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14 August 2011

Starry Starry Phytoplankton

Landsat 7 took this image of phytoplankton around Gotland Island (Sweden) in the Baltic Sea. If this doesn’t remind you of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting then you have zero imagination. Just as an aside, it’s not pronounced “van go” but more closely to van gogk. After selling only one painting during his life (and killing himself in a fit of depression), the least we can do is attempt to pronounce …

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11 August 2011

Tropics Are Heating Up- Planet Already Is

  A strong tropical wave off of Africa is looking as if it may develop into the seasons first Cape Verde type tropical system. The storms that develop near the Cape Verde Islands do not usually start until late in Summer and can become hurricanes that last for many days.  A close up view of the system farthest east shows what may be some circulation and the NHC forecaster is …

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27 July 2011

Will Tropical Storm Don Bust Texas Drought?

Tropical storm Don formed late this afternoon in the southeast Gulf and it looks likely that it will bring some much-needed rain to Texas in about 3 days. While the waters are very warm in the Gulf, the risk of Don becoming a major hurricane do not look high, and it will likely do more good than harm. This is especially true if it stays below hurricane strength. Wind shear …

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19 July 2011

Plains Heat is Moving East, While Iowa & Minnesota Melt Under Extreme Heat

The intense upper level high responsible for the heat in the Plains will move eastward later this week, with heat indexes over 115 are very possible in the Washington, DC area. There are some signs that the heat will abate somewhat next week, especially east of the Mississippi, but the Southern Plains will continue to bake. I saw an 80+ dewpoint in North Dakota yesterday- amazing. Minneapolis tied their highest all time dewpoint at 81F (27.2C).

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12 July 2011

Folks in The Windy City Learn What A Derecho Is

The official definition of a derecho from the AMS Gloassary: derecho—A widespread convectively induced straight-line windstorm. Specifically, the term is defined as any family of downburst clusters produced by an extratropical mesoscale convective system. Derechos may or may not be accompanied by tornadoes. Such events were first recognized in the Corn Belt region of the United States, but have since been observed in many other areas of the midlatitudes. Johns, …

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29 June 2011

Defunding of NOAA Weather Satellites Means Goodbye To the 7-Day Forecast.

TV viewers in America are used to seeing the 7- day forecast on the nightly weather report and the accuracy is actually as good for 7 days as it was for three back in 1980. If the polar orbiting satellite program is defunded ( as now proposed by Congress) then forecast accuracy will likely go backwards. That means a five-day forecast instead of seven and even those five will not …

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15 June 2011

Measuring Sea Salt From Orbit and A Fun Quiz!

I still remember clearly my first trip to the ocean at age 7 in the mid 1960’s. It was beautiful Galveston, Texas and you could drive right out onto the beach in those days. Erosion and sea level rise, has taken much of that beach away now, but the greatest surprise to me was that the ocean was salty! As a little 7-year-old from land locked Oklahoma, I had no …

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13 June 2011

Two Amazing Images from Space

The Chaiten Puyehue volcano in Chile continues to spew and enormous amount of ash, and has me wondering if we are getting to the point that we could see a global climate impact from the eruption. Vulcanologist Charles Stern at Colorado Univ. said back in May that the eruption was high in silica and low in Sulfur, which would negate the effects of a major global temperature change. I ‘ve …

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7 June 2011

Spectacular Coronal Mass Ejection on Sun. NASA Scientist Calls it “An Amazing Event!”

The flare was one of the most dramatic ever recorded by the solar dynamics observatory but thankfully it was not directed toward Earth. This will have little or no effect on Earth but it is a powerful reminder of how dynamic our nearest star is! The entire history of human evolution is but a slow yawn in the lifetime of the sun. Here is a video with commentary by a …

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6 June 2011

Landsat 5 Image of Massachusets Tornado Track And Chile Volcano

What a year it’s been for tornadoes. Look at the track of the deadly tornado that hit near Springfield, Mass. last week. This is from the folks at NASA Earth Observatory. Also… The view of the Chile volcano eruption from the AQUA MODIS sensor

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