ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station
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Welcome to ECOSTRESS

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ECOSTRESS Overview

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. 

 

Costa Rica
Full Image

Image shows plant stress in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica (in red on inset map) a few months after the onset of a major Central American drought. Red indicates high stress, yellow is moderate stress, greens/blues are low stress. (clouds in light gray)