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Urban Sprawl in the Great Lakes Region, USA – May 31st, 2013

42.3N 83W

May 31st, 2013 Category: Image of the day

USA – May 30th, 2013

Urban sprawl can be generally defined as wide-spread, low-density development that consists primarily of strip commercial developments, such as malls and large office buildings, and housing subdivisions connected by new, wide roads and boulevards. The subdivisions are set apart from other development and built within a specific price range, and people are dependant on their cars to get them from one place to another. With sprawl, fewer people occupy more land and as the people spread out, so do the buildings, roads and houses.

The Great Lakes region is losing its rich farmland and other greenfields to urban sprawl at an alarming rate, and the environment and the residents are paying the price. Many cities of the Great Lakes region, such as Chicago (upper left, on the shores of Lake Michigan), Detroit (above, center, on the northwestern shores of Lake Erie) and Cleveland (southeast of Detroit, on the southwestern shores of Lake Erie), are seeing their businesses and residents move to the suburbs, forever destroying open spaces and leaving behind cities of abandoned buildings with fewer tax payers.

With little or no land use planning to protect greenfields, farm fields and rural countrysides and ecologically important habitats such as wetlands have been carved up. More roads were needed to connect the new development to downtown, which invited more development on the outskirts and the cycle continues today. As more people and businesses move out to former greenfields, fewer taxpayers are supporting older towns and cities, leaving them to deteriorate (click here for more information).

Sediments in Lake Michigan by Chicago, USA – November 29th, 2012

41.8N 87.6W

November 29th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Sediments

USA – November 28th, 2012

Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes wholly within the borders of the United States; the others are shared with Canada. Twelve million people live along its shores, mainly in the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas. Here, Chicago appears as a grey area on the southwestern shoreline. Sediments line the southern shores and can be seen by Chicago.

Lake Michigan has a surface area of 22,400 square miles (58,000 km2), making it the largest lake entirely within one country by surface area, and the fifth largest lake in the world.

Although only the southern half is visible here, the lake is 307 miles (494 km) long by 118 miles (190 km) wide with a shoreline 1,640 miles (2,640 km) long. The lake’s average depth is 46 fathoms 3 feet (279 ft; 85 m), while its greatest depth is 153 fathoms 5 feet (923 ft; 281 m). It contains a volume of 1,180 cubic miles (4,918 km³) of water.

Sediments in the Great Lakes of North America

41.8N 87.6W

November 17th, 2012 Category: Lakes

USA – November 16th, 2012

Sediments and phytoplankton create swirled patterns in three of the five Great Lakes of North America. Lake Michigan (left), shows bright blue paisley patterns in the southern half, particularly near the city of Chicago, USA. Lake Huron (center), also shows sediments and phytoplankton along its southern shores. Lake Erie (lower right quadrant), shows sediments of a more green and gold hue, and distributed throughout most of its waters. Lakes Superior (upper left quadrant) and Ontario (right edge), however, appear mostly clear.

High Destructive Potential of Hurricane Sandy (18L), Eastern USA – October 29th, 2012

34.8N 77W

October 29th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Tropical Cyclones

Hurricane Sandy (18L) – October 28th, 2012

Enhanced image

Track of Hurricane Sandy (18L) - October 28th, 2012 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of TS 18L

As of 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC) October 28, Hurricane Sandy is located within 20 nautical miles of 32.4°N 71.3°W, about 270 mi (435 km) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and about 530 mi (850 km) south-southeast of New York City.

Maximum sustained winds are 65 knots (75 mph, 120 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 952 mbar (hPa; 28.11 InHg), and the system is moving northeast at 13 kt (15 mph, 24 km/h). Hurricane force winds extend up to 175 miles (280 km) from the center of Sandy, and tropical storm force winds up to 520 miles (835 km) from the center.

According to the Weather Channel, Hurricane Sandy appears destined to enter the history books as one of the most exceptional and potentially destructive storms to strike the Northeast in modern history.

Sandy, in terms of geographic size, is already the largest Atlantic hurricane of the past quarter-century. In a sign of how extraordinarily large Sandy is, a tropical storm warning is also in effect for Bermuda, while lakeshore flood warnings have been hoisted on parts of the Great Lakes including Chicago. The full extent of the storm is best observed in the full image.

Sandy has stayed close to the borderline between high-end tropical storm and low-end hurricane status, despite an impressively low central pressure. But despite the absence of sustained triple-digit winds, the huge breadth of Sandy’s circulation promises widespread disruption to life for tens of millions of Americans.

Sandy will produce its greatest impacts in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic Monday into Tuesday. A huge area of strong winds is blowing water toward the U.S. mainland. Already by Sunday evening, tides in some locations were 2 to 4 feet above normal from the Outer Banks of North Carolina north to eastern Long Island.

Sandy’s rain bands and gusty winds continue to expand across the Northeast. The heaviest rain was focused on the Mid-Atlantic as of late Sunday evening. Winds were gusting in excess of 40 mph in several locations along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastline.

Numerous high wind warnings have been issued across the Northeast for Monday and Tuesday, along with a slew of flood watches and warnings both for storm-surge flooding at the coast and freshwater flooding from rainfall inland. Blizzard warnings have even been posted for the mountains of West Virginia. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for parts of the North Carolina coast. In addition, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting hurricane-force winds from the Maryland/Virginia border to Cape Cod.

Life-threatening storm surge flooding of over 10 feet will be possible in Long Island Sound, and surge up to 6 feet above ground level is expected for parts of coastal North Carolina if peak surge occurs at high tide. Many other East Coast locations can expect dangerous storm surge.

Chicago and Snowfall by Shores of Lake Michigan, USA

41.8N 87.6W

February 14th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Sediments

USA - January 4th, 2012

Sediments line the southern shores of Lake Michigan, one of the North American Great Lakes, USA. The land to the east is dusted with snow, while that to the west, including the city of Chicago visible along the southwestern part of the lake’s shoreline, is snow free.

Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes wholly within the borders of the United States; the others are shared with Canada. It has a surface area of 22,400 square miles (58,000 km2), making it the largest lake entirely within one country by surface area, and the fifth largest lake in the world. It is 307 miles (494 km) long by 118 miles (190 km) wide with a shoreline 1,640 miles (2,640 km) long. The lake’s average depth is 46 fathoms 3 feet (279 ft; 85 m), while its greatest depth is 153 fathoms 5 feet (923 ft; 281 m). It contains a volume of 1,180 cubic miles (4,918 km³) of water.

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