NASA GHRC Collaboration between NASA MSFC and The University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Access Data
    • Dataset List (HyDRO)
      • View a list of all GHRC dataset holdings using our custom search tool, HyDRO.
    • Search (HyDRO)
      • HyDRO is GHRC's custom dataset search and order tool.

        With HyDRO, you can search, discover, and filter GHRC's dataset holdings.

        HyDRO will also help you find information about browse imagery, access restrictions, and dataset guide documents.
    • NASA Earthdata Search
      • Earthdata is NASA's next generation metadata and service discovery tool, providing search and access capabilities for dataset holdings at all of the Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) including the GHRC.
    • Latest Data (HyDRO)
      • View the latest additions to our data holdings using HyDRO.
  • Measurements
  • Field Campaigns
    • Hurricane Science
      • GHRC has worked with NASA's Hurricane Science Research Program (HSRP) since the 1990's. We are the archive and distribution center for data collected during HSRP field campaigns, as well as the recent Hurricane Science and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Earth Venture mission. Field campaigns provide for intensive observation of specific phenomena using a variety of instruments on aircraft, satellites and surface networks.

        GHRC also hosts a database of Atlantic and Pacific tropical storm tracks derived from the storm data published by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
    • HS3 (2012-14)
      • Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) is an Earth Ventures – Suborbital 1 mission aimed at better understanding the physical processes that control hurricane intensity change, addressing questions related to the roles of environmental conditions and internal storm structures to storm intensification.

        A variety of in-situ, satellite observations, airborne data, meteorological analyses, and simulation data were collected with missions over the Atlantic in August and September of three observation years (2012, 2013, 2014). These data are available at GHRC beginning in 2015.
    • GRIP (2010)
      • The Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment was a NASA Earth science field experiment in 2010 that was conducted to better understand how tropical storms form and develop into major hurricanes.

        The GRIP deployment was 15 August – 30 September 2010 with bases in Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the DC-8, at Houston, TX for the WB-57, and at NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, CA for the Global Hawk.
    • TC4 (2007)
      • The NASA TC4 (Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling) mission investigated the structure and properties of the chemical, dynamic, and physical processes in atmosphere of the tropical Eastern Pacific.

        TC4 was based in San Jose, Costa Rica during July 2007.

        The Real Time Mission Monitor provided simultaneous aircraft status for three aircraft during the TC4 experiment. During TC4, the NASA ER-2, WB-57 and DC-8 aircraft flew missions at various times. The science flights were scheduled between 17 July and 8 August 2007.
    • NAMMA (2006)
      • The NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (NAMMA) campaign was a field research investigation based in the Cape Verde Islands, 350 miles off the coast of Senegal in west Africa.

        Commenced in August 2006, NASA scientists employed surface observation networks and aircraft to characterize the evolution and structure of African Easterly Waves (AEWs) and Mesoscale Convective Systems over continental western Africa, and their associated impacts on regional water and energy budgets.
    • TCSP (2005)
      • The Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) mission was an Earth science field research investigation focused on the study of the dynamics and thermodynamics of precipitating cloud systems and tropical cyclones. TCSP was conducted during the period July 1-27, 2005 out of the Juan Santamaria Airfield in San Jose, Costa Rica.

        The TCSP field experiment flew 12 NASA ER-2 science flights, including missions to Hurricanes Dennis and Emily, Tropical Storm Gert and an eastern Pacific mesoscale complex that may possibly have further developed into Tropical Storm Eugene.
    • ACES (2002)
      • The Altus Cumulus Electrification Study (ACES) was aimed at better understanding the causes and effects of electrical storms.

        Based at the Naval Air Station Key West in Florida, researchers in August 2002 chased down thunderstorms using an uninhabited aerial vehicle, or "UAV", allowing them to achieve dual goals of gathering weather data safely and testing new aircraft technology. This marked the first time a UAV was used to conduct lightning research.
    • CAMEX-4 (2001)
      • The Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) was a series of NASA-sponsored hurricane science field research investigations. The fourth field campaign in the CAMEX series (CAMEX-4) was held in 16 August - 24 September, 2001 and was based out of Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida.

        CAMEX-4 was focused on the study of tropical cyclone (hurricane) development, tracking, intensification, and landfalling impacts using NASA-funded aircraft and surface remote sensing instrumentation.
    • CAMEX-3 (1998)
      • The Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) is a series of hurricane science field research investigations sponsored by NASA. The third field campaign in the CAMEX series (CAMEX-3) was based at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida from 6 August - 23 September, 1998.

        CAMEX-3 successfully studied Hurricanes Bonnie, Danielle, Earl and Georges, yielding data on hurricane structure, dynamics, and motion. CAMEX-3 collected data for research in tropical cyclone development, tracking, intensification, and landfalling impacts using NASA-funded aircraft and surface remote sensing instrumentation.
    • GPM Ground Validation
      • The NASA Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) Ground Validation (GV) program includes the following field campaigns:

        a) LPVEx, Gulf of Finland in autumn 2010, to study rainfall in high latitude environments

        b) MC3E, cental Oklahoma spring and early summer 2011, to develop a complete characterization of convective cloud systems, precipitation and the environment

        c) GCPEx, Ontario, Canada winter of 2011-2012, direct and remove sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of precipitating snow.

        d) IFloodS, Iowa, spring and early summer 2013, to study the relative roles of rainfall quantities and other factors in flood genesis.

        e) IPHEx, N. Carolina Appalachians/Piedmont region May-June 2014, for hydrologic validation over varied topography.

        f) OLYMPEx, Washington's Olympic Peninsula scheduled November 2015-February 2016, for hydrologic validation in extreme coastal and topographic gradients
    • OLYMPEX (Upcoming)
      • The OLYMPEX field campaign is scheduled to take place between November, 2015, and February, 2016, on the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

        This field campaign will provide ground-based validation support of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite program that is a joint effort between NASA and JAXA.

        As for all GPM-GV campaigns, the GHRC will provide a collaboration portal to help investigators exchange planning information and to support collection of real-time data as well as mission science, project and instrument status reports during the campaign.
    • IPHEx (2014)
      • The Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEx) was conducted in North Carolina during the months of April-June, 2014.

        IPHEx sought to characterize warm season orographic precipitation regimes, and the relationship between precipitation regimes and hydrologic processes in regions of complex terrain.
    • IFLOODs (2013)
      • The Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) experiment was conducted in the central to northeastern part of Iowa in Midwestern United States during the months of April-June, 2013.

        IFloodS' primary goal was to discern the relative roles of rainfall quantities such as rate and accumulation as compared to other factors (e.g. transport of water in the drainage network) in flood genesis.
    • GCPEX (2011-2012)
      • The GPM Cold-season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEx) occurred in Ontario, Canada during the winter season (Jan 15- Feb 26) of 2011-2012.

        GCPEx addressed shortcomings in GPM snowfall retrieval algorithm by collecting microphysical properties, associated remote sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of precipitating snow. Collectively the GCPEx data set provides a high quality, physically-consistent and coherent data set suited to the development and testing of GPM snowfall retrieval algorithm physics.
    • MC3E (2011)
      • The Mid-latitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) took place in central Oklahoma during the April–June 2011 period.

        The overarching goal was to provide the most complete characterization of convective cloud systems, precipitation, and the environment that has ever been obtained, providing constraints for model cumulus parameterizations and space-based rainfall retrieval algorithms over land that had never before been available.
    • LPVEx (2010)
      • The Light Precipitation Evaluation Experiment (LPVEx) took place in the Gulf of Finland in September and October, 2010 and collected microphysical properties, associated remote sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of high latitude precipitation systems to drive the evaluation and development of precipitation algorithms for current and future satellite platforms.

        In doing so, LPVEx sought to address the general lack of dedicated ground-validation datasets from the ongoing development of new or improved algorithms for detecting and quantifying high latitude rainfall
  • Projects
    • HS3 Suborbital Mission
      • Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) is an Earth Ventures – Suborbital 1 mission aimed at better understanding the physical processes that control hurricane intensity change, addressing questions related to the roles of environmental conditions and internal storm structures to storm intensification.
      • DISCOVER was funded by NASA’s MEaSUREs program to provide highly accurate, multi-decadal geophysical products derived from satellite microwave sensors.
    • LIS Mission
      • Lightning observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensors (LIS) aboard the NASA’s TRMM satellite and International Space Station, as well as airborne observations and ground validation data.
    • SANDS
      • The SANDS project addressed Gulf of Mexico Alliance priority issues by generating enhanced imagery from MODIS and Landsat data to identify suspended sediment resulting from tropical cyclones. These tropical cyclones have significantly altered normal coastal processes and characteristics in the Gulf region through sediment disturbance.
      • The Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) system provides access to near real-time data (less than 3 hours from observation) from AIRS, AMSR2, MLS, MODIS, and OMI instruments. LANCE AMSR2 products are generated by the AMSR Science Investigator-led Processing System at the GHRC.
  • Resources
    • Tools & Technologies
      • A collection of tools & technologies developed and/or used by GHRC.
    • Publications
      • View GHRC & ITSC publications on the ITSC website
    • Innovations Lab
      • The GHRC Innovations Lab is a showcase for emerging geoinformatics technologies resulting from NASA-sponsored research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
    • Educational Resources
      • A list of resources from NASA, MSFC, and other sources for teachers and students focused on global change, hydrology, and science education.
    • Referencing our data
      • GHRC dataset citation help and examples.
    • Documents
      • Documentation related to GHRC datasets, software, and other offerings.
    • Glossary
      • Terms and their definitions
    • Featured items
      • The latest tools from GHRC.
  • Multimedia
  • About
    • Welcome
      • Local resources, lodging information, and weather to help you plan your visit to GHRC.
    • GHRC Personnel
      • A list to help you keep in touch with our personnel
    • FAQ
      • Frequently Asked Questions about GHRC data and services, and their answers.
    • Data Citations and Acknowledgements
      • GHRC dataset citation help and examples
  • Cite Us
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Guide Documents

Dataset PI Documents

Dataset Software

Sediment Analysis Network for Decision Support (SANDS) - Landsat Datasets

Sediment Analysis Network for Decision Support (SANDS) Landsat Geological Survey of AL (GSA) Analysis
Sediment Analysis Network for Decision Support (SANDS) Landsat Geotiff

Table of Contents

File Naming Convention
Data Format
Contact Information


The Sediment Analysis Network for Decision Support (SANDS) project, funded by NASA, focuses on enhancing suspended sediment in satellite imagery related to tropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico. Since the year 2000, Eastern Louisiana, coastal Mississippi, Alabama, and the western Florida panhandle have been affected by 28 tropical storms, seven of which were hurricanes. These tropical cyclones have significantly altered normal coastal processes and characteristics in the Gulf region through sediment disturbance. Sediment deposits are changed in very short periods of time by these tropical storms. SANDS will generate decision support products that address the impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes on sediment disturbance, suspension, transport, and deposition in the Alabama and Florida coastal region. NASA satellite observations from MODIS, Landsat and SeaWiFS instruments, using color and infrared reflected bands, will be used to produce these decision support products. Analyzed data from these instruments will be enhanced to show suspended sediment carried out much farther into the Gulf than can be seen in normal true-color images. Increased area of sediment plumes from pre- to post- storm data can be visualized in the enhanced imagery and helps with comparison of pre- and post-storm runoff, sediment suspension, and transport patterns.

The Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA) GeoTIFF products are enhanced images that highlight suspended sediment in the imagery (both before and after the storms) through image processing techniques. Image enhancement methods including false color composites, spectral ratios, and other spectral enhancements based on the mineral composition of sediments. Daytime images from Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 GeoTIFF imagery for Gulf coastal storms were used. Documentation on the analysis methodology is found at Methods-Flow-Chart_Landsat.ppt and specific storm conditions and satellite information is documented in Landsat_and_MODIS_Info.xls.

The following 2000-2008 named storms were included:

Storm Name

Landfall Date

Data Dates

Hurricane Helene

September 21, 2000

(2000.255- 2000.275)

Tropical Storm Allison

June 5, 2001

(2001.145- 2001.163)

Tropical Storm Barry

August 5, 2001

(2001.206 - 2001.226)

Tropical Storm Isidore

September 25, 2002

(2002.259- 2002.279)

Hurricane Ivan

September 15, 2004

(2004.255 - 2004.269)

Tropical Storm Arlene

June 11, 2005

(2005.153 - 2005.171)

Tropical Storm Cindy

July 5, 2005

(2005.179- 2006.193)

Hurricane Dennis

July 10, 2005

(2005.182- 2005.200)

Hurricane Katrina

August 28, 2005

(2005.232 - 2005.250)

Tropical Storm Fay

August 19, 2008

(2008.227- 2008.246 )

Hurricane Gustav

September 1, 2008

(2008.235 - 2008.253)

The preliminary Landsat GeoTIFF products were produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and were the input for the GSA sediment analysis data product. The products used were from the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and the Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper. The Thematic Mapper is a Landsat multispectral scanner designed to acquire data to categorize the Earth's surface. Particular emphasis was placed on agricultural applications and identification of land use. The scanner continuously scans the surface of the Earth, simultaneously acquiring data in seven spectral channels. The ground resolution of the six visible and shortwave bands of the Thematic Mapper is 30 meters, and the resolution of the thermal infrared band is 120 meters. The Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), on Landsat 7, replicates the capabilities of the highly successful Thematic Mapper instruments on Landsat 4 and 5. The ETM+ also includes new features that make it a more versatile and efficient instrument for global change studies, land cover monitoring and assessment, and large area mapping.


Thematic Mapper:

The Thematic Mapper (TM) is an advanced, multispectral scanning, Earth resources sensor designed to achieve higher image resolution, sharper spectral separation, improved geometric fidelity and greater radiometric accuracy and resolution than the MSS sensor. TM data are sensed in seven spectral bands simultaneously. Band 6 senses thermal (heat) infrared radiation. Landsat can only acquire night scenes in band 6. A TM scene has an Instantaneous Field Of View (IFOV) of 30 square meters in bands 1-5 and 7 while band 6 has an IFOV of 120 square meters on the ground. A Thematic Mapper (TM) is still operational aboard Landsat 5 as of  September 2010.

Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+):

The Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instrument is a fixed "whisk-broom", eight-band, multispectral scanning radiometer capable of providing high-resolution imaging information of the Earth's surface. It detects spectrally-filtered radiation in VNIR, SWIR, LWIR and panchromatic bands from the sun-lit Earth in a 183 km wide swath when orbiting at an altitude of 705 km. An ETM+ scene has an Instantaneous Field Of View (IFOV) of 30 meters in bands 1-5 and 7 while band 6 has an IFOV of 60 meters on the ground and the band 8 an IFOV of 15 meters.


Landsat 5:

On March 1, 1984, NASA launched Landsat 5, the agency’s last originally mandated Landsat satellite. Landsat 5 was designed and built at the same time as Landsat 4 and carried the same payload: the Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM) instruments. The TM instrument is still in operation, some 26 years after its planned design life. Data are regularly acquired at stations in the U.S. and Australia for entry into the U.S. archive.

Landsat 7:

Built for NASA and launched April 15, 1999, Landsat 7 is a remote sensing spacecraft operated for the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Landsat 7 is the seventh spacecraft in the Landsat series and is dedicated to capturing images of the changing Earth for use in many fields of study and application. Landsat 7 is continually adding to a database containing images of every piece of land on the planet. USGS is responsible for Landsat 7 operations, data processing, archive and distribution.

File Naming Convention

The GSA enhanced Analyzed GeoTIFF data files are zipped containing information files and ARCGIS files that can be read using ESRI software. All data are from year 2008. The file naming convention for the GSA product is as follows:



SE = Storm Event
<Storm> = storm name, e.g. Dennis, Gustav
yyyy = 4 digit year
mm = 2 digit month
dd= 2 digit day
pp = starting path
rr = starting row
ext = pdf (sediment product), jpg (stacked image), txt

The file-naming convention for the USGS GeoTIFF product is as follows:

Landsat 7:     LMfppprrr_rrrYYYYMMDD_AAA.XXX
Landsat 5:     LMfppprrr_rrrYYYYMMDD_AAA.XXX


L = Landsat
M = Mission: (7 = Landsat 7, 5=Landsat 5)
f = ETM+ format (1 or 2) (data not pertaining to a specific format default to 1)
ppp = Product starting path
rrr_rrr = Product starting and ending rows
YYYYMMDD = Acquisition date of the image
AAA = File type:

B10 = Band 1
B20 = Band 2
B30 = Band 3
B40 = Band 4
B50 = Band 5
B61 = Band 6L
B62 = Band 6H
B70 = Band 7
B80 = Band 8
MTL = L1 metadata
GCP = Ground Control Points
DEM = Digital Elevation Model

XXX = file extension (.TIF or .txt) (Only the MTL and GCP files end with .txt)

Data Format

The enhanced GSA image files are also in the geoTIFF image format as described below. For more in depth information on the GeoTIFF data format, please reference the USGS provided USGS_README.txt.

These USGS image files are in "GeoTIFF" format. "GeoTIFF" refers to TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) files which have geographic (or cartographic) data embedded as tags within the TIFF file. The geographic data can then be used to position the image in the correct location and geometry on the screen of a geographic information display. GeoTIFF is a metadata format, which provides geographic information to associate with the image data. The TIFF file structure allows both the metadata and the image data to be encoded into the same file. GeoTIFF makes use of a public tag structure which is platform interoperable between any and all GeoTIFF-savvy readers. Many web browsers do not handle these files well.


These data sets are provided through the NASA Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project and the Global Hydrology Resource Center (GHRC) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). GHRC DAAC is one of NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) data centers that are part of the ESDIS project.

Reproduction or redistribution of digital datasets or products derived therefrom to a third party organization or entity is not forbidden. Any reproduction or hardcopy use of this data or results derived by using this data should include an acknowledgement of the Geological Survey of Alabama as the originator of the GSA data as a primary reference source for the GSA product in addition to the Information Technology and Systems Center (ITSC) SANDS project funded though the NASA Applied Sciences Program. The ITSC is part of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The Landsat GeoTIFF product should acknowledge the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as the primary reference source.

Additionally each product should acknowledge that the data were obtained from the NASA EOSDIS Global Hydrology Resource Center (GHRC) DAAC, Huntsville, AL. This dataset is to be used as a primary reference source. This is public information and may be interpreted by organizations or others based on needs; however, users are responsible for the appropriate application. Federal, state, or local regulatory bodies are not to reassign to the originators any authority for decisions they make. Examples for general acknowledgments, data set citation in a reference listing, and crediting online web images and information can be found at:

Contact Information

The GSA data producer is:

Sandy M. Ebersole, PhD
Sandy Ebersole []
Geological Survey of Alabama
P.O. Box 869999
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35486-6999
Office: Mary Harmon Bryant Hall #124

To order these data or for further information, please contact:

Global Hydrology Resource Center
User Services
320 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35805
Phone: 256-961-7932




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