Latest News and Updates

January 9, 2017
This visible image of the storm system affecting the U.S. Pacific Coast was taken from NOAA's GOES-West satellite on Jan. 9, 2017 at 8:35 a.m. EST (1345 UTC). Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Extreme rain events have been affecting California and snow has blanketed the Pacific Northwest. NASA/NOAA's GOES Project created a satellite animation showing the storms affecting the region from January 6 through 9, 2017, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured a look at the snowfall.  This visible image of the storm system affecting the U.S. Pacific Coast was taken from NOAA's GOES-West satellite on Jan. 9, 2017 at 8:35 a.m. EST (1345 UTC). Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, an animation of visible and infrared imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite showed a series of moisture-laden storms affecting California from Jan. 6 through Jan. 9, 2017. NOAA manages the GOES series of satellites and the NASA/NOAA GOES Project uses the satellite data to create animations and images. The animation shows a stream of storms affecting the U.S. West coast over that period, as a low pressure area center churned off of Canada's west coast. On January 9, another area of low pressure moved over Oregon, where the National Weather Service is forecasting heavy snows. The Eastern Douglas County Foothills, south central and southern Oregon Cascades, and Siskiyou Mountains were all under a Winter Storm Warning that calls for "6 to 10 inches possible above 3,000 feet and 1 to 2 feet possible above 5,000 feet."

 

January 13, 2017
CIRA total precipitable water
The state of California has been suffering from a multi-year drought that has severely depleted water resources and reservoir levels. Recent winters have failed to produce precipitation and mountain snows to replenish the losses during the dry summers. However, the situation has rapidly changed this winter, particularly in the past week when multiple atmospheric rivers have impacted the state. An atmospheric river is a concentrated channel of deep moisture that is transported from the tropical Pacific Oceanic regions to the West Coast of the United States.  These events are often associated with prodigious amounts of rainfall and mountain snows that lead to flooding, mudslides, and avalanches.  We have seen such events this past week impact California, especially the central and northern parts of the state.  CIRA’s total precipitable water product in Figures 1a and 1b depict two separate atmospheric rivers impinging on central California from 8 and 10 January 2017, respectively. The first wave transported a plume of tropical moisture from the south-southwest, which led to massive rainfall and high snow levels.  The second atmospheric river on the 10th was less directly connected to the tropics (coming in from the west-southwest), but nonetheless exhibited a well-focused transport of high moisture content.  Widespread flooding and mountain avalanches have resulted from these moisture plumes as the impacted California, as well as dramatic replenishment of reservoirs. Figure 1.  CIRA total precipitable water product (inches) valid at (a) 2100 UTC 8 Jan 2017, and (b) 2100 UTC 10 Jan 2017.

 

January 12, 2017
GPM IMERG precipitation accumulation from 1/7/17 - 1/10/17.
GPM IMERG precipitation accumulation from 1/7/17 - 1/10/17. Click here to view an animated GIF.

 

January 12, 2017
Flood Extent from MODIS Aqua / Terra as of 1/12/17.
Significant amounts of rain in early January have caused significant and widespread flooding in southern Thailand. Learn more about the flood recovery efforts on the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) website Flood Extent from MODIS Aqua / Terra as of 1/12/17. MODIS suface water extent data from 1/12/17. View this data on an interactive map: http://projectmekongnasa.appspot.com/ 7 day precipitation accumulation in Southeast Asia ending on 1/11/17. Data from the Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals from GPM (IMERG) Late Run dataset.  View and download this data on an interactive map using the PMM Precipitation and Applications Viewer: https://pmm.nasa.gov/precip-apps  

 

January 9, 2017
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of flooded land near the Pra River on January 9, 2017.
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of flooded land near the Pra River on January 9, 2017. This second image shows the same area on February 2, 2014, when waters were lower. Several days of heavy rainfall swamped much of southern Thailand in January 2017. While monsoon-related floods are common in Thailand, the wet season usually ends in November. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of flooded land near the Pra River on January 9, 2017. For comparison, the second image shows the same area on February 2, 2014, when waters were lower. The rainfall, which began on January 1, 2017, is some of the most severe to hit Thailand in three decades, according to Thai authorities. More than 300,000 homes have been affected, and damage to infrastructure is widespread. At least 36 people have died.

 

January 3, 2017
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image on January 3, 2017.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image on January 3, 2017. It was loud and brief. For a few minutes around 9 p.m. on January 3, 2017, Alaska’s Bogoslof volcano let loose an explosion. According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, cloud-top temperatures indicate the volcanic plume may have reached as high as 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) into the atmosphere. Winds out of the south carried the cloud north over the Bering Sea. The volcano blew off more steam and ash two days later, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image. A video clip assembled from Himawari-8 data shows another volcanic cloud on the afternoon of January 5, 2017. Infrared sensors detected that temperatures in the plume plunged to -58 degrees Celsius (-72° F) as the steam and ash rose into the atmosphere, according to Dan Lindsey, an atmospheric scientist with NOAA. Himawari-8 is a geostationary weather satellite run by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

 

January 5, 2017
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this natural-color image of a smoke plume south of Río Colorado on December 29, 2016.
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this natural-color image of a smoke plume south of Río Colorado on December 29, 2016. Dense smoke rose above a rash of wildfires in the Pampas region of Argentina in late December 2016 and early January 2017. Over the past month, roughly two dozen fires have spread across the rural landscape. The blazes were likely started by thunderstorms that followed a stretch of hotter-than-average weather, according to Clarín, a South American news site. In mid-December 2016, news reports showed heavy smoke billowing from the undergrowth. At that point, fires south of Bahía Blanca had consumed at least 40,000 hectares (nearly 100,000 acres). Despite rain in the final days of December, a handful of hot spots persisted. By early January 2017, fires in Argentina had devoured 300,000 hectares, an area roughly 15 times larger than the city of Buenos Aires, noted Clarín. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured a natural-color image (above) of a smoke plume south of Río Colorado on December 29, 2016.

 

January 11, 2017
 ARIA Flood Proxy Map for the floods in Northern California and Nevada on January 8th, 2017.
 ARIA Flood Proxy Map for the floods in Northern California and Nevada on January 8th, 2017.  Flood Proxy Map (FPM) covering an area of 155-by-224 miles (250-by-360 km), derived from Sentinel-1's pre- (2016-12-15 6 PM PST) and during-the-event (2017-01-08 6 PM PST) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) amplitude images. The colored pixels represent areas of potential flood (Red: flooded vegetation, Blue: open water flood). Different irrigation conditions on the two data acquisition dates can produce errors on agricultural lands. This FPM should be used as guidance to identify potential areas of flooding, and may be less reliable over urban areas or snow cover. 

 

January 11, 2017
TMPA rainfall anomalies for the one month period ending on 10 January 2017
California, which has long been suffering through a strong, multi-year drought, is finally beginning to see some much needed relief as a result of a recent series of storms that are part of a weather pattern known as the “Pineapple Express.” The Pineapple Express is known as an atmospheric river. A large, slow-moving low pressure center off of the West Coast taps into tropical moisture originating from as far south as the Hawaiian Islands. This moisture is then channeled northeast by the subtropical jet steam towards the West Coast where the topography aids in squeezing out the moisture as air flows over the mountain ranges. Though these rains are certainly welcome and very much needed, they have also led to flooding and mudslides. The first storm in the series arrived in the middle of last week and brought rain to northern and central California. The next storm occurred over the weekend and brought heavy rains again to mostly northern and central California although southern California also received significant amounts. This event lead to widespread flooding, down trees and mudslides, especially in the Sierra Nevada where hurricane force winds occurred and Interstate 80 was closed due to a massive mudslide. Blizzard, winter storm, high wind, and flood warnings are already in effect as the third plume of moisture in this series is already making its way through the interior part of the state where several feet of snow are expected in the Sierra Nevada. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (known as TRMM) was launched into service back in November of 1997. It was designed to measure rainfall over the global Tropics using both passive and active sensors, including the first and at the time only precipitation radar in space. With its combination of passive microwave and active radar sensors, TRMM was used to calibrate rainfall estimates from other satellites to expand its coverage. The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has been used to monitor rainfall over the global Tropics for many years. By subtracting the long-term average rainfall or climatology, rainfall anomalies can be constructed to show deviations from the normal pattern.

 

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