Published: 
Feb 28, 2020

Behind the Scenes with "NASA Science Live"

The first interviews for a brand-new, regularly occurring segment on NASA TV are "in the can." NASA Science Live is a monthly program airing on NASA TV, focusing on NASA research and people. For this first segment, it highlighted work supported by the Disasters program area on how city managers in Virginia and others are using NASA Earth observations to help communities prepare for flooding and sea level rise.

Kyle with Map
Kyle Spencer describes options for a flood wall along the Elizabeth River in Virginia. Credit: Lia Poteet

In Norfolk, Virginia flooded streets are a regular occurrence – even on sunny days. Derek Loftis, an assistant research scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Kyle Spencer, deputy resilience officer with the city of Norfolk, worked with the NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters program area to integrate satellite data in a high-resolution flood website. City planners and emergency managers are using this “street-level model” to run detailed flood simulations, down to the building level.

Photo of Kyle in front of water
Kyle Spencer shows off a water sensor on the Hague lake in Norfolk, Virginia. Credit: Lia Poteet

Spencer showed the crew areas of Norfolk that regularly flood, and water sensors and rain gauges he put in place to track levels as tides, storms and sea level rise drive water into the city.

Photo of Derek at computer
Derek Loftis pointing out how NASA's Earth-observing data is included into the flooding website.

Loftis showed the crew how the high-resolution flood website can be used to run different scenarios and show which streets flood very frequently, information that city managers can use for planning future construction efforts.

This episode of the NASA TV program can be viewed at 3:00 p.m. ET on March 26 at the NASA Science Live website.

Photo of Jessica Wilde
NASA 360 TV producer Jessica Wilde, who conducted the interview with Spencer, is familiar with the Norfolk area’s propensity for flooding. Though she lives in the area on her sailboat, there have been times where even she couldn’t get to work due to flooded streets. Credit: Lia Poteet

By: Lia Poteet
NASA Earth Applied Sciences Program

Read more Making Space for Earth blog posts