Having a Rough Winter? Here it is … From Space

Yes, its been a snowy, icy winter in parts of the US, Canada and Europe and these satellite images look about as miserable as it’s felt for some of us. And no, those aren’t icicles hanging off the coast of Maine and Nova Scotia; those are called ‘cloud streets,’ which are long parallel bands of cumulus clouds that form when cold air blows over warmer waters (like the ocean) and a warmer air layer (temperature inversion) rests over the top of both.

But don’t let the recent cold weather and snow fool you. The Earth as a whole continues to warm, and NASA and NOAA announced today that their analysis puts 2014 as Earth’s warmest year since 1880. 2014 was the 38th straight year with above average global annual temperatures, and December 2014 was the hottest December on record. Additionally, 6 of the 12 months last year set heat records. Even though you might feel cold right now, the last time there was a monthly average global temperatures that set a record for cold was in 1916.

OK, now back to the regularly scheduled feeling sorry for ourselves for the recent cold, snowy weather… see more satellite images below.

Winter storms brought snow and ice to a large portion of the U.S. Midwest and Northeast. NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image on January 10, 2015. Credit: NASA.
Snow and ‘cloud streets’ over the Black Sea on January 8, 2015. Image is from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite. Credit: NASA.

Here’s a video from NASA about the latest findings on Earth’s changing climate:

Sources: NASA Earth Observatory (US/Canada images), NASA Earth Observatory (Black Sea image), NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

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