Tag: Snowpocalypse 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011 from space!

By Phil Plait | February 3, 2011 12:15 pm

Just in case you haven’t seen enough snow this week, NASA and NOAA have released an amazing video made from GOES 13 weather satellite images. I present to you Snowpocalypse 2011:

[Set the resolution to 480p to see it best.]

The animation goes from January 31 to February 2, and you can really see how the wet air from the ocean and Gulf of Mexico gets slammed by incredibly cold arctic air that had screamed south, creating this enormous storm front that swept across the nation. I was in Nebraska when this hit; the night before it had been unseasonably warm, but then temperatures dropped a lot — like 40°C (65°F) — by the next day. Nebraska looked like another planet. Boulder didn’t get much snow (you can see from the animation that snow was mostly east of Colorado) but the temperatures were so cold they had to cancel schools; the fuel mix used in school buses wasn’t rich enough to start the engines!

The GOES satellites (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, just so’s you know) orbit the Earth over the Equator at a height of about 40,000 km (24,000 miles) above the surface. This makes their orbital period 24 hours, so they orbit once for every time the Earth rotates once. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Pretty pictures
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