Nature helped the Olympic hosts in 2014 with cold weather and some natural snow in the weeks prior to the games. This map shows the extent of snow in the region on February 3, 2014.
The map was made with data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite and matches the natural color image. Unlike the natural color image, the snow map differentiates between snow and cloud, and between land that is entirely covered in snow, and land where snow cover is patchy. Krasnaya Polyana, the town at the base of mountain where Rosa Khutor is located, has little to no snow, but the nearby slopes appear to be mostly snow covered. Sochi is snow free. Read more at Earth Observatory.
- NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen, using data provided by George Riggs and Dorothy Hall (NASA/GSFC). Caption by Holli Riebeek.
While much of the continental United States endured several cold snaps in January 2014, record-breaking warmth gripped Alaska. Spring-like conditions set rivers rising and avalanches tumbling.
This map depicts land surface temperature anomalies in Alaska for January 23-30, 2014. Based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, the map shows how 2014 temperatures compared to the 2001-2010 average for the same week. Areas with warmer than average temperatures are shown in red; near-normal temperatures are white; and areas that were cooler than the base period are blue. Gray indicates oceans or areas where clouds blocked the satellite from collecting usable data. Read more
- NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen and Jeff Schmatltz, using data from the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LPDAAC) and the LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.
A large winter storm swept through the southeastern United States in January 2014, dropping snow and ice on an area unaccustomed to dealing with winter weather.
While clouds still covered most of the area affected by the storm when the Terra satellite passed over on January 29, 2014, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board captured this view of snow on the ground in parts of northern Georgia, northern South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and western North Carolina. According to the National Weather Service, the storm dropped up to 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow in parts of North Carolina, 4 inches (10 centimeters) in parts of South Carolina and Georgia, and 2 inches (5 centimeters) in parts of Tennessee. Atlanta received 2.6 inches (6.6 centimeters) of snow. Many areas also received significant amounts of freezing rain and sleet. Read more
- NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE). Caption by Adam Voiland.
A layer of haze filled China’s Sichuan Basin on January 23, 2014, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image. The haze obscured many features usually visible in satellite images of the area, including Sichuan province’s largest city, Chengdu. In the eastern part of the basin the tops of a series of ridges were visible above the layer of pollution. Skies were clear in the highlands west of the basin, while tendrils of pollution snaked into valleys northeast and southeast of it. Read more
- NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.
2013 was a dry year for California, but it has nothing on 2014 so far. January is on track to be California’s driest on record, and since the state receives half of its precipitation between December and February, it appears that the 2013-2014 water year could be the driest on record too. With that possibility in view, California governor, Edmund G. Brown, Jr. declared a state of emergency on January 17, urging Californians to conserve water.
From brown landscapes to the bare mountains, California is clearly dry in this view from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, taken on January 18, 2014. The lower image, taken on January 18, 2013, contrasts last year’s drought conditions with the extreme conditions currently in place. Read more
- NASA images courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.