Investigations of Hail Damage Swaths using Various Satellite Remote Sensing Platforms (106)

Jordan Bell, University of Alabama in Huntsville Earth System Science Center/NASA SPoRT, Huntsville, AL

Lori Schultz, University of Alabama in Huntsville Earth System Science Center/NASA SPoRT

Andrew Molthan, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Earth Science Branch/NASA SPoRT



Severe thunderstorms during the growing season present a combination of hazards to agriculture and other surface vegetation. Traditional optical satellite remote sensing instruments have been used to identify and map the damage regions through use of vegetation indices, land surface temperatures, and their localized anomalies or departures from climatology. While optical remote sensors are plentiful and provide routine observations, they can be limited by cloud cover that obscures the land surface. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is an active sensing strategy that can penetrate cloud cover in many currently operating wavelengths and provide imaging regardless of the time of day. This presentation will demonstrate how combined optical and SAR remote sensing can be applied to identify severe thunderstorm and hail damage to agriculture in two cases studies: 18 June 2016 in northwest Iowa and 21 June 2017 in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, significant events with clear signals in a variety of sensors. The presentation will highlight the magnitude of change between damaged and undamaged areas, use radar-estimated hail size and storm reports to confirm interpretation, and educate potential end-users on how to use SAR in conjunction with optical datasets.