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Typhoon Pabuk (19W) Off Japan Tracked by a Constellation of Satellites

28.6N 137.1E

September 27th, 2013 Category: Tropical Cyclones

Typhoon Pabuk (19W) Metop2/AVHRR – September 24th, 2013

Typhoon Pabuk (19W) off the coast of Japan tracked from space by several Earth Observation satellites. All images were acquired on September 24th, 2013.

Aqua/MODIS

Suomi-NPP/VIIRS – Day

Suomi-NPP/VIIRS – Night

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.

Traces of Humankind – South Africa

30.2S 24.6E

July 3rd, 2013 Category: Earth Observation, Snapshots VIIRS/MODISSuomi-NPP/Aqua

South Africa – July 1st, 2013

VIIRS – Night Visible Image

MODIS – True-Color Image

Satellite images are an incredible tool to assess the health status of the Earth.

However, while macro-effects of human activities are clearly evident (i.e. deforestation, oil spill, etc.), the real impact of mankind on our Planet was not always easy to identify from Space.

Sometimes it is possible to understand how a region is changing just by combining data from different satellite instruments. Paradoxically, sometimes you just simply turn off the light to notice details not otherwise visible.

The main image represents the combination of the Night band of the VIIRS instrument (on-board the NASA’s Suomi-NPP satellite) with the True-Color band combination of the MODIS instrument (on-board the NASA’s Aqua satellite).

The extent of urban areas captured by the Night Image is clearly visible using the True-Color Image as a background. Small agricultural fires are visible as small groups of white dots close to the major villages (in the middle right part of the image).

The city of Cape Town is visible in the lower left part of the image, while the municipalities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Vereeniging, Brits and Rustenburg (in the upper right part of the image) show that the extent of the towns has become a single (giant) urban area.

In the small boxes at the beginning, the two images used for the combination.

Climate Change’s Impacts on Lake Poopó, Bolivia: Reduced Area and Biodiversity – July 1st, 2013

18.7S 67W

July 1st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Lakes, Salt Flats VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Bolivia – June 28th, 2013

Visible high on the Bolivian altiplano are the green waters of Lake Poopó and the bright white surface of the Salar de Uyuni. Lake Poopó’s area has decreased by 50% in the last 25 years, with serious consequences for the populations of resident and migratory waterbirds.

The lake is located at approximately 3700 m above sea level, covering an approximate area of 967,000 ha, making it the second biggest lake in Bolivia, after Lake Titicaca (visible in the upper part of the full image), which is shared with Peru. However, in only 25 years its area has decreased by about 17,400 ha, representing almost 50% of its total area.

The decrease in the wetland’s area of open water has been attributed principally to climate change, which, in conjunction with current hydrological conditions (high rates of evaporation, low rainfall, and low flow rates of the rivers flowing into the lake), mean that water levels in the lake are not rising. This has had serious impacts on the biodiversity which depends on the wetland, given that the salinity has increased, thus decreasing survival rates of some species, with subsequent consequences in the local economy.

The change in size of the wetland has represented a considerable loss of available habitat for migratory bird species, for which the lake represents an important habitat, especially during the dry season (May to September), coinciding with the southern winter. However, drastic decreases in the populations of these species have been detected since 2007. Preliminary results suggest that the reason for this decline is the loss of available habitat as a result of the reduced area of Lake Poopó, and the accumulation of solid waste around the shores of the lake (click here for more information).

 

Tropical Storm Rumbia (06W) Southeast of Hong Kong

13.2N 118.3E

July 1st, 2013 Category: Tropical Storms AVHRRMetOp

Tropical Storm Rumbia (06W) – June 30th, 2013

Enhanced image

Track of Tropical Storm Rumbia (06W) - June 29th, 2013 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of TC 06W

Tropical Storm Rumbia (06W)located approximately 290 nm south-southeastward of Hong Kong, has tracked west-northwestward at 19 knots over the past six hours. Maximum significant wave height is 11 feet.

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