Earth Sciences Division
Sciences and Exploration Directorate - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



Goddard Scientists Deploy Damage Assessment Tool in Laos Flood Relief Efforts

Credits: NASA Disasters/Marshall Space Flight Center/Alaska Satellite Facility; contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018) processed by ESA

On July 23, 2018 the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in southern Laos failed and released more than 130 billion gallons of water on rural villages downstream. Thousands of houses and businesses were destroyed and over 6,000 people were displaced. The Sentinel-1 satellite from the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus program observed the area surrounding the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy dam in Laos before (July 17, 2018) and after (July 25, 2018) the dam’s July 23, 2018, failure. The reduction in size of the reservoir behind the dam is visible in the before-and-after images above.

NASA researchers John Bolten and Perry Oddo and Stanford University researcher Aakash Ahamed recently developed a system that predicts flood damage based on satellite and ground data. The model estimates floodwater depth, adds information about land use and building infrastructure, and generates a dollar-value calculation of the damage in the target area. Learn more about the model here and here.

Global Fire Weather Database

The Global Fire Weather Database (GFWED) contains daily global fire danger ratings from 1980 to present day. The ratings contained in this dataset are calculated according to the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) System using weather data from NASA's MERRA-2, GEOS-5, and GPM IMERG datasets. More information about the development of this database can be found here.

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