Washington, D.C. – Hot and dry. NASA says these are the watchwords for large fires. While every fire needs a spark to ignite and fuel to burn, it’s the hot and dry conditions in the atmosphere that determine the likelihood of a fire starting, its intensity and the speed at which it spreads. Over the past several decades, as the world has increasingly warmed, so has its potential to burn.
Since 1880, the world has warmed by 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit, with the five warmest years on record occurring in the last five years. Since the 1980s, the wildfire season has lengthened across a quarter of the world’s vegetated surface, and in some places like California, fire has become nearly a year-round risk.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA – Scientists with NASA/Caltech’s Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis project (ARIA) used new satellite data to produce a map of ground deformation on the resort island of Lombok, Indonesia, following a deadly 6.9-magnitude earthquake on August 5th, 2018.
The false-color map shows the amount of permanent surface movement that occurred, almost entirely due to the quake, over a 6-day period between satellite images taken on July 30th and August 5th.
NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite data reveals reasons for Earth’s Carbon Dioxide Rise
Written by Dwayne Brown
Washington, D.C. – A new NASA study provides space-based evidence that Earth’s tropical regions were the cause of the largest annual increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration seen in at least 2,000 years.
Scientists suspected the 2015-16 El Nino — one of the largest on record — was responsible, but exactly how has been a subject of ongoing research. Analyzing the first 28 months of data from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite, researchers conclude impacts of El Nino-related heat and drought occurring in tropical regions of South America, Africa and Indonesia were responsible for the record spike in global carbon dioxide.
Written by Gina Anderson
Washington, D.C. – When global food prices spiked dramatically in late 2007 and into 2008, the costs of many basic dietary staples doubled or even tripled around the world, sparking protests and riots. Panicked governments stopped exporting food, aggravating the crisis.
Almost as troubling: the crisis had taken the world by surprise.
To keep it from happening again, international leaders created an agricultural monitoring group, bringing together representatives from governments and aid groups.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – The current strong El Niño brewing in the Pacific Ocean shows no signs of waning, as seen in the latest satellite image from the U.S./European Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 mission.
El Niño 2015 has already created weather chaos around the world. Over the next few months, forecasters expect the United States to feel its impacts as well.
The latest Jason-2 image bears a striking resemblance to one from December 1997, by Jason-2’s predecessor, the NASA/Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Topex/Poseidon mission, during the last large El Niño event. Both reflect the classic pattern of a fully developed El Niño. The images can be viewed at:
Nashville, TN – Nashville Zoo is excited to announce the addition of Komodo Dragons to its animal collection. Known as the largest lizard in the world, they can be seen on exhibit in the Unseen New World.
“Komodo dragons are highly intelligent, complex animals that evoke a natural curiosity and are beloved by zoogoers,” said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo president. “We are excited to give our guests the opportunity to discover this fascinating species.”
The two lizards, both female, hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo in August 2013.
Written by Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Every ten days, the NASA/French Space Agency Jason-2 satellite maps all the world’s oceans, monitoring changes in sea surface height, a measure of heat in the upper layers of the water. Because our planet is more than 70% ocean, this information is crucial to global forecasts of weather and climate.
Lately, Jason-2 has seen something brewing in the Pacific—and it looks a lot like 1997.
Recently, I saw a graphic on Facebook depicting certain states in the USA where there were more people on welfare than working in that state. A couple of days later, I read a post that a friend shared on Facebook, again, about welfare.
I was not surprised at the post, rather, reminded that sometimes it takes a couple nudges for us to see what we’re really seeing. The post was from Mike Huckabee, a former preacher and presidential candidate. «Read the rest of this article»
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – When someone says “Once in a Blue Moon,” you know what they mean: Rare, seldom, even absurd.
This year it means August 31st.
For the second time this month, the Moon is about to become full. There was one full Moon on August 1st/2nd, and now a second is coming on August 31st. According to modern folklore, whenever there are two full Moons in a calendar month, the second one is “blue.”
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Anyone who’s ever seen a noctilucent cloud or “NLC” would agree: They look alien. The electric-blue ripples and pale tendrils of NLCs reaching across the night sky resemble something from another world.
Researchers say that’s not far off. A key ingredient for the mysterious clouds comes from outer space.
“We’ve detected bits of ‘meteor smoke’ imbedded in noctilucent clouds,” reports James Russell of Hampton University, principal investigator of NASA’s AIM mission to study the phenomenon. “This discovery supports the theory that meteor dust is the nucleating agent around which NLCs form.”
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