ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station
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Welcome to ECOSTRESS


News Flash: ECOSTRESS has now acquired over 160,000 scenes (after In Orbit Checkout)

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 imaged a heat wave in western Madagascar


NASA's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) imaged a heat wave in western Madagascar on January 11th at 8:15 AM local time. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), abnormal heat was forecasted for the area along with a surrounding drought in the southern part of the country.

In the map above, red colors indicate widespread hot land surface temperatures along with intense heat toward the western coast. White speckling is clouds. The inset focuses on a section of the coast near the city of Morondova where these temperatures are at an extreme with highs reaching over 100℉/41℃ early in the morning.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, 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 LST was used to assess the heat wave pictured above.

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