NASA’s Satellites Help with Turkey, Syria Earthquake Response

by | Feb 11, 2023

Following the magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes that struck southern Turkey and western Syria Feb. 6, 2023, NASA is working to share its aerial views and data from space in ways that can aid relief and recovery workers in the region as well as improve its ability to model and predict such events.

One of NASA’s key capabilities is an expertise with synthetic aperture radar, or SAR. Viewing Earth in all weather conditions, day or night, SAR is used to measure how the ground moves and built landscape changes after this type of event.

Scenes collected before and after the earthquake were used by a team of scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California to create something called a damage proxy map for Turkey. These maps compare before and after radar images of a given event to see how the landscape has changed. Members of the disasters program area of NASA’s Earth Science Applied Sciences as well as its national and international collaborators, make such maps available to a wide range of organizations such as the U.S. State Department, the California Seismic Safety Commission, Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief, and the World Bank.

While NASA members actively participate in coordination calls hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), they also provide observations and maps via their Disaster Mapping Portal.

Image Credit: NASA


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