Tomorrow, the weekly report of the U.S. Drought Monitor will be released, and I can’t imagine that it is going to show much improvement in profoundly parched New Mexico. As of last week, almost the entire state was in drought. And in 80 percent of the Land of Enchantment, drought was categorized as extreme.
This continues a dry spell that has lasted more than a decade. Nine of the 13 years since 2000 have seen drier than average conditions (compared to a 1981-2010 baseline). And for the headwaters of the Rio Grande River, the main waterway of the state, the situation has been even worse.
The toll this has taken is dramatically evident in the remote sensing images above. Read More
There’s something about the way this eruption plume from Cleveland volcano is piercing the cloud deck that really caught my attention.
Rising 5,676 feet right up from the sea in the Aleutian Island chain, the volcano experienced an explosion at 5:00 AM local time on May 4, and then began erupting at a low level. The plume seen in this image is streaming to the east.
The image was captured by NASA’s Terra satellite. For another view, captured by the Suomi NPP satellite, check out this post at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies.
Here’s a beautiful photo of Cleveland shot from an airplane a couple of years ago: Read More
With warmer weather, the bees are finally out and about here at the foot of the Rockies in Colorado. I recently encountered this guy in mid-hover as he was eyeing what must have been delectable pollen from a rare and endangered plant growing north of Boulder.
He’s a honeybee, and a rather handsome one at that. He and his compatriots are in the news once again with the release last week of a major report on what has been causing millions of honeybees to die since 2006 in a phenomenon known as colony-collapse disorder. As the report puts it, “CCD is characterized by the sudden loss of worker adults from managed hives, leading to the eventual collapse of the entire colony within a few weeks.”
The report found that a litany of factors are probably to blame, including pesticides, viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, and a lack of genetic diversity. (The New York Times ran a good summary of the report last Thursday.)
I’ll get back to the bee in a minute. Read More
I plucked this graphic from a report just released by the World Meteorological Organization, summarizing the status of the global climate in 2012. It shows the 50 hottest years on record, and I find it to be a new and interesting way to depict the progress of global warming over the decades.
The vertical axis of the graph shows how temperature for a given year departed from the long-term average. And the color-coding of the bars is a way of depicting the distribution of the temperature records on a decadal timescale. (The size of each bar, by the way, is an indication of the uncertainty inherent in each record. The longer the bar, the greater the uncertainty.)
The take-home message of the graph can be seen in the red and orange bars: Read More
As temperatures warm, sea ice is breaking up in the Arctic — and it can be quite a spectacle, especially when viewed from orbit. As the image above suggests, from the vantage of space it’s possible to see giant cracks opening up in the mantle of sea ice, and big white pancakes floating away into open water.
The image, captured by NASA’s Terra satellite on April 2, is of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia. South is actually up, which means Alaska is to the left and Siberia is to the right. (Look for the dissected terrain amidst the snow, clouds and ice.)
The more open water toward the top of the image is the Bering Sea, and toward the bottom is the more ice-clogged Chukchi Sea, which is on the margin of the Arctic Ocean.
At first glance, it looks like sea ice is fracturing in the Chukchi Sea and trying to squeeze south through the 50-mile wide strait. Read More
Like a patch of skin cancer, the area burned by the Springs Fire near Los Angeles can be seen in this false color image captured today by NASA’s Terra satellite. It’s the rusty-colored area toward the upper left.
FYI: It’s not your eyes — Terra’s image of the area was a little blurry today.
The blaze has consumed 28,000 acres — twice the area of Manhattan Island in New York City.
To get another sense for how big it is, compare the burned patch to the size of the developed area of Los Angeles, which is the area to the east etched with a fine grid of roads and highways.
Here’s a map of the fire perimeter: Read More
If you visit this blog with any regularity, you might have guessed that I’m fascinated — some might even say obsessed — with images of the sun. The mind-blowing image above should show why.
Captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, it shows a fountain of plasma being propelled 120,000 miles above the sun’s surface by a solar flare. Here are further details from the SDO Facebook page: Read More
After the Springs Fire in California’s Ventura County exploded to 28,000 acres on Friday, cooler temperatures overnight have helped firefighters begin to coral it. According to the L.A. Times, it is now 30 percent contained, and continued progress is expected.
Yesterday, I posted some images of the fire captured by satellites. They’re pretty dramatic, so have a look.
While searching for a followup, I found this animation from NASA, showing the ebb and flow of fire across the United States from 2002 to 2011. Composed of imagery from the Terra and Aqua satellites, it also shows snowpack and changes to vegetation as the seasons come and go. Read More
The Springs Fire in Southern California expanded to more than 10,000 acres today, threatening more than 4,000 homes. Driven by intense Santa Ana winds, the fire has produced a smoke plume that’s visible from space, as seen in the image above from NASA’s Terra satellite.
A dense grid of streets and highways can be seen in Los Angeles to the right of the image.
The fire began at about 7 a.m. on Thursday morning. Today it raged through the Santa Monica Mountains and jumped the Pacific Coast Highway, threatening a Naval installation at Point Mugu, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Here’s a false-color view of the same scene: Read More
At any given moment, the sun features material leaping off the surface in arcs, flares and ejections. That’s dynamic enough, as previous posts here at ImaGeo have illustrated. (Check out this this one, for example.)
But what would a composite of many snapshots of the sun’s surface taken over a long time look like?
Imagine no more. The picture above is a composite of 25 images of the sun taken from April 16, 2012 to April 15, 2013 by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO. (And for a movie of several years of solar images, keep reading toward the end…)
The sun is a giant cauldron of charged particles, a “plasma” made up of electrons, and atoms that have lost electrons, laced with magnetic fields. If you look closely at the edge of the sun in this image, some magnetic field lines have become manifest as gargantuan glowing loops. (Click the image for a larger version.) Read More