Landslides

Landslides are one of the most pervasive hazards in the world, resulting in more fatalities and economic damage than is generally recognized. They have caused more than 11,500 fatalities in 70 countries from 2007-2010, and in the United States alone $1-2 billion dollars per year in damage from destroyed houses and blocked roads, according to the United States Geological Survey. Saturating the soil on vulnerable slopes, intense and prolonged rainfall is the most frequent landslide trigger. But understanding the land and weather conditions that lead to landslides on larger scales or within developing countries is often difficult because of the lack of ground-based sensors at the landslide site to provide rainfall information.

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Data Visualizations

  • Global Rainfall-triggered Landslides from IMERG
    2015.07.01
    Landslides occur when an environmental trigger like an extreme rain event, often a severe storm or hurricane, and gravity's downward pull sets soil and rock in motion. Conditions beneath the surface are often unstable already, so the heavy rains act as the last straw that causes mud, rocks, or debris—or all combined—to move rapidly down mountains and hillsides. Unfortunately, people and property are often swept up in these unexpected mass movements. Landslides can also be caused by earthquakes, surface freezing and thawing, ice melt, the collapse of groundwater reservoirs, volcanic eruptions, and erosion at the base of a slope from th flow of river or ocean water. But torrential rains most commonly activate landslides. The NASA Global Landslide Catalog (GLC) was developed with the goal of identifying rainfall-triggered landslide events around the world, regardless of size, impact, or location. The GLC considers all types of mass movements triggered by rainfall, which have been reported in the media, disaster databases, scientific reports, or other sources. THe GLC has been compiled since 2007 at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Here the GLC is shown with precipitation data detected by NASA's Integrated Multi-satellite Retrieval for the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) (IMERG). Landslide inventories are critical to support investigations of where and when landslides have happened and may occur in the future; however, there is surprisingly little information on the historical occurrence of landslides at the global scale. This visualization displays all rainfall-triggered landslides from 2007 through March 2015 from a publically available global rainfall-triggered landslide catalog (GLC). This is a valuable database for characterizing global patterns of landslide occurence and evaluating relationshipswith extreme precipitation at regional and global scales. For more information on the Global Landslide Catalog, please visit: ojo-streamer.herokuapp.com
  • Near Real-Time Global Precip
    2015.03.31
    The global IMERG precipitation dataset provides rainfall rates for the entire world every thirty minutes. This remarkable dataset is created by combining precipitation measurements from 10 international satellites: GPM, TRMM, GCOM-W1, NOAA-18, NOAA-19, DMSP F-16, DMSP F-17, DMSP F-18, Metop-A, and Metop-B Although the process to create the combined dataset is intensive, the Global Precipitation Measurement team creates a preliminary, near real-time data set of precipitation within about a day of data acquisition. The animation on this page shows the most recent week or so of that preliminary data.
  • IMERG Global Precip Rates
    2015.02.26
    NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission has produced its first global map of rainfall and snowfall. The GPM Core Observatory launched one year ago on Feb. 27, 2014 as a collaboration between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and acts as the standard to unify precipitation measurements from a network of 12 satellites. The result is NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM data product, called IMERG, which combines data from all 12 satellites into a single, seamless map. The map covers more of the globe than any previous precipitation data set and is updated every half hour, allowing scientists to see how rain and snow storms move around nearly the entire planet. As scientists work to understand all the elements of Earth's climate and weather systems, and how they could change in the future, GPM provides a major step forward in providing the scientific community comprehensive and consistent measurements of precipitation.
  • IMERG Ghats Mountains, India
    2015.03.31
    NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission has produced its first global map of rainfall and snowfall. The GPM Core Observatory launched one year ago on Feb. 27, 2014 as a collaboration between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and acts as the standard to unify precipitation measurements from a network of 12 satellites. The result is NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM data product, called IMERG, which combines data from all 12 satellites into a single, seamless map. The map covers more of the globe than any previous precipitation data set and is updated every half hour, allowing scientists to see how rain and snow storms move around nearly the entire planet. As scientists work to understand all the elements of Earth's climate and weather systems, and how they could change in the future, GPM provides a major step forward in providing the scientific community comprehensive and consistent measurements of precipitation.
  • GPM Constellation
    2012.05.28
    Nine U.S. and international satellites will soon be united by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, a partnership co-led by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). NASA and JAXA will provide the GPM Core satellite to serve as a reference for precipitation measurements made by this constellation of satellites, which will be combined into a single global dataset continually refreshed every three hours.

    While each partner satellite has its own mission objective, they all carry a type of instrument called a radiometer that measures radiated energy from rainfall and snowfall. The GPM Core satellite carries two instruments: a state-of-the-art radiometer called the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the first space-borne Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), which sees the 3D structure of falling rain and snow. The DPR and GMI work in concert to provide a unique database that will be used to improve the accuracy and consistency of measurements from all partner satellites, which will then be combined into the uniform global precipitation dataset.

    In this animation the orbit paths of the partner satellites of the GPM constellation fill in blue as the instruments pass over Earth. Rainfall appears light blue for light rain, yellow for moderate, and red for heavy rain. Partner satellites are traced in green and purple, and the GPM Core is traced in red.

    The GPM Core observatory is currently being built and tested at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. It is scheduled to launch from Tanegashima space center in Japan in early 2014.

  • 3D Mohawk
    2012.12.03
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is co-led by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). NASA and JAXA will provide a GPM Core satellite to serve as a reference for precipitation measurements made by a constellation of satellites. The GPM Core satellite carries two instruments: a state-of-the-art radiometer called the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the first space-borne Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), which sees the 3D structure of falling rain and snow. The DPR and GMI work in concert to provide a unique database that will be used to improve the accuracy and consistency of measurements from all partner satellites, which will then be combined into the uniform global precipitation dataset.

    This animation shows the scanning capabilities of the GMI and DPR onboard the GPM Core satellite. Heavy rainfall is shown in red and light rainfall in blue. The DPR shows 3D precipitation in a midlatitude storm from two overlapping swaths. The Ka-band frequency scans across a region of 78 miles (125 kilometers) and is nested within the wider scan of the Ku-band frequency of 147 miles (245 kilometers). JAXA and Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) built the DPR. The GMI, shown as the flat precipitation values,constantly scans a region 550 miles (885 kilometers) across. The Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation built the GMI under contract with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

    The GPM Core observatory is currently being built and tested at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. It is scheduled to launch from Tanegashima space center in Japan in early 2014.

Animations

  • Rotational Landslide
    2015.07.27
    Landslides are one of the most pervasive hazards in the world, resulting in more fatalities and economic damage than is generally recognized. They have caused more than 11,500 fatalities in 70 countries from 2007-2010, and in the United States alone $1-2 billion dollars per year in damage from destroyed houses and blocked roads, according to the United States Geological Survey. Saturating the soil on vulnerable slopes, intense and prolonged rainfall is the most frequent landslide trigger. But understanding the land and weather conditions that lead to landslides on larger scales or within developing countries is often difficult because of the lack of ground-based sensors at the landslide site to provide rainfall information.
  • GPM Satellite
    2013.10.31
    A variety of animated beauty passes of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core spacecraft.
  • Instruments
    2013.04.16
    This conceptual animation shows the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) scanning through a cloud detecting various precipitation particles.