Drought Monitoring Through Cloud Computing and Visualization of Remote Sensing and Meteorological Datasets

2015 Fall Cyberseminar Series

Justin Huntington / Desert Research Institute

Talk Description:

Drought has adverse effects on society through reduced water availability, agricultural production, and increased wildfire risk. Satellite remote sensing datasets (i.e MODIS and Landsat) can be used to monitor historical and near real-time drought conditions by visualizing vegetation, snow, water, and fire indices computed from at surface reflectance and thermal imagery. Gridded meteorological datasets (i.e. NLDAS, PRISM, DAYMET, gridMET) can also be used, and paired with remote sensing datasets, to provide information about the causality and intensity of drought conditions. Through a Google Faculty Research Award, we have developed a web application called ClimateEngine.org that utilizes Google Earth Engine’s massively parallel cloud computing platform and enables users to process and visualize different drought metrics at multiple time scales and in near real-time. This presentation will illustrate numerous spatial and temporal examples of historical and current western U.S. drought conditions using ClimateEngine.org. The ability to access entire remote sensing and meteorological data archives with on demand parallel cloud computing has created numerous opportunities for advanced drought monitoring.


Justin Huntington is an associate research professor of Hydrology at the Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada. His research interests are focused on remote sensing, land surface energy balance measurement and modeling, drought monitoring, and integrated hydrologic modeling. His projects are primarily being funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, NASA, and Google. He is one of 25 members of the Landsat Science Team.

CUAHSI's 2015 Fall Cybseminar Series on The Western U.S. Drought on the Ground and from Space: Combining in situ and remotely sensed data to understand and mitigate drought!

Hosted by Todd Caldwell Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas