Posted inCalifornia

NASA Earth Observatory: Satellites Show Gains in California Water

After years of intense drought and diminishing groundwater, California just saw its greatest year-over-year water gains in two decades, according to data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) satellite mission, a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). This past winter’s bonanza of atmospheric rivers alleviated some of the water deficit that the […]

Posted inUS

Wildfire Smoke Smothers the Northeast

Wildfire smoke from Canada has passed over the northeastern U.S. multiple times each summer in recent years, but it often goes unnoticed because it is relatively high in the atmosphere. That was not the case in June 2023. In the first week of the month, large amounts of smoke from fires in Quebec poured south into the eastern U.S. […]

Posted inRegional

Precipitation Piles on in California

Two successive atmospheric rivers hit California in March 2023, bearing rain, snow, and strong winds. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power as the storm toppled trees, unleashed mudslides, and flooded streets. The clouds parted on March 16, allowing the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite to acquire a clear false-color image (right) of Sacramento and the San […]

Posted inUS

Power Outages in Puerto Rico

After being struck by fierce winds, torrential rainfall, and widespread flooding from Hurricane Fiona, citizens of Puerto Rico were enduring significant power outages in mid-September 2022. Extreme heat and troubles with water supplies added to the miseries for the people, while federal and local agencies worked to bring relief. The blackouts came almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria decimated the island, […]

Posted inEnviro

Lake Mead Keeps Dropping

Continuing a 22-year downward trend, water levels in Lake Mead stand at their lowest since April 1937, when the reservoir was still being filled for the first time. As of July 18, 2022, Lake Mead was filled to just 27 percent of capacity. The largest reservoir in the United States supplies water to millions of people across seven […]

Posted inCalifornia

NASA Earth Observatory: Extratropical Cyclones Drench West Coast

One of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever to strike the Pacific Northwest drew an equally historic amount of moisture onto the West Coast of North America on October 24-25, 2021. The storm off the coast of Washington—with a central pressure of 942.5 millibars, equivalent to a category 4 hurricane—was the second extreme low-pressure storm […]

Posted inCalifornia

Mapping Methane Emissions in California

In October 2016, an aircraft equipped with NASA’s Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer–Next-Generation (AVIRIS-NG) instrument detected multiple plumes of methane arising from the Sunshine Canyon landfill near Santa Clarita, California. The plumes were large enough that researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) notified facility operators and local enforcement agencies about it. It was an […]

Posted inSci/Tech

NASA: New online visualization tool will enable anyone to see what sea levels will look like anywhere in the world in the decades to come

NASA’s Sea Level Change Team has created a sea level projection tool that makes extensive data on future sea level rise from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) easily accessible to the public – and to everyone with a stake in planning for the changes to come. Pull up the tool’s layers of maps, […]

Posted inRegional

A Long View of Sierra Snow

In Spanish, Sierra Nevada means “snowy mountain range.” While the term “snowy” has generally been true for most of U.S. history, those mountains have seen less snow accumulation in recent years. This decline plays a role in water management and response to drought in California and other western states. Each spring and summer, meltwater runoff from Sierra […]

Posted inCalifornia

California Reservoirs Reflect Deepening Drought

Just four years after emerging from a severe multi-year drought, California has descended into dry conditions not seen since 1976-77. Evidence of the new drought stands out in satellite images of the state’s two largest reservoirs. The images above and below, acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, show Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville this year and […]

Posted inEnviro

NASA: Gold mining pits in the Peruvian Amazon line the rivers and cut into the rainforest

February 16, 2021 – An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this photograph of numerous gold prospecting pits in eastern Peru. The pits—usually hidden from an astronaut’s view by cloud cover or outside the Sun’s glint point—stand out brilliantly in this image due to the reflected sunlight. The multiple meandering channels of the Inambari […]

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