JPL uses radar to detect Typhoon Haiyan damage

JPL's Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis team used radar to create this map of damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan near Tacloban, Philippines. (NASA/JPL-Caltech / November 14, 2013)

Typhoon Haiyan's devastation of the Philippines can be detected from space, and NASA scientists have produced a map to help direct aid efforts.

Using data from Italian satellites, a rapid-response team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge created a map showing the broad swath of damage from the mega-storm that tore through the western Pacific island nation last week, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The images were assembled from radar data beamed back from Italy's COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation, which can detect changes on Earth's surface from natural or man-made disasters, particularly in the built environment.

The images show an area of about 24 miles by 31 miles, with the greatest amount of damage shown in red.

The data from the X-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar were analyzed and interpreted by the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis team, a collaboration of JPL and Caltech.