Biospheric Sciences (618) Press Releases & Feature Stories Archive

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Extreme Rain Douses Fires, Causes Floods in Australia

A season of extremes in eastern Australia took another dramatic turn in mid-February 2020.

Landsat 9: The Pieces Come Together

Two science instruments are now attached to the satellite spacecraft, bringing the mission one step closer to launch.

Kangaroo Island Shows Burn Scars On One Third of the Land Mass

NASA's Terra satellite provided before and after imagery that showed the extent of the fires that have been ravaging Australia's Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island lies off the mainland of South Australia, southwest of Adelaide. About a third of the island is made up of protected nature reserves which are home to native wildlife which includes sea lions, koalas and diverse and endangered bird species, including glossy black-cockatoos which have been brought back from the brink of extinction over the last two decades.

Permafrost Becoming a Carbon Source Instead of a Sink

Warming in the Arctic is causing soils to decompose more rapidly, even during winter. Now, estimates of winter carbon dioxide loss indicate that it can offset carbon gains during the growing season.
Link to Paper in Nature Climate Change (Natali et al., 2019, doi:10.1038/s41558-019-0592-8).

NASA Highlights Solar Mission, Jupiter Cyclone at AGU Meeting

NASA researchers will present new findings on a wide range of Earth and space science topics at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Dec. 9-13 in San Francisco.

All Eyes on Tonga’s Kingdom of Volcanoes

An undersea eruption at Lateiki Island in late October 2019 has brought new life to an older island in the Tonga chain.

Making Sense of Amazon Deforestation Patterns

Decades of satellite data make it possible to map how deforestation has evolved over time.

Making a Connection in the Kingdom of Tonga

Against the odds, the landmass that exploded and oozed into existence in early 2015 is now nearly five years old.

New Moon-Seeking Sensor Aims to Improve Earth Observations

A new instrument with its eye on the Moon is taking off aboard a high-altitude NASA plane to measure the Moon’s brightness and eventually help Earth observing sensors make more accurate measurements.

Arctic Shifts to a Carbon Source due to Winter Soil Emissions

A NASA-funded study suggests winter carbon emissions in the Arctic may be adding more carbon into the atmosphere each year than is taken up by Arctic vegetation, marking a stark reversal for a region
Link to Paper in Nature Climate Change (Natali et al., 2019) discussing the study results

Douglas Morton: Monitoring the Earth for a Brighter Future

Douglas Morton, chief of the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, uses satellite data to track how ecosystems are changing over time.

Drought Reveals Lost “Spanish Stonehenge”

The Dolmen de Guadalperal resurfaced after five decades underwater.

Smoke Blankets Borneo

Fires burning in peat deposits in Indonesia release gases and particles that have consequences for public health and the climate.

Drought Exacerbates Australian Fires

Several years of dry conditions have set the stage for a fierce fire season in several southeastern states.

Satellite Data Record Shows Climate Change's Impact on Fires

While every fire needs a spark to ignite and fuel to burn, it's the hot and dry conditions in the atmosphere that determine the likelihood of a fire starting, its intensity and the speed at which it spreads. Over the past several decades, as the world has increasingly warmed, so has its potential to burn.

Circling the Serengeti

These African plains host the largest natural animal migration in the world.

Landsat Illustrates Five Decades of Change to Greenland Glaciers

Greenland's Helheim Glacier, along with its neighbors, have changed significantly in the last five decades, as illustrated by comparing Landsat images from 1972 and 2019.

Fire Burns in Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil

Since the beginning of August 2019, NASA satellites have observed fires burning near the border of Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil.

Uptick in Amazon Fire Activity in 2019

Satellites have detected an increase in fire activity early in the 2019 dry season in the southern Amazon

Philippine Airborne Campaign Targets Weather, Climate Science

NASA's P-3 science aircraft soared above the Manila skyline on Monday to begin a nearly two-month-long investigation into how smoke from fires changes clouds, a key factor in improving weather and climate forecasts.

New Landsat Infrared Instrument Ships from NASA

This month, TIRS-2 successfully passed the stringent 12-week testing process at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Amazonian Fires Continue Shrouding South America in Smoke

Smoke from the fires raging in in the Amazon basin is clearly visible across much of the center of South America.

Boreal Forest Fires Could Release Deep Soil Carbon

Increasingly frequent and severe forest fires could burn generations-old carbon stored in the soils of boreal forests, according to results from the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) funded by NASA’s Earth Science Division.

Building a Long-Term Record of Fire

Scientists have answered some important questions about how fires vary around the world and are changing over time.

Large Wildfire on Gran Canaria Prompts Evacuations

The island of Gran Canaria, the second most populous island in the Spanish archipelago's Canary Islands, is currently experiencing a large wildfire whose origins are still under investigation.
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