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Showing posts from January 19, 2013
Dust plumes blew over Banghazi (Benghazi) in mid-January 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on January 15, 2013, as plumes blew toward the north-northwest over the coastal city.

Away from the coast, which enjoys a Mediterranean climate, the Libyan landscape consists largely of sand seas. Only about 1 percent of the land is arable, and dust storms rank among the country’s leading natural hazards.

References
CIA World Factbook. (2013, January 7) Libya. Accessed January 17, 2013.
The deep drought in the United States that has fueled wildfires, damaged crops, and caused near record-lowwater levels on the Mississippi River has lingered well into January. Though there has been some relief from a series of recent winter storms, a pair of satellites operated by NASA show that groundwater supplies continue to be unusually low in many parts of the country.

The maps above combine data from the twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) with other satellite and ground-based measurements to model the relative amount of water stored near the surface and underground between January 8 and January 14, 2013. The top map shows moisture content in the top 2 centimeters (0.8 inches) of surface soil; the bottom map shows the condition of groundwater in aquifers.The soil moisture map depicts short-term conditions, while the groundwater map offers a longer-term perspective.

The wetness, or water content, of each layer is compared to the average between…

Stratospheric Phenomenon Is Bringing Frigid Cold to U.S

An unusual event playing out high in the atmosphere above the Arctic Circle is setting the stage for what could be weeks upon weeks of frigid cold across wide swaths of the U.S., having already helped to bring cold and snowy weather to parts of Europe. Forecast high temperatures on Monday, Jan. 21, from the GFS computer model.
Click to enlarge the image. Credit: Weatherbell This phenomenon, known as a “sudden stratospheric warming event,” started on Jan. 6, but is something that is just beginning to have an effect on weather patterns across North America and Europe.  While the physics behind sudden stratospheric warming events are complicated, their implications are not: such events are often harbingers of colder weather in North America and Eurasia. The ongoing event favors colder and possibly stormier weather for as long as four to eight weeks after the event, meaning that after a mild start to the winter, the rest of this month and February could bring the coldest weather of the win…