ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station
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News Flash: ECOSTRESS Completed 12,000 orbits (after In Orbit Checkout)

ECOSTRESS Science and Applications Team Meeting - Nov 2020 will be Virtual

ECOSTRESS is addressing  three overarching science questions:

  • How is the terrestrial biosphere responding to changes in water availability?
  • How do changes in diurnal vegetation water stress impact the global carbon cycle?
  • Can agricultural vulnerability be reduced through advanced monitoring of agricultural water consumptive use and improved drought estimation?

The ECOSTRESS mission is answering these questions by accurately measuring the temperature of plants.  Plants regulate their temperature by releasing water through tiny pores on their leaves called stomata.  If they have sufficient water they can maintain their temperature, but if there is insufficient water, their temperatures rise and this temperature rise can be measured with ECOSTRESS.  The images acquired by ECOSTRESS are the most detailed temperature images of the surface ever acquired from space and can be used to measure the temperature of an individual farmers field.

One of the core products that will be produced by ECOSTRESS team is the Evaporative Stress Index (ESI). ESI is a leading drought indicator - it can indicate that plants are stressed and that a drought is likely to occur providing the option for decision makers to take action. 

NASA's ECOSTRESS Takes Surface Temperature Around California Fires

Southern California Fires

On Sept. 6, NASA’s ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) imaged active fires across California, including the El Dorado fire near Yucaipa and the Valley fire in Japatul Valley in the southern part of the state. As of Sept. 8, there were 25 major wildfires burning in California.

Both images, taken at 12:13 a.m. PDT (3:13 p.m. EDT), show multiple concentrated areas of surface temperatures (in red) higher than 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius). These high temperature regions were likely where the active fires were occurring. The surrounding areas show abnormally warm middle-of-the-night background surface temperatures (orange) due to the ongoing heat wave.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California built and manages the ECOSTRESS mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Future studies could use ECOSTRESS data products in a similar fashion as land surface temperature was used to assess the fires pictured above.

For information on Earth science activities aboard the International Space Station, visit: 

http://www.nasa.gov/issearthscience