IN THE FIELD

These are also available on the city forecast pages of www. Several geostationary meteorological spacecraft are in operation. Russia 's new-generation weather satellite Elektro-L No. The Europeans have four in operation, Meteosat -8 3. Polar orbiting weather satellites are in sun-synchronous orbits , which means they are able to observe any place on Earth and will view every location twice each day with the same general lighting conditions due to the near-constant local solar time.

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Polar orbiting weather satellites offer a much better resolution than their geostationary counterparts due their closeness to the Earth. India has polar orbiting satellites as well. The United States Department of Defense 's Meteorological Satellite DMSP can "see" the best of all weather vehicles with its ability to detect objects almost as 'small' as a huge oil tanker.

In addition, of all the weather satellites in orbit, only DMSP can "see" at night in the visual.

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Some of the most spectacular photos have been recorded by the night visual sensor; city lights, volcanoes , fires, lightning, meteors , oil field burn-offs, as well as the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis have been captured by this mile-high space vehicle's low moonlight sensor. At the same time, energy use and city growth can be monitored since both major and even minor cities, as well as highway lights, are conspicuous. This informs astronomers of light pollution. In addition to monitoring city lights, these photos are a life saving asset in the detection and monitoring of fires.

Not only do the satellites see the fires visually day and night, but the thermal and infrared scanners on board these weather satellites detect potential fire sources below the surface of the Earth where smoldering occurs. Once the fire is detected, the same weather satellites provide vital information about wind that could fan or spread the fires.

These same cloud photos from space tell the firefighter when it will rain. Some of the most dramatic photos showed the Kuwaiti oil fires that the fleeing Army of Iraq started on February 23, The night photos showed huge flashes, far outstripping the glow of large populated areas. The fires consumed millions of gallons of oil; the last was doused on November 6, Snowfield monitoring, especially in the Sierra Nevada , can be helpful to the hydrologist keeping track of available snowpack for runoff vital to the watersheds of the western United States.

This information is gleaned from existing satellites of all agencies of the U. Ice floes, packs and bergs can also be located and tracked from weather space craft. Even pollution whether it is nature-made or man-made can be pinpointed. The visual and infrared photos show effects of pollution from their respective areas over the entire earth.

Aircraft and rocket pollution, as well as condensation trails , can also be spotted. The ocean current and low level wind information gleaned from the space photos can help predict oceanic oil spill coverage and movement. Almost every summer, sand and dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa drifts across the equatorial regions of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to reducing visibilities and causing respiratory problems, sand clouds suppress hurricane formation by modifying the solar radiation balance of the tropics.

Other dust storms in Asia and mainland China are common and easy to spot and monitor, with recent examples of dust moving across the Pacific Ocean and reaching North America. In remote areas of the world with few local observers, fires could rage out of control for days or even weeks and consume millions of acres before authorities are alerted.

Weather satellites can be a tremendous asset in such situations. Nighttime photos also show the burn-off in gas and oil fields. Atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles have been taken by weather satellites since From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Spaceflight portal. Retrieved on July 4, Helens for Possible Eruption. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on May 9, Launches Camera Weather Satellite".

The Fresno Bee. AP and UPI. April 1, Mariners Weather Log. Environmental Science Services Administration. Hasler, K. Palaniappan, C. This is the first of a two-part story on those possible changes. First, some background.

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Picture it as a spoon stirring a cup of coffee, said Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the U. Department of Agriculture. The heat acts like the spoon bowl, pushing huge currents around the Pacific. But then some of this warmth seeps upward from the moving water, like an invisible spoon handle, and begins stirring the air. The U. The dramatic weather patterns cleave the country in half. Southern regions become wetter and colder than usual, while the north becomes dryer and warmer. Winter wheat is planted in late autumn and allowed to briefly mature before snows hit. The snow insulates the seeds, and its moisture favors the plants during their cold dormant months.

Winter wheat accounts for 70 to 80 percent of total U.

Winter wheat has three major production areas in the U. Chances of possible temperature outcomes for January March above normal red , near normal, or below normal blue. Above or below normal means temperatures in the upper or lower third of the range of historical temperatures.

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El Niño Infographic | Teaching | Weather science, Earth science, Earth, space science

Chances of possible precipitation outcomes for January March above normal dark green , near normal, or below normal brown. Above or below normal means preciptation in the upper or lower third of the range of historical precipitation. If these fields remain underwater, the quality of the crop will be compromised. A temperature drop in the region could also freeze the soil and cause heaving, wherein the roots are compromised. Wheat in the Midwest and mid-South accounts for nearly a quarter of U.

Red winter wheat supports the supply of flour, so time will tell if these weather trends hurt the price of cookies, pastries, flat bread, crackers and other snack foods. But Rippey believes the extra precipitation should be a boon for crops planted in the spring, such as corn and soybeans. For an example of what El Nino is doing to spring crops in the Pacific Northwest and California, consider marijuana.

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In Washington, growers are hoping the warmer-than-normal conditions expected in spring can repair damage caused by surprise snowstorms that hit the region this past November. We lost about half our crop. Around , he and his colleagues started noticing a substantial increase in marijuana cultivation in the hills of Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino County, a region already nicknamed the Emerald Triangle because of its reputation for cannabis production.

Using satellite imagery, low-altitude aircraft flights and field surveys, they found three out of four watersheds in the Emerald Triangle were almost sapped dry by marijuana cultivation. They published the findings in March. He is also worried that heavy rain will wash away dirt roads constructed by farm owners. Finally, a floral fireworks display has begun across much of the East Coast due to the warm, wet conditions. Botanic Garden in D. Japanese apricots Prunus mume are in full bloom right now at the U.

Botanic Garden Conservatory, according to their supervisor of gardens and grounds John Walsh. Japanese apricots Prunus mume in full bloom right now at the U. Botanic Garden Conservatory. Photo by U. Botanic Garden. Daffodils, Lenten roses and snowdrops have bloomed early too, Walsh said. The same may occur with Washington D.