Welcome to ECOSTRESS

By Dr. Simon Hook


News Flash: ECOSTRESS Completed over 13,000 orbits (after In Orbit Checkout)

ECOSTRESS Science and Applications Team Meeting - Nov 2020 will be Virtual

ECOSTRESS is addressing  three overarching science questions:

  • How is the terrestrial biosphere responding to changes in water availability?
  • How do changes in diurnal vegetation water stress impact the global carbon cycle?
  • Can agricultural vulnerability be reduced through advanced monitoring of agricultural water consumptive use and improved drought estimation?

The ECOSTRESS mission is answering these questions by accurately measuring the temperature of plants.  Plants regulate their temperature by releasing water through tiny pores on their leaves called stomata.  If they have sufficient water they can maintain their temperature, but if there is insufficient water, their temperatures rise and this temperature rise can be measured with ECOSTRESS.  The images acquired by ECOSTRESS are the most detailed temperature images of the surface ever acquired from space and can be used to measure the temperature of an individual farmers field.

One of the core products that will be produced by ECOSTRESS team is the Evaporative Stress Index (ESI). ESI is a leading drought indicator - it can indicate that plants are stressed and that a drought is likely to occur providing the option for decision makers to take action. 

Southern California Fires

Throughout the month of September 2020, NASA's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) imaged multiple wildfires across the state of California.

The image above shows the ECOSTRESS land surface temperature of California. Multiple insets highlight a fraction of the multiple fires that have impacted California, with effects seen throughout the U.S. and beyond. The dark red spots show areas of high heat, with arrows pointing out the active fires. The contiguous California image was stitched together from multiple evening (10 p.m. - 6 a.m. PDT) ECOSTRESS images from Sept 6 to 12, 2020, to generate a cloud-free statewide map.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California built and manages the ECOSTRESS mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Future studies could use ECOSTRESS data products in a similar fashion as LST was used to assess the fires pictured above.

For information on Earth science activities aboard the International Space Station, visit: