Space Station (ISS) ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) data are being used.

Eyes on Earth Episode 83 – ECOSTRESS and Burn Severity

ECOSTRESS and fire burn severity thumbnail

Guests: Madeleine Pascolini-Campbell, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Natasha Stavros, Earth Lab Analytics Hub, University of Colorado Boulder

Host: Jane Lawson

Producer: Tom Adamson

Release date: November 7, 2022









Summary: ECOSTRESS, or ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station, data provides variables related to plant water stress, including evapotranspiration, evaporative stress index and water use efficiency. The NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) at EROS provides storage and distribution of ECOSTRESS data. In this episode, we take a look at how these variables were useful for research that looked at predictors for spatial patterns of burn severity in recent California wildfires in the Sierra Nevada and the Southern California Mountains.

More on ECOSTRESS:

Eyes on Earth Episode 80 – ECOSTRESS and Carbon

Background image is an ECOSTRESS map over part of southern California. Top and bottom right corners feature two profile images one woman, one man. Text "Eyes on Earth" is in the bottom left corner.

Guests: Nick Parazoo, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Willow Coleman, former NASA JPL intern

Host: Jane Lawson

Producer: Brian Hauge

Release date: September 28, 2022







Summary: ECOSTRESS, which stands for the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station, collects land surface temperatures in an effort to answer questions about plants’ use of water. The NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) at EROS has provided storage and distribution of ECOSTRESS data for four years now and counting.  In this episode, we’ll take a look at how the ECOSTRESS temperature measurements can be useful in characterizing biological influences on the carbon dioxide exchange, specifically in the urban environment of Los Angeles and the non-urban environment surrounding the city.

More on ECOSTRESS:

Eyes on Earth Episode 77 – ECOSTRESS and Urban Heat

One image with several images inside. Top right and bottom left corners show profile pictures of men. Background image shows lst later of a map of California using ECOSTRESS data, with an inset map zooming in one one street. Eyes on Earth logo is center.

Guests: Glynn Hulley, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Greg Spotts, City of Los Angeles

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: July 11, 2022










Summary: We don't need a scientist to tell us that city streets catch and hold heat. Anyone who's walked barefoot from a parking lot to a beach can tell you that. What scientists can help us understand, particularly scientists who work with spaceborne, remotely sensed data, is just how big a difference there is between cities and the countryside. That gap is sometimes referred to as the urban heat island effect. At the height of summer, heat disparities can have a large impact on at risk human populations. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear from a remote sensing scientist and a sustainability coordinator for the city of Los Angeles who teamed up to study the impact of cool pavement coating as an urban heat mitigation strategy.

More on remote sensing and urban heat:

Eyes on Earth Episode 76 – ECOSTRESS and Disease Risk

Square image, background shows ECOSTRESS Land Surface Temperature data as an abstract image. Top left shows a photo of Anna Boser, bottom left shows a picture of Andy MacDonald. Text "Eyes on Earth" is in the center right of the image.

Guests: Anna Boser, PhD student, University of California-Santa Barbara; Andy MacDonald, UC-Santa Barbara Earth Research Institute

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: June 27, 2022









Summary: Spaceborne sensors orbit hundreds of miles over our heads. Even the most advanced among them struggle to capture high-resolution imagery of individual human beings. Mosquitos, of course, are far smaller than we are. Clearly, sensors on a satellite or space station can’t see them. Even so, these sensors can gather a host of information that helps to understand the movements and behaviors of these pesky little disease vectors, which are responsible for at least a million deaths a year. Mosquitos are more active under certain environmental conditions, for example, and those conditions can be tracked at wide scales from above. Changes to the land’s surface can also make it easier for mosquitos to proliferate. On this episode, we learn how a sensor onboard the International Space Station was used to calculate West Nile virus risk in California’s San Joaquin River Valley.

More on remote sensing and disease risk:

Eyes on Earth Episode 73 – Global Water Use

A female scientist stands on the right of the image with a large backpacking backpack, in the background is a view of a rocky area with sparse vegetation and part of a lake is seen to the left. On screen text: Eyes on Earth

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

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: May 2, 2022










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).

More on ECOSTRESS and Global Water Use:

Eyes on Earth Episode 70 - ECOSTRESS and Aquatic Ecosystems

Three women headshots, the interviewees, to the left of an image of water with vegetation in the background. "Eyes on Earth" text is in front of the water.

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








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.

More on aquatic ecosystems and ECOSTRESS :

Eyes on Earth Episode 67 - ECOSTRESS and Water Use

Image of Dr. Kerry Cawse Nicholson, a woman standing in front of a bookshelf. To the right is an image of ECOSTRESS evapotranspiration data.

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









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.

More on ECOSTRESS and ET:

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

Three profile pictures of males, Andrew, Lee, and Rick to the left of a remote sensing image of a burning fire. Text reads "Eyes on Earth" over the fire.

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








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. 

More on ECOSTRESS and RADR-Fire:

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

Women, Dr. Helen Poulos, sitting in next to a bare tree in a desert landscape with dry brush.

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

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: December 13, 2021











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.

More on ECOSTRESS:


EMIT

Listen to episodes on how Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) data are being used.

Eyes on Earth Episode 75 – Mapping Dust Sources Worldwide

Background image shows the earth with the International Space Station flying above it. A rainbow is emitted from below the space station towards earth. In the top right and left, and bottom left corners are images of the three male speakers.

Guests: Raymond Kokaly, USGS; David Thompson, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); Philip Brodrick, NASA JPL

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: June 15, 2022






Summary: Clouds of dust kicked up in places like the Sahara can travel thousands of miles across the planet. We can see those clouds in satellite imagery, but we don’t typically know much about the composition of that dust. That’s a huge blind spot, because those unknown characteristics—such as the particles’ lightness or darkness—have an impact on what they do. The warming and cooling of the atmosphere, snow melt, ocean or rain forest fertilization, and even cloud formation can all be affected by dust cloud composition. Mapping those dust sources is the focus of the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation, or EMIT, which will be supported by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), which is located at the USGS EROS Center. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear about the importance of the mission from three members of the EMIT Science Team.

More on EMIT:


GEDI

Listen to episodes on how Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) data are being used.

Eyes on Earth Episode 82 – Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation Data

The Eyes on Earth logo with photos of Laura Duncanson and Ralph Dubayah, both of the University of Maryland.

Guest: Dr. Laura Duncanson and Dr. Ralph Dubayah, University of Maryland and the GEDI mission

Host: Jane Lawson

Producer: Tom Adamson

Release date: October 24, 2022










Summary: The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, or GEDI, instrument on the International Space Station acquires lidar waveforms to observe the Earth’s surface in 3D. The GEDI lidar measures the height and density of objects, so it provides information such as surface elevation and tree canopy height and cover. The NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) at EROS provides storage and distribution of GEDI data.  In this episode, we’ll take a look at the purpose of the GEDI mission, how the instrument works, and how GEDI data are being used to understand things like carbon dynamics in forests.

More on the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation Data


HLS

Listen to episodes on how Harmonized Landsat and Sentinel-2 (HLS) data are being used.

Eyes on Earth Episode 45 – Harmonized Landsat Sentinel Data

In the background is an HLS remote sensing image of Harkers Island. Two headshots of males are in the foreground. The headshot of Dr. Jeffery Masek is located in the bottom left. The headshot of Dr. Brian Freitag is in the top right.

Guest: Dr. Jeffrey Masek, NASA Landsat Project Scientist, Dr. Brian Freitag, NASA Research Physical Scientist

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: March 8, 2021










Summary: Landsat satellites have monitored the Earth’s surface for nearly 50 years, providing critical information for countless areas of study and real world applications. But with observations only collected every 8-16 days, there are limits to what can be tracked. On today’s episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear about a soon-to-be-released data product that merges Landsat with data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellites, which will offer more opportunities to monitor rapid change. The harmonized Landsat-Sentinel data will be available through the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), located at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center.

More on the Harmonized Landsat Sentinel Data

Eyes on Earth Episode 66 – Exotic Annual Grasses

Three headshots of males are lined up to the left of an image of grassland. The text "Eyes on Earth" is on the screen.

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









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.

More on Exotic Annual Grasses:


MODIS

Listen to episodes on how Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data are being used.

Eyes on Earth Episode 46 – Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Selfie photo of a man, Dr. Eric Bullock, sitting in a boat with water and trees in the background.

Guest: Dr. Eric Bullock, U.S. Forest Service

Host: John Hult

Producer: John Hult

Release date: March 22, 2021






Summary: Deforestation is a significant concern for many parts of the globe, particularly in places like the rainforests of the Amazon or the Congo. Scientists, governments, and non-governmental organizations turn to satellite data to track deforestation, as well as to set targets for improvement. On this episode of Eyes on Earth, we hear from a remote sensing specialist with the U.S. Forest Service who develops algorithms that sift through satellite data to capture not only deforestation events, but the more subtle degradation events that have an impact on forest health.

More on Deforestation and Forest Degradation