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California Emergency as Huge Yosemite Fire ‘Rim Fire’ Doubles in Size

37.8N 119.5W

August 26th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Fires VIIRSSuomi-NPP

USA – August 24th, 2013

Night Image – Fire Front

Firefighters in California are struggling to gain control of a huge wildfire which has reached the edge of Yosemite National Park. The Rim Fire covers nearly 225 sq miles (582 sq km) and threatens a major reservoir serving San Francisco.

The detail image shows the extent of the fire front. The image acquired during the day of the 24 August can be compared with the image taken at night on the same day.

The fire is just 7% contained after burning for more than a week, officials say, up from 2% containment on Friday. Strong winds have fanned the flames closer to nearby towns raising the risk of flying debris sparking more fires.

More than 5,000 homes are endangered by the blaze, which began on 17 August from still unknown causes in the Stanislaus National Forest.

Hurricane Cosme (03E) Moving Nearer to Baja California

26.2N 120.7W

June 26th, 2013 Category: Tropical Cyclones VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Hurricane Cosme (03E) – June 25th, 2013

Enhanced image

Track of Hurricane Cosme (03E) - June 25th, 2013 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of TC 03E

As of 8 p.m. PDT June 25 (0300 UTC June 26), Hurricane Cosme (03E) is located within 15 nautical miles of 17.9°N 113.3°W, about 410 mi (660 km) south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and about 525 mi (845 km) west-southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico.

Maximum sustained winds are 75 kt (85 mph, 140 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 981 mbar (hPa; 28.97 InHg), and the system is moving west-northwest at 12 kt (14 mph, 22 km/h). Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 mi (55 km) from the center of Cosme, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 mi (280 km) from the center of Cosme.

Fire in Sierra Nevada Foothills, California, USA – June 18th, 2013

37.3N 119.7W

June 18th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day MODISTerra

USA – June 17th, 2013

A plume of smoke from a wildfire burning in the wooded foothills of the Sierra Nevada, east of California’s Great Central Valley, can be seen just to the right of the center of this image. The smoke from the fire is blowing towards the south-southeast, trailing over the valley.

Ship Tracks Off Coast of California and Effects on Climate

34.0N 124W

June 7th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Clouds MODISTerra

USA – June 6th, 2013

The track of large ships is sometimes visualised by a trail of shallow stratus clouds. These clouds, known as ‘ship tracks’, form in the wake of ships and are remarkably long-lived. They typically are between 0.5-5 km wide, i.e. wide enough to be seen in visible satellite imagery. Here, several can be seen southeast of California, USA.

Sometimes a ship track appears as a band of enhanced cloud thickness embedded in stratus. Ship tracks are due to cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in the ship’s exhaust. They are most likely in a near-saturated environment that is otherwise depleted of CCN. Such environment is very common in the marine boundary layer over the subtropical highs. Over these large, quasi-stationary highs, the boundary-layer air is divergent, making it unlikely to draw in CCN-rich continental air.

The nature and climatic effect of ship tracks has been investigated off the central California coast. Ship tracks increase the albedo, yet have very little effect on the long-wave radiation balance, because they are so shallow. Therefore ship-tracks tend to cool the global climate, although the magnitude of this effect is likely to be small (click here for more information).

Climate Change Scenarios for California, USA – May 23rd, 2013

37.7N 122.4W

May 23rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day

USA – May 22nd, 2013

This image focuses on the San Francisco Bay region of the US state of California. Climate model simulations used to investigate possible changes in regional climate over California have predicted that by the end of the twenty-first century, temperatures in the state will increase by 2°C to 6°C (about 3.5 °F to 11°F). While there is greater warming in summer than in winter, all simulations indicate that hot daytime and nighttime temperatures (heat waves) will increase in frequency, magnitude, and duration.

Projected precipitation is marked by considerable variability: in the southern half of California, the models show a decline in annual precipitation. Sea level rise predictions range from 77 cm to 140 cm (30 to 55 in) over historical levels by 2100. The rise of mean sea level would provoke an increase in extreme events, as gaged by exceedances above a relatively high or rare historical threshold. Such events are becoming much more frequent and have longer durations than has been seen historically (click here for more information).