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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Smoke from Space

Smoke from Space

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, October 13, 2017/Categories: photography, video, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change

    San Francisco Bay Area Smoke from Fires, 10-12-2017 (credit: JPL)

The national science agencies NASA, NOAA, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech manage and operate a suite of Earth orbiting satellites observing the current wildfires in northern California. The environmental monitors gather imagery using light in visble, infrared, and UV wavelengths. Each sensor allows different sensativites to determine characteristics of storms, clouds, ocean currents, winds, and fires, and other conditions. The satellites followed the growth, expansion, and extent of what is now considered the worst wildfires in California's history.

NASA animated images using sequences showing smoke covering the San Francisco Bay Area this week. For the past several days, air quality there has reached particulate pollution levels more typically associated with Beijing, China and considered severely unhealthy for people.

Closer to the ground, footage gathered by a Washington Post drone viewed neighborhoods in the town of Santa Rosa entirely burned to the ground after sparks, carried by winds from nearby hillsides, ignited. California's annual 'fire season' used to be during the Fall months but Cal-Fire now sees it as a year-round period induced by the State's natural aridity and drought amplified by climate change.

Using a more 'global' perspecitive, NOAA estimated the cost of disasters for 2016 to be: A historic year for billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in U.S.  back in January 2017. Their calcuations were made well before the floods, hurricanes, and fires arrived seven months later. Disaster costs associated with these severe weather events are still to be calculated.

The floods, fires, and storms predicted for mid-Century are now with us today.



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