Measuring Glacier Change in the Himalayas
A serious lack of reliable and consistent data severely hampers scientific knowledge about the state of Himalayan glaciers. As a result, the contribution of glacial melt to the Himalayan river basins remains uncertain. This is of grave importance because declining water availability could threaten the food security of more than 70 million people. The UNEP Global Environmental Alert Service (GEAS) September bulletin urges for improved cross-boundary scientific collaboration and monitoring of Himalayan glaciers to bridge the knowledge gap and allow policy options to be based on appropriate scientific evidence.
Read "Measuring Glacier Change in the Himalayas" athttp://na.unep.net/geas/getUNEPPageWithArticleIDScript.php?article_id=91.
UNEP: Early Warning Systems
UNEP has released a GEAS bulletin titled "Early Warning Systems - A State of the Art Analysis and Future Directions". Early warning technologies have greatly benefitted from recent advances in communication and information technologies and an improved knowledge on natural hazards and the underlying science. Nevertheless many gaps still exist in early warning technologies and capacities — especially in the developing world — and yet a lot has to be done for the development of a global scale multi-hazard system. This in-depth bulletin introduces the basic concepts of early warning systems, the role of earth observation for disasters and environment and focuses on the existing early warning/monitoring systems while addressing the need to fill in the operational gaps for slow-onset hazards both in monitoring, communication, and response phases to facilitate timely decision-making.
Read the bulletin at http://na.unep.net/geas/getUNEPPageWithArticleIDScript.php?article_id=89.
USGS Rolls Out New LandsatLook Viewer
In honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Landsat 1 launch, and in preparation for Landsat 8 in February 2013, the USGS has rolled out a prototype viewer that allows easy access to the over 3 million scenes in the Landsat archive. Find out more about the LandsatLook Viewer. Go to the LandsatLook Viewer.
One Planet, How Many People?
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released its first in-depth Global Environmental Alert Service (GEAS) bulletin titled "One Planet, How Many People? A Review of Earth's Carrying Capacity."
It is estimated that global population reached 7 billion in late 2011 or early 2012. This bulletin explores how the human impact has grown to such a scale that it has become a major geophysical force. The GEAS takes the pulse of the planet and enhances UNEP’s ability to provide regular, science-based updates to its member states and the international community on the status and trends of the global environment. Presented in a clear, visually oriented format, these bulletins help UNEP fulfill its mandate to bridge the gap between environmental science and policy makers.
For more information, go to "One Planet, How Many People? A Review of Earth's Carrying Capacity."
The Best of Earth as Art - A Contest to Celebrate 40 Years of Landsat
During a span of 40 years, since 1972, the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites has become a vital reference worldwide for understanding scientific issues related to changes on the Earth's surface.
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Landsat, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA would like your help in selecting the top five "Earth as Art" images from the more than 120 images in the collection.
The poll is now closed.
Earth as Art's Top Five will be announced on July 23 in Washington, D.C. at a special event commemorating the launch of the first Landsat satellite.
Built by NASA and operated by USGS, Landsat satellites supply Earth scientists, land-resource managers, and policy makers with objective data about changes across the global landscape. Some changes, like major floods or volcanic eruptions, come quickly; others, like urban sprawl or regrowth from forest fires, appear gradually. Landsat impartially records these and many other changes to the land that are induced by man or nature.
Beyond the scientific information they confer, some Landsat images are simply striking to look at — presenting spectacular views of mountains, valleys, and islands; forests, grasslands, and agricultural patterns. By selecting certain features and coloring them from a digital palate, the USGS has created a series of "Earth as Art" perspectives that demonstrate an artistic resonance in land imagery and provide a special avenue of insight about the geography of each scene.
NASA is preparing to launch the next Landsat satellite in 2013, which will be turned over to USGS for operations and data distribution. For more information about the Landsat Program, visit:
NLCD Fact Sheet now available
The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) serves as the definitive Landsat-based, 30-meter resolution, land cover database for the Nation. NLCD supports a wide variety of Federal, State, local, and nongovernmental applications that seek to assess ecosystem status and health, understand the spatial patterns of biodiversity, predict effects of climate change, and develop land management policy. The NLCD Fact Sheet can be downloaded from the USGS Publications Warehouse at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2012/3020/.
METI and NASA Release Version 2 ASTER Global DEM
The version 2 collection of the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) was released jointly October 17, 2011 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) of Japan and the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As with Version 1, METI and NASA are contributing the ASTER GDEM to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Consequently, the ASTER GDEM is available at no charge to users worldwide via electronic download from the Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center (ERSDAC) of Japan and from NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).
ASTER Global DEM
ASTER, on the NASA spacecraft Terra, is capable of collecting in-track stereo using nadir- and aft- looking near infrared cameras. Since 2001, these stereo pairs have been used to produce single-scene digital elevation models (DEM). The best quality data from the DEM record were compiled globally to generate the ASTER GDEM 2.
Version 2 is produced with the same gridding and tile structure as Version 1. Extensive validation of GDEM 2 noted substantial improvements in product quality due specifically to the increased number of acquired ASTER stereo pairs and refinements to the production algorithm (water masking, smaller correlation kernel size, bias removal). These improvements include increased horizontal and vertical accuracy, better horizontal resolution, reduced presence of artifacts, and more realistic values over water bodies.
Users are nonetheless advised that the products still may contain anomalies and artifacts that will reduce its usability for certain applications. The data are provided “as is” and neither NASA nor METI/ERSDAC will be responsible for any damages resulting from use of the data.
ASTER GDEM 2 is subject to user acknowledgment of redistribution and citation policies required by METI and NASA. Product tiles may be downloaded electronically from ERSDAC and from the LP DAAC by visiting:
For more information, contact LP DAAC User Services
Deadline for Submitting Abstracts extended to May 27
William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium
Pecora 18 “Forty Years of Earth Observations: Understanding a Changing World”
The theme for Pecora 18 is: "Forty Years of Earth Observations: Understanding a Changing World." The symposium focuses on how 40 years of Landsat and other Earth observation missions have influenced our understanding of the changing Earth, and contributed to improving information needed for managing our natural resources. Special emphasis will be given to the current state of the Landsat program such as the free data revolution and the upcoming launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission. Lessons from the past and present serve as the foundation for looking toward the next generation of operational land remote sensing.
The Pecora 18 Symposium will be held Monday through Thursday, November 14 to 17, 2011 at the Washington Dulles Hilton in Herndon, Virginia.
The deadline for submitting abstracts for Pecora 18: "Forty Years of Earth Observations: Understanding a Changing World" has been extended to May 27, 2011. Symposium topics are:
- Achieving William Pecora’s Vision
- Highlights from the Past Four Decades
- Science and Applications in an Era of Free Landsat Data
- Mapping and Monitoring the Earth
- The Next Forty Years
Abstracts should be submitted electronically using the form available at the symposium web site, (http://pecora.asprs.org/). Authors will be asked to select a category for their paper according to the categories and topic areas listed on the web site, and they will be asked to state a preference for oral or poster presentation. Abstracts may not exceed 300 words in length. Abstracts also should include 3-5 keys words and contact information for the senior author and the presenter.
If electronic submission using the web site is not possible, abstracts and required information may be mailed to the Pecora 18 Steering Committee Chairman, Mr. Tom Holm, U.S. Geological Survey, EROS Center, Sioux Falls, SD 57198 or emailed to email@example.com.
All abstracts will be evaluated by no fewer than three technical reviewers, and selections will be based on overall quality of the abstract and its responsiveness to the symposium theme. Abstracts are due May 27, 2011. Upon notification of acceptance, authors will be expected to sign and return the acceptance letter verifying their intent to attend and make a presentation at the symposium.
Papers accepted for oral presentation will be assigned to a concurrent session based on topic. Authors sharing common interests are encouraged to coordinate submission of papers that could form a session on a specific topic. Concurrent sessions will be 90 minutes in duration, consisting of three or four oral presentations, each of which will be 15-20 minutes in length.
ASTER GDEM Explorer (DEMEX) now available at the LP DAAC
The Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) announces the release of the ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) Explorer tool (DEMEX). This tool can be used to browse and download ASTER GDEM data based on geographic areas of interest or predefined regions, including state, province, and county (for the United States). Data output from DEMEX is available in GeoTIFF or ArcASCII format. DEMEX is the result of collaboration between the LP DAAC and George Mason University's Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems.
ASTER Global DEM (GDEM) data are subject to redistribution and citation policies. Users of DEMEX are required to have an ECHO/WIST account to download data. Register for an ECHO/WIST account by clickinghere, and selecting "Enter WIST", then "Create Account". Contact LP DAAC User Services for additional information.
New EarthExplorer Client
A beta version of the new EarthExplorer client is now available with limited capability to search and download data. The first data are the Landsat Global Land Survey (GLS) datasets. This new EarthExplorer client includes enhanced user capabilities and will eventually replace the current version once all the available data sets have been transitioned. There will be periodic releases of datasets and functionality over the next several months. In the mean time, both versions of EarthExplorer will be maintained and available until the transition is completed. For further information, go to http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/, or directly to New EarthExplorer at http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/.