This perspective can help researchers spot features in a hurricane, including those that could indicate whether a hurricane will intensify or weaken.
On Aug. 25, several days before Hurricane Laura made landfall as a destructive Category 4 storm in Louisiana, NASA’s Terra satellite flew over Laura in the Gulf of Mexico. Using its Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument, the satellite collected data on wind speeds and cloud-top heights as the storm intensified and moved northwest towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.
An interactive visualization of 3D cloud-top height data from Hurricane Laura on Aug. 25, 2020, captured by the MISR instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite. Credit: NASA Disasters Program, Esri
The NASA Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team worked closely with representatives from the Esri 3D team to produce the first-ever interactive 3D visualization of MISR cloud-top height data and publish it to the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal. Cloud-top height data can be used to examine the structure of tropical storms and identify features that may indicate future strengthening or weakening of the storm system. In this visualization, some higher clouds seen near the center of the storm may indicate a building eyewall. In other storms, features such as “hot towers” can be identified – clouds of warm, moist air within the eyewall that extend high into the atmosphere and indicate potential rapid intensification for hurricanes. MISR also captures data on the direction and velocity of wind at the cloud tops, which aids researchers in better understanding a storms structure and potential development.
The MISR instrument carries nine fixed cameras, each of which views the scene from different angles over a period of about seven minutes. The motion of the clouds between different views is then used to derive their height and velocity. MISR was built and is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The Terra spacecraft is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
News Media Contact
Ian J. O’Neill / Jane J. Lee
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-2649 / 818-354-0307
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Al-ThaniBy Sam NewsDecember 22, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Florida Recording Artist and Pennsylvania Man Charged for Role in $24 Million COVID-Relief Fraud SchemeBy Sam NewsOctober 6, 2020A Florida recording artist and a Pennsylvania towing company owner have been charged for their alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.[Read More…]
- Oman Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsIn TravelSeptember 26, 2020Do not travel to Oman [Read More…]
- Community Living Centers: VA Needs to Strengthen Its Approach for Addressing Resident ComplaintsBy Sam NewsDecember 30, 2021What GAO Found The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides care to nearly 9,000 veterans per day in 134 VA-operated nursing homes, called community living centers (CLC), which are associated with VA medical centers (VAMC). CLC residents and their representatives can voice their concerns about the quality of care in the CLC by filing a complaint to CLC staff or to patient advocates at VAMCs. GAO found that VA has insufficient policies, limited monitoring, and unclear guidance for addressing complaints about care in its CLCs, among other issues. Specifically: VA only requires staff to document complaints elevated to VAMC officials, which means that most complaints about CLC care are likely not documented. According to VA officials, most complaints are resolved at the CLC level and not elevated. As a result, VA cannot have assurance that complaints are resolved for the vulnerable CLC population. GAO's review of complaints documentation from four CLCs found that some staff did not properly implement VA's complaints policies. For example, GAO found that staff did not always address complaints in a timely manner, such as waiting 1 month to begin addressing a complaint about unsanitary conditions. This reflects VA's limited monitoring of adherence to its policies. With more robust monitoring, VA may be able to identify and address errors in addressing complaints about care at CLCs. VA has not clearly specified which serious complaints should be elevated to VA leadership through alerts called issue briefs, resulting in underreporting. Specifically, GAO found that most abuse-related complaints it reviewed did not result in an issue brief. These issues in policies, monitoring, and guidance are inconsistent with VA's strategic objectives to provide high quality care and have accountability for its actions. Until these issues are addressed, VA cannot ensure that all complaints about CLC care are tracked and resolved as part of its oversight of quality improvement efforts for the vulnerable CLC population. Further, GAO found that CLC residents and their representatives do not receive accurate and complete information about how to file complaints. For example, VA's Rights and Responsibilities documents for residents and their representatives direct them to complain to entities that do not receive complaints about CLC care. This misinformation is inconsistent with VA strategic objectives for veterans to be informed and for VA to be transparent and openly accountable for its actions. Without providing accurate and complete information about options for filing complaints about care at CLCs, VA cannot ensure that the concerns of residents and their representatives about CLC care are heard and resolved. Why GAO Did This Study VA is responsible for overseeing the quality of care provided in its CLCs. However, several reports have raised concerns about substandard care at certain CLCs. Complaints are a valuable source of information about the quality of care in nursing homes because investigations of these complaints can identify and resolve issues promptly for this vulnerable population. GAO was asked to review the quality of care at CLCs. In this report, GAO examined, among other objectives, VA's approach to addressing complaints about care at CLCs and VA's communications about how to file complaints. For this report, GAO reviewed VA policies and interviewed VA officials. GAO also selected six VA CLCs to obtain variation on factors such as CLC performance on quality metrics and geographic location. For each, GAO interviewed CLC officials and officials from corresponding regional offices and reviewed complaints information and policies.[Read More…]
- 2020 Census: Census Bureau Needs to Ensure Transparency over Data QualityBy Sam NewsDecember 3, 2020This 2020 Census was taken under extraordinary circumstances. In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and related executive branch decisions, the Bureau made a series of late changes to the design of the census. The report GAO is releasing today discusses a number of concerns regarding how late changes to the census design could affect data quality. The Bureau has numerous planned assessments and evaluations of operations which, in conjunction with its post-enumeration survey (PES)—a survey conducted independently of each census to determine how many people were missed or counted more than once—help determine the overall quality of the census and document lessons for future censuses. As the 2020 Census continues, GAO will continue to monitor the Bureau's response processing operations. GAO was asked to testify on the Census Bureau's progress to deliver apportionment counts for the 2020 Decennial Census. This testimony summarizes information contained in GAO's December 2020 report, entitled 2020 Census: Census Bureau Needs to Assess Data Quality Concerns Stemming from Recent Design Changes and discusses key quality indicators the Bureau can share, as it releases apportionment counts and redistricting data. These key indicators discussed are consistent with those recommended by the American Statistical Association and Census Scientific Advisory Committee for the Bureau. In the accompanying report being issued today, GAO is recommending that the Bureau update and implement its assessments to address data quality concerns identified in this report, as well as any operational benefits. In its comments, the Department of Commerce agreed with GAO's findings and recommendation. For more information, contact J. Christopher Mihm at (202) 512-6806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
- Military Readiness: Impact of Current Operations and Actions Needed to Rebuild Readiness of U.S. Ground ForcesBy Sam NewsAugust 24, 2021U.S. military forces, and ground forces in particular, have operated at a high pace since the attacks of September 11, 2001, including to support ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Between 2001 and July 2007, approximately 931,000 U.S. Army and Marine Corps servicemembers deployed for overseas military operations, including about 312,000 National Guard or Reserve members. To support ongoing military operations and related activities, Congress has appropriated billions of dollars since 2001, and through September 2007, the Department of Defense (DOD) has reported obligating about $492.2 billion to cover these expenses, of which a large portion are related to readiness. In addition, DOD's annual appropriation, now totaling about $480 billion for fiscal year 2008, includes funds to cover readiness needs. GAO was asked to testify on (1) the readiness implications of DOD's efforts to support ongoing operations; and (2) GAO's prior recommendations related to these issues, including specific actions that GAO believes would enhance DOD's ability to manage and improve readiness. This statement is based on reports and testimonies published from fiscal years 2003 through 2008. GAO's work was conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.While DOD has overcome difficult challenges in maintaining a high pace of operations over the past 6 years and U.S. forces have gained considerable combat experience, our work has shown that extended operations in Iraq and elsewhere have had significant consequences for military readiness, particularly with regard to the Army and Marine Corps. To meet mission requirements specific to Iraq and Afghanistan, the department has taken steps to increase the availability of personnel and equipment for deploying units, and to refocus their training on assigned missions. For example, to maintain force levels in theater, DOD has increased the length of deployments and frequency of mobilizations, but it is unclear whether these adjustments will affect recruiting and retention. The Army and Marine Corps have also transferred equipment from nondeploying units and prepositioned stocks to support deploying units, affecting the availability of items for nondeployed units to meet other demands. In addition, they have refocused training such that units train extensively for counterinsurgency missions, with little time available to train for a fuller range of missions. Finally, DOD has adopted strategies, such as relying more on Navy and Air Force personnel and contractors to perform some tasks formerly handled by Army or Marine Corps personnel. If current operations continue at the present level of intensity, DOD could face difficulty in balancing these commitments with the need to rebuild and maintain readiness. Over the past several years, GAO has reported on a range of issues related to military readiness and made numerous recommendations to enhance DOD's ability to manage and improve readiness. Given the change in the security environment since September 11, 2001, and demands on U.S. military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, rebuilding readiness will be a long-term and complex effort. However, GAO believes DOD can take measures that will advance progress in both the short and long terms. A common theme is the need for DOD to take a more strategic decision-making approach to ensure programs and investments are based on plans with measurable goals, validated requirements, prioritized resource needs, and performance measures to gauge progress. Overall, GAO recommended that DOD develop a near-term plan for improving the readiness of ground forces that, among other things, establishes specific goals for improving unit readiness, prioritizes actions needed to achieve those goals, and outlines an investment strategy to clearly link resource needs and funding requests. GAO also made recommendations in several specific readiness-related areas, including that DOD develop equipping strategies to target shortages of items required to equip units preparing for deployment, and DOD adjust its training strategies to include a plan to support full-spectrum training. DOD agreed with some recommendations, but has yet to fully implement them. For others, particularly when GAO recommended that DOD develop more robust plans linked to resources, DOD believed its current efforts were sufficient. GAO continues to believe such plans are needed.[Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with the United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al NahyanBy Sam NewsJanuary 17, 2022Office of the [Read More…]
- Justice Department Reaches Proposed Consent Decree with the State of New Jersey to Resolve Claims that the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women Violated the Constitution by Failing to Protect Prisoners from Sexual Abuse by StaffBy Sam NewsAugust 10, 2021The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey today filed a complaint and a proposed consent decree with the State of New Jersey and New Jersey Department of Corrections concerning the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women.[Read More…]
- Justice Department Issues Business Review Letter for Proposed University Technology Licensing ProgramBy Sam NewsJanuary 13, 2021The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division announced today that it has completed its review of a proposed joint patent licensing pool known as the University Technology Licensing Program (UTLP). UTLP is a proposal by participating universities to offer licenses to their physical science patents relating to specified emerging technologies.[Read More…]
- U.S. Businesses Must Take a Stand Against China’s Human Rights AbusesBy Sam NewsSeptember 27, 2020Keith Krach, Under [Read More…]
- Military Vehicles: Army and Marine Corps Should Take Additional Actions to Mitigate and Prevent Training AccidentsBy Sam NewsJuly 14, 2021What GAO Found The number of serious accidents involving Army and Marine Corps tactical vehicles, such as tanks and trucks, and the number of resulting deaths, fluctuated from fiscal years 2010 through 2019 (see figure). Driver inattentiveness, lapses in supervision, and lack of training were among the most common causes of these accidents, according to GAO analysis of Army and Marine Corps data. Number of Army and Marine Corps Class A and B Tactical Vehicle Accidents and Resulting Military Deaths, Fiscal Years 2010 through 2019 Note: Class A and B accidents have the most serious injuries and financial costs. The Army and Marine Corps established practices to mitigate and prevent tactical vehicle accidents, but units did not consistently implement these practices. GAO found that issues affecting vehicle commanders and unit safety officers hindered Army and Marine Corps efforts to implement risk management practices. For example, the Army and Marine Corps had not clearly defined the roles or put procedures and mechanisms in place for first-line supervisors, such as vehicle commanders, to effectively perform their role. As a result, implementation of risk management practices, such as following speed limits and using seat belts, was ad hoc among units. The Army and Marine Corps provide training for drivers of tactical vehicles that can include formal instruction, unit licensing, and follow-on training, but their respective programs to build driver skills and experience had gaps. GAO found that factors, such as vehicle type and unit priorities, affected the amount of training that vehicle drivers received. Further, licensing classes were often condensed into shorter periods of time than planned with limited drive time, and unit training focused on other priorities rather than driving, according to the units that GAO interviewed. The Army and Marine Corps have taken steps to improve their driver training programs, but have not developed a well-defined process with performance criteria and measurable standards to train their tactical vehicle drivers from basic qualifications to proficiency in diverse driving conditions, such as driving at night or over varied terrain. Developing performance criteria and measurable standards for training would better assure that Army and Marine Corps drivers have the skills to operate tactical vehicles safely and effectively. Why GAO Did This Study Tactical vehicles are used to train military personnel and to achieve a variety of missions. Both the Army and Marine Corps have experienced tactical vehicle accidents that resulted in deaths of military personnel during non-combat scenarios. GAO was asked to review issues related to the Army's and Marine Corps' use of tactical vehicles. Among other things, this report examines (1) trends from fiscal years 2010 through 2019 in reported Army and Marine Corps tactical vehicle accidents, deaths, and reported causes; and evaluates the extent to which the Army and Marine Corps have (2) taken steps to mitigate and prevent accidents during tactical vehicle operations; and (3) provided personnel with training to build the skills and experience needed to drive tactical vehicles. GAO analyzed accident data from fiscal years 2010 through 2019 (the most recent full year of data at the time of analysis); reviewed documents; and interviewed officials from a non-generalizable sample of units and training ranges selected based on factors, such as locations where accidents occurred.[Read More…]
- Contract Rehabilitation Therapy Providers Agree to Pay $8.4 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Relating to the Provision of Medically Unnecessary Therapy ServicesBy Sam NewsJuly 2, 2021Select Medical Corporation and Encore GC Acquisition LLC have agreed to pay $8.4 million to resolve allegations that Select Medical Rehabilitation Services Inc. (SMRS) violated the False Claims Act by knowingly causing 12 skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in New York and New Jersey to submit false claims to Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that were not reasonable,[Read More…]
- Secretary Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, And Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar Opening Statements at the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial DialogueBy Sam NewsOctober 27, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- United States’ Actions To Press for the Resolution of the Crisis in the Tigray Region of EthiopiaBy Sam NewsMay 25, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq: Progress Report: Some Gains Made, Updated Strategy NeededBy Sam NewsAugust 25, 2021In January 2007, the President announced a new U.S. strategy to stem the violence in Iraq and help the Iraqi government foster conditions for national reconciliation. In The New Way Forward, the Administration articulated near-term goals to achieve over a 12- to 18-month period and reasserted the end state for Iraq: a unified, democratic, federal Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and is an ally in the war on terror. To support this strategy, the United States increased its military presence and financial commitments for Iraq operations. This testimony discusses (1) progress in meeting key security, legislative, and economic goals of The New Way Forward; and (2) past and current U.S. strategies for Iraq and the need for an updated strategy. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed officials from U.S. agencies, MNF-I, the UN, and the Iraqi government. GAO also had staff stationed in Baghdad. Since 2003, GAO has issued about 140 Iraq-related products, which provided baseline information for this assessment.The United States has made some progress in achieving key goals stated in The New Way Forward. Looking forward, many challenges remain, and an updated strategy is essential. In the security area, violence--as measured by the number of enemy-initiated attacks--decreased about 80 percent from June 2007 to June 2008, trained Iraqi security forces have increased substantially, and many units are leading counterinsurgency operations. However, as of July 2008, 8 of 18 provincial governments do not yet have lead responsibility for security in their provinces, and DOD reported that, in June 2008, less than 10 percent of Iraqi security forces were at the highest readiness level and therefore considered capable of performing operations without coalition support. The security environment remains volatile and dangerous. In the legislative area, Iraq has enacted key legislation to return some Ba'athists to government, grant amnesty to detained Iraqis, and define provincial powers. The unfinished Iraqi legislative agenda includes enacting laws that will provide the legal framework for sharing oil revenues, disarming militias, and holding provincial elections. On economic and infrastructure issues, Iraq spent only 24 percent of the $27 billion it budgeted for its reconstruction efforts between 2005 and 2007. Although crude oil production improved for short periods, the early July 2008 average production capacity of about 2.5 million barrels per day was below the U.S. goal of 3 million barrels per day. In addition, while State reports that U.S. goals for Iraq's water sector are close to being reached, the daily supply of electricity in Iraq met only slightly more than half of demand in early July 2008. Since 2003, the United States has developed and revised multiple strategies to address security and reconstruction needs in Iraq. The New Way Forward responded to failures in prior U.S. plans and the escalating violence that occurred in 2006. However, this strategy and the military surge that was central to it end in July 2008, and many agree that the situation remains fragile. GAO recommends an updated strategy for Iraq for several reasons. First, much has changed in Iraq since The New Way Forward began in January 2007. Violence is down, U.S. surge forces are leaving, and the United States is negotiating a security agreement with Iraq to replace the expiring UN mandate. Second, The New Way Forward only articulates U.S. goals and objectives for the phase that ends in July 2008. Third, the goals and objectives of The New Way Forward are contained in disparate documents rather than a single strategic plan. Furthermore, the classified MNF-I/U.S. Embassy Joint Campaign Plan is not a strategic plan; it is an operational plan with limitations that GAO will discuss during the closed portion of the hearing.[Read More…]
- Department Of Justice Is Combatting COVID-19 Fraud But Reminds The Public To Remain VigilantBy Sam NewsOctober 15, 2020The Department of Justice is reminding members of the public to be vigilant against fraudsters who are using the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit American consumers and organizations and to cheat disaster relief programs. In particular, the department is warning the public about scams perpetrated through websites, social media, emails, robocalls, and other means that peddle fake COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments, and protective equipment, and also about criminals that fabricate businesses and steal identities in order to defraud federal relief programs and state unemployment programs.[Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy AhmedBy Sam NewsApril 26, 2021Office of the [Read More…]
- Two Louisiana Return Preparers Plead Guilty to Tax Fraud ConspiracyBy Sam NewsFebruary 10, 2021Two Louisiana tax preparers pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud the United States, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser for the Eastern District of Louisiana.[Read More…]
- Defense Management: DOD Needs to Reexamine Its Extensive Reliance on Contractors and Continue to Improve Management and OversightBy Sam NewsAugust 24, 2021The federal government, including the Department of Defense (DOD), is increasingly relying on contractors to carry out its missions. Governmentwide spending on contractor services has more than doubled in the last 10 years. DOD has used contractors extensively to support troops deployed abroad. The department recently estimated the number of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan to be about 196,000. DOD also relies heavily on contractors for various aspects of weapon system logistics support. While contractors, when properly used, can play an important role in helping agencies accomplish their missions, GAO has identified long-standing problems regarding the appropriate role and management of contractors, particularly at DOD. This testimony highlights the challenges federal agencies face related to the increased reliance on contractors and the specific challenges DOD has had in managing its increased reliance on contractors who support deployed troops and who provide logistics support for weapons systems. This testimony also highlights some of the recommendations GAO has made over the past several years to improve DOD's management and oversight of contractors, as well as DOD's actions in response to those recommendations.While there are benefits to using contractors to perform services for the government--such as increased flexibility in fulfilling immediate needs--GAO and others have raised concerns about the increasing reliance on contractors to perform agency missions. GAO's body of work shows that agencies face challenges with increased reliance on contractors to perform core agency missions, and these challenges are accentuated in contingency operations such as Iraq, in emergency situations such as Hurricane Katrina, or in cases where sufficient government personnel are not available. In making the decision to use contractors, agencies have experienced challenges such as: determining which functions and activities should be contracted out and which should not to ensure institutional capacity; developing a total workforce strategy to address the extent of contractor use and the appropriate mix of contractor and government personnel; identifying and distinguishing the roles and responsibilities of contractors and civilian and military personnel; and ensuring appropriate oversight, including addressing risks, ethics concerns, and surveillance needs. DOD's increased reliance on contractors to support forces deployed for military operations and to perform maintenance and other logistic support for weapon systems has highlighted challenges that DOD faces in managing this component of its total force. With regard to contractor support for deployed forces, DOD's primary challenges have been to provide effective management and oversight, including failure to follow planning guidance, an inadequate number of contract oversight personnel, failure to systematically capture and distribute lessons learned, and a lack of comprehensive training for military commanders and contract oversight personnel. These challenges have led to negative operational and monetary impacts at deployed locations. For example, several military commanders GAO met with in 2006 said their pre-deployment training did not provide them with sufficient information on the extent of contractor support that they would be relying on in Iraq and were therefore surprised by the substantial number of personnel they had to allocate to provide on-base escorts, convoy security, and other force protection support to contractors. Although DOD has taken some steps to address these issues, many of these issues remain a concern and additional actions are needed. With respect to weapon system support, the challenges have been to resolve questions about how much depot maintenance and other logistics work needs to be performed in-house and to what extent outsourcing for DOD logistics has been cost-effective. While DOD has a process for defining core maintenance capability, GAO has identified shortcomings with this process and found that core maintenance capability has not always been developed. Finally, although increased contractor reliance for maintenance and other logistics activities was justified by DOD based on the assumption that there would be significant cost savings, it is uncertain to what extent cost savings have occurred or will occur.[Read More…]
- Department Press Briefing – February 12, 2021By Sam NewsFebruary 13, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]