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Monitoring the Globe to Sustain Seven Billion



Expanding demand from a growing world population -- now numbered at over 7 billion -- exerts unprecedented pressure on global resources, especially forests, water, and agriculture. Observing our world by remote sensing satellites enables scientists around the world to detect the most critical trends in natural resource conditions at local to global scales. Since 1972, the Landsat Earth observation satellites have monitored changes at the Earth's land surface, including changes in forests, water bodies and agricultural and urban areas.

Using the nearly 40 year global Landsat record in combination with other Earth observation systems and the latest scientific techniques in Earth imaging, experts in mapping and monitoring our planet will describe present conditions and outline the future of many of Earth's natural resources.


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Sustaining Seven Billion with Space-Based Means

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link to gallery item Landsat: The Longest Continuous Global Record of the Earth's Surface Landsat: The Longest Continuous Global Record of the Earth's Surface
The Landsat program is the longest continuous global record of the Earth's surface, and continues to deliver both visually stunning and scientifically valuable images of our planet. This short video highlights Landsat's many benefits to society.
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link to gallery item Global Agricultural Monitoring Global Agricultural Monitoring
This animation shows where the world's food is grown versus where the world's food is consumed. The movie starts with global croplands and then fades to the countries that produce over 80% of the world's wheat, grain, and cereal. It then overlays the world's population density and then fades to show the countries that are projected to double and triple their population by 2050.
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link to gallery item Food Production and Global Population Food Production and Global Population
The countries that produced 82% of the world's cereals (grain, oats, wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum) in 2008 are shown in yellow and the world population is shown in brown.
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link to gallery item Food Insecurity by Country Food Insecurity by Country
This image shows all countries classified as "Food Insecure" by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, between 2003 and 2005. Pale yellow means more then 5% of the people have insufficient food, darker Yellow means greater then 15% of the people have insufficient food, Orange means greater then 25% of the people have insufficient food, Red means greater then 35% of the people have insufficient food, and Deep Red means greater then 50% of the people have insufficient food.
link to gallery item Drought Around the World, 2005-09 Drought Around the World, 2005-09
This image shows land in grey, water in blue, the worldwide croplands region as designated by NASA's MODIS instrument in yellow, and the drought regions in brown. Drought data is aggregate data from 2005 until 2009.
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link to gallery item Global Temperature Anomalies, 1880-2010 Global Temperature Anomalies, 1880-2010
This color-coded map displays a progression of changing global surface temperatures anomalies from 1880 through 2010. The final frame represents global temperature anomalies averaged from 2006 to 2010.
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link to gallery item Global Rate of Deforestation Global Rate of Deforestation
Every 15 minutes around the world, an area of forest the size of the U.S. Mall is lost.

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link to gallery item Amazon Deforestation, 2000-2010 Amazon Deforestation, 2000-2010
Deforestation in western Brazil is observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite. This timelapse shows the reduction of the forest from 2000-2010.
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link to gallery item LDCM, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission LDCM, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission
An artist's conception of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), the eigth satellite in the long-running Landsat program, flying over the US Gulf Coast.
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link to gallery item LDCM Flying in Orbit LDCM Flying in Orbit
Animation of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) spacecraft in orbit around the Earth. The satellite will travel at 7.5 km/second, circling the globe every 99 minutes at an altitude of 438 miles. LDCM will image a swath 185 km in width and complete about 14 orbits each day, thereby imaging Earth's land every 16 days.
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link to gallery item OLI In The Cleanroom OLI In The Cleanroom
The Operational Land Imager (OLI), built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., will fly on the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). OLI will measure in the visible, near infrared, and short wave infrared portions of the spectrum, with an improved signal-to-noise ratio compared to past Landsat instruments.
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link to gallery item TIRS: Opening the Vacuum Chamber TIRS: Opening the Vacuum Chamber
The Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS) is part of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) to continue thermal imaging and to support emerging applications such as evapotranspiration rate measurements for water management. TIRS is being built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and has a three-year design life.
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link to gallery item Landsat: A Space Age Water Gauge Landsat: A Space Age Water Gauge
Water specialists Rick Allen, Bill Kramber and Tony Morse have created an innovative satellite-based method that maps agricultural water consumption. The team uses Landsat thermal band data to measure the amount of water evaporating from the soil and transpiring from plants' leaves. Evapotranspiring water absorbs energy, so farm fields consuming more water appear cooler in the thermal band. The Landsat observations provide an objective way for water managers to assess on a field-by-field basis how much water agricultural growers are using.
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link to gallery item Landsat Studies Insect Damaged Forests Landsat Studies Insect Damaged Forests
Mountain pine beetles, while native to Western forests, damage trees and kill whole regions of forest. University of Wisconsin forest ecologist Phil Townsend and his team use Landsat data and hit the ground near Yellowstone National Park to study the issue.
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