News & Events
The Icy Origins of the Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes—a group of long, roughly parallel lakes in upstate New York—got their name for obvious reasons. On a map, the narrow lakes look similar to outstretched digits. Seneca and Cayuga—the two largest Finger Lakes—are among the deepest lakes in North America. Lake Cayuga descends about 435 feet (133 meters) at its deepest point—putting it about 53 feet (16 meters) below sea level.
Blooming in the South Atlantic
Offshore from Argentina, spring is in bloom. Massive patches of floating phytoplankton colored the ocean in November 2013. These microscopic, plant-like organisms are the primary producers of the ocean, harnessing sunlight to nourish themselves and to become food for everything from zooplankton to fish to whales.
Fog Fills the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon stuns visitors with breathtaking views every day. Between November 29 and December 2, 2013, it stunned visitors even more by not being visible. A rare meteorological event filled the canyon with an ocean of clouds. Such events are so rare that National Park Service rangers—who see the canyon every day—wait for years to see the ground-hugging fog.
NASA’s REEL Science Communication Contest: High School Video and Animation Contest
NASA Earth Science missions are kicking off a new video contest engaging high school age students to produce a video communicating NASA Earth Science to younger students. Students are consuming over 10 hours of media a day and video is increasingly important to communicate and inform about science. NASA is looking for talented High School students to create videos that engage students in Earth Science.
Winners will have their videos posted on NASA’s website. They will also get the opportunity to be a NASA Producer working with NASA scientists and communication experts in July 2014 to produce an Earth Science feature video.
Flash Floods in Central Texas
A large storm system brought more than a foot of rain to parts of Central Texas on October 30 and 31, 2013. Up to 14 inches (36 cm) of rain fell in the Austin region, according to the National Weather Service. The rain triggered flash floods that left two people dead, forced evacuations, and closed roads. The clouds had largely cleared by 12:35 p.m. when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite acquired the top natural color image. Normally black or dark blue, rivers and reservoirs are muddy brown and green from runoff. Read more
High Clouds Over South America
The view shown in this image is rare: a high bank of cirrus clouds sweeps east from the Andes Mountains of South America in otherwise clear skies. Under normal circumstances, other clouds would dominate the scene.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired the image on September 20, 2013, when strong upper level winds were blowing east across South America. Read more
Image of Hurricane Raymond featured on Livescience.com
Livescience.com recently featured a Terra MODIS image of Tropical Storm Raymond off of Mexico’s Pacific coast before it erupted into a major hurricane.
Star Dunes in Algeria
In some areas, winds tend to blow in roughly the same general direction all year. The Grand Erg Oriental, a sprawling sea of sand dunes in the Saharan Desert, is not one of them.
The winds in northeastern Algeria tend to be complex and changing. Easterly summer winds shift in the winter, becoming westerly. Meanwhile, passing storms and local geographical features further muddle the picture. If winds came consistently from one direction, crescent-shaped barchan dunes would reign. But the dominant dune type along the southern edge of Grand Erg Oriental (shown above) are large, pyramid-shaped star dunes, which only form in areas where winds blow from multiple directions.
The image was acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite on October 27, 2012. Read more
Early Blizzard a Disaster for Cattle
Between October 3–5, 2013, an unusually early blizzard smothered northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota with wet, heavy snow—not to mention rain, hail, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes. In South Dakota’s Black Hills, the storm dropped more than three feet (90 centimeters) of snow in some areas, knocking out power for about 25,000 people and killing tens of thousands of cattle. Read more