Image from TERRA
Sat, 10 Nov 2018 11:10 EST

Within a day, the fire had consumed 70,000 acres of land.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 30 Oct 2018 13:30 EDT

This summer and early fall, beachgoers and residents along Florida’s central Gulf Coast endured an unpleasant and, at worst, debilitating aquatic annoyance: a dangerous red tide caused by the harmful algae Karenia brevis.

Image from TERRA
Wed, 10 Oct 2018 13:03 EDT

More than 400 miles above Earth, a satellite the size of a school bus is earning its frequent flyer miles. On Oct. 6, NASA’s Terra completed 100,000 orbits around Earth. Terra, which launched Dec. 18, 1999, is projected to continue operation into the 2020s.

Tag: Atmosphere

Atmosphere News and Events

15 years of MISR data show air pollution controls working in Southern California

New evidence shows that California’s clean air programs that reduce particle pollution in California are working.

Scientists from Emory University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Air Resources Board analyzed the 15-year trend of fine particle pollution based on satellite data from Terra’s Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument. This type of pollution, known as PM2.5 (less than 2.5 microns in diameter) accounts for the greatest percentage of health impacts attributable to air pollution in California.

The study was recently published in the journal “Atmospheric Environment” is the first to evaluate long-term changes in major PM2.5 components using spatially comprehensive satellite data, according the the California Air Resources Board.

Read the press release from the California Air Resources Board.

NASA’s MISR Spots Alaskan Volcano’s Latest Eruption

The tiny Aleutian island of Bogoslof in Alaska, erupting regularly since December 2016, produced fresh activity on Sunday, May 28, 2017. Bogoslof is a stratovolcano fueled by the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the North American Plate and forms part of the larger Aleutian Arc, which includes more than 60 volcanoes on the Aleutian Islands and the Aleutian Range on the Alaska mainland. Previous to its recent period of activity, Bogoslof had last erupted in 1992, and its above-water surface area was a mere 0.11 square miles (0.29 square kilometers). As of March 11, the most recent data available, the area of the island had tripled to 0.38 square miles (0.98 square kilometers). The event on May 28 produced an ash cloud that reached 40,000 feet (12 km) in altitude, causing the Alaskan Volcano Observatory to issue a red alert for air travel in the area. Volcanic ash can cause major damage to aircraft engines, and the region is close to several major air routes between North America and Asia.

On May 28, 2017, at approximately 2:23 p.m. local time, NASA’s Terra satellite passed over Bogoslof, less than 10 minutes after the eruption began. MISR has nine cameras that view Earth at different angles. It takes slightly less than seven minutes for all nine cameras to view the same location on Earth. On the left, an animation made from the images from the nine MISR cameras, captured between 2:19 and 2:26 p.m., demonstrates how the angled views give a glimpse of the underside of the growing plume of volcanic ash, showing the eruption column widening into the cloud at the top.

Data from MISR’s nine cameras can also be used to calculate the height of the plume, based on the apparent movement of the cloud from one camera to another. On the right, a map of plume height is plotted over the downward-looking image. The top of the cloud was approximately 10,000 feet (3 kilometers) high at this time. Below the image is a scatterplot of the heights, with blue points representing heights corrected by the northwesterly winds reported by the Alaskan Volcano Observatory during the eruption, and red points representing uncorrected heights. Lower points at either side of the plume represent retrievals of the eruption column.

These data were captured during Terra orbit 92786. The stereoscopic analysis was performed using the MISR INteractive eXplorer (MINX) software tool, which is publicly available through the Open Channel Foundation at https://www.openchannelsoftware.com/projects/MINX. Other MISR data are available through the NASA Langley Research Center; for more information, go to https://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/project/misr/misr_table. MISR was built and is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. The Terra spacecraft is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center in Hampton, Virginia. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team, article by Abbey Nasten

Terra on the Earth Observatory: June

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Does Dust Affect Water Levels of the Caspian Sea

June 10, 2016

Dust storms over the Caspian Sea lead to increased evaporation and a drop in lake level according to new research using observations of dust collected by instruments on several satellites including the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS ) and the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) on Terra.


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A Satellite Eye on Mount Ruapehu

June 5, 2010

Mount Ruapehu is one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes and most visited, dotted with skiers and snowboarders along its slopes.  When it erupts lahars, flows of volcanic debris and sediment, can have devastating impacts, prompting geologists to regularly monitor the volcano, using the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite.


The Atmospheric Trail of the Fort McMurray Fire

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NASA  Images from NASA Worldview (above) and created with data from MOPITT and MODIS (below) provided by the MOPITT Science Team. Caption by Sara Martinez-Alonso with Tassia Owen.

May 24, 2016
The Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, Canada not only had devastating impacts on its community, but the effect on air quality was also far reaching. Along with drifting smoke, wildfires cause increases in atmospheric carbon monoxide levels.

These maps were produced using data acquired by MOPITT and MODIS, two of the instruments on board NASA’s Terra satellite. These maps document the extent and composition of the Fort McMurray fire plume on May 6th and 7th.

MOPITT measures tropospheric carbon monoxide (CO). CO is mostly produced by incomplete fuel combustion, biomass burning, and oxidation of methane and other hydrocarbons. Shown here are MOPITT retrievals of CO total column generated in near real-time for use in the ECMWF MACC-III global data assimilation and forecasting system.

MODIS analyzes, among others, atmospheric aerosols, one of the greatest sources of uncertainty in climate modeling. The MODIS map shown here depicts aerosol optical depth (AOD), a measure of the extinction of solar light by atmospheric particles.

The similarity in the features shown in the two maps is quite obvious. The plume originates near Fort McMurray (shown with an asterisk) and extends mostly southeast for more than 1000 miles (1600 km), crossing state and country boundaries.

Terra on the Earth Observatory: February

February 19, 2016
Ash Plume and Sea Ice Near Zhupanovsky – Since October, 2015 Zhupanovsky volcano in far eastern Russia has periodically been spewing ash into the atmosphere.  This MODIS image from February 13, 2016 shows an ash plume from Zhupanovsky volcano, which resulted in a code-red for air travel in the region.

Sea surface temperatures indicated that the warm "blob" has dissipated. NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using microwave and infrared multi-sensor SST data from Remote Sensing Systems.

February 12, 2016
The Demise of the Warm Blob – Ocean surface temperatures, showed a warm “blob” off the northern United State’s coast. This cell of warm ocean water in the Pacific Ocean no longer is present, having lasted from the winter of 2013 through December of 2015.

February 17, 2016
Waves Above and Below the Water – The Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired an image of wave patterns in the sky and in the water off the coast of Western Australia.

MODIS image of cloud streets over the Great Lakes.

February 11, 2016
Cloud Streets Over the Great Lakes – MODIS captured this image of cloud streets crossing the Great Lakes.

February 10, 2016
Snow in the Central U.S. – Snow from a blizzard blanketed parts of the Midwest. This image from Terra’s Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured the snow that remained after the clouds cleared over Nebraska.

February 6, 2016
Open- and Closed-Celled Clouds over the Pacific – Terra’s Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured in one image examples of two different types of convective clouds, open-celled and closed-celled.

February 5, 2016
Mount Erebus, Antarctica – Mount Erebus in Antarctica, thought to be the most southern volcano is still active. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emissions and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured images in visible and infrared, showing not just the volcano, but also the lava lake in its interior.

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February 3, 2016
Drought in Southern Africa – Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data from Terra’s Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor are being used to track drought conditions in southern Africa, analyzing the effects of the current strong El Niño on vegetation.