Home HSE News Assessment And Prediction Of Natural Disasters Using Satellite Data

Assessment And Prediction Of Natural Disasters Using Satellite Data


Assessment And Prediction Of Natural Disasters Using Satellite Data: Climate change is causing an increase in natural disasters that threaten large populations. Their consequences in the long term can harm sustainable development, the economy, the environment, and the social aspect. Disaster management requires practical tools. Remote sensing technologies are essential in dealing with earthquakes, floods, and other disasters. Satellite remote sensing is widely used because the technology is cost-effective and provides comprehensive coverage. Satellite tools, including Landsat 8 band combinations, help to deal with natural disasters at all stages, from a warning to monitoring and impact assessment. 

Remote Sensing 

Remote sensing technologies make it possible to observe the Earth’s surface from a height and obtain reliable data on various events and changes. The primary tool for remote sensing is satellites. They are equipped with different sensors. Sensors collect information that is unavailable to the naked human eye for analysis. It makes remote sensing one of the leading technologies for forecasting, monitoring, managing, and minimizing the consequences of natural disasters. 

Role of Remote Sensing in Disaster Management 

Remote sensing can quickly provide reliable data before and after a disaster. This data helps to assess the damage and develop a rehabilitation plan. Before a natural disaster, satellites can identify and develop an adequate response system to effectively coordinate actions to minimize damage and speed up recovery. 

With the help of Radarsat, MODIS, ASTER, and Landsat 8 data, specialists compile disaster risk maps. LIDAR and other remote sensing tools provide data for flood modeling. In addition, remote sensing data help analyze the potential impacts of flooding due to projected sea level rise. 

Applications of different wavebands for disaster management 

Satellites that monitor the surface of our planet differ in the frequency of observations and the visible area. Two complementary types of satellites play a critical role in disaster management. Polar-orbiting satellites are located at an altitude of about 1000 km above the Earth (relatively low orbit) and provide high spatial resolution, collecting data from the same point every few days. 

Geostationary satellites fly at high altitudes (about 36,000 km), the speed of rotation of which coincides with the speed of rotation of the Earth around its axis. Such satellites remain stationary and collect data simultaneously every 15 minutes. The satellites are equipped with sensors that take measurements at different wavelengths and provide valuable data for disaster monitoring. 

Thermal sensors help detect active fires. Infrared sensors are used to detect floods. During earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, microwave sensors penetrate clouds and smoke, making it possible to assess surface deformation. Landsat 8 sensors, for example, enable tracking heat during and after a fire. In addition, thanks to its sensors, it is possible to detect lava flows even in gaseous form. 

Earthquake Response 

Earthquakes are difficult to predict. However, remote sensing enables more accurate forecasts to be made using InSAR. The combination of several radar images makes it possible to measure ground movement. InSAR instruments are also a valuable tool for earthquake damage assessment. Satellite images help search and rescue teams in cities after earthquakes better navigate and assess economic losses. 

READ: MilliporeSigma Invests $ 286 Million in U.S. Drug Safety Testing Capacity

High-resolution images enable hazard mapping for building code guidance and disaster preparedness strategies. High-resolution images are used to detect corrupted knowledge, as they provide a high level of detail. Medium-resolution images can also be used for damage detection. Thanks to such photos, it is possible to obtain a wider band for displaying the consequences of an earthquake. For example, satellite data from the Landsat-8 satellite with the OLI sensor provides valuable information about the effects of an earthquake. Differences in OLI reflectances before and after a natural disaster make it possible to study earthquakes’ effects on the Earth’s surface deformation. It makes Landsat 8 bands application quite useful for assessing the consequences of natural disasters. 

Fire Mapping 

Satellites make it possible to detect potential fires to prevent or minimize damage. Satellite data are also used to coordinate the work of rescue teams in monitoring the movement of fire during active fires. 

The MODIS Rapid Response System provides daily satellite imagery within hours of data collection. The system enables the identification of hot spots and requests additional information from other satellites. Global maps created by MODIS show active fires over the past ten days. Many monitoring programs use this fire mapping system. 

Flood Monitoring 

 Satellites are also practical for flood warnings. They provide information on response and recovery measures. Remote sensing enables quick data obtaining on vast areas, which is extremely difficult to do in other ways due to logistical constraints. It is vital for tracking active floods in real time, as this technology makes it possible to obtain the necessary information remotely without endangering people’s lives. Satellite data is also valuable for flood forecasting and modeling, helping to assess and minimize potential damage to communities and infrastructure.

READ: Tornado Warning; What Should I Do?

The Tropical Precipitation Observation Mission measures and displays rainfall, making it possible to predict heavy rain and flooding. The Sentinel Asia team, which includes 18 countries, provides remote sensing data via the Internet. These data are easily interpreted and provide information for Asia’s early warning and flood damage assessments. 

EOSDA LandViewer`s images show the aftermath of flooding in Louisiana`s LaPlace from August 23 to September 2, 2021.


NASA has also developed several tools that automatically alert professionals and government agencies to impending floods. SensorWeb detects anomalies in river discharges and initiates satellite queries to obtain high-resolution data for the area of ​​interest. 


Remote sensing makes it possible to observe various Earth’s surface changes. Satellites provide real-time and historical data that can be analyzed and compared to assess the impact of natural disasters. 

Both medium and high-resolution satellite imagery can be applied for natural disaster management. The medium-resolution images provide access to valuable information on broad areas. The high-resolution imagery can provide the detail needed to assess, for example, separate building damage. 

Remote sensing technologies also make it possible to predict natural disasters and model their potential development. This information can help to minimize damage through higher awareness of potential threats and consequences for the population and infrastructure.

%d bloggers like this: