The American Geophysical Union recently concluded its Fall meeting in San Fransisco, California from December 14 – 18, 2015. As part of the meeting contributions to science were featured on NASA.gov. Data from Terra’s instruments played important roles in collecting data to further research in each of these featured areas. Read the full features from NASA.gov available at the links below.
NASA: Observing the 2015 El Niño – The strongest El Niño since 1997 – 1998 is being monitored for the first time by a host of satellites, including Terra. This video (above) features global data sets from Terra’s instruments and their contribution to El Niño research.
An image from the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the eruption of Mount Rinjani in Indonesia, blanketing ash across three Indonesian Islands. The plume was 3.5 kilometers (11,500 feet) above sea level and moved westward, affecting air travel in early November. The image was featured on NASA’s Earth Observatory.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite, captured the image of Prince Patrick Island in Northern Canada. The image was featured on NASA’s Earth Observatory, showing the dendritic drainage pattern of interlocking steam and river channels, as well as, strike-slip faults, evidence of Prince Patrick’s seismic history. Prince Patrick Island is usually surrounded in sea ice, while temperatures average -33 degrees Celcius in January. This cold, inhospitable terrain is not a frequent travel destination, but through satellite imagery, much can be learned about this mostly uninhabited part of our planet.
Alaska is experiencing it’s second most severe fire season since 1950 with over 5.2 million acres burned (the average is 800,000 acres per year).
Terra and Aqua Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) are useful for scientists and land managers to be able to monitor and asses the environmental impact of remote forest fires. This allows groups like the scientists from Universtity of California, Irvine, and Woods Hole Research Center to publish and analysis of carbon emissions for Alaska’s boreal forests. In addition land managing agencies are able to monitor fires unpopulated areas and allow them to burn, freeing up limited resources to be used in highly populated areas.
Image courtesy NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Adam Voiland.
In most American states, the Turtle Mountains—which rise 600 to 800 feet (180 to 240 meters) above the surrounding plain—would be called hills. But in North Dakota, one of the flattest states, people have a habit of calling even relatively modest rises mountains. (In the past, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names argued that mountains should have at least 1,000 feet (300 meters) of local relief to earn the designation, but the group abandoned the argument for linguistic consistency in the 1970s.)
Whether hills or mountains, the hummocky highlands that straddle the border between North Dakota and southern Manitoba have enough elevation that they receive significantly more precipitation than the surrounding plains. As shown by this image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite, enough moisture collects on the hills to support forests. The surrounding lowlands are a patchwork of grasslands and farms. In the lower image, a detailed view of a largely undeveloped part of Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, hundreds of ponds and lakes pockmark the landscape. A few roads and oil wells also appear. Read more