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13 April 2015

Spring Marches North: The View from Space

This is from the NASA Aqua satellite. You can see the green of spring moving into Virginia, while snow remains in the Adirondacks. High resolution, color imagery from polar orbiting satellites allows folks like me to better tell the story of our planet to our TV audience and to our online viewers as well.  

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2 April 2015

The California Drought from Space

The animated GIF image below shows the snow pack on the Sierra on April 3 2013, and today April 2, 2015. Keep in mind that California was in serious drought even in 2013 but it’s a whole lot worse now.

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1 April 2015

Jaw Dropping Images of Super Typhoon Maysak

NASA Astronauts have been sending back jaw dropping images of Super Typhoon Maysak, headed toward the Philippines with winds of nearly 240 km/hr. Astronaut Terry Virts uploaded some incredible photos of the eye of Maysak to his Twitter account as well and they provide one of the best views of an intense tropical cyclone ever made from low Earth orbit. The Super Typhoone is likely going to hit the northern Philippines in …

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31 March 2015

Martian Chronicles is Back!

Good news everyone: this blog is coming out of retirement! For a while now, I and two other USGS scientists on the Curiosity team, Ken Herkenhoff and Lauren Edgar, have been posting brief updates on what the Curiosity rover is up to, over at the USGS Astrogeology website. Now, through the wonders of the internet (and some behind the scenes work by the USGS and AGU webmasters) those updates will …

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18 March 2015

Why Dennis Mersereau at Gawker is Wrong About Fahrenheit Being A Better Temperature Scale

  I enjoy Dennis Mersereau’s pieces on Gawker, and I suspect his piece (touting the superiority of the OLD Fahrenheit scale) was covertly designed to get a thousand ugly comments from those of us who live metrically, and apparently it worked. Now, I suspect that most of Fahrenheit’s dwindling number of supporters are the type who have trouble remembering if 0.04 is 4 tenth’s or 4 hundredth’s, and are of the …

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6 March 2015

True Color View from NASA of a Snowy Northeast

This is from the NASA Terra Satellite today March 6, 2015. Click for a size large enough to print.  

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17 February 2015

The Chesapeake Bay is Freezing Up!

Click the image above for a version large enough to print! It’s become another ‘winter to remember’ in the Northeastern U.S. The snow goes all the way to the beach here on Delmarva, with 6-8 inches covering the area. Some pics sent in from our viewers are below. Below is the ferry out to Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay. A snowy Ocean City beach below.

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9 February 2015

One of The Most Amazing Cloud Photos Ever

I just spotted this over the weekend, but its been out there for a week or so. It was taken by Astronaut Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) on the ISS. It’s a shot of lightning illuminating the eye-wall of Cyclone Bansi in the Indian Ocean. More from NASA HERE and another view below:

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6 February 2015

City Lights On A Cold Winter Night

Here is an amazing shot from the International Space Station of the U.S. East Coast, from where I live on the Delmarva Peninsula, all the way to Boston.  It was taken a couple of days ago. You can see the Aurora to the north and the approaching sunrise to the east! An even better time-lapse video is linked below: https://vine.co/v/OF6W2K7uDwv

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22 January 2015

Gravity Wave Ripples on The Satellite

The wave clouds on this image over Virginia are caused by winds flowing over the mountains. As the winds lift they form a cloud, and as they fall back down the air warms and dries out (and the cloud dissipates). These ripples happen because the air is fairly stable and does not want to go too high or low from its original height. So, after it goes over the mountains …

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16 January 2015

Earth Sees Hottest Year on Record for 3rd Time This Century

Update 5:30 PM 16 Jan. This is an excellent info-graphic from Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS. 13 of the 15 hottest years on record were in the last 15 years. The odds of this happening naturally are less than in 1 in 27 million based on an analysis by Climate Central. Andy Freedman at Mashable has a good piece on this as well today here. This is the third time …

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15 January 2015

2014 Hottest On Record- NASA/NOAA Make It Official Tomorrow

While the U.S. Midwest had a cool 2014, mainly due to a frigid winter, the planet as a whole was the hottest since reliable records have been kept. NASA and NOAA will make the official announcement tomorrow. Some interesting tidbits: The Japan Meteorological Agency declared 2014 as the hottest year on record globally.   NASA and NOAA will release their official global numbers on Friday and all signs are pointing …

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8 January 2015

It’s Colder Than Mars Outside- No Really!

Data from the weather station on-board the Curiosity Rover at Gale Crater showed a rather mild afternoon on Mars. Warmer than the area in blue over the NE U.S.!

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1 January 2015

This Green and Snowy Sceptered Isle

The UK had a pretty good snow event last week after Christmas, and NASA released this true colour image from the MODIS sensor on the Aqua satellite. Click for the full 5 megabyte high resolution version. You folks in the UK could get a nice poster out of that pic! If you look at the snow over Northern Wales, you will see Anglesey jutting out to the west. The image …

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22 December 2014

Eleven Years of Hard Work for A Few Frantic Days of Science

I’m eating lunch and talking with my friend Bud Ward (Yale Climate Connections) at the AGU meeting in San francisco Wednesday, when I see a gentleman with a sticker on his lap-top that says “MY OTHER VEHICLE IS ON THE WAY TO PLUTO”. Now, I had to find out more, so here is a short clip using my iPhone talking with Michael Buckley of the New Horizons mission to Pluto. …

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16 December 2014

Can You See Holiday Lights From Space? Yes!

NASA’s Suomi Satellite has an amazing sensor that can see the Earth at night very well. The pics below are a comparison of normal city lights from space, and the green shows the added lights from all the holiday decorations! Pretty cool ay! NASA has a video here and the pics of our region are below. Here are further details from NASA: With a new look at daily data from …

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15 December 2014

Cool Science Pics

Thought I’d share some cool pics taken from Space today. The first one below is from the past week, and is a great view from the ISS courtesy of Astronaut Barry Wilmore. Notice the city lights shining through the clouds. I forecasted a sunny Sunday in Maryland and Delaware today. Missed it by THAT much! Severe storms hit Oklahoma Sunday evening ahead of a powerful tropospheric low pressure system. The …

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12 December 2014

Geminid Meteors This Weekend

Skies should be clear over some parts of the country to get a view of up to 120 meteors per hour Saturday night. If you are in the clear, then find a dark spot and bundle up! The best time to see them will be before midnight because the Moon will rise around Midnight and will wash the sky out with its light. More from NASA here! : It’s the …

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What Do Category 5 Hurricanes Have To Do With The Amazon River?

This freshwater plume inhibits the mixing of colder water beneath the surface, and thus can add a lot of heat to an already powerful hurricane. The NASA Aquarius satellite has a sensor that can measure ocean surface salinity, and it’s data produced the the video below. A paper about this plume and how it can affect hurricanes was published in Geophysical research Letters in 2012. It’s free to read here. …

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9 December 2014

Beware the Juice of Freshly Picked California Cherries

There has been some talk about a report on the California drought that was released this week, and it’s worth talking about the reaction to it. One thing that seems to have gotten particular attention is the following statement: “The current drought is not part of a long-term change in California precipitation, which exhibits no appreciable trend since 1895. Key oceanic features that caused precipitation inhibiting atmospheric ridging off the …

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