SPOT 6, Extreme Global Weather, and Solar Storms

In the past few weeks, the SPOT-6 Earth observation satellite was launched, and in its first few days produced stunning images with a greater resolution than its SPOT-5 predecessor.

The Northwest United States was feeling the effects of one of the most severe fire seasons in the last decade as lightning sparked wildfires that roared across Washington state, while Bermuda prepped itself as Tropical Depression 12 evolved into Hurricane Leslie. Additionally, the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project again stirred up dust as Native Tribes voiced their concern over the pipeline’s proximity to sacred lands.

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 map of the earthquakes triggered around the globe within a week of the April 2012 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra (white star). Credit: Fred Pollitz, USGS  2012 Sumatra Earthquake Triggered Tremblors Worldwide for Nearly a Week – Originally Published by Phys.org

This year’s largest earthquake, a magnitude 8.6 temblor on April 11, centered in the East Indian Ocean off Sumatra, did little damage, but triggered quakes around the world for at least a week, according to a new analysis by seismologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

 
 


Photo of the sun shining through a burnt out crop of corn. Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesA Summer of Extremes Signifies the New Normal – Originally Published by e360

This summer has seen record heat waves and wildfires in the U.S., the worst flooding in Beijing’s modern history, and droughts that devastated the U.S. corn crop and led India to set up “refugee camps” for livestock.

 
 
 
 


 Massive solar flare in November 2000 via NASA Solar Storms Can Cause Power Grids to Fail at Lower Latitudes – Originally Published by EarthSky

The American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C., published a story suggesting the sun does have the capability of disrupting electrical systems on Earth – at high and lower latitudes.

 
 
 
 
 


Satellite photograph showing wildfires in central washington, usa. Credit: NASA Earth ObservatoryWildfires in Central Washington – Originally Published by NASA Earth Observatory

In September 2012, lightning sparked numerous wildfires in central Washington. This natural-color satellite image shows smoke from the fires streaming east toward Idaho. The image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on Sept. 10.

 
 
 
 


False color image of the global oceans showing their annual change in mm. Credit BBCSatellites Trace Sea Level Change – Originally Published by BBC News

Scientists have reviewed almost two decades of satellite data to build a new map showing the trend in sea levels. Globally, the oceans are rising, but there have been major regional differences over the period.

 
 
 
 


Satellite imagery of Hurricane Leslie. Credit: NASA Earth ObservatoryHurricane Leslie – Originally Published by NASA Earth Observatory

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on Sept. 5, at about the same time that Leslie had become a hurricane. Spanning hundreds of kilometers, Leslie had a spiral shape and clear eye characteristic of strong storms.

 
 
 
 


Satellite image of Bora Bora. Credit: Astrium ServicesFirst Images from SPOT 6 Satellite – Originally Published by Space Daily

Just three days after its launch, Astrium Services has posted the first images from the SPOT 6 satellite. The satellite will assure continuity of data from the series of satellites operating since 1986, along with many technological innovations. The wide imaging swath (60 kilometers), identical to that of the other SPOT satellites, makes SPOT 6 an ideal tool for covering vast territories, while its resolution enables it to distinguish smaller features than ever before.

 
 
 


Satellite image of Egyptian pyramids. Credit: NASA Earth ObservatoryPyramids at Giza, Egypt – Originally Published by NASA Earth Observatory

The Great Pyramids at Giza are the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and perhaps the most famous of the ancient monuments in the Nile River Delta of Egypt. They are also a favorite subject of photography from orbit—particularly when high-resolution imagery can be obtained. This subset of a larger astronaut photograph illustrates the degree of detail visible from the International Space Station (ISS) using a long focal-length lens to provide high magnification.

 
 


Map showing the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. SOURCE: Staff reports. GRAPHIC: Laris Karklis - The Washington Post. Published June 22, 2012.Keystone XL Pipeline Raises Tribal Concerns – Originally Published by The Washington Post

In energy circles, the town of Cushing is well-known as the hub used by New York oil traders to set the benchmark price for all U.S. crude oil. Row after row of giant oil storage tanks are lined up around a moribund downtown and a shopping strip. At the edge of town stands a sign made of white pipes declaring: “Pipeline Crossroads of the World.”

 
 


Satellite imagery of Arctic sea ice extent.  (Credit: Scientific Visualization Studio, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)Reduced Sea Ice Coverage: Fewer Consequences Than Anticipated? – Originally Published by ScienceDaily

Recent data show that we face a historical and dramatic decline in the Arctic summer sea ice extent. This is believed to be bad news for marine organisms living under the ice. But new research shows that perhaps some of the species actually have adapted to minimal ice cover in summer. The scientists call their hypothesis the “Nemo hypothesis.”