Highlight from the NASA DEVELOP National Program Fall 2014 Term: Northwest U.S. Agriculture

Feb 04, 2015

As part of the fall 2014 term of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) DEVELOP National Program, the Northwest U.S. Agriculture Team, located at NASA’s Langley Research Center, investigated the implications of warming temperatures on the development of the codling moth (Cydia pomonella). The codling moth is an insect that is a threat to apple production in Washington State.  The team used Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Land Surface Temperature (LST) to calculate the growing degree days (GDD) of the moth species. Temperature is a key indicator of growth as moth development occurs between a distinct range of 10oC and 31oC (~50oF and 88oF).

LST data (MYD11A1) covering the entire state of Washington from 2003 to 2012 were averaged to determine GDD and highlight areas that were at risk for infestation. At-risk areas were then forecasted for 2045 and 2065 by utilizing the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CIMP5) climate change model. The results are displayed in the map below. The team found that rising temperatures may allow for a northern and eastern shift in the range of the codling moth, moving it closer into the Cascades mountain range and further into the Columbia Plateau. An increase in temperature could also lead to increased moth generations as warmer temperatures will elongate the summer growth period. By understanding the implications of temperature changes in the present and future, pest management planning can be improved.

About the NASA DEVELOP National Program

The DEVELOP National Program is part of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program. Participants from around the country join the DEVELOP program for 10-week terms to apply data acquired by NASA Earth-observing satellites to bridge the gap between science and society. DEVELOP participants work with local, state, and federal partners to create maps and other products in nine focus areas including Agriculture, Climate, Disasters, Ecological Forecasting, Energy, Health and Air Quality, Oceans, Water Resources, and Weather. Frequently, these projects utilize data that is distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), such as data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument, which is aboard the NASA Terra and Aqua satellites, and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), onboard Terra. These data are used to map a variety of environmental changes across the globe.


Makely, L., Del Valle-Martinez, I., Kimbrell, C., Long, Z., Smith, C., and Smith, M., 2014, Hard Core Problems: Using MODIS LST Data for Poikilothermic Pest Prevention: Earthzine, accessed January 6, 2015, http://earthzine.org/2014/11/23/hard-core-problems-using-modis-lst-data-for-poikilothermic-pest-prevention/.

DEVELOP National Program, 2014, Northwest United States Agriculture: NASA DEVELOP National Program video, 4:05, posted November 24, 2014, accessed January 6, 2015, at https://www.youtube.com/embed/H08MjDtoC14.

Material written by Lindsey Harriman1, Tiffani Orne, Jerrod Lessel

1 Innovate!, Inc., contractor to the U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA. Work performed under USGS contract G10PC00044 for LP DAAC​2

2 LP DAAC Work performed under NASA contract NNG14HH33I.