Earth Information System (EIS)

The Earth Information System (EIS) is a transdisciplinary, collaborative research and applications activity that combines NASA's satellite observations with modeling capabilities to produce new, integrated information enabled by emerging technology.

Earth System Science—Driving Discovery to Solutions


Climate change and other impacts from human activities are causing rapid changes in Earth’s systems, affecting both human and natural systems. NASA can play a crucial role in anticipating, monitoring, and rapidly responding to these changes using Earth observing satellites and advanced research capabilities.

NASA’s Earth Information System (EIS) project is specifically designed to accomplish these tasks and meet our biggest challenges. EIS provides a global analysis framework that integrates information and data from various satellite missions, model platforms, and research programs to help us better understand the complex systems of our planet. EIS also streamlines collaborations between researchers and decision-makers to mobilize science to action using an open-source platform.

NASA's Earth Information System is a collaborative hub for understanding and answering critical questions about Earth's complex systems.

Earth Information System Vision

To harness the full potential of NASA’s scientific expertise, observations, cutting edge technology, and partnerships to understand the changing planet as one Earth system.

Earth Information System Mission

To synthesize NASA’s existing Earth observations, science, and modeling capabilities using innovative open science cyberinfrastructure to accelerate and deliver actionable science.

Earth Information System Goals

Goal 1: Synthesize research into improved Earth system understanding with transdisciplinary teams focused on the priority areas defined in NASA’s Earth Action Strategy.

Goal 2: Pioneer the use of next-generation cyberinfrastructure and data systems to accelerate scientific discovery and scale scientific workflows to improve our capacity to transition science to applications.

Goal 3: Reduce the barriers to entry for scientists and the broader Earth science community by deploying and championing NASA open-source science principles and best practices.

Earth Information System Thematic Science Teams

EIS is composed of a diverse team of more than 100 scientists and data experts across NASA centers and partner universities who collaborate to address high-priority topics identified in NASA’s Earth Action Strategy: Water Security, Fire, Sea Level Change and Coastal Risk, Greenhouse Gases, and Agriculture. A few highlights of EIS activities are described below.

An illustration depicting water

Water Security

EIS is quantifying surface and groundwater, human management influence, hydrological extremes, and forecasts by blending NASA models and remote sensing data. EIS will continue to quantify changes in the global water cycle while identifying connections between hydrological extremes, human and aquatic health, and intersection of water-energy applications.

An illustration depicting fire


EIS recognizes the global scope of fire and the diverse impacts of fire on the Earth system. With scientific expertise across the entire fire lifecycle, EIS thrives by improving estimates of future fire risk and fire emissions as well as monitoring global post-fire impact by developing a global fire tracking dashboard.

An illustration depicting sea level change and coastal risk

Sea Level Change and Coastal Risk

EIS is implementing a suite of existing Earth system models on cloud computing and analysis environments to support research and analysis being done across a range of NASA programs, such as the NASA Sea Level Change Team (N-SLCT) and the Coastal Resilience program. EIS is working to reduce uncertainties in components contributing to the sea-level change, developing tools to advance monitoring and analysis capabilities for regional coastal sea level change, and improving our understanding of human impacts on coastal flood risks.

An illustration depicting greenhouse gasses

Greenhouse Gases

EIS played a critical role in integrating expertise needed to support a wide variety of tools to characterize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations and fluxes, and worked to further advance the most mature tools that can be integrated to support monitoring and mitigating human GHG emissions. The focus of EIS is to understand GHGs as part of the broader carbon cycle, which is one of the pillars of the Earth system.

An illustration depicting agriculture


Activities within EIS aim to bridge information gaps and address additional risk and uncertainty for agricultural producers working to minimize inputs and sustain crop yields and farm revenue in the face of the emerging impacts of climate change. EIS will explore quantification and predictability of water availability for agriculture, extreme events impact on agriculture, yield forecast, and impact of the air-water-soil intersection on agriculture.

A Transdisciplinary Approach

The transdisciplinary framework of EIS also encourages engagement with other Earth Action priority topics including Air Quality and Human Health, Ecosystems and Conservation, Disasters, and Sustainable Energy. EIS will continue to complement priority science initiatives (such as FireSense, GHG Center, Harvest/Acres), continue working with other science teams and projects (such as N-SLCT), engage with external stakeholders to refine the science and expand its utility, and enable mission science teams to tackle the challenges of this open-source science transition. Thus, EIS will target the critical need to provide a synthesized, transdisciplinary understanding of the Earth system to global climate authorities and other decision makers.

Supporting NASA's Earth Action Strategy

In addition to focusing on high-priority topics, the following EIS activities are explicitly designed to support NASA’s Earth Action Strategy:

  • Accelerate science that enables solutions (quickens discovery and provides information that improves decision-relevant capabilities)
  • Integrate capabilities across NASA by convening and building diverse, inclusive teams
  • Improve open-source data delivery
  • Expand the scale, scope, and reach of Earth system science and tools for response to climate and other Earth system changes
  • Leverage partnerships to co-develop tools with existing partners (national, international, and boundary organizations as well as commercial partnerships)
  • Demonstrate open-source science via experimental testbeds and other collaborative environments for multi-sector solutions to pressing issues
  • Inspire Earth action via examples, use cases, and stories about how Earth observation information benefits society
  • Inspire early engagement in Earth system science via Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and citizen science activities
  • Incorporate feedback on information needs from users and stakeholders into next generation research, technology, and mission design (research to operations to research to technology)
  • Advance Application Readiness Levels (ARLs) and Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) for NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES)-funded projects

The following datasets, housed on the VEDA Dashboard, explore key indicators to track and compare changes over time:

Dataset: Projections of Changes to Winter Precipitation
Summary: CMIP6 projections of changes to winter cumulative precipitation
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: Projections of Changes to Winter Temperature
Summary: CMIP6 projections of changes to winter average air temperature
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: Land Cover—Bangladesh
Summary: Annual land cover maps for 2001 and 2020 (Bangladesh)
Topics: Water Security, Sea Level Change and Coastal Risk, and Agriculture

Dataset: Burn Area Reflectance Classification for Thomas Fire
Summary: Burn Area Reflectance Classification (BARC) from the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program for the Thomas Fire of 2017
Topics: Fires, Water Security

Dataset: Caldor Fire Behavior and Burn Severity
Summary: Progression and active fire behavior of the 2021 Caldor Fire in California
Topics: Fires, Water Security

Dataset: Stream Network Across the Contiguous United States
Summary: Stream network across the contiguous United States delineated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: DisALEXI ET Suppression
Summary: Change in evapotranspiration (ET) using DisALEXI model of OpenET observations for 2017 to 2020 fires, calculated as the difference of ET in the immediate post-fire water year from ET in the immediate pre-fire water year
Topics: Fires, Water Security

Dataset: ECCO Sea Surface Height Change from 1992 to 2017
Summary: Gridded global sea-surface height change from 1992 to 2017 from the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) ocean state estimate
Topics: Sea Level Change and Coastal Risk

Dataset: Maximum Fire Radiative Power for Thomas Fire
Summary: Maximum Fire Radiative Power recorded by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite per 12-hour fire line segment for the Thomas Fire of 2017
Topics: Fires, Water Security

Dataset: A Global Reanalysis for Water, Energy, and Carbon Cycle Variables
Summary: High-resolution (10 km) global data product that integrates NASA’s state-of-the-art model with satellite observations
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: LIS Modeled ET Suppression
Summary: Change in ET for 2020 fires using Land Information System (LIS) outputs
Topics: Fires, Water Security

Dataset: LIS Modeled Transpiration Suppression
Summary: Change in Transpiration for 2020 fires using LIS outputs
Topics: Fires, Water Security

Dataset: Global Water Cycle Reanalysis Trends
Summary: Trend in Terrestrial Water Storage (TWS) and Gross Primary Production (GPP) modeled using data assimilation within the LIS framework
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: MTBS Burn Severity
Summary: Burn severities and extents of fires from the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) program from 2016 to 2020
Topics: Fires, Water Security

Dataset: Projections of Snow Water Equivalent Losses
Summary: Percent change to future snow water equivalent modeled using the LIS framework and CMIP6 projections
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: Projections of Snow Water Equivalent
Summary: Snow water equivalent modeled using the LIS framework and CMIP6 projections
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: SPoRT Land Information System
Summary: SPoRT’s real-time instance of the LIS provides low-latency soil moisture analyses provided by the Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center Land Information System (SPoRT-LIS)
Topics: Water Security, Agriculture

Dataset: Terrestrial Water Storage Anomalies
Summary: TWS anomalies modeled using data assimilation within the LIS framework
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: Global TWS Non-Stationarity Index
Summary: The global TWS non-stationarity index integrates the trend, seasonal shifts, and variability change of TWS from 2003 to 2020
Topic: Water Security

Dataset: Terrestrial Water Storage Trend
Summary: Trend in TWS anomalies modeled using data assimilation within the LIS framework
Topic: Water Security

NASA’s Earth Information System (EIS) aims to lower the barriers to using NASA’s models and data and engage the broader science community in the research process.

Open-Source Science

EIS open-source science goals are to:

  • Employ a transparent research process
  • Allow the research community to easily find and use code and data in accordance with the principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability (FAIR)
  • Welcome participation from a diverse set of people and organizations
  • Produce results that are reproducible by the broader community

Applications Co-Development

EIS facilitates the synthesis of NASA’s best observations and research on Earth’s interconnected systems with researchers and stakeholders across disciplines. To provide actionable information on these Earth system processes and interactions, EIS works through existing partnerships and supports the co-development of applications and tools.

Community Participation

Engage with EIS via the Visualization, Exploration, and Data Analysis (VEDA) Dashboard, which houses a current data catalog, analysis tools, and ongoing research science stories; and participate in open science via the EIS GitHub, where you can find our code and engage in the research process through discussions.

Accelerating Open-Source Science

EIS continues to serve as a pathfinder for NASA’s transition to open-source science. Working with NASA's Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program team, EIS employs NASA’s new open-source cyberinfrastructure, such as the VEDA platform and the Science Managed Cloud Environment (SMCE). EIS is using these interactive environments to build foundational tools and knowledge bases; develop cloud-based notebooks for sharing data access, analytics, and science workflows; deploy NASA models in the cloud; engage mission and field campaign teams; communicate research with science stories; and support collaboration with early career scientists.

These environments have already enabled the co-development of decision-relevant science with stakeholders and allowed for an accelerated transition of research to applications. For example, EIS worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop data products used in future snow habitat assessments with climate change, and the World Meteorological Organization has directly leveraged EIS synthesis efforts on water and greenhouse gases in their annual reports. These efforts have also enabled unique insights on the drivers of coastal flooding, feedbacks between the hydrosphere and biosphere in fire-prone areas, changes in terrestrial water availability and quality, and changes in greenhouse gas emissions.

Explore the guided narratives below to discover how NASA satellites and other Earth observing resources reveal a changing planet.

A New NASA Model Brings Open Science to Target Water Quality Problems
NASA's Earth observations and models can inform water quality and resource protection decisions.

A New View of the Global Water Cycle
Integrating NASA's state-of-the art model and remote sensing observations to reveal human impacts on the water cycle.

Future Projections of Western U.S. Montane Snowpack
Combining NASA climate projections and NASA models to infer the future state of snow water resources in the Rocky Mountains and the North Cascade mountain range.

Hydrological Drivers and Impacts of Fire
EIS investigates pre-fire hydrological conditions and post-fire impacts on eco-hydrology.

Unraveling the Components of Coastal Risk
NASA measurements and models shed light on present and future coastal risks.

The Human Footprint on the Ogallala Aquifer
NASA models and datasets capture irrigation and groundwater depletion impacts.

Water Quality in the Upper Mississippi Basin
NASA land surface models capture water quality trends in the Upper Mississippi Basin.

Flooding in 2019—Tale of a Terrible Year
NASA models and remote sensing datasets capture cascading impacts on Midwest farmers.

2017 Drought—Havoc from the Heat
Propagation and impacts of Great Plains drought captured by NASA models and datasets.

Human Impacts on the Mississippi River Delta
NASA models reveal climate-induced and management impacts on the Mississippi River Delta.

Landslides in Kentucky
Machine learning and remote sensing show where and when landslides are most likely.

Earth Information System Freshwater
EIS Freshwater integrates data and models across the full water cycle to deliver actionable freshwater information.

If you have any questions about NASA’s Earth Information System (EIS), you can contact us at

Earth Information System Project Office

Project Lead: Sujay Kumar (Goddard Space Flight Center)

Deputy Project Lead: Denis Felikson (Goddard)

Project Manager: Sikchya Upadhayay (Goddard)

Project Applied Scientist: Kim Locke (Goddard)

Project Systems Engineer: Tammy Ashraf (Goddard)

Data Systems: Alexey Shiklomanov (Goddard), Mark Carroll (Goddard)

Earth Information System Topics Leads

Sea-level Change and Coastal Risk: Ian Fenty (Jet Propulsion Laboratory); Augusto Getirana (Goddard); Denis Felikson (Goddard)

Agriculture: Chris Hain (Marshall Space Flight Center)

Greenhouse Gases: Kevin Bowman (Jet Propulsion Laboratory); Lesley Ott (Goddard)

Fire: Douglas Morton (Goddard); Melanie Follette-Cook (Goddard)

Water Security: Sujay Kumar (Goddard)

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