A month-long wildfire on the southern slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains above Montecito, California, in December 2017–January 2018 denuded the slopes of the mountainside. When a heavy winter storm hit on 9 January 2018, the extensive rainfall on exposed ground caused debris flows that destroyed and damaged homes (as shown on the map) and killed more than 20 people. Credit: Donnellan et al., 2018, Figure 1b
Source: Earth and Space Science

NASA’s Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) flies 12½ kilometers above the Earth and collects data at high spatial resolution. Its observations have been used to detect a variety of changes in the Earth’s surface including crustal deformation and fault slip due to earthquakes, and surface motion from groundwater withdrawal and recharge. Donnellan et al. [2018] demonstate how UAVSAR imagery can be applied to natural hazard mapping and disaster response. Using the example of the 101 Freeway in California, affected in late 2017 by wildfire and in early 2018 by debris flows caused by a winter storm, the authors post-processed UAVSAR data to analyze changes in the landscape. Their results are presented in a before-and-after fashion. Data products using this method could be a useful tool for disaster response for fires and debris flows.

Citation: Donnellan, A., Parker, J., Milliner, C., Farr, T. G., Glasscoe, M., Lou, Y., et al. [2018]. UAVSAR and optical analysis of the Thomas fire scar and Montecito debris flows: Case study of methods for disaster response using remote sensing products. Earth and Space Science, 5. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EA000398

—Benoît Pirenne, Editor, Earth and Space Science

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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