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NASA Earth Science Capabilities Supporting WestFAST. David Toll Deputy Program Element Manager Water Resources Hydrological Sciences NASA/GSFC Brad Doorn Program Manager NASA Applied Sciences Program Washington D.C. Edwin Sheffner Deputy Chief Earth Science Division NASA/Ames

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NASA Earth Science Capabilities

Supporting WestFAST

David Toll

Deputy Program Element Manager

Water Resources

Hydrological Sciences NASA/GSFC

Brad Doorn

Program Manager

NASA Applied Sciences Program

Washington D.C.

Edwin Sheffner

Deputy Chief

Earth Science Division


29 April 2010

[email protected]

Earth Science

Astro- physics

Helio- physics


Jnt. Ag. Sat. Div.

NASA Earth Science

Science Mission Directorate

The purpose of NASA's Earth science program is to develop a scientific understanding of Earth's system and its response to natural and human-induced changes, and to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards.

NASA Earth Science

Earth Science Division




  • Research focus areas:

    • Atmospheric composition

    • Weather

    • Climate Variability and Change

    • Water and Energy Cycles

    • Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems

    • Earth Surface and Interior

  • Applied Sciences Program elements:

    • Agriculture

    • Air Quality

    • Climate

    • Natural Disasters

    • Ecological Forecasting

    • Public Health

    • Water Resources

    • Weather

Most Relevant to WestFAST

NASA Applied Science

Goal:Facilitate the use of NASA Earth science - research results, observations from aircraft and spacecraft, advanced data products, predictive models, and systems engineering - in resource management and policy decision making.

Application themes in the water resources program element:

1) Streamflow & Floods (Includes Snowpack)

2) Drought Monitoring & Prediction

3) Irrigation and Water Delivery

4) Water Quality

5) Climate Change and Water Resources

Program approach: NASA Applied Sciences Program works primarily through US government agencies and others (NGOs, Academia, State agencies, private groups, etc.) to use NASA products for widest use, both domestically and internationally.

NASA Applied Sciences ProgramA Pathway Between Earth Science & Society

Natural Disasters

Water Resources



Air Quality


Public Health


Results of

NASA Earth

Science Research

Uses by Partners

and Stakeholder


GEOSS Societal Benefit Areas


Applied Sciences


Continuous earth observations

Continuous Earth Observations





Tropical Rainfall

Measureing Mission


Airborne Science




Ice, Clouds,and

Land Elevation

Satellite (ICESat)

Gravity Recovery

And Climate Experiment


New Millennium Program

Earth Observing-1

(NMP EO-1)

Solar Radiation and

Climate Experiment


Landsat Data

Continuity Mission



NOAA Polar Operational

Environmental Satellite

(POES), N and N’


National Polar-Orbiting

Operational Environmental

Satellite System (NPOESS)

Preparatory Project (NPP)




Satellite (GOES)



NASA develops and operates Earth-observing satellites that monitor changes to our planet’s oceans, ice caps, land masses and atmosphere from a unique global perspective. Promotes free and open access to high quality Earth science products.

Missions in Development

Missions in Operation


TMPA-RT (mm/h) 18UTC 22 May 2002

Priority Observation - Rainfall Measurements










Integrated with Operational Missions and International Missions

From: Hong, Adler

Priority Observation – Soil Moisture Measurements

Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) Mission

  • Soil Moisture Mapping

  • A dedicatedsoil moisture mission selected as a new Earth science mission

  • NASA fly an active / passive microwave soil moisture with mission in the 2012-2013 timeframe

  • Extends soil moisture to deeper depths with improved spatial resolution

  • Mission applications program developing tools and products prior to launch

SMAP Applications web site

U.S. Drought Monitor (NOAA-USDA-USGS)

Soil Moisture and Vegetation Health

  • Prototype of Soil Moisture Change (SMC) with Drought D-Level Overlay: JPL automated system produces data; weekly automatic uploaded to NOAA PSD, who creates multiple SMC products and derivatives with D-level overlay.

  • Expedited MODIS Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI) : USGS/EROS and NDMC have integrated MODIS NDVI 7-day composites into the national VegDRI model on a rapid, weekly schedule to meet requirements of US Drought Monitor authors.

  • Resolution Benchmark: NASA results have excellent resolutions to resolve the county-level goal of NIDIS. This is evident in the comparison of SMC and VegDRI products versus USDM drought maps at the lower resolution.

  • Improvements of USDM are important for users: NOAA NWS uses D2 to trigger drought information statements, IRS for tax deferrals, USDA programmatic usage, and Livestock Forage Disaster Program disbursement ($147,109,381 in 2008, and $77,608,125 in 2009).

User community interactions:

Drought Forum 2009

Nghiem/JPL & Verdin/USGS

U.S. Drought Monitor (NOAA-USDA-USGS)

Water Storage Change

Model assimilated water storage, mm

January – December 2005 Loop

GRACE water storage, mm

January – December 2005 Loop


U.S. Drought Monitor (NOAA-USDA-USGS)

Soil Moisture Forecasts

Initial conditions (March 1, 2010)

1-month lead (April 1, 2010)

Root zone soil moisture anomaly (expressed as percentile)

Known drought conditions are predicted by GMAO seasonal prediction system to persist into April but be gone by May.

3-month lead (June 1, 2010)

2-month lead (May1, 2010)

Project: Development of a Robust Drought Index for Agricultural Applications.

PI: R. Koster, NASA/GSFC

Hydrologic Forecasting(USDA-DOI-CA DWR)

Snow Pack




Snow Data

Reservoir Regulation

Snowpack Initial Condition

D. Lettenmaier/U. Wash.

NASA Snow Monitoring

MODIS Snow Cover (%)

Observed SWE (mm)

17 January 2003

GLDAS Modeled SWE (mm)

Model-assimilated SWE (mm)


Central Great Rockies

MODIS cloud-gap-filled snow map

NASA-NOAA NOHRSC Project to Evaluate Use of NASA Products for Snow Water Equivalent & US Water Availability

‘GLDAS’ Assimilated Snow Water Equivalent


AFWA SNODEP model 20071212 12Z

NASA Project, Agriculture Forecasting(USDA)

& Soil Moisture Modeling

P.I. – Wade Crow USDA-ARS-HRSL

Co. I. – John D. Bolten NASA GSFC


USDA-FAS Soil Moisture


Root-Zone Anomaly Product


Improved Soil Moisture Product

  • Contribution: provide global soil moisture observations at higher accuracy, finer spatial resolution, and over broader geographic domains than existing USDA-FAS product, improved ROOT ZONE ANOMALY observations

  • Benefits: more accurate crop monitoring and drought prediction, greater agricultural economic security, improved food shortage warnings, increased agricultural efficiency, policy and resource management decision support

  • Status: Operationally delivered to the USDA -FAS in near real-time

Western Water Management(CA DWR, DOI, USDA)

Evapotranspiration (ET) Estimation & Modeling





(Lettenmaier, U. Wash.)

Water management model




Surface reflectance

Vegetation indices

Land cover …

Hourly surface radiation budget (SRB) data

Irrigation withdrawal

Drought Monitoring

Endangered Species

California recently experienced three years of drought, with reported cumulative and projected agricultural losses approaching $900m (DWR CA Drought Report, Dec 2009 Update).

Residential, industrial, agricultural, and environmental demands increasingly compete for limited water supplies .

Continued environmental/regulatory constraints on water supplies likely to be typical of future as population growth and climate change begin to impact state water supply.

CA Water Management(CA DWR)

Systems, Modeling, ET Estimation

Ag Water Demand: ARC

Water Supply: JPL

  • Goals:

    • Enhance snow pack and precipitation monitoring and snow water equivalent (SWE) forecasting to improve the ability of state and local agencies to estimate water availability and annual water budgets, and forecast flood risk.

    • Create a cyber-infrastructure for use of NASA data and models to support irrigation monitoring / optimization; and,

    • Add value to current investments in ground-based monitoring networks such as the California Irrigation Management and Information System (CIMIS)

Irrigation Optimization(DWR, USDA, Ag Industry) reported cumulative and projected agricultural losses approaching $900m (DWR CA Drought Report, Dec 2009 Update).

Modeling, ET

  • Application of the NASA Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System (TOPS) to integrate satellite and weather data to estimate ET, water balance, and irrigation demand

  • Builds on CIMIS, as well as previous success in vineyards

  • Data exchange with users via applications for web and mobile devices

  • Use of wireless soil moisture sensor networks for calibration

  • Partnerships with CA Dept. Water Resources, USDA-ARS, Agricultural producers, Universities, and Irrigation consultants

Summary & Future Directions reported cumulative and projected agricultural losses approaching $900m (DWR CA Drought Report, Dec 2009 Update).

  • NASA wants to utilize and leverage its large Earth science investment ($1.5B) to maximize societal benefits.

  • NASA Applied Sciences Program has a history of working effectively with other federal agencies and is increasingly interested in making its capabilities available at the regional level.

  • NASA may have capabilities that will assist the WSWC, through WestFAST, in its decision making processes.

    - NASA strongly supports NIDIS, US Drought Monitor and Outlook

    - NASA has several western US projects addressing snowpack, water loss (evapotranspiration), irrigated agriculture, groundwater monitoring, etc.

  • NASA seeks to work with WestFAST and other groups to plan and coordinate future solicitations for coordinated activities.

  • Support of possible US agency led programs affecting western water including Water Smart, NIDIS, Land Conservation Corps, RISAs, Climate Centers (USGS and NOAA), USGS Water Census, etc.