NASA On Air

Broadcast-ready video for TV weathercasters produced by NASA's Earth Science News Team and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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  • NASA On Air: NASA Monitors 'New Normal' Of Arctic Sea Ice (8/19/2016)
    2016.08.19
    LEAD: NASA scientists expect the area of Arctic sea ice by the end of the summer will be between the 3rd and the 7th lowest since the satellite records began in 1978.

    1. The continual decline of sea ice over the past 38 years has become "the new normal."

    2. The increased melting is driven primarily by the warmer Arctic climate, but it also depends on the summer's changing weather patterns of clouds and winds.

    TAG: A new NASA satellite, ICESat-2, will be launched in 2018 to use lasers for more detailed observations of how the sea ice is thinning.

  • NASA On Air: Ten-Year Gap In Major Hurricanes Continues For U.S. (5/31/2016)
    2016.05.31
    LEAD: Bonnie, the second tropical storm of the 2016 season, drenched parts of the Atlantic coast from Georgia to Rhode Island with up to 8 inches this past Memorial Day weekend. What’s ahead for the hurricane season of 2016?

    1. Over the past 10 years there have been 69 Atlantic hurricanes but during that time no hurricanes of Category 3 or higher have hit the U.S. coastline. Such a string of lucky years is likely to happen only once in 270 years, according to a NASA study.

    2. Storms less than Category 3, such as Sandy in 2012, can still be dangerous.

    3. But what about this upcoming hurricane season? Statistical analysis indicates that for any given year there is a 40% chance of a Category 3 or higher hurricane landing across the U.S. coastline.

    TAG: But remember it only takes one storm in your area. Be prepared this summer.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Probes Lifecycle Of Plankton (5/31/2016)
    2016.05.31
    LEAD: NASA is on a mission to probe the lifecycle of plankton, especially the effects on clouds and climate.

    1: Plankton are the tiniest of sea creatures, but when they multiply in what's called a 'bloom' they can be seen from space.

    2: Using satellites, planes and ships NASA's 5-year mission will explore the complete life cycle of plankton.

    3: Of special interest is how plankton help produce minute particles in the air that initiate cloud formation.

    TAG: The indirect effects of tiny particles on clouds are the single largest uncertainty in current estimates of climate change warming models.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Scientists Helping To Track Dangerous Volcanic Ash Plumes (5/17/2016)
    2016.05.17
    LEAD: NASA scientists are developing new ways to map and forecast the ash plumes from volcano eruptions and redirect aircraft from dangerous plumes.

    1. The small volcanic ash particles are especially dangerous to the jet engines of airplanes.

    2. Because only volcanic clouds contain significant abundances of SO2 (sulfur dioxide) the Suomi NPP satellite (launched in 2011) is able to track the volcanic plumes.

    3. The high-resolution vertical profiles will allow more accurate forecasts and help reduce airline cancellations and re-routing costs.

    TAG: This capability of three-dimensional mapping of a moving volcanic cloud has never been done before.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Satellites Help Feed Migrating Birds (5/13/2016)
    2016.05.13
    LEAD: A project using NASA/USGS satellite and citizen science has resulted in new pop-up wetlands for shorebirds.

    1. An 11-year satellite database helps predict where surface water (ponds) is located through-out the year.

    2. Ponds are needed for rest and food by the millions of shorebirds that migrate northward along the Pacific flyway each spring.

    3. Matching the water availability with the number of birds arriving makes it possible for farmers to flood unused rice fields and provide temporary wetlands to aid birds precisely when the birds migrate.

    TAG: The program, called Bird Returns, is a project of The Nature Conservancy and has produced over 20,000 acres of temporary wetlands in California in the last two years.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Tracks Overshooting Tops Of Thunderstorms (5/5/2016)
    2016.05.05
    LEAD: NASA Scientists and engineers at Langley Research center have developed quick methods of detecting severe thunderstorms from satellite measurements.

    1. These storms often have a signature cauliflower shape- the overshooting top- that indicates powerful updrafts associated with generating hazardous weather such as damaging winds, hail, or tornadoes.

    2. This example shows NASA forecast computer quickly detecting the 'overshooting tops' by measuring reflected sunlight and cloud top temperatures. This information will be especially useful for aircraft pilots over oceans and forecasters in developing countries where there are no Doppler radar systems.

    TAG: The new weather satellite, GOES-R, to be launched by NASA, in October 2016 will help forecasters utilized this method to deliver more accurate severe weather forecasts. This method was designed for GOES-R but it can operate on any satellite measurement across the globe.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Mission Explores Melting Of Greenland’s Fjords And Glaciers (4/29/2016)
    2016.04.29
    LEAD: NASA researchers are making the first detailed measurements of changes along Greenland's 27,000 mile-long coastal fiords and the outlet glaciers to see how Greenland ice is melting from the bottom up.

    1. Relative warm ocean currents flowing into the fiords are melting the bottoms of some of the glaciers.

    2. Accurate maps of the sea floor, ocean temperatures and salinity data will help scientists make better estimates of just how much melting is taking place along the coast.

    TAG: This specific mission will last 5 years and will lead to improved climate models about sea level rise around the world.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's GPM Satellite Tracks Rain For Farmers Around The World (4/28/2016)
    2016.04.27
    LEAD: A network of Earth-observing satellites is helping to track crop growing conditions around the world.

    1. Rainfall, shown here as radar-like moving bands of reds and yellows, can now be tracked every 30 minutes across most of the earth.

    2. The base maps of the continents change color indicating the available moisture (water) in the surface soils for growing crops.

    3. This information is especially helpful to farmers waiting for the summer monsoon rain in countries such as India that only have limited number of weather stations.

    TAG: The data is already being used by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

  • NASA On Air: 2016 Arctic Sea Ice Wintertime Area Hits Another Record Low (3/28/2016)
    2016.03.28
    LEAD: Another record low has been set in the Arctic by the floating winter sea ice.

    1. This winter the area represents nearly a 10% loss since 1979 when satellite measurements began. That's a loss that is more than twice the area of Texas.

    2. Record warm temperatures during the Arctic winter probably contributed to the low ice amount. During January 2016 Alaska was 15 degrees Farenheight above average.*

    TAG: The trend of decreasing ice amount is related to the long-term pattern of the warming atmosphere and oceans.

    * NOAA's NCDC Climate Review for January 2016

  • NASA On Air: NASA Sees A Solar Prominence (3/24/2016)
    2016.03.24
    LEAD: Earlier this month (March 13, 2016) NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite camera captured a striking solar prominence.

    1. Prominences are notoriously unstable clouds of solar material suspended above the solar surface by the sun’s complex magnetic forces.

    2. This video was made from images taken every 12 seconds.

    TAG: This prominence was captured in extreme ultraviolet light that is typically invisible to our eyes, but is colorized here in red.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Compares El Niños: 1997 vs. 2016 (2/26/2016)
    2016.02.26
    A tiny neutron star orbits incessantly around a massive star with a diameter a million times larger than its own. The high luminosity of the massive star drives a strong wind from its surface. The neutron star crashes through this wind at over 300 kilometers per second. The gravity and X-ray luminosity of the neutron star act to disrupt the wind, producing an extended wake of dense gas trailing behind the neutron star. This simulation, in the reference frame of the neutron star, shows conditions of high X-ray luminosity, in which there is a weak bow shock, no oscillation, and a large photoionization wake. The numerical simulations depicted here were computed using the Cray X-MP 48 at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • NASA On Air: NASA Depicts Earth's System Of Systems (2/26/2016)
    2016.02.26
    A tiny neutron star orbits incessantly around a massive star with a diameter a million times larger than its own. The high luminosity of the massive star drives a strong wind from its surface. The neutron star crashes through this wind at over 300 kilometers per second. The gravity and X-ray luminosity of the neutron star act to disrupt the wind, producing an extended wake of dense gas trailing behind the neutron star. This simulation, in the reference frame of the neutron star, shows conditions of high X-ray luminosity, in which there is a weak bow shock, no oscillation, and a large photoionization wake. The numerical simulations depicted here were computed using the Cray X-MP 48 at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • NASA On Air: NASA's SDO Satellite Captures HD Time Lapse Of The Sun (2/12/2016)
    2016.02.12
    LEAD: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory catches the sun in HD video.

    1: Images shown here are in the extreme ultraviolet range.

    2: The temperature of the solar material is near 1 million degrees F.

    3: It's easy to see the sun's rotation, 1 full rotation every 25 days.

    TAG: Scientists study these images to better understand the solar flares and solar explosions called coronal mass ejections that can sometimes disrupt our technology such as GPS systems.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's Global Hawk Flies Over El Niño Storms (2/5/2016)
    2016.02.05
    LEAD: This month government scientists are making special research flights into and over the Pacific El Niño storms.

    1. NASA's remotely piloted Global Hawk aircraft will complete a series of high-level flights near 60,000 feet to measure the rainfall and upper level winds of the El Niño storms.

    2. This special research project is probing how the current El Niño’s unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are producing extreme precipitation on the West Coast, thousands of miles away.

    TAG: The goal of the research is help provide better warnings for the extreme weather that can accompany El Niño related storms.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's Imagery Shows Dwarf Planet Ceres (2/2/2016)
    2016.02.02
    LEAD: A colorful new animation shows a simulated flight over the surface of dwarf planet Ceres, based on images from NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

    1. The movie shows Ceres in enhanced color, which helps to highlight subtle differences in the appearance of surface materials. Scientists believe areas with shades of blue contain younger, fresher material, including flows, pits and cracks.

    TAG: Ceres is the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It has a diameter of about 590 miles and is made up of ice and rock.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Data Show The World's Lakes Are Warming (1/27/2016)
    2016.01.27
    LEAD: Climate change is rapidly warming lakes around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems, according to a new NASA and National Science Foundation-funded study.

    1. In the US, Lake Tahoe's surface water has warmed on average 1F (.97 to 1.28 F) per decade over 25 years * NASA's Terra satellite shows the lake’s temperature variations. (cold is blue, warm is red).

    2.Ground truth measurements of 235 lakes on six continents in this study -- the largest of its kind--found lakes around the world are warming at an average of 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit each decade.

    3. As warming rates increase over the next century, algal blooms, which can rob water of oxygen, are projected to increase 20 percent in lakes.

    TAG: Various climate factors are associated with the warming trend. In northern climates, lakes are losing their ice cover earlier in the spring and many areas of the world have less cloud cover, exposing their waters more to the sun's warming rays.

  • NASA On Air: Hottest Year on Record (1/20/2015)
    2016.01.20
    LEAD: NASA and NOAA report today that 2015 was by far the warmest on record.

    1. In this specific graph NASA compares global temperatures to the base line temperature of 1880 to 1899, when the fossil fuel burning was much less than today. With this reference period 2015 was warmer by 1.95 degrees Fahrenheit.

    2. The global time lapse from 1970 shows that 2015 warming is a continuation of a long term trend of global warming.

    3. Looking back at just the month of December, 2015, 29 US states had the warmest December on record by nearly 6 degrees F, and parts of Europe also had a record warm December.

    TAG: The current El Niño has played a part in the warming, but 2015 would be a record with or without El Niño.

  • NASA On Air: NASA launches Jason-3 satellite to measure global sea levels and El Nino (1/20/2016)
    2016.01.20
    LEAD: Scientists have a new satellite to help forecasters track El Nino and global sea levels.

    1. On Sunday, 1-17-2016, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket placed the U.S.-European Jason-3 satellite into orbit.

    2. From an altitude of 830-miles Jason-3 will precisely measure the height of 95 percent of the world's ice-free ocean every 10 days.

    3. The data will help improve forecasts of hurricanes and El Niño events.

    4. Jason-3 will add to a 23-year satellite record of global sea surface heights. Since 1992, researchers have observed a total global sea level rise of 2.8 inches.

    TAG: Because it is a measure of both ocean warming and loss of land ice, sea level rise is an important indicator of human-caused climate change.

  • NASA on Air: NASA GPM Mission Detects Mississippi River Flooding Rains (1/15/2015)
    2016.01.15
    LEAD: NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission helped forecasters tract the heavy 20-inch flood-producing rainfalls of December 2015.

    1. The animation shows the accumulation of rainfall from December's three major storm systems that took place on December 1st through 3rd, the 13th through 16th, and 21st through 31st.

    2. Red colors indicate accumulate rainfall of 20 inches, yellow 10-12 inches, green 6-10. And shades of blue 2-6 inches. The extent of the area that drains into the Mississippi River is outlined in black.

    3. Extensive flooding took place in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi.

    TAG: Alabama and Georgia were hardest hit by rainstorms that arrived Christmas week, which led to massive flooding and declarations of a state of emergency in Alabama and northern Georgia.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's OCO-2 Satellite Provides First Global Maps Of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (12/16/2015)
    2015.12.18
    LEAD: Year number one of data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (or OCO-2) satellite is providing NASA’s first detailed, global measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    1. Every 16 days, during which it makes 232 orbits and 16 million soundings (measurements), the OCO-2 satellite yields a global view of CO2 with unprecedented detail.

    2. Across the northern hemisphere, the annual CO2 concentration changes of 2 percent can be seen as the concentrations increase through blue, up to green, to yellow and to the high levels in red, and then back down.

    3. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels recently surpassed a concentration of 400 parts per million, higher than any time in at least the past 400,000 years.

    TAG: As carbon dioxide is the largest human-produced driver of our change climate, having regular observations from space is a major step in understanding and predicting climate change.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Tracks Atmospheric Rivers (12/16/2015)
    2015.12.16
    LEAD: NASA is ready to track atmospheric rivers during this winter's El Niño.

    1. Atmospheric rivers are short-lived, narrow streams of wind that carry water vapor from the tropical oceans to mid-latitude land areas.

    2. Shown here is an atmospheric river traveling across the Pacific between October 25 and November 2, 2014. (While colors are clouds, light blues water vapor, and green to red precipitation.)

    TAG: Atmospheric rivers tend to intensify during El Niño events, and this year's strong El Niño is likely to bring more precipitation to California and some relief for the drought.

  • 12100: NASA On Air: NASA's New Million-Mile View of Earth Yields New Insights (12/15/2015)
    2015.12.15
    LEAD: A new NASA camera keeping a steady eye on the sunlit side of Earth is yielding new insights about our changing planet.

    1. The camera is onboard a satellite a million miles out in space.

    2. A second instrument measures the total amount of solar energy that reflects off Earth, as well as the heat emitted from our planet, filling in missing pieces of energy information not observed by other satellites.

    TAG: These reflectance measurements will help scientists study Earth's changing climate.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's OLYMPEX Program Helps Validate Global Precipitation Measurement Satellite (11/18/2015)
    2015.11.18
    LEAD: If you want to test and fine-tune a satellite that measures snow and rain, it makes sense to go to THE wettest area in the United States: the rainforest of Washington State.

    1. Each year the slopes of the Olympic Mountains are soaked with over 100 inches of rain, with a record total of 184", or 15 feet of rain!

    2. NASA and university scientists are utilizing NASA's DC-8 and ER-2 research planes as well as ground radar and other instruments to gather "ground truth" data to help calibrate NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite, launched in 2014.

    TAG: The GPM satellite network of 12 satellites provides unprecedented worldwide radar measurements of precipitation every 30 minutes that will assist weather and climate scientists, as well as flood emergency managers.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Previews 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (11/11/2015)
    2015.11.11
    LEAD: NASA scientists and astronomers are already planning for the first total solar eclipse for the United States in 38 years.

    1. On August 21, 2017, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth in an alignment that will cast the moon's shadow onto Earth.

    2. A dark shadow of the moon, 170 miles wide, will sweep across the U.S. over the course of one-and-a-half hours.

    3. People in cities lying within the narrow path of the shadow (red line in the video) will experience an eerie sense of twilight as day turns to night and back to day again within roughly 2-2.5 minutes.

    TAG: Solar astronomers will use the solar eclipse to study the outer atmosphere of the sun.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Solves Mars Mystery Of Lost Atmosphere (10/6/2015)
    2015.11.06
    LEAD: NASA scientists have identified the process that changed Mars from a warm and wet Earth-like planet to a cold, arid world.

    1. New results from NASA’s MAVEN mission show the Martian atmosphere has been stripped away by a stream of particles, known as the solar wind, flowing from the sun at a speed of about one million miles per hour.

    2. The Martian atmosphere has escaped from different regions of the Red Planet, including down the "tail," where the solar wind flows behind Mars, and above the Martian poles in a "polar plume."

    (Note: Atmospheric losses in the “tail” and “polar plume” region are rainbow-colored in the video.)

    TAG: Fortunately, Earth's atmosphere is protected from the solar wind effects because it has a magnetic field, which acts as a shield and deflects the stream of particles blowing off the sun.

  • NASA On Air: Preview of September 27, 2015, Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse (9/25/2015)
    2015.09.25
    LEAD: Step outside on Sunday evening (September 27th) to see a special astronomical event: a supermoon total lunar eclipse.

    1. At 9:07 p.m. EDT the moon will start to enter Earth’s shadow. An hour later, the moon will appear a ghostly copper color. The change in color will last for over an hour as the moon passes through Earth’s central shadow and is illuminated by filtered sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere.

    2. As the moon orbits Earth, it has a farthest point in its orbit (apogee) and closest point (perigee). On Sunday, the full moon occurs during the closest perigee of the year. This is sometimes called a supermoon.

    3. Supermoons occur *on average* every 14 months. But what’s special about Sunday’s supermoon is that it will happen during a total lunar eclipse.

    TAG: The next supermoon total lunar eclipse won't happen until 2033.

  • NASA On Air: Satellite Sees Fall Equinox From Space (9/22/2015)
    2015.09.22
    LEAD: This year's fall equinox arrives WEDNESDAY, Sept. 23, at 4:21 a.m. EDT. The name equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal" (aequus) and "night" (nox). The length of day and night is the same on this date: 12 hours each.

    1. Looking at the Northern Hemisphere, night is on the left and day is on the right.

    2. Advancing towards December, the Northern Hemisphere night becomes longer and days become shorter. Shorter days mean less solar energy and consequently colder days.

    3. It is the relative tilt of Earth as it goes around the sun that causes the seasons.

    TAG: By Dec. 21, 2015, Earth’s North Pole will be tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun.

    NOTE: Time-lapse video assembled from images taken by EUMESAT's Meteosat-9 satellite in 2010 and 2011. For more information about the images, see links below.

  • NASA On Air: NASA/ESA SOHO Helps Discover The 3,000th Comet (9/17/2015)
    2015.09.17
    A listing of all the visualizations showing SOHO and its discovery of comets.
  • NASA On Air: 2015 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Annual Extent Is Fourth Lowest On Record (9/15/2015)
    2015.09.15
    LEAD: Scientists report today (September 15, 2015) that the Arctic sea ice summertime minimum is the fourth lowest on record.

    1. Analysis of satellite data by NASA and the National Snow Ice Data Center indicates that the accelerated summer melting trend since the late 1970s continues.

    2. This increased melting is a response to the warming global temperatures.

    3. It is unclear whether this year's strong El Niño has had any impact on the Arctic sea ice.

    TAG: Weather and climate researchers are continuing to study the possible effects that the increased open Arctic waters in the autumn might have on snowstorm development in the winter season.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Satellites Are Tracking Current El Niño Across The Pacific (9/11/2015)
    2015.09.11
    LEAD: NASA's satellites are tracking the developing El Niño across the Pacific Ocean.

    1. Ocean conditions in 2015 bear some similarities to the powerful 1997 El Niño. This NASA visualization shows side-by-side comparisons of Pacific Ocean sea surface height anomalies measured by satellites in 1997 and 2015.

    2. Red shows where the ocean is above the normal sea level.

    3. Blue shades indicate areas of lower sea levels.

    4. Sea surface height is an indicator of the temperature of the water below. Above normal heights indicate warmer temperature, below normal colder temperature. 5. El Niño events are characterized by a mass of warm water migrating from Southeast Asia toward South America.

    TAG: Weather and climate forecasters are tracking El Niño closely because it could help steer beneficial rains to parts of drought-stricken California and the American West.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's MAVEN Measures Martian Atmosphere Using Starlight (9/3/2015)
    2015.09.03
    LEAD: September 21st, 2015, marks the one-year anniversary of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft circling Mars.

    1. MAVEN's goal is to determine how Mars lost its thick early atmosphere, and with it, its once hospitable climate.

    2. The spacecraft's Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph measures how the light from background stars dims as the starlight passes through different layers of the Martian atmosphere. This tells scientists about the atmosphere’s chemical makeup and its structure.

    3. The vertical distributions of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide are important clues to Mars’ climate history.

    TAG: MAVEN is the first spacecraft specifically designed to study the upper atmosphere of Mars.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Sea Level Rise Team Zeros In On Greenland (8/28/2015)
    2015.08.28
    LEAD: Detailed measurements from NASA satellites are yielding new perspectives on sea level rise.

    1. This visualization shows the sea level change between 1992 and 2014. Since 1992, seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches. Regional differences in sea levels are caused by ocean currents and natural long-term ocean cycles.

    2. Scientists estimate one-third of the ocean rise is caused by the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves. The big concern now is that the ice sheets are ‘waking up’ to the warming climate and will contribute more and more to sea level rise in the coming decades.

    3. An intense research effort by NASA and others is now underway to measure and analyze how Greenland and Antarctica will respond to Earth's warmer air temperatures and the changing ocean currents along the edges of the ice shelves.

    TAG: Faster melting of the polar ice caps could mean sea rise of 3 feet or more by the end of the century.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Compares Katrina And Sandy Wind Fields (8/24/2015)
    2015.08.24
    LEAD: On this 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it is interesting to compare the size of Katrina to the size of Sandy of three years ago.

    1. Katrina is shown on the left, and Sandy on the right. Katrina was a textbook hurricane. Sandy started as a hurricane, but turned into an extra-tropical storm.

    2. Tropical storm winds of 40 mph are shown in yellow, hurricane winds in red.

    3. Katrina's winds greater than 40 mph stretched 300 miles across.

    4. Sandy's winds over 40 mph stretched three times as wide, or 900 miles.

    TAG: The size of the wind field is just one of the critical components that forecasters use to predict the storm surges during landfall.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's Hurricane Modeling Advancements Since Katrina, 10 Years Ago (8/21/2015)
    2015.08.21
    LEAD: Science and computer advances over the past ten years since Katrina are giving meteorologists clearer pictures of hurricanes.

    1. A NASA weather and climate model now (2015) has a resolution of 4 miles, and updates the dynamic state of the atmosphere every 5 seconds and physical processes every 5 minutes.

    2. Katrina's wind speed is shown on the left, water vapor on the right.

    3. Abundant water vapor was one factor that helped to intensify Katrina to a Category 5 storm, with sustained wind speeds of 175 mph.

    4. But, 18 hours later Katrina made landfall over Louisiana as a Category 3 storm, with winds of 125 mph.

    TAG: Detailed computer models will help meteorologists understand these quick wind changes and make better forecasts about hurricane strength at landfall.

  • NASA On Air: Million Mile Moon Shot (8/5/2015)
    2015.08.05
    LEAD: Thanks to a NASA satellite camera launched in February we have a new and unique view of the moon.

    1. This time lapse shows the moon as it moved in front of the Earth last month.

    2. This is the fully illuminated "dark side" that is never visible from the Earth.

    3. The same side of the moon always faces an earthbound observer because the moon's orbital period is the same as its rotation around its axis.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Measures Rainfall: A Tale of Two Extremes (7/31/2015)
    2015.07.31
    LEAD: So far, 2015 has been the tale of two extremes when it comes to rainfall across the U.S.

    1. NASA's GPM satellite network shows accumulated rainfall since January 1st of this year. Heavy flooding rains in parts of the east. But it has been very dry over California this year.

    2. In fact a California drought has been going on since 2012. Ground water supplies are low. California's 4-year dry spell has left the state short by 20 inches of rain, an entire year's worth of rain.

    3. Persistent high pressure off California has blocked Pacific rainstorms. What is needed are a series of "atmospheric rivers", often called the Pineapple Express, similar to December 2014, when 3 inches of rain fell.

    TAG: About 20-50% of California's rain comes from the "atmospheric rivers" that pump warm tropical moisture over California.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's First Close-Up Images Of Pluto (7/15/2015)
    2015.07.15
    LEAD: We now have close-up views of Pluto thanks to NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.

    1. Because Pluto is only two-thirds the size of our moon and 3 billion miles away, it is not visible without a telescope.

    2. But, from the flyby distance of 7,750 miles, the New Horizons spacecraft has provided new perspectives of Pluto.

    3. One giant surprise on Pluto: mountains about 11,000 feet high. The mountains are probably composed of water ice.

    5. With Pluto's temperature at nearly 400 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, the water ice behaves like bedrock.

    6. Pluto's moon Charon shows cliffs and trough 4 to 6 miles deep and 600 miles long.

    7. This suggests widespread fracturing of Charon's crust.

    TAG: Data from the seven instruments aboard New Horizons will provide years of study and will help rewrite textbooks about Pluto.

  • NASA On Air: Space Station View Of Meteor (7/6/2015)
    2015.07.06
    LEAD: Warm summer nights can be enjoyable times to watch for meteor showers.

    1. From Earth, streaking meteors seem to appear as shooting stars millions of miles away.

    2. But, a picture from the International Space Station clearly captures a meteor BELOW the 250 miles altitude of the space station.

    3. The visible streaks are caused by tiny particles burning up in Earth's atmosphere due to friction at altitudes of 50 miles above the surface.

    TAG: Most meteors are the size of a grain of sand. Delta Aquarids meteor showers are visible from mid-July with peak activity on July 28 or 29.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's SDO Catches Arching Solar Eruption (7/2/2015)
    2015.07.02
    LEAD: NASA caught a spectacular solar eruption this June.

    1. The solar explosion threw out a giant cloud of solar material.

    2. The activity is shown here in ultraviolet light that has been colorized in red.

    TAG: The surface temperature of the sun is over 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's Operation IceBridge Mission Flights Show The Stark Beauty Of Greenland's Snow And Ice (6/30/2015)
    2015.06.30
    LEAD: NASA scientists flew 33 eight-hour flights this spring (2015) to measure how Greenland and the Arctic are responding to climate change.

    1. Greenland is huge: essentially an ice cube 1,500 miles long, 400 miles wide, and a mile and a half thick.

    2. Instruments aboard the research plane measured where Greenland ice is growing in winter and where it is melting during the summer.

    TAG: Data indicates that overall, Greenland is losing ice, and its melt water is adding to the long-term sea level rise around the world.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Aids European Space Agency In Measuring Upper Air Arctic Winds (6/24/2015)
    2015.06.24
    LEAD: In 2016 the European Space Agency, ESA, will launch a ‘first-of-its-kind' satellite to measure key elements in the earth's wind fields.

    1. The Aeolus satellite, named after the mythical Greek god of the winds, will measure worldwide upper level winds to help improve weather and climate forecasts.

    2. NASA recently helped ESA calibrate its new wind instrument by taking simultaneous wind measurements with two Doppler lidars aboard its DC-8 aircraft.

    TAG: The flights focused over the Arctic since this area holds particular interest due to the continued rise in Arctic temperatures.

  • NASA On Air: Landsat Satellite Shows 17 Years Of Lake Powell Water Levels (6/19/2015)
    2015.06.19
    LEAD: The Colorado River's Lake Powell reservoir remains well below full capacity after a winter of generally below normal snowfall in the Rocky Mountains.

    1. In 1999, water levels in Lake Powell were relatively high, and the water was a clear, dark blue.

    2. But images taken by USGS-NASA Landsat satellites over the last 17 years shows the reservoir levels falling, rising and falling as of result of spring snow melt in the headwaters of the Colorado Rockies.

    3. Lake Powell water levels in mid-June 2015 are about 80 feet lower than the peak level of 1999.

    TAG: The Colorado River Basin provides water to roughly 40 million people in 7 states and Mexico.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's Rainfall Satellite Comes To An End After 17 Data-filled Years (6/16/2015)
    2015.06.19
    LEAD: Today (June 16, 2015) the first rainfall radar to fly in space has fallen back to Earth. After 17 productive years NASA’s TRMM rainfall satellite has run out of fuel.

    1. The SUV-sized TRMM satellite fell over the South Indian Ocean (still frame of satellite).

    2. The satellite provided hurricane forecasters with groundbreaking 3-D views of hurricanes such as Katrina in 2005.

    3. The detection of the towering 8-mile high thunderstorms indicates that a hurricane is getting stronger. TRMM also measured rainfall totals.

    TAG: Most of the satellite pieces were expected to burn up due to friction in the atmosphere. The chance that a remnant would hit someone was one in 4,200 - which is quite low.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Satellite Totals Up Texas Rain (6/5/2015)
    2015.06.05
    LEAD: NASA’s newest precipitation satellite, GPM, has given forecasters and emergency managers a new view of flooding rains.

    1. During the week of May 19 –26, 2015, the satellite microwave sensor helped measure the record rainfall over Texas that brought about disastrous river flooding.

    2. Dark red areas indicate over 12 inches of rain. Violet areas, as seen in parts of Oklahoma, show extreme rainfall totaling more than 17 inches.

    3. NASA is now able to combine precipitation data from 12 satellites currently circling Earth into a single, seamless map covering most of the world.

    TAG: The fact that this data is available at half an hour intervals will be a big help to river forecasters.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's New Images Of Saturn's Icy Moon Hyperion (6/4/2015)
    2015.06.04
    LEAD: On Sunday (May 31, 2015), NASA posted new images of one of Saturn’s moons named Hyperion that was captured during the Cassini spacecraft’s flyby.

    1. The irregular craggy moon Hyperion is about 170 miles across and is probably half water ice.

    2. The sponge-like appearance is thought to be due, in part, to impacts from meteors, which compress the icy surface.

    TAG: This October Cassini will fly within 30 miles of another Saturn moon, Enceladus ‪(enˈselədəs)‬, to study its icy plumes.

  • NASA On Air: Five-Day Solar Show (5/29/2015)
    2015.05.29
    LEAD: During the middle of this month (May, 2015) the sun has put on a glorious light show.

    1. In this 5-day time lapse, every 6 seconds represents 24 hours.

    2. The bright, spindly strands that extend out of these active regions are particles spinning along magnetic field lines that connect between areas of opposite polarity (north and south poles).

    3. While the sun appears to rotating slowly, the speed at the sun's equator is over 4,000 miles per hour.

    TAG: The temperature of the sun is almost 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • NASA On Air: NASA’s Curiosity Sees Blue Sunset On Mars (5/21/2015)
    2015.05.21
    LEAD: NASA’s Curiosity rover captured its first Mars sunset in color and indicates the sky is blue.

    1. This Martian sunset sequence was captured over seven minutes on April 15, 2015.

    2. Why is it blue?

    3. On Earth our sunsets are red because the molecules in the atmosphere scatter or filter out the blue wavelength light.

    4. On Mars the Martian dust particles permit blue light to penetrate the atmosphere more efficiently than light that is red in color.

    TAG: Dust in the Martian atmosphere is common during its spring season.

  • NASA On Air: No Major Category 3 Hurricane U.S. Landfalls In Past 9 Years (5/13/2015)
    2015.05.13
    LEAD: The first tropical storm of 2015 drenched North Carolina this week (May 10) with 6 inches of rain and 60 mph winds. Ana hit even before June 1, the official start date of the 2015 hurricane season. What’s ahead for the summer? Will it be like the past 9 years?

    1. Over the past 9 years there have been 59 Atlantic hurricanes. But during that time no hurricanes of Category 3 or higher have hit the U.S. coastline. Such a string of lucky years is likely to happen only once in 177 years, according to a new NASA study.

    2. Weaker storms than Category 3 can still be dangerous. Sandy in 2012, Irene in 2011 and Ike in 2008 together caused over 100 billion dollars of damage.

    3. But what about this upcoming hurricane season? Statistical analysis indicates that for any given year there is 40% chance of a Category 3 or higher hurricane landing across the U.S. coastline.

    TAG: But remember it only takes one storm in your area. Be prepared this summer.

  • NASA On Air: Big Ozone Holes Headed For Extinction By 2040 (5/8/2015)
    2015.05.08
    LEAD: NASA scientists report that the ozone hole over Antarctica is slowly recovering.

    1. The ozone hole is the result of man-made chlorine and bromine chemicals reacting with thin ice clouds at 60,000 feet where temperatures are bitterly cold, less than –110 Degrees Fahrenheit.

    2. The ozone hole varies from twice to three times the size of the United States.

    3. Since the Montreal Protocol agreement in 1987, emissions have been regulated and ozone-depleting chemical levels have been slowly declining.

    4. With a new analysis, NASA scientists say that the ozone hole will be consistently smaller than less than twice the United States.

    TAG: Scientists will continue to use satellites to monitor the recovery of the ozone hole and they hope to see its full recovery before the end of the century.

  • NASA On Air: Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25 Years Of Exploration (4/23/2015)
    2015.04.24
    LEAD: The Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating its 25th anniversary of making new discoveries about our solar system.

    1. Since April 24, 1990, Hubble has circled the globe at an altitude of 340 miles.

    2. It is about the size of a bus, with a telescopic mirror that is 8 feet in diameter.

    3. Hubble has found planets outside our solar system located billions of miles from Earth.

    4. One of the biggest discoveries made by Hubble is that the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate due to “dark energy,” a kind of repulsive gravity.

    TAG: Astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 12,800 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Satellites Show Global Biosphere Yearly Cycle (4/22/2015)
    2015.04.22
    LEAD: A new view from NASA satellites show how the earth “greens up" during spring and summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Here is an entire year in seven seconds.

    1. The green color represents plant growth on land, which is caused by increased sunlight during longer days (daylight).

    2. In the ocean, plant life is represented by the teal color. This color represents populations of tiny marine plants called phytoplankton.

    TAG: The satellite data has been averaged over ten-year periods and provides long-term views of how Earth changes.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Landslide Catalog Now Available (4/21/2015)
    2015.04.21
    LEAD: A new website now totals up landslide occurrences and resulting deaths across the U.S. and the world.

    1. NASA and other researchers have tracked global news and web reports of rain-caused landslides since 2007.

    2. Between 2007 and 2013, more than 20,000 people have died in 6,000 landslides - an average of 2,500 per year.

    3. An interactive website will help researchers match future news reports of landslides with the data of heavy rain from a new satellite-based network covering Earth.

    TAG: Early warning for potential landslides is the long-term goal.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Mars Rover Weather Data Bolsters Case For Salty Water (4/17/2015)
    2015.04.17
    LEAD: A year’s worth of weather data from Mars indicates conditions are favorable for small quantities of salty water (brine) to form at night at Gale crater.

    1. Mars’ soil contains perchlorate salts that can pull water vapor out of the air. On cold nights when the relative humidity is high, they pull so much water that they dissolve into liquid, forming a salty brine.

    2. NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover weather station shows winter daytime temperature highs of around 0 Degrees Fahrenheit. But nighttime lows are near minus 135 Degrees Fahrenheit with relative humidity at 60%.

    TAG: Despite this evidence, the low temperatures and high salinity levels are likely to make the water unsuitable for life.

  • NASA On Air: Lunar Eclipse April 4, 2015 at 4:58 AM PDT (4/4/2015)
    2015.04.03
    LEAD: Early risers on Saturday morning (April 4, 2015) will have a chance to see the shortest total lunar eclipse of the century.

    1. The moon will turn red as it crosses the earth’s long shadow for less than five minutes.

    2. Why is the moon red rather than dark if it is in the earth’s shadow?

    3. Turns out the earth’s atmosphere acts as a filter and a prism.

    4. Similar to a sunset, the light becomes red.

    5. The earth’s atmospheric 'lens' bends this red light only slightly, which is enough to bask the 2000-mile diameter moon in red light.

    6. The lunar eclipse starts at 4:58 AM Pacific Daylight Time.

    TAG: Best viewing will be in the Western United States, early Saturday morning. The next total eclipse is not until September 2015.

  • NASA On Air: NASA’s GPM Core Satellite Mission Provides Unprecedented Worldwide Views Of Storms (4/1/2015)
    2015.04.01
    LEAD: For the first time weather forecasters can track practically every rain storm, blizzard and hurricane around the world every 30 minutes.

    1. The new NASA satellite mission, called GPM, now allows data from a dozen satellites to be assimilated.

    2. The data yields an unprecedented high-resolution view of storms around our world, even over the wide-open oceans where we have very few weather data stations.

    3. The GPM Core Observatory is the first satellite designed to measure falling snow, shown here during the Nor’easter in January, 2015.

    TAG: This new data will help improve weather and climate forecasts.

  • NASA On Air: U.S. Snow Cover Time Lapse - Winter 2013 to 2014 in 18 seconds (3/27/2015)
    2015.03.27
    LEAD: Thanks to NASA satellites, water resource scientists are able to keep track of snowpack across the entire country day by day.

    1. Here is the snow cover from November 2013 to April 2014, in about 18 seconds.

    2. The winter season’s snow extent was 1.42 million square miles, about 12% above the 30-year average.

    TAG: In California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, however, snowpack totals were 25% less than the long-term average. These low levels have resulted in water shortages across the state of California.

  • NASA On Air: Great Lakes Ice Time Lapse - Winter 2013 to 2014 (3/25/2015)
    2015.03.25
    LEAD: Instruments aboard NASA satellites are able to track the winter ice growth and retreat across the Great Lakes.

    1. Changes in lake ice within a six-month period between 2013 and 2014 can be seen in 18 seconds.

    2. The maximum ice extent occurred on March 6, 2014 and covered 92% of the Great Lakes.

    3. It was the second most extensive ice cover of the past 40 years of satellite observations.

    TAG: The ice in eastern Lake Superior reached a thickness of three and a half feet, which disrupted shipping routes.

  • NASA On Air: The Total Solar Eclipse Of March 20, 2015 - The Shadow Of The Moon (3/20/2015)
    2015.03.20
    LEAD: The first of two solar eclipses this year will be March 20 over the northern Atlantic.

    1. This is when the moon blocks, or “eclipse”, the light of the sun from Earth's view.

    2. From space it looks like this. The shadow of the moon will cross the earth as it rotates from day to night.

    3. People living in America will have a chance to see a total eclipse travel across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina on August 21, 2017.

    TAG: Residents in parts of Illinois and Kentucky will have the full experience of over two minutes of a completely darkened sun.

  • NASA On Air: 2015 Arctic Sea Ice Maximum Annual Extent Is Lowest On Record (3/18/2015)
    2015.03.19
    LEAD: Scientists say the 2015 Arctic sea ice maximum annual extent is lowest on record.

    1. Observations from the NASA–supported National Snow and Ice Data Center indicate the winter sea ice has peaked at 5.6 million square miles, less than twice the size of the U.S.

    2. The main player inhibiting growth are the warm winds from the south that compact the ice northward and also bring warm air that melts the ice.

    3. The end of the winter ice growth season came two weeks earlier compared to the 1981 to 2010 average date.

    TAG: The past decades have seen a downward trend in Arctic sea ice during the winter and summer, although, the trend is decreasing faster for the summer melt.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's Data Shows A Windy World (3/10/2015)
    2015.03.10
    LEAD: Where is the windiest region of the world?

    1. NASA’s assimilation of wind measurements from ship buoys and satellites show a global view of winds, especially over the oceans.

    2. There are strong winds over the Atlantic.

    3. Take a closer look at the Roaring Forties in the Southern Hemisphere. This is a region that circles the globe with wide-open oceans. Here winds easily howl at 30 meters per second, or 65 miles per hour.

    TAG: One hundred and fifty years ago 'clipper' sailing ship captains used these windy zones as long distance 'express lanes’.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Tracks Hurricane Wind Fields (3/3/2015)
    2015.03.03
    LEAD: NASA is helping us visualize how winds affect hurricane paths by assimilating satellite data with observations from ships and buoys.

    1. In this view of the Atlantic Ocean, the reds and yellows indicate warm ocean water.

    2. In September 2011, Hurricane Ophelia was pushed by ocean winds right up the alley between a high and a low.

    3. Just three days later, the winds changed and Hurricane Philippe was steered towards the U.S. Would Philippe threaten the East Coast?

    4. No. Strong winds from the north, a cold front, caused Hurricane Philippe to take a 180-degree turn and move safely away from the U.S.

    TAG: Combing satellite data with ship and buoy observations and models will help forecasters make better predictions of hurricane tracks.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Satellite Reveals How Much Dust Feeds Amazon’s Plants (2/24/2015)
    2015.02.24
    LEAD: NASA scientists have made the first multi-year satellite-based estimate of how much Saharan dust in Africa floats all the way to South America’s Amazon rainforest.

    1. An estimated 28 million tons of African dust falls on the Amazon rainforest – more than 100,000 semi-truck loads.

    2. A small but very important ingredient in the dust is the phosphorus from an ancient dusty lake bed in Chad.

    3. The African phosphorus plays a critical role as a natural fertilizer for the Amazon rainforest growth.

    TAG: This dust transport is the largest on the planet. Satellite studies will also help determine its relationship to climate changes.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Study Finds Carbon Emissions Could Dramatically Increase Risk Of U.S. Megadroughts (2/12/2015)
    2015.02.12
    LEAD: NASA study finds carbon emissions could dramatically increase risk of U.S. megadroughts.

    1. Analysis of current greenhouse gas emission trends indicate that the Southwest and Central Plains have an 80% likelihood of megadroughts between the years 2050 and 2099.

    2. This is the first study to compare future drought projections directly to drought records from the last 1000 years.

    TAG: The 1930’s Dust Bowl only lasted a decade. These new results indicate future droughts may last at least 30 to 35 years.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Launches Soil Moisture Satellite to Aid Weather Forecasts (1/31/2015)
    2015.01.30
    LEAD: NASA launched a new Earth-observing satellite over the weekend (Saturday, January 31, 2015) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

    1. The satellite's unique 20-foot spinning radar will measure the amount of water in the top two inches of soil around the world, every three days.

    2. This information is important because the evaporation of water in soil affects how storm clouds develop.

    3. Soil moisture data will assist forecasters to make better predictions of floods and droughts.

    TAG: Monitoring worldwide changes to soil moisture will help scientists predict future weather and climate.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Reports 2014 Was A Record Warm Year (1/16/2015)
    2015.01.16
    LEAD: NASA reports the global temperature for 2014 was the warmest since 1880.

    1. Most of the earth experienced warmer than normal temperatures for the year.

    2. The majority of the warming has been since 1980 and hit the highest temperature on record this year. The earth is about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 100 years ago.

    3. Regional differences are strongly affected by year-to-year changing weather dynamics.

    TAG: NASA scientists track global temperatures as a way to measure how Earth’s climate is changing over time.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Launched CATS - Measuring Clouds and Aerosols (1/14/2015)
    2015.01.14
    LEAD: After a weekend launch (Saturday, January 10, 2015), NASA’s new climate science instrument called CATS will be installed on the exterior of the International Space Station on Friday, January 16, 2015.

    1. NASA laser instrument, called CATS, will help determine details of how tiny particles in the atmosphere warm and cool the earth.

    2. On average, airborne particles and clouds reflect about a quarter of the sun’s incoming energy which helps cool the earth.

    3. But the swirling layers of dust, smoke, sea salt, and sulfates can also absorb energy and hold in the earth’s heat.

    TAG: CATS will help scientists add up those different effects on the earth’s long-term climate.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Tracks Amazon Plume and Ocean Salinity (12/11/2014)
    2014.12.11
    LEAD: Hurricane forecasters can now use ocean salinity to help them better predict hurricanes.

    1. NASA’s Aquarius satellite data shows how ocean salinity (saltiness) changes during the year. Bright orange indicates higher saltiness.

    2. Hurricane forecasters can now zero in on the huge floating plume of fresh water coming from the Amazon River, the world’s largest river. The thick plume acts as a potential hot plate to energize hurricanes.

    3. From 1960 to 2000, two-thirds of Category 5 hurricanes passed directly over the Amazon plume.

    TAG: The ability to map the Amazon plume more precisely with ocean salinity measurements from NASA’s Aquarius satellite will benefit hurricane forecasters.

    REFERENCES

    Grodsky, S., Reul, N., Lagerloef, G., et al. (2012). Haline hurricane wake in the Amazon/Orinoco plume. Geophysical Research Letters, (39).

    Grodsky, S., et al (2014). Year-to-Year Salinity Changes. Remote Sensing of Environment. (140).

  • NASA On Air: NASA Models CO2 Plumes - North America (11/25/2014)
    2014.11.25
    LEAD: Check out this groundbreaking ultra-high-resolution computer model of carbon dioxide from NASA where one second equals one day.

    1. Bright colors represent our fossil fuel and natural CO2 emissions.

    2. Converging storm winds help heap up, and then disperse the CO2 through our chaotic atmosphere.

    3. The concentrations build up in the heavily populated and industrial areas of the eastern U.S.

    4. About one-third of CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are eventually absorbed in different land areas around the world. These are critical questions and answers needed to help understand world climate change.

    TAG: This groundbreaking computer model will help scientists discover where and how CO2 is absorbed.

  • NASA On Air: NASA’s Carbon Dioxide Plumes - World Map (11/21/2014)
    2014.11.21
    LEAD: NASA scientists have a new super HD view of how the carbon dioxide in the air moves around the world with the winds.

    1. Using an ultra-high-resolution computer model 64 times greater than typical climate models NASA tracks CO2. Each pixel grid size is four miles wide.

    2. During late summer forest fires in Africa produce plumes of CO2.

    3. During late autumn to winter the bright reds show the three major sources of fossil fuel burning: the eastern U.S., Europe and China. The winds blow much of the CO2 towards the North Pole.

    TAG: Ultra-high-resolution models such as this will help scientists better project future climate.

  • NASA On Air: Antarctic Sea Ice Grows To Record Extent (10/7/2014)
    2014.10.07
    LEAD: Antarctic sea ice grows to new record.

    1. The donut of floating sea ice surrounding Antarctica froze to a new record of nearly 7.8 million square miles.

    2. Scientists suspect changing global winds around Antarctica and the ozone hole are the primary causes.

    3. Most of this southern sea ice melts each summer.

    TAG: Since 1980, the Antarctic has gained about 7 thousand square miles of ice each winter, while the Arctic has lost nearly 3 times that amount.

  • NASA On Air: A Reason For The Seasons (9/22/2014)
    2014.09.22
    LEAD: The fall or autumnal equinox, officially arrives at 10:29 PM, EDT Monday evening. Equinox means equal night and day.

    1. Looking at the Northern Hemisphere, night is on the left and day is on the right.

    2. Advancing to December, night on the left becomes longer and days become shorter.

    3. It is the relative tilt of Earth, as it goes around the sun, that causes our seasons.

    4. Fewer hours of sunshine result in our colder winter temperatures.

    TAG: By December 21 Earth’s North Pole will be tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun which decreases temperatures. When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun temperatures can double.

    NOTE

    This video is also playable via NASAviz (iPad App): “Follow the Line” Oct 31, 2013.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's RapidScat Launches To International Space Station (9/22/2014)
    2014.09.22
    LEAD: NASA launched a new tool for hurricane forecasters from Cape Canaveral.

    1. A SpaceX Falcon rocket is delivering a radar system called RapidScat to the International Space Station.

    2. It will scan the oceans around the world, using the action of ocean waves to determine surface wind speeds and direction.

    3. Hurricane forecasters can use the information for better forecasts of storm surge.

    TAG: Large-scale patterns such as El Niño in the Pacific Ocean can be monitored by looking at changes in ocean winds.

  • NASA On Air: Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Annual Minimum (9/22/2014)
    2014.09.22
    LEAD: Scientists just announced that the summer melt season has ended in the Arctic Ocean and the summer sea ice area is the 6th lowest on record.

    1. This figure remains in line with the 35-year downward melting trend measured by NASA satellites.

    2. The Arctic Ocean is losing about 13% each decade, with individual year variations.

    3. NASA is currently flying a C-130 to extend the research on how the heat and moisture from ice-free open Arctic Ocean may affect extreme weather patterns over the U.S.

    TAG: Details on the floating Antarctic winter sea ice are due soon.

  • NASA On Air: Stratospheric Success Story (9/12/2014)
    2014.09.12
    LEAD: Scientists report that the ozone layer is slowly recovering.

    1. NASA satellite data indicate the layer of ozone molecules in the upper atmosphere is headed slowly back toward normal levels.

    2. The layer of ozone at high altitudes acts as a natural filter, protecting people from cancer-causing UV-B from the sun.

    TAG: Scientists attribute the rebound to the 1980s ban of CFC aerosol gases.

  • NASA On Air: GPM—Revolutionary NASA Rain/Snow Forecasting Tool (9/4/2014)
    2014.09.04
    LEAD: A new NASA satellite will help TV meteorologists forecast winter snowstorms.

    1. NASA just announced that its newest weather satellite, GPM, launched February 2014 is up and running. Detailed data is ready to use publicly in weather forecasting.

    2. For the first time scientists can measure from space the full range of precipitation from rain to snow, including the size and distribution of raindrops and snowflakes.

    3. In this March 2014 storm the blue color shows the heavy snow in the upper levels of the storm off the Carolinas.

    TAG: This dual-frequency radar and microwave data will also help weather forecasters make better predictions of hurricanes and flooding rains.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's ARISE Mission Explores Changes In The Arctic (8/22/2014)
    2014.08.22
    LEAD: What has happened to summer? The summer’s temperatures for much of U.S. (except the western U.S. coast) are cooler than normal. This, following the bitter polar vortex chill back in January. What’s going on?

    1. One of many driving forces of this weather (besides El Niño, NAO, PDO, etc.) might be the jet stream’s interaction with the Arctic Ocean.

    2. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, partly because the sea ice is melting, allowing the sun to warm up the ocean water.

    3. But more open water means more evaporation and clouds. Will more clouds act as cooling sun umbrellas, or warming blankets in the future? NASA’s new ARISE mission onboard the flying C-130 laboratory will look for some answers this coming September.

    TAG: The peak of the Arctic sea ice melt usually happens in mid-September. Expect new NASA images then.

  • NASA On Air: Melt Ponds—Mother Nature’s Artwork (8/7/2014)
    2014.08.07
    LEAD: NASA is exploring the climate effects of Mother Nature’s artwork in the Arctic.

    1. This Alaskan glacier melt pond is the size of 3 football fields.

    2. The Caribbean-like turquoise blue color comes from the ice below.

    3. Similar melt ponds on the Arctic sea ice grow during the summer since the blue water absorbs sunshine.

    4. Ponds can cover nearly half of Arctic ice.

    TAG: NASA’s specially instrumented U-2, flying at 65,000 feet, is measuring this summer how these melt ponds effect the warming processes of the Arctic.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Launches Satellite To Monitor Global Carbon Dioxide (7/1/2014)
    2014.07.01
    LEAD: Where in the world is carbon dioxide? Where in the world does our carbon dioxide from fossil fuels go?

    1. NASA’s first carbon dioxide satellite launched today (7/1/2014), will measure which forests and plants soak up the most carbon dioxide from the air.

    2. The greater the absorption, the brighter the invisible fluorescence from growing plants.

    3. The U.S. corn belt is the most efficient CO2 absorber in the world!

    4. The Amazon rainforest is another carbon dioxide sponge.

    TAG: Knowing where our carbon dioxide goes will help crop forecasters, as well as climate scientists. Approximately one quarter of our carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by forests and vegetation.

  • NASA On Air: U.S. Air Quality Improving (6/26/2014)
    2014.06.26
    LEAD: The air we breathe is getting cleaner.

    1. That from nearly 10 years of observations from NASA’s Aura satellite.

    2. Nitrogen dioxide levels have decreased thanks to technological improvements in cars and power plants.

    3. Comparing 2005 to 2011, the biggest gains are in large eastern cities.

    TAG: These are important developments for those with respiratory difficulties.

    EXTRA: Nitrogen dioxide levels down by...(see percentages below for select cities).

    NYC: 32%

    Philadelphia: 26%

    Chicago: 43%

    Atlanta: 42%

    Los Angeles: 40%

    Houston: 24%

  • NASA On Air: NASA's MAVEN Mission To Explore Mars Atmosphere (3/13/2014)
    2014.03.13
    LEAD: NASA’s MAVEN satellite is still on track flying to Mars to help answer questions about why our sister planet is so much different than Earth.

    1. Four billion years ago, Mars may have looked like Earth.

    2. But where did Mars's water and atmosphere go?

    3. Earth's powerful magnetic field protects us from the solar wind.

    4. On Mars there is NO north-south magnetic field to deflect solar energy. Scientists suspect the Martian atmosphere was stripped away by the solar wind.

    TAG: MAVEN is traveling at 65,000 miles an hour, taking 10 months before arriving at Mars in September 2014.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Spacecraft Observes Solar Flare (3/13/2014)
    2014.03.13
    LEAD: What is a X-class solar flare? It is one of the most intense categories of massive bursts of light from the sun.

    1. This flare erupted on Tuesday, January 7, 2014.

    2. For scale, the dark-colored sun spot is huge...about twice the size of Earth.

    3. NASA’s SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) spacecraft, launched in 2010, studies the sun’s magnetic fields.

    4. Flares are related to the reconnection, or short-circuiting, of magnetic loops

    TAG: Though not a threat to humans, SOME solar flares can disrupt GPS and communication signals.

  • NASA On Air: NASA's Aquarius Measures Ocean Salinity (3/13/2014)
    2014.03.13
    LEAD: NASA's Aquarius instrument is observing the saltiness of the ocean surface from space.

    1. Bright orange colors = very salty. Blue = lower saltiness.

    2. Flying 400 miles above Earth, Aquarius can detect a change as little as a pinch of salt in a gallon of water.

    3. Scientists are studying why some hurricanes that pass over the Amazon River plume of lower saltiness tend to get stronger.

    TAG: Aquarius should help with El Niño forecasting as well.

    More information: http://aquarius.umaine.edu/cgi/sci_results.htm

  • NASA On Air: NASA's Global Hawk Scans Hurricane (3/13/2014)
    2014.03.13
    LEAD: NASA is using a special plane to help hurricane forecasters this summer.

    This unmanned plane, Global Hawk, flies at 60,000 feet (twice the height of commercial planes)

    It takes x-ray-like “cat- scans” of the inside of a hurricane: such as the towers of heavy rain that help energize storms.

    Because it can stay up for 24 hours it can examine the entire hurricane, Head to toe.

    TAG: Information will help forecasters determine why some hurricanes blow up from a minimal category one (1) storm to a devastating monster category 5 in less than a day. Especially critical when they approach landfall.

  • NASA On Air: NASA Launches GPM Satellite (2/27/2014)
    2014.02.27
    LEAD: NASA launches a new weather satellite from Japan today.

    1. US and Japan are partners.

    GPM: Global Precipitation Measurement

    Will circle Earth every 90 minutes.

    Will be the core of a constellation of satellites.

    2. Instruments will take “cat scans” of storms from 250 miles above the earth.

    3. For the first time from space a “dual-frequency radar" will be able to measure snow as well as rain.

    TAG: Rainfall measurements every 3 hours will help future forecasters issue warnings for flooding, such as the record Colorado flood of Sept. 2013 with over 10 inches of rain.