Image from TERRA
Wed, 28 Nov 2018 13:49 EST

Central Africa is still on fire a month after the October 30 image of the fire was posted. Most likely these fires are agricultural in nature.

Image from TERRA
Tue, 27 Nov 2018 10:47 EST

Just like the Woolsey Fire's scar which was highlighted on the NASA Fire page on November 16, the Camp Fire scar is visible from space in this image taken by the Terra satellite on November 26, 2018.

Image from TERRA
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 11:55 EST

In the wake of a fire, a burn scar appears which takes a long time to heal. This scar is from the Woolsey fire which has taken its toll around Thousand Oaks, California.

Tag: Weather

Weather News and Events

Early Winter Weather Across North America

19 November, 2015

canada_amo_2015316 The Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image of Canada and the western United States in mid-November, 2015.  Snow and cold rain doused the region, bringing early winter weather and making researchers ask if this is the beginning of a wet El Niño winter. The image shows a band of snow stretching across southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Read the whole article on NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Dense Fog Over Europe

15 November, 2015

Europe_tmo_2015305The Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image of dense fog in Europe. The fog appears brighter than typical clouds because the water droplets in the fog are smaller and more efficiently scatter light. The fog disrupted air travel in London and central Europe in early November 2015. The image was featured on NASA’s Earth Observatory Image of the Day.

In Africa, More Smoke Leads to Less Rain

earth20150806b-16

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of numerous fires burning in the transition zone between the Sahara Desert to the north and the greener savannas to the south. The image, dating from November 2004, includes parts of Sudan, Chad and other nations to the south and west. Image credit: NASA

A new study is the first to use satellite observations to look at how smoke affects rainfall. Specifically focusing on agricultural fires in North Africa that reduce the amount of rainfall during the dry season.

African agricultural fires, a major source of fires globally, are used to increase agricultural productivity and clear land for farming.  Large plumes are formed by these fires, impacting weather and precipitation patterns, while carrying nutrients to land and ocean regions downwind.

Using satellite data from three NASA satellites from varying passover times along with weather records, Michael Tosca and his colleagues from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, assessed how microscopic smoke particles affect the formation of clouds and rainfall in Africa, north of the equator and south of the Saharan Desert.

Using images of smokey areas taken by  the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument (MISR) on-board Terra from 2006 to 2010, Tosca and his colleagues were able to match “each smoky image with a smoke-free scene in statistically identical weather conditions.” From this information they compared the changing cloud cover throughout the day, using data from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and Aqua, which pass over the same region at later times in the day.

Clouds need small airborne particles, aerosols, to act as a nucleus on which water vapor can condense and form clouds. Black carbon, a common aerosols in African fires, absorbs radiation from the sun and heats up the surrounding air.  When a layer of this soot-filled warm air forms, rising air from Earth’s surface is blocked by the warm layer, causing air from Earth’s surface to spread out horizontally. Rain clouds are produced from air moving up in updrafts and then condensing and falling, a process called convection.  When the air cannot penetrate the soot-filled layer, rain cloud formation is suppressed. “The researchers found that less cloud cover built up throughout the day in smoky scenes than in scenes without smoke.”

The NASA press release is available online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4681

The study is available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL065063/full

Read More on NASA’s Earth Observatory

Cabo Verde Hit by First Hurricane in a Century

fred_amo_2015243Hurricane Fred is the first to hit Cabo Verde since 1892. The storm caused flash flooding and wind damage.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Terra  acquired this natural-color image of Fred off the west coast Africa at 11:15 a.m. on August 31, 2015 Cabo Verde time, when the storm was at it’s peak  Wind speeds reached 75 knots.

The MODIS instrument on Terra also captured images on September 1st as Fred weakened, becoming a tropical storm.

Read more on NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Typhoon Hagupit

Hagupit_tmo_2014338

The twenty-second tropical weather system (and eleventh typhoon) of the year in the Western Pacific Ocean had the potential to be one of the most damaging of 2014. In early December, Hagupit approached The Philippines as a major and slow-moving typhoon that threatened to hit the islands with torrential rain and a large storm surge. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated in the lead-up to the storm on December 5.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image at 11:20 a.m. Palau time (0210 Universal Time) on December 4, 2014. At the time, Hagupit was a category 5 super typhoon with sustained winds of 155 knots (180 miles or 290 kilometers per hour). It was the fourth category 5 typhoon of the year in the Western Pacific.

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