In case you missed it, the weather’s been hot. From warmer-than-usual temperatures in northern climes to melting ice sheets in the polar regions, July 2023 was a record-breaking month. That’s not just some random perception. NASA has been keeping records and the agency confirms what most of us have observed for ourselves. It was a warm one.Continue reading “No Surprise, July 2023 Was the Hottest Month on Record Since 1880”
While many people are living through a sweltering summer, it’s the depths of winter in Antarctica. Usually, this means there’s a lot of sea ice around the continent. Yet, this year, it’s the lowest it’s ever been. What’s happening?Continue reading “We’ve Never Seen Antarctic Sea Ice This Low”
On July 28th, the European Space Agency commanded its long-working Aeolus wind profile mission to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. It did that and disintegrated into pieces over Antarctica. Of course, satellites do this often. But, Aeolus was different. It maneuvered its way into a safe re-entry profile, a first-of-its kind activity designed to avoid populated regions on Earth.Continue reading “Follow a Simulated Journey of the Destruction of ESA’s Aeolus Mission”
It probably comes as no surprise to people suffering through drastic weather this year that our planet is heating up. Climate change is the culprit and researchers continue to look for ways to mitigate its effects. A scientist at the University of Hawai’i suggests a novel approach: create a giant solar shade in space to block enough sunlight to counter climate change.Continue reading “Tether a Sunshade to an Asteroid to Slow Down Climate Change”
This summer has seen a violent outbreak of forest fires across Canada and North America. According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center (CIFFC), there were 911 active fires across the country on July 13th, nearly 600 of which were characterized as “out-of-control.” More than half of these active fires are taking place in the provinces of British Columbia, driven by a combination of unusual heat, dry lightning, and drought. The situation is becoming increasingly common thanks to rising global temperatures, diminished rainfall, changing weather patterns, and other related effects of Climate Change.
Monitoring forest fires and other meteorological phenomena is an important task for which Earth Observation missions like NASA’s Aqua satellite were created. On July 12th, with six weeks left in the Canadian fire season, Aqua captured images of some of the largest fires over British Columbia using its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. The image above shows some of the biggest “hot spots” in the province, which produced dense plumes of smoke blowing eastward through the Rocky Mountains and into Alberta and the Northwest Territories.Continue reading “Forest Fires in British Columbia are Bad This Year. THIRTY Times Worse Than Average”
It’s a strange, eerie-looking place. Carbon dioxide gas appears… and disappears in cycles and bursts throughout the year. It’s how our planet would look if we could detect carbon dioxide (CO2) with our eyes. Scientists at NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office made computer animations of its presence in our atmosphere. Those videos show an almost-alien view of Earth under the influence of this gas.
The evolution of Earth’s climate contains many components. And new research has shown just how critical the ozone layer is to the surface temperature of the Earth. Without an ozone layer, our planet would be 3.5 Kelvin cooler.Continue reading “Without Ozone, the Earth Might Get a Lot Colder”
Despite decades of warnings and international climate agreements, global carbon emissions are still rising. Carbon emissions seem like an unstoppable juggernaut as energy-hungry humans keep breeding and pursuing more affluent lifestyles. Reducing emissions won’t be enough to confront the climate crisis; we need additional solutions.
Geoengineering, also called climate engineering, could be the solution we seek. But is it financially feasible?Continue reading “Geoengineering is Shockingly Inexpensive”
California residents will be glad to know their reservoirs are nearly full again after years of drought. New satellite photos show the levels of Shasta Lake, California’s largest reservoir, going from 31% capacity last November to nearly 100% in May 2023. The reservoir was filled with heavy rains and a significant mountain snowpack that melted into the nearby rivers.
This is the highest levels this lake has seen in over four years, following years of persistent and extreme drought in the US southwest. Scientists are working on ways to recharge ground reservoirs with any excess water, to minimize the effect of the next inevitable drought.Continue reading “Phew, California’s Largest Reservoir is Nearly Full”
As global warming heats up our atmosphere a degree at a time, the world’s glaciers are paying the price. In ten years, they’ve shrunk by a total of 2 percent. To look at it another way, collectively the glaciers have lost 2,720 gigatons of ice thanks to warming air.Continue reading “European Satellite Measures Exactly How Much Ice Has Been Lost from Glaciers”