Landsat: A Space Age Water Gauge

  • Released Monday, September 14, 2009
  • Updated Friday, September 10, 2021 at 12:29AM
  • ID: 10484

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. Landsat is a joint program of NASA and the US Geological Survey.

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Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.

Agriculture consumes a great deal of water. As demand for water increases, the pressure's on to make sure every drop counts.


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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Stock Footage Courtesy of Visionaries, Inc.


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