WeatherImpact Earth


Impact Earth: How satellite technology may help predict droughts and wildfires in the future

Posted at 6:01 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 21:24:57-05

As climate change becomes a larger national threat, a satellite data company is using infrared satellite technology to measure the temperature of the Earth's surface.

Pieter Fossel, the CEO of Hydrosat, a Washington, DC-based company, said the technology will help them better predict droughts — potentially early — by measuring the stress on vegetation from little rainfall.

Those same maps can also provide insight into areas with high wildfire risk, another significant threat and disaster that the southwest experiences each year, including here in Arizona.

It can also monitor moisture levels of fields, which could help farmers reduce their water use and financial costs while irrigating.

That's important in Arizona as Tier One-level water shortages along the Colorado River — a huge water source for us in Arizona — have already impacted farmers here.

"We're going to need better data to be able to measure the impacts of these droughts so that we can manage that risk, so that we can manage our food supply more effectively, so that we can manage wildfire risk more effectively," Fossel said.

Right now, the company uses satellite data from both NASA and the European Space Agency.

Over the next year, they hope to launch their own satellite on Space X Falcon's Nine mission.