About the ESL
Message from the DirectorDr. Nan Walker
The LSU Earth Scan Laboratory is celebrating over 25 years of operation as LSU's on-campus satellite data receiving facility and image processing lab. The ESL captures, processes, and warehouses real-time data from a variety of NOAA and NASA satellites for use in research, teaching, and other remote sensing-related activities.
On this web site you can find real-time satellite data animations of the current weather, hurricanes, and ocean currents based on measurements of the GOES satellite. You can also view individual images or create your own animations from the MODIS, GOES, AVHRR, and VIIRS sensor products via our new image animator page. Visit the satellite schedule page to see today's satellite coverage. We always appreciate feedback, so let us know if you and questions or experience any problems with our site.
Mission of the ESL
The mission of the Earth Scan Laboratory is to support research, education, and public service/emergency response with near real time or archival remotely sensed satellite data, including end-to-end processing, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of relevant datasets.
From its central location along the Gulf Coast, the ESL can capture satellite data covering the entire Gulf of Mexico, most of the Western Atlantic, the extreme Eastern Pacific, and the land mass from the Hudson Bay to the northern most part of South America. This data is permanently archived creating a growing record of environmental data for education, research, economic, and forensic applications. This satellite data is a valuable asset for management decision making that involves environmental conditions, such as:
- Surveillance of coastal and estuarine waters showing surface temperatures, coastal circulation changes, water quality, sediment distribution and transport, algal blooms, and coastal flooding for effective management of coastal resources.
- Detecting and tracking of coastal and deepwater currents, eddies, and water mass boundaries in the Gulf of Mexico for oil spill response, oil and gas operations, to understand fish distributions and hypoxia, and weather forecasting.
- Detecting storm-induced coastal change and vegetation stress.
- Providing storm/hurricane tracking and atmospheric measurements in areas of frontogenesis and cyclogenesis over the Gulf of Mexico, needed for severe storm detection and forecasting.
- Detecting forest and brush fires and their movement.
- Detecting river flooding in local detail for state disaster-related decision makers
- Tracking and forecasting the movement of severe storms over land and sea
- Monitoring and forecasting of river and coastal fog for offshore petroleum, fisheries, and other maritime industries
A Brief History of the ESL
The LSU Earth Scan Laboratory (ESL) was founded by Dr. Oscar Huh in collaboration with Coastal Studies Institute faculty on June 29, 1988. The lab, a facility of the Coastal Studies Institute is located in the Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex and is a part of the Dept. of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences in the School of the Coast and Environment. Dr. Nan Walker became the ESL Director in 2003. The ESL systems administrator (Alaric Haag) operates three antennas: a 1 meter L-band tracking antenna; a 3.6 meter S-band antenna; and a 4.4 meter X-band antenna. These antennas capture data from the following satellites/sensors: NOAA POES AVHRR, GOES-East GVAR, Terra-1 and Aqua-1 MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS. The ESL uses the SeaSpace TeraScan software for capturing, archiving, and initial processing of these satellite measurements. Initial funding was provided by the Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund. Subsequent funding for enhancements was provided by the Board of Regents, the Louisiana Technology Innovation Fund, the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.
A short article was written for the 50th anniversary of the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, in the College of the Coast and Environment, Louisiana State University. It traces the Earth Scan Lab from a dream of Founder Oscar Huh to the making of the lab into a center for emergency response activities for the State, supporter of advanced research and a classroom student training facility. The article, "A Brief History of the LSU Earth Scan Laboratory (1988-2021)", is available as a PDF download, and is part of a book, From Air to Land to Sea: 50 years of Educating Coastal Leaders, ISBN 978-692-03759-1, 2021, that was published in celebration of the event.
Coastal Studies Institute
331 Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-7257
Phone: (225) 578-2957
FAX: (225) 578-2520