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Fire in Gila National Forest, New Mexico, USA – June 28th, 2013

33.6N 108.6W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day MODISTerra

USA – June 27th, 2013

Smoke from a large fire in the Gila National Forest, in New Mexico, west of the Rio Grande (running parallel to the right edge), can be seen fanning out over a great area as it blows westward. The Gila National Forest covers approximately 2,710,659 acres (1,100,000 ha) of public land. Terrain ranges from rugged mountains and deep canyons to semi-desert. Due to the extremely rugged terrain, the area is largely unspoiled.

Climate Change Fuelling Colorado Wildfires – June 27th, 2013

38.0N 108W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Fires, Image of the day VIIRSSuomi-NPP

USA – June 26th, 2013

Smoke billows forth from wildfires blazing in the forests of the Rocky Mountains, in the state of Colorado, USA. These fires have already consumed 125 square miles and are zero percent contained.

What’s propelling these fires are dry conditions made worse by strong winds and an ongoing spruce-beetle infestation. The beetles tunnel under bark, laying eggs that will eventually kill trees. Scientists have reached a consensus that climate change is to blame:

North America is witnessing the largest pine-beetle epidemic in recorded history. From Canada’s Yukon Territory to New Mexico, pine trees by the hundreds of millions are succumbing to a fungus that the beetles carry. The pine needles of infected trees first turn a violent red, then they fall, and, finally, the dead tree topples over. Year by year, communities have watched a scourge advance across mountainsides and through neighborhoods, trees turning from green to red to gray. The beetles now attack 12 pine species, from the high-elevation whitebark pine to the lower-elevation ponderosa and piñon. The blight has devastated 3.3 million acres in Colorado alone since the 1990s.

Beetles kill, die off, and regenerate, all of which is part of a lodgepole pine forest’s natural life cycle. But human activity helped set the stage for the current epidemic. Decades of fire suppression have left the West with dense stands of vulnerable, elderly trees. Climate has also played a role. Frigid winters that usually kill the beetles have become, over the past 20 years, the exception rather than the rule. Earlier snowmelt and longer summers have altered the beetles’ range and life cycle; they now attack pines at higher altitudes and latitudes, and they reproduce twice a year instead of once. Earlier springs and a series of dry years have also weakened trees, turning them into ideal beetle food (click here for more information).

Tropical Storm Cosme (03E) Off Coast of Mexico

19.3N 115.7W

June 27th, 2013 Category: Tropical Storms VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Hurricane Cosme (03E) – June 26th, 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 26 (0300 UTC June 27), Tropical Storm Cosme is located within 25 nautical miles of 19.6°N 117.6°W, about 545 mi (880 km) west-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Maximum sustained winds are 45 kt (50 mph, 85 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 998 mbar (hPa; 29.47 InHg), and the system is moving west-northwest at 12 kt (14 mph, 22 km/h). Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 mi (220 km) from the center of Cosme.

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.

Fires in Colorado and New Mexico, USA

36.9N 106.5W

June 24th, 2013 Category: Fires, Volcanoes MODISAqua

USA – June 24th, 2013

Several wildfires can be seen burning in the forests of Colorado (above) and New Mexico (below), USA, in this image. Winds are carrying the thick plumes of smoke towards the northeast. In the full image, another blaze can be seen west of the Carrizozo lava field.

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