aqua satellite

Pine Island Glacier

This MODIS image taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite on Nov. 10, 2013, shows an iceberg that was part of the Pine Island Glacier and is now separating from the Antarctica continent.  What appears to be a connection point on the top left portion of the iceberg is actually ice debris floating in the water.

The original rift that formed the iceberg was first observed in October 2011 but as the disconnection was not complete, the “birth” of the iceberg had not yet happened. It is believed the physical separation took place on or about July 10, 2013, however the iceberg persisted in the region, adjacent to the front of the glacier.

The iceberg is estimated to be 21 miles by 12 miles (35 km by 20 km) in size, roughly the size of Singapore. A team of scientists from Sheffield and Southampton universities will track it and try to predict its path using satellite data.

Image credit: NASA

Snow-covered desert

Snow-covered deserts are rare, but that’s exactly what the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite observed as it passed over the Taklimakan Desert in western China on Jan. 2, 2013. Snow has covered much of the desert since a storm blew through the area on Dec. 26.

The Taklimakan is one of the world’s largest—and hottest—sandy deserts. Water flowing into the Tarim Basin has no outlet, so over the years, sediments have steadily accumulated. In parts of the desert, sand can pile up to 300 meters (roughly 1,000 feet) high. The mountains that enclose the sea of sand—the Tien Shan in the north and the Kunlun Shan in the south—were also covered with what appeared to be a significantly thicker layer of snow in January 2013.

Image Credit: NASA/Aqua

Fires in Russia and China

Smoke clouds the skies across northeastern China and southeastern Russia. The dry, windy weather of autumn created hazardous fire conditions in northeast China.

Since wildfires have occurred frequently recently, the national forest fire prevention authorities issued an orange alert Sunday for forest fire outbreaks for the northeastern areas of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and the northwestern and southeastern parts of Heilongjiang. Orange is the second highest alert level in China’s forest fire prevention system.

Russian officials, meanwhile, reported monitoring four large wildfires in the Far Eastern Federal District, which includes the area shown here. (EarthObservatory)

[caption id=“attachment_12693” align=“aligncenter” width=“600” caption=“Image taken on October 8, 2011, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Widespread fires are marked in red.  (NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.)”]

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 Fire situation as of 06:00 10.10.2011. (EMERCOM)

Hundreds evacuated for grassland fire in NE China (XinhuaNews) 

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NASA Helps With California's Record Drought.

NASA Helps With California’s Record Drought.

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Although a lot of rain fell on the Golden State this past week, NASA says that California will need 11 trillion gallons of water to end the drought throughout the state.

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The darker the color, the more severe the drought conditions are in those locations.  The dark red pretty much follows the Mojave desert that dumps out in the Los Angeles basin.

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So it isn’t a big suprise that areas like Death…

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Views from the Solar System (215)

Views from the Solar System (215)

Phytoplankton Bloom Off the Coast of Iceland

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NASA – A spring bloom of phytoplankton lingered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Iceland in early June, 2014. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on June 5. At that time, swirling jewel tones of a vast bloom were visible between banks of white clouds.

According to…

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Large fires burned throughout Australia’s Northern Territory

Large fires burned throughout Australia’s Northern Territory on September 30, 2011, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image. The fires are marked in red. Fire fighters were monitoring 21 fires, said news reports, but many more are shown in the image. The fires are burning through thick grass in remote areas.

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Several large fires burn near Alice Springs, the second largest city in the Northern Territory. In this image, Alice Springs can be seen in the southern section of Northern Territory, almost due north of a ring of fires burning around a blackened fire scar. The rugged Macdonnell Ranges run east to west in this region, pointing towards the city. Alice Springs can be seen as a small gray circle, but it is very difficult to distinguish in this image from a plume of smoke that hovers over the edge of the city.

There is a broad area of fire activity across central Australia. Smoke from the fires creating hazardous driving conditions in the Alice Springs region and forced some roads to close. Fires have burned nearly 150,000 square kilometers (58,000 square miles) in Northern Territory in September, said ABC News.

The fire season in 2011 is proving to be one of the most extreme in recent years. La Niña rains allowed thick grass to grow across Australia’s normally dry interior. The grass dried over the winter and is now an abundant source of fuel. (MODIS)

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Dusty Snow in Central Asia

On January 27, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image of dust laying on top of snow in Central Asia. But the question is: what was the source of the dust, and how did it get there?

“It certainly looks like silt or fine-grained material that was wind-swept onto the snow,” said Kimberly Casey, a cryospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She notes that the dust appears to originate at a point in northwestern China (47°N, 81°E), and it extends for about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northwest into Kazakhstan near Lake Alakol. Click here to see the scene in the Worldview browser. Within the browser, you can zoom in and out and step back a few days in time to watch the feature grow. The dust first appears on January 21.

“The snow appears to melt and then the exposed area contributes to locally generated dust that spreads west-northwestward,” said David Giles, a programmer and analyst with the AERONET aerosol research program at NASA Goddard.

Casey wondered if the source area is in a topographic depression, such as a river bed. “Perhaps a river or canyon bottom is dried in the winter, and the fine-grained silt is easily transported by wind.”

The explanation is a plausible one, and supported by a few additional clues. The maps below show various views of the scene created by draping the Aqua MODIS image over a digital elevation model based on NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). These three-dimensional views show how the dusty area is bounded on each side by ridges.

But were the winds favorable for moving that silt in the right direction? To find out, Giles used the NOAA Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model. “The HYSPLIT trajectory analysis suggests winds may have been east-southeasterly due to an anticyclone located to the north of this location,” Giles said. “That would correlate to the transport of dust west-northwestward from the exposed area, north of Lake Alakol.”

Sea Ice and Cloud Streets in the Sea of Okhotsk
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The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of cloud streets and sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk on Feb. 8, 2016. Cloud streets are long parallel bands of cumulus clouds that form when cold air blows over warmer waters and a warmer air layer rests over the top of both. via NASA http://ift.tt/1osc2Tu
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Views from the Solar System (206)

Views from the Solar System (206)

Volcanic Plume Over Southern Atlantic Ocean Revealed Through False-Color Imagery

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NASA – The South Sandwich Islands, in the far southern Atlantic Ocean, are often shrouded with thick cloud, making it difficult to view the region from space. Sometimes, however, the use of false-color imagery can be used to reveal events that would otherwise be obscured under cloud cover.

The Moderate Resolution…

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Sea Ice and Cloud Streets in the Sea of Okhotsk
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The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of cloud streets and sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk on Feb. 8, 2016. Cloud streets are long parallel bands of cumulus clouds that form when cold air blows over warmer waters and a warmer air layer rests over the top of both. via NASA http://ift.tt/1osc2Tu
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Dust plumes over Red Sea

Another dust storm blew off the coast of Africa and over the Red Sea on September 15, 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day.

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Dust plumes travel in a generally clockwise direction across the water, thinning out toward the east. Although the dust extends most of the way across the Red Sea, it does not quite reach the coast of Saudi Arabia.

Source points for the dust plumes do not appear in this image, but the dust storm likely arose in Sudan. The country does not hold massive sand seas common in other north African countries, but a network of impermanent rivers and lakes occurs near the coast, and these fine sediments provide material for dust storms. (EarthObservatory)

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Fire Burns in Mumbai Landfill

In January 2016, fire raged in the largest landfill in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Located in an eastern suburb of the city, the Deonar dumping ground extends across 132 hectares (326 acres) near Thane Creek. It receives over 3,700 metric tons (8.1 million pounds) of trash per day, about one-third of the city’s waste. With piles of trash that rise up to 30 meters (100 feet)—the equivalent of a nine-story building—the landfill has literally become a mountain of trash.

Beginning on January 27, 2016, sensors on the Terra, Aqua, and Suomi NPP satellites began to detect evidence of smoke and fire at the landfill. The fires continued to burn intensely for four days, sometimes sending smoke into densely populated neighborhoods. In some parts of the city, the smoke pushed air pollution to the highest level recorded since air quality data monitoring began in June 2015, according to Hindustan Times. For four days, more than 70 schools closed because of the smoke.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured a natural-color image (upper) of the burn scar on January 28, 2016. Smoke is visible streaming southwest into Baiganwadi, a neighborhood near the landfill. The false-color image (lower) also was acquired by OLI, but it shows the location of the fire hot spots more clearly because it includes observations from the shortwave infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

It is not clear why or how the fires started, though some reports suggest they may have been set intentionally. Fires in landfills are often particularly difficult to extinguish because they burn through methane, plastic, and other highly flammable substances.