News & Events
Terra Image Wins Tournament: Earth
The second annual Tournament: Earth has come to an end, and the winner is a familiar face. In 2013, a submarine volcano off of the Canary Islands took the first championship. This year, the entire island chain got in on the action. ”Trailing the Canaries,” the #2 seed in the art bracket, romped through the tournament in 2014. The image showed interesting wind and wave patterns in sunglint on the lee side of the islands. The Canary Islands have a lot of fans! Read more
Near Miss in Madagascar
On Sunday, March 30, 2014, the outlook appeared grim for cities in northwestern Madagascar. Tropical cyclone Hellen spun offshore, gaining strength with surprising rapidity and with a track destined to bring it ashore. The day started with the storm being the equivalent of a Category 2 storm with winds of 170 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour or 90 knots). Twelve hours later, winds reached 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour or 130 knots), making it a strong Category 4 storm.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image of Cyclone Hellen at 7:20 UTC on March 30 in the middle of the storm’s rapid intensification. The storm had a distinct open eye and a classic tight circular shape. Its outer bands were already over northwestern Madagascar. Read more
Corridors for Carbon and Critters
“To create the corridors, Jantz started with a tropical carbon map that Goetz, Laporte, Alessandro Baccini, and other WHRC scientists developed a few years ago. That map included data from NASA’s ICESat, Terra, and Aqua satellites, Japan’s ALOS satellite, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, and from thousands of ground-based observations. The tropical carbon map became the base layer on the map above.” Read more
A Tale of Two Mountains
The winter of 2013–2014 was a study in contrasts between mountains in the far western United States and in the interior West. While people waited in vain for winter snow in California and the Pacific Northwest, snow piled onto the Rocky Mountains in Montana and Wyoming. The contrast is embodied in this image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on March 12, 2014. Read more
International Satellite helped International Search for Flight 370
Terra, among a satellites from many nations, joined the effort in the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-370. Read more
Clear Skies Over the Iberian Peninsula
Rarely do weather patterns and satellite overpass schedules align to provide cloud-free views of Western Europe in the spring. However, a high-pressure pattern kept skies spectacularly clear over the Iberian Peninsula and east into France and Germany as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed over on March 8, 2014. The cloud-free area began to emerge on March 5 and persisted through March 11. Explore Worldview—a near-real time browser from the MODIS Rapid Response Team—to see a wider view and how the cloud-free area changed over time. Read more
Some Perspective on Winter 2014
For many residents of North America, the winter of 2013-14 has felt like one of the coldest in many years. Waves of Arctic air brought extended periods of cold weather and above-average snowfall to the middle and eastern portions of the United States and Canada. Seven Midwestern states had one of their top-ten coldest winters, and the Great Lakes were chilled until they reached nearly 91 percent ice cover. Even portions of Mexico and Central America were cooler than normal. Read More
Dust Storm Blows Across Texas
A low-pressure system brought strong winds—gusting to 55 miles (85 kilometers) per hour—to the Southern Plains on March 18, 2014. The winds picked up exposed soil from the parched landscape, resulting in a large dust storm that covered parts of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. The storm was the second in the past week to sweep across the region with similar wind patterns.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) acquired this image of the storm on March 18. The top image shows the dust over the Texas Panhandle at 1:15 p.m. Central Daylight Time from the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. Read more
Cape Verde Under Dust
When the winds of winter sweep across West Africa, temperatures drop and skies turn yellow. Prevalent from November to March, the harmattan is a desert wind that blows across the Sahara Desert from the northeast or the east, usually as a result of a high pressure system over the northwestern Sahara. Harmattan winds pick up dust and darken skies.
A harmattan dust storm was blowing on February 28, 2014, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image. The yellow dust was concentrated largely over the Cape Verde Islands, where the mountain topography created swirling eddies and triangular wakes in the dust cloud. West Africa frames the right edge of the image, and distinct plumes of dust moved west from Senegal and Mauritania. Read more
Extratropical Cyclone over the United Kingdom
Soggy winters are not unusual in the United Kingdom, but this winter has been in a category of its own. UK Met Office meteorologists had just declared January 2014 the wettest month on record for parts of southern Britain when another series of storms swept across the area in early February.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of an extratropical cyclone bearing down on the United Kingdom on February 12, 2014. Mature extratropical cyclones often feature comma-shaped cloud patterns that are the product of “conveyor belt” circulation. While heavy precipitation is often present near the low-pressure head of the comma, a slot of dry air usually trails the west side of the tail. Read more