Videos: Earth from Orbit

“Earth from Orbit” is a series of short videos that showcase a compelling weather event, environmental hazard, or interesting meteorological phenomenon each week, as seen by NOAA satellites. The videos, a collaboration between NOAA and NASA, provide a look at the science behind the highlighted topic and imagery. A short article with additional information accompanies each video.


LATEST VIDEO: Earth from Orbit: GOES-U Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

Earth from Orbit: GOES-U Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

On January 23, 2024, NOAA’s GOES-U satellite arrived in Florida for final preparations for its upcoming launch. After being packed in a high-tech shipping container that acts as a mobile clean room, GOES-U caught a ride aboard a C-5 Super Galaxy aircraft from Buckley Space Force Base in Colorado to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After landing, the satellite was taken to Astrotech Space Operations, where it was removed from its shipping container, inspected, and placed onto a test stand. GOES-U will now undergo final preparations for a spring 2024 launch from Kennedy Space Center, where it will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA/Lockheed Martin

Earth from Orbit: 2023 Satellite Imagery: A Year in Review

NOAA satellites see our planet from a unique and captivating perspective. Every year, they capture the beauty and wrath of Mother Nature unfolding beneath them—devastating hurricanes, raging wildfires, erupting volcanoes—as well as the changing seasons, ocean color, nighttime lights, and more. The view of NOAA satellites isn’t just limited to Earth; they also capture images of our moon and the sun as we navigate our cosmic journey. As we head into the new year, take a look back at some satellite imagery highlights from 2023. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Atmospheric Rivers Drench the Pacific Northwest

NOAA satellites monitored a series of storms from an atmospheric river that impacted the Pacific Northwest in early December 2023. On Dec. 4, the storms brought record-breaking rainfall, flooding, and significant snowfall to some areas. Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow belts of moisture that move through the atmosphere. GOES-18 (GOES West) tracked the band of moisture as it moved over the Pacific Ocean and into the Pacific Northwest in near real-time. NOAA satellites provide critical data for forecasting atmospheric weather river events and monitoring the weather conditions they bring. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Wraps Up

NOAA satellites constantly monitor the ocean for tropical activity. As the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season comes to a close, we’re looking back at this above-normal season. This season was very active in terms of the number of named storms, ranking fourth for most named storms in a year. The Atlantic basin saw 20 named storms in 2023. Seven of these were hurricanes and three intensified to major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). An average season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Although the season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, tropical and subtropical cyclone formation can occur at any time and NOAA satellites will be keeping watch. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Hurricane Otis Causes Catastrophic Damage

On Oct. 25, 2023, NOAA satellites monitored Hurricane Otis as it hit Mexico’s southern Pacific coast near Acapulco as a Category 5 storm. Otis was the strongest hurricane in the Eastern Pacific to make landfall in the satellite era. The hurricane brought storm surge, flooding, mudslides, and strong winds to the coast and caused widespread damage and fatalities in the region. GOES East and GOES West watched in near real-time as Otis rapidly intensified from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane within a 24-hour period. The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) measured lightning within the eyewall while it was rapidly intensifying. Infrared imagery showed the structure of the storm as it developed and intensified before making landfall. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: NOAA Satellites View Annular Eclipse

On Oct. 14, NOAA satellites caught an annular eclipse as it traversed parts of North, Central, and South America. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon crosses between the Earth and the sun, and casts a shadow. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is farther away from Earth when they pass each other. In this event, the moon does not completely block out the sun and causes a ring of fire to appear. NOAA’s GOES satellites viewed the moon’s shadow as it moved across the Earth in near real-time. The Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) onboard GOES East also captured the eclipse. SUVI observed the moon crossing in front of the sun. As the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse approaches, NOAA satellites will be waiting to capture the event. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Heavy Rains Cause Flooding in New York City

The remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia over the Atlantic Ocean combined with a mid-latitude system arriving from the west unleashed more than eight inches of rain in parts of the New York metropolitan area on Sept. 28-29, 2023. NOAA satellites monitored conditions as torrential rain led to flood water coursing through streets and into basements, schools, subways, and vehicles throughout the nation’s most populous city. Data from GOES and JPSS were also used to produce flood maps that helped to determine the impact of the storm – where flooding was happening, what the extent was, how long it would last, and what damage occurred. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

Earth From Orbit: NOAA’s GOES-U Completes Environmental Testing

GOES-U, the fourth and final satellite in NOAA’s GOES-R Series of advanced geostationary satellites, recently completed rigorous testing to ensure it can withstand the harsh conditions of launch and maintain functionality in orbit 22,236 miles above Earth. The testing process spanned nearly a year and was conducted by Lockheed Martin and SpaceX personnel at the Lockheed Martin facility in Littleton, Colorado, where the satellite was built. GOES-U is on track for an April 2024 launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida aboard a Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/Lockheed Martin

Earth From Orbit: 2023 Hurricane Activity Ramps Up

NOAA satellites have been monitoring increased tropical activity in the Atlantic and Pacific, with five named storms developing in the last week. As NOAA satellites were monitoring Tropical Storm Hilary as it brought torrential rainfall, flooding, and mudslides to Southern California, a series of storms were forming in the Atlantic. Within the span of 18 hours, three tropical storms formed—Emily, Franklin, and Gert. While Emily and Gert were relatively short-lived and dissipated over the ocean, Franklin, which formed east of the Leeward Islands, made landfall in the Dominican Republic on August 23, bringing heavy rains to Hispaniola. By August 22, another tropical storm, Harold, formed in the western Gulf of Mexico, making it the fourth Atlantic named storm to form within 39 hours. Harold made landfall on San Padre Island, Texas on August 22, and was the first Atlantic storm this season to do so in the U.S. August 20 marked the beginning of what is typically the most active portion of the Atlantic hurricane season. Historically, more than 85 percent of all major (Category 3, 4, and 5) Atlantic hurricanes form after this date. As the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons continue, NOAA satellites remain our watchful eyes in the sky, providing critical information for hurricane forecasting, tracking, and intensity estimation. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA GSFC/CIRA

Earth From Orbit: Fires Blaze Across Western U.S.

On Aug. 10, NOAA updated its 2023 Atlantic hurricane season outlook. NOAA is now expecting above normal activity in the Atlantic. El Niño and record sea surface temperatures are contributing factors. The update includes an increase in named storms to 14-21, with 6-11 developing into hurricanes. Of those, 2-5 are anticipated to be major hurricanes – Category 3 or higher. The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season started early on Jan. 16 with an unnamed subtropical storm that formed southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Since the first official day of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, June 1, there have been four named storms: Arlene, Bret, Cindy and Don. Out of the four, only one strengthened into a hurricane. Hurricane Don developed into a Category 1 hurricane on July 22 in the northern Atlantic. NOAA satellites provide critical data for hurricane forecasting as well as advanced technology to track the storms—their location, movement, and intensity. The satellites provide a detailed look at storm properties, specific features of a hurricane’s eye, wind estimates, and lightning activity. As peak hurricane season approaches, NOAA satellites will be watching for the development of these storms. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

Earth From Orbit: Fires Blaze Across Western U.S.

As record-breaking heat continues to scorch parts of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, NOAA satellites are monitoring fires in the western U.S., which are sending plumes of smoke into the atmosphere. As of July 26, 2023, a total of 39 fires have burned 201,637 acres in nine states, including Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, California, Texas, Montana, and Washington. NOAA satellites are tracking the fires and their impact. GOES-18 (GOES West) identified hot spots as they ignited and monitored the movement of smoke from the fires in near real-time. GOES-18 also helped determine fire size and temperature. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth From Orbit: NOAA Satellites Monitor Severe Weather and Smoke

As catastrophic flooding impacted the Northeast, skies across the region and particularly along the central and eastern U.S. have also been affected by heavy smoke from wildfires burning across Canada that has continued to drift southward. NOAA satellites monitored conditions as the events unfolded. GOES-16 measured water vapor that was transported in the atmosphere, and monitored the storms that drenched the Northeast in near real-time. GOES-16 and 18 tracked the intense smoke from Canadian wildfires as it moved into the central and eastern U.S., triggering air quality alerts. From fires to floods, NOAA satellites help warn us of approaching hazards. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/SSEC

Earth From Orbit: Extreme Heat and Severe Weather Plague Parts of North America

NOAA satellites have been watching the effects of a heat dome that settled over Texas and parts of Mexico since early June 2023. The heat dome is expected to spread northward and persist through July 4 with no relief in sight. A heat dome is a ridge of high pressure that traps hot air. While the heat dome is causing record-breaking temperatures in the south, it has also led to severe weather. The edge of the heat dome meeting with cooler air can trigger severe thunderstorms, tornados, and high winds. The NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 satellites measured land surface temperature, revealing the extent of the heat dome. Data collected by the satellites is used within models such as the Global Forecast System to accurately predict conditions. Meanwhile, GOES East watched the heat dome interact with cooler air in near real-time as is seen with water vapor imagery. As these explosive storms developed along the edge of the dome and traveled eastward, GOES tracked their movement. GOES East also measured lightning within the storms and infrared imagery from the satellite revealed the intensity of the storms. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Summer Solstice 2023

June 21, 2023, marks the start of astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The summer solstice is the moment the hemisphere reaches its greatest tilt toward the sun. NOAA’s GOES-16 and -18 satellites constantly observe the same region of Earth, allowing a view of the terminator as it moves across the Western Hemisphere. The terminator is the edge between the shadows of nightfall and the sunlight of dusk and dawn. The slope of the terminator curve changes with the seasons. The summer solstice is the longest day, and shortest night, of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Smoke From Canadian Wildfires Blankets U.S.

More than 400 fires are burning across Canada, blanketing regions throughout North America with thick smoke. NOAA satellites are monitoring the smoke as it drifts across the continent. Unusually hot and dry weather triggered an early and intense start to the wildfire season in Canada and the country is on track to have the worst wildfire season on record. Recently, smoke from fires in Ontario and Quebec moved into the eastern U.S., triggering air quality alerts across the region. According to NOAA’s Aerosol Watch, the smoke caused a historic Code Red (unhealthy) daily Air Quality alert of 2.5 parts per million across New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and western Connecticut on June 6, 2023. There was even a Code Purple (very unhealthy) in some parts of New York City and Philadelphia. As of the morning of June 7, historically high fine particulate concentrations were seen further south into the Mid-Atlantic region, and reports from the ground stated limited visibility and campfire-like smells. GOES East and GOES West are tracking the billowing smoke and monitoring air quality in near real-time. JPSS satellites are collecting data to help determine the height of the smoke plume, the amount of smoke produced, and the direction it’s expected to move. Together, NOAA satellites provide critical information for detecting and tracking fires and alerting communities to poor air quality from smoke produced by the blazes. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Popocatépetl Volcano Erupts in Mexico

Since May 15, 2023, NOAA satellites have been watching Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano exhibit activity ranging from tremors to spewing ash. Popocatépetl, Aztec for smoking mountain, is located 45 miles southeast of Mexico City. With about 25 million people living within 60 miles of Popocatépetl, it is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Geostationary satellites, like GOES-16 and GOES-18, are the primary tool for monitoring volcanic clouds. GOES-16 observed Popocatépetl’s ash plumes in near real-time and monitored hazardous sulfur dioxide from the volcano. JPSS satellites measured smoke, ash and dust from the volcano. Together, NOAA satellites help monitor volcanoes and the risks they pose. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: Wildfires Rage in Western Canada

In early May 2023, fires ignited across western Canada due to unusually hot and dry weather. NOAA satellites watched as the fires raged, burning about one million acres. GOES-18 monitored the spread of the fires and smoke across the region. The ABI instrument on GOES-18 observed the formation of pyrocumulonimbus clouds from intense fires in Alberta. The data collected by NOAA satellites help responders forecast what areas will be impacted and manage the wildfires. As the Northern Hemisphere heats up, NOAA satellites will keep watch for wildfires. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: Preparing for Hurricane Season

As spring heads toward summer, NOAA satellites are ready for this year’s upcoming hurricane season. NOAA satellites monitor the conditions that spawn hurricanes and provide early warning that a storm is forming. GOES East and West monitor hurricanes as they develop and track their movements in near real-time. GOES satellites measure the temperature of cloud tops and the amount of water vapor present within a system, and also provide wind estimates. They also monitor lightning within a storm. NOAA satellites also aid emergency response to landfalling hurricanes by mapping the extent, damage and duration of flood events. Together, NOAA satellites are prepared to provide vital information to forecasters and help protect life and property throughout the 2023 hurricane season and beyond. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Earth from Orbit: Large Geomagnetic Storm Hits Earth

On April 21, 2023, NOAA satellites detected a coronal mass ejection erupting from the sun, which hurled plasma at two million miles per hour toward Earth. This eruption produced a geomagnetic storm on Earth. GOES-16’s Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) instrument observed the event as it occurred, while the DSCOVR satellite measured the solar winds the storm produced. This allowed NOAA to issue warnings for possible impacts from the storm. Geomagnetic storms can affect electrical grids, spacecraft, radio frequencies, GPS signals, and astronauts in space. On April 23, the particles reached Earth’s upper atmosphere and caused an aurora in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. This is the third severe geomagnetic storm since Solar Cycle 25 began in 2019. As the sun’s activity continues to ramp up, NOAA satellites will be watching for hazardous space weather. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Earth from Orbit: Happy Earth Day 2023

Since 1970, NOAA satellites have been monitoring Earth’s weather, environment, oceans, and climate. This Earth Day, we have a lot to celebrate. Over the past year, NOAA has added two new satellites to its Earth-observing fleet and contributed an instrument to a mission that will help us have a better understanding of Earth’s physical and biological environment. On Earth Day, we celebrate the critical information NOAA satellites provide to help us stay safe and the beautiful imagery they share of our planet. They see it all: hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, lightning, fires, dust storms, smoke, fog, volcanic eruptions, vegetation, snow and ice cover, flooding, sea and land surface temperature, ocean health and more. They can even track ship traffic and power outages. At NOAA, each day is Earth Day. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CNES/Kinéis

Earth from Orbit: Violent Storms Tear Through the South

Beginning on March 24, 2023, NOAA satellites monitored severe storms that caused widespread damage from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic. The storms produced high winds, hail, flooding, and tornadoes. High winds and 38 tornadoes were reported when the storms moved through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. The town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi was struck by an EF-4 tornado that killed 26 people in total, injured dozens more, and damaged buildings and utilities. GOES-16 (GOES East) monitored the storm in near real-time as it barreled across the Southeast. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: More Heavy Rain, Snow, and Wind Hitting Western U.S.

After tracking a series of atmospheric rivers that have drenched California this year, NOAA satellites monitored the latest storm to begin impact the state on Mar. 19, 2023. Rain and snow triggered flash flooding, caused numerous evacuations and left over 350,000 without power. The atmospheric river fueled a mid-latitude cyclone that led to the formation of a hurricane-like eye when two low pressure areas converged over San Francisco. NOAA satellites provided vital information about airborne moisture for more accurate weather forecasts and to predict flood risks and manage water resources. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/SSEC

Earth from Orbit: Monumental U.S. Storm Brings Severe Winter Weather Coast to Coast

Since mid-February 2023, winter weather has impacted the continental U.S. from California to Maine. In Southern California, the storm brought blizzard conditions to the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains as well as heavy rainfall to lower elevations. As the storm system continued eastward, snow and driving winds caused road closures and drifting snow across the Plains. Further south in Kansas and Oklahoma, tornadoes downed power lines, damaged property, and caused injuries. Additional tornadoes were reported in central and northeastern Illinois. The storm also brought heavy snow to the Northeast. NOAA satellites provided complementary measurements for a complete picture of this monumental storm and played a crucial role in tracking the storms across the U.S., alerting those in harm’s way. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: Tropical Cyclone Freddy Breaks Records before Lashing Madagascar

On Feb. 21, 2023, Tropical Cyclone Freddy made landfall on Madagascar. Freddy formed on Feb. 5 near Indonesia and trekked more than 4,000 miles before hitting Madagascar. Freddy is one of only four storms on record to cross the Indian Ocean from east to west. It is also the first in the Southern Hemisphere to undergo four separate rounds of rapid intensification. At its strongest, Freddy had maximum sustained winds of more than 160 miles per hour, equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. NOAA satellites and those from our international partners monitored the storm as it traversed the Indian Ocean and made landfall in Madagascar. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/EUMETSAT

Earth from Orbit: NOAA Satellites Track Blazing Wildfires in Chile

At least 231 wildfires have been blazing through south-central Chile since Feb. 3, 2023. The region is experiencing a “mega drought” with a decade-long period of dry weather. NOAA satellites are monitoring the fires as hot and dry weather persists. As of Feb. 8, 231 fires have burned more than 741,315 acres of land, making it the second worst year for acreage burned in Chile. GOES-16 and GOES-18 observed the movement of smoke from the fires in near-real time, while identifying new fires. The satellites also help determine a fire’s size and temperature. NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP provide detailed information on fire conditions. The satellites can detect smaller and lower-temperature fires and track wildfires in remote regions. Together, NOAA satellites provide critical and timely information used by fire crews, first responders and air traffic controllers. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Rope Clouds

On Jan. 25, 2023, NOAA satellites captured an unusually long and long-lived rope cloud produced by a cold front over the Gulf of Mexico. A rope cloud is a very long, narrow, rope-like band of cumulus cloud formations. Generally associated with a cold front or a land-sea breeze front, rope clouds tend to form at the dividing line between cooler and warmer air. In this case, the rush of cool, dense air from the cold front pushed the warm, maritime air from the Gulf of Mexico upward, allowing water vapor to condense and the cloud to form. Satellite imagery can capture rope clouds, indicating a potentially changing weather pattern. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Atmospheric Rivers Hit the West Coast

From late Dec. 2022 into Jan. 2023, a series of nine “atmospheric rivers” dumped a record amount of rain and mountain snow across the western U.S. and Canada, hitting California particularly hard. More than 32 trillion gallons of water rained down across the state, and the moisture also pushed into much of the Intermountain West. The San Francisco Bay area experienced its wettest three-week period in 161 years. Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow belts of moisture that move through the atmosphere. They can deliver tremendous amounts of rain, and high-elevation snow. This deluge of rain can provide relief for drought-stricken areas but also trigger flash flooding and mudslides. NOAA satellites help forecast these rivers in the sky and monitor the weather conditions they bring. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: NOAA’s GOES-18 is now GOES West

NOAA’s operational satellite fleet has a new member. GOES-18 entered service as GOES West on Jan. 4, 2023. The milestone comes after a Mar. 1, 2022, launch and post-launch testing of the satellite’s instruments, systems, and data. GOES-18 replaces GOES-17 as GOES West, located 22,236 miles above the equator over the Pacific Ocean. GOES-17 will become an on-orbit standby. In its new role, GOES-18 will serve as NOAA's primary geostationary satellite for detecting and monitoring Pacific hurricanes, atmospheric rivers, coastal fog, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other environmental phenomena that affect the western contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America. GOES-18 joins GOES-16 (GOES East) in operational service. Together the two satellites watch over more than half the globe, from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand and from near the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIRES/CISESS

Earth from Orbit: Mauna Loa Erupts for First Time Since 1984

On Nov. 28, 2022, the Mauna Loa volcano, located on Hawaii’s Big Island, began erupting for the first time since 1984. The volcano began spewing ash and debris from its summit after a series of earthquakes and lava was ejected to heights of up to 148 feet on Nov. 29. As of Dec. 6, The Northeast Rift Zone eruption continued, with an active fissure feeding lava flow downslope. NOAA satellites monitored the ongoing eruption, lava flow, ash plume, and sulfur dioxide emissions. Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1893, making it the world’s most active volcano. NOAA satellites are critical for detecting volcanic activity, alerting those in harm’s way of an eruption, and monitoring the hazards associated with volcanic eruptions. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS/USGS

Earth from Orbit: The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Comes to a Close

The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season officially came to a close on Nov. 30. This season produced 14 named storms, of which eight became hurricanes and two intensified to major hurricanes. This season was also defined by a rare mid-season pause in storms that scientists believe was preliminarily caused by increased wind shear and suppressed atmospheric moisture high over the Atlantic Ocean. After a quiet period in August, activity ramped up in September with seven named storms, including the two major hurricanes — Fiona and Ian — seen this season. The season also included a rare late-season storm with Hurricane Nicole making landfall on November 10 along the east coast of Florida. NOAA satellites constantly monitor the Atlantic hurricane basin and provided valuable data and imagery to forecasters for tracking the development, movement, and intensity of tropical cyclones this season. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Earth from Orbit: Wildfires Erupt in the Pacific Northwest

As cooler temperatures descend across parts of North America, NOAA satellites observed fires erupting in the Pacific Northwest this month. Warm, dry and windy conditions brought some of the driest October weather conditions to the region, increasing the risk of wildfires. Since Jan. 1, 2022, 56,710 wildfires have burned 7,022,627 acres around the country. This is the most wildfires reported to date in the past 10 years. Currently, there are more than 333,213 acres burning across Oregon, the largest total area of any state. NOAA satellites provide potentially life-saving information in a dynamic fire environment. GOES East and GOES West frequently detect fires before they are spotted on the ground, which is particularly important in remote areas. The satellites also track fires in real time, identify and track smoke, and determine a fire’s size and temperature. Suomi-NPP and NOAA-20 detect smaller and lower-temperature fires and also provide nighttime fire detection. The data from these satellites is also critical to smoke models used by fire crews, first responders, and air traffic controllers. As conditions remain warm and dry, NOAA satellites remain on watch for wildfires. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Earth from Orbit: Hurricane Ian’s Path of Destruction

On Sept. 28, Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa in southwestern Florida as a dangerous Category 4 storm after plowing a path of destruction through the Caribbean, bringing particularly heavy rainfall and dangerous surf to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and western Cuba. Ian thrashed parts of Florida’s western coast, bringing intense winds, heavy rainfall, and catastrophic storm surge. After crossing over the Florida peninsula, where it had weakened to a tropical storm, Ian strengthened again over the Atlantic to a Category 1 hurricane and made a second landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina on Sept. 30. NOAA satellite imagery helped forecasters pinpoint the center of circulation in real-time, monitor the storm’s intensity and movement, track thunderstorm activity both in the eyewall and in the tornado-producing outer rain bands, and determine when landfall would occur. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Hurricane Fiona Leaves Wake of Destruction

Hurricane Fiona, the first major storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, has been wreaking havoc, causing catastrophic damage across Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos. The storm has caused devastating flooding and has damaged critical water and power infrastructure in its wake. Now, with sustained wind speeds of near 130 mph, Fiona is heading northward toward Bermuda as a Category 4 hurricane. NOAA satellites provide vital information for forecasting hurricanes and monitoring the location, movement and intensity of storms. As Fiona continues on its path, and other storms develop, NOAA satellites will be watching. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Hurricane Kay Brings Rain to the Southwest While Wildfires Rage to the North

NOAA satellites have tracked a lot of activity across western North America this month. From wildfires, to a hurricane, to heavy rains in the drought-stricken region, satellite imagery has been vital in monitoring these events. Pacific moisture from Hurricane Kay brought heavy rain and flash flooding to areas in California and Arizona. The remnants of Kay provided temporary relief to some communities battling wildfires. Meanwhile, the Northwest continued to experience dry conditions and wildfires. No matter what phenomena occur, NOAA satellites provide critical data for monitoring hazardous situations. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: First Atlantic Hurricanes of 2022 Arrive

After a slow start to the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, activity has ramped up with the first two hurricanes forming during the first week of September. The Atlantic went without a named from July 6 through Aug. 31. August passed without a named storm for the first time since 1997. Tropical Storm Danielle formed on Sept. 1 in the far North Atlantic. The storm gained strength unusually far north where hurricanes are rare. Record-warm ocean temperatures fueled Danielle, which strengthened into a hurricane on Sept. 2. Tropical Storm Earl developed east of the Northern Leeward Islands on Sept. 3, and brought heavy rains to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Leeward Islands. Earl strengthened to hurricane status on the evening of Sept. 6 and is expected to pass southeast of Bermuda late on Sept. 8. NOAA satellites monitor the ocean and atmospheric conditions that lead to the development of tropical storms and hurricanes. Once a storm forms, the satellites provide critical data—such as location, movement, and intensity—to track the storms. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Remembering Hurricane Andrew 30 Years Later

Aug. 24, 2022, marked the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew’s landfall in southern Florida. Andrew was one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in U.S. history. Since Hurricane Andrew, dramatic advancements in technology have helped to better prepare for, predict, monitor, and respond to hurricanes. NOAA’s latest generation of satellites has revolutionized the way scientists and forecasters monitor and track tropical systems. They monitor the conditions that lead to hurricane formation, provide early warning that a storm is forming, monitor and track the movement of storms, and estimate storm intensity. NOAA satellites are our vigilant eyes in the sky, helping protect lives and property when hurricanes strike. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: When Lightning Strikes

Lightning is a major public safety threat. Several incidents of injuries and fatalities from lightning strikes in early August 2022 highlight the importance of lightning safety and awareness. The GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) detects and maps lightning within storms. GLM can show forecasters areas where the risk of lightning strikes presents a public safety hazard, leading to fewer lightning-related injuries and deaths. GOES-16 and GOES-17 can not only detect current lightning activity, but their data can also help predict the occurrence of lightning in the future. Scientists are using an artificial intelligence (AI) model, called ProbSevere LightningCast to predict where lightning is most likely to occur up to 60 minutes in advance. As thunderstorms occur with a threat of lightning, NOAA satellites work with partners and decision-makers to keep the public safe and informed. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: Kentucky and Missouri Devastated by Flash Flooding

Hundreds of miles apart, but connected by the same weather system, urban St. Louis and rural Appalachia have recently experienced devastating flash flooding. NOAA satellites monitored the storms that produced the catastrophic flooding, measuring the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, cloud top temperatures, and lightning activity. Scientists also use data collected NOAA satellites to produce flood maps to determine where flooding may be occurring. These maps help first responders decide where to send aid. When storm systems develop with the potential to cause flash flooding, NOAA satellites will be watching. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA/CIRA/SSEC

Earth from Orbit: California’s Oak Fire Near Yosemite Spreads Rapidly

Strong winds and extremely dry conditions fueled a wildfire that ignited on July 22 near Yosemite National Park. The Oak Fire is currently the largest active wildfire in California, burning more than 18,800 acres. NOAA satellites are monitoring the rapidly spreading fire and providing critical data. GOES-17 is measuring the Oak Fire’s intensity, tracking its spread, and monitoring the movement of smoke in near real-time. As drought persists, and fire season ramps up, NOAA satellites will be watching and providing timely and potentially life-saving information. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Alaska Ablaze

Throughout June 2022, NOAA satellites monitored wildfires in Alaska that have burned more than 1.6 million acres. Unusually hot and dry weather in the region increased the risk of fires. These conditions led to more than 300 fires in recent weeks, with many sparked by lightning. On May 31, lightning ignited the East Fork Fire and burned over 250,000 acres, making it one of the largest tundra fires on record. Meanwhile, the Lime Complex Fire has burned more than 600,000 acres in southwestern Alaska. As Alaska’s historic wildfire season continues, NOAA satellites are keeping watch. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: GOES-18 GOES West

June 21 marked the official start of astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The summer solstice — the longest day and shortest night of the year — occurred at 5:14 a.m. EDT. The summer solstice is the moment the hemisphere reaches its greatest tilt toward the sun. As the Earth rotates on its axis, the North Pole experiences 24 hours of daylight, while the South Pole is obscured in darkness. NOAA’s GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites constantly observe the same region of Earth, allowing a view of the terminator as it moves across the Western Hemisphere. The terminator is the edge between the shadows of nightfall and the sunlight of dusk and dawn. The slope of the terminator curve changes with the seasons. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: GOES-18 GOES West

NOAA’s GOES-18 is now sending back data from its new post-launch testing position over the Pacific Ocean. From its new vantage point, GOES-18 can now see Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Ocean all the way to New Zealand. This location allows it to monitor the northeastern Pacific, where many of the weather systems affecting the continental U.S. originate. GOES-18 has already seen a lot from its new location. Recently, the GOES-18 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) monitored a number of weather events, meteorological phenomena, and environmental hazards. The satellite tracked fire activity in Alaska, snow and the movement of fog and smoke. It monitored a low pressure system off the West Coast and severe thunderstorms in Colorado. GOES-18 also viewed mesmerizing von Kármán vortices off the coast of Isla Guadalupe and beautiful cloud formations over Hawaii. As GOES-18 continues post-launch testing, its ABI will provide critical information for eastern Pacific hurricane forecasters despite not yet being fully operational. After the completion of post-launch testing and checkout, NOAA plans for GOES-18 to replace GOES-17 as the operational GOES West satellite in early 2023. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: 2022 Hurricane Season Begins

The 2022 hurricane season is officially underway. The eastern Pacific hurricane season began on May 15, while June 1 marked the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA satellites monitored the first named storms in each hurricane basin. Tropical Storm Agatha formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean on May 28 and rapidly intensified into a Category 2 hurricane. On May 30, Agatha became the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall along the Pacific coast of Mexico in the month of May. Remnants from Agatha helped fuel what would become the Atlantic’s first named tropical storm, Alex, which affected south Florida at the beginning of June. NOAA satellites provide vital information for forecasting hurricanes and monitoring the location, movement and intensity of storms. As the hurricane season ramps up, NOAA satellites are keeping watch. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Flashy First Imagery from the GOES-18 Geostationary Lightning Mapper

On June 2, NOAA shared striking first imagery from the GOES-18 Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). Recently, GLM monitored lightning activity within severe storms across the U.S. The instrument captured significant lightning activity in the derecho that moved across the Northern Plains on May 12-13. GLM helps forecasters identify intensifying storms and captures the evolution of individual storm cells that combine to form massive storm systems. Widespread weather events pose particular challenges for the aviation industry. GLM data helps pilots and air traffic controllers route flights to maximize safety and minimize economic impacts. GOES-18 is undergoing post-launch testing to prepare it for operations. NOAA plans for GOES-18 to begin operating as GOES West in early 2023. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/Lockheed Martin/CISESS - UMD/Los Alamos National Laboratory

Earth from Orbit: Wildfires Across the Plains and Southwest

Since early April 2022, NOAA satellites have been watching wildfires burning across parts of the Southwest and Plains. The two largest fires located in northern New Mexico, the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fires, have burned more than 60,000 acres. GOES-17 watched smoke billowing over the region and drifting to areas upwind bringing hazy skies to communities many miles away. GOES-17 and GOES-16 also detected hot spots from the fires in near-real time while providing information on the size and intensity of these fires. NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP captured daytime and nighttime images of the fires. They also took air quality measurements and tracked the movement and thickness of smoke over the region. As fire season starts earlier and ends later, NOAA satellites are keeping watch. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Earth Day 2022

Before we had satellites, we could only imagine what the Earth looked like from above. Our view has come a long way, from changes in technology to how we understand Earth’s systems. Built upon NASA’s pioneering efforts, NOAA’s satellite program continues to improve Earth observations from space. Since 1970, NOAA satellites have monitored Earth's weather, environment, oceans and climate. As NOAA satellites continue to advance, they increase our understanding our planet, because every day at NOAA is Earth Day. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Spring Snowstorm Hits U.S.:

This week, NOAA satellites monitored a large storm system that brought winter weather to some regions and severe weather to others. GOES-17 watched as the system moved eastward across the Pacific Northwest where it brought snow. GOES-16 watched the progression of the storm as the cold air met with the warm humid air from the Gulf of Mexico. This clash of air masses led to severe weather in multiple states across the Midwest and South. The GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper watched as the storms produced frequent lightning as they marched eastward. The system produced more than 500 reports of damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes throughout the central U.S. The storms finally wound down as the system reached the East Coast. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Vernal Equinox:

The vernal equinox on March 20, 2022, marked the beginning of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The spring equinox results in nearly equal daylight and darkness across the planet. During an equinox, the terminator – the edge between the shadows of nightfall and the sunlight of dusk and dawn – is a straight north-south line over the equator. GOES-16 and GOES-17 constantly observe the same region of Earth, allowing a view of the terminator as it moves across the Western Hemisphere. Earth’s seasons change due to the tilt of the planet’s axis as it orbits the sun. Throughout the year, these satellites observe the markers of seasonal change. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Go Atlas. Go Centaur. Go GOES-T!:

On March 14, 2022, GOES-T executed its final engine burn, placing the satellite in geostationary orbit 22,236 miles above Earth. Upon reaching this milestone, GOES-T was renamed GOES-18. NOAA’s GOES-T satellite launched on March 1, 2022, at 4:38 p.m. EST, lifting off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The satellite launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41. The launch was managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Tongan Eruption Ripples Around the Globe:

On Jan. 15, 2022 an underwater volcano in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga exploded violently in what was likely the largest recorded eruption on Earth in decades. The eruption generated atmospheric shock waves, sonic booms, and tsunami waves that traveled the world and were heard as far away as Alaska. Satellites operated by NOAA and its international partners play a crucial role in detecting volcanic activity, alerting those in harm’s way of an eruption, and monitoring the hazards associated with volcanic eruptions, including volcanic ash and tsunamis. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/JMA/CIMSS/SSEC/The International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/Damien Grouille/Cecil Sabau

Earth from Orbit: Catching Bolides:

On January 1, 2022, there were numerous reports of sonic booms in southwestern Pennsylvania. GOES-16’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) picked up a large flash that wasn’t associated with a thunderstorm. GLM data indicated the source of the mysterious sound to be a bolide, or large meteor exploding in the atmosphere. The GLM onboard GOES-16 and GOES-17 primarily monitors lightning activity. However, it can also detect bolides, and has captured many of these exploding meteors. Loud booms with no visible source can cause a lot of anxiety – especially in populated areas. When GLM is able to quickly confirm the presence of a bolide, it helps calm fears. GLM constantly keeps watch for both lightning and exploding meteor hazards. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Kona Low Slams Hawaii:

NOAA satellites monitored a large “kona low” storm system that brought drenching rain, flash flooding, and blizzard conditions to Hawaii. The system moved directly over the islands on Dec. 4, 2021, prompting Hawaii’s governor to declare a state of emergency. A kona low, or kona storm, is a seasonal subtropical cyclone that occurs in Hawaii during the winter months Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

2021 Hurricane Season Comes to a Close:

The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially came to a close on Nov. 30 and was the third-busiest Atlantic season on record. This year, a total of 21 named storms formed, seven of which became hurricanes. Of these, four were considered major (Category 3 or above) on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. NOAA satellites monitored and tracked all of the storms, providing vital data to safeguard communities. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

GOES-T Arrives at Kennedy Space Center:

NOAA’s GOES-T, the third in the GOES-R Series of advanced weather observing and environmental monitoring satellites, arrived in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021 to begin final preparations for launch, which is currently scheduled for March 1, 2022. Watch its journey from Colorado to Florida in the latest installment of our Earth from Orbit video series. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA/Lockheed Martin

Earth from Orbit: Solar Flare Erupts:

On Oct. 28, NOAA’s GOES East satellite observed a strong solar flare with its Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI). The flare produced aurora that was visible across parts of the northern U.S. Learn more in this week's Earth from Orbit: Solar Flare Erupts. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS/Lockheed Martin

Earth from Orbit: 5 Haunting Sights from NOAA Satellites:

NOAA satellites have a boo-tiful view of Earth, 24/7. Sometimes they see some haunting sights, like moon glint or the moon creeping near the edge of Earth. When monitoring hurricanes, GOES satellites have captured eerie imagery that looks skulls in these monster storms. Graveyards are home to ghosts and ghouls, not satellites. But when a GOES satellite reaches its end of life, it’s sent to what’s called a graveyard orbit, out of the way of busier operational orbits. Finally, we ain’t afraid of no GOES-Ts. We’re excited for the upcoming launch of the latest sequel in the GOES-R Series. Happy Halloween from NOAA Satellites! Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS/Lockheed Martin

Earth from Orbit: Atmospheric River Hits the West Coast:

On October 25, 2021, a phenomenon called an “atmospheric river” dumped heavy rain and mountain snow across the Western U.S. and Canada. Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow belts of moisture that move through the atmosphere. They can deliver large amounts of rain, and high-elevation snow. This deluge of rain can help end droughts but also can produce flash flooding and mudslides in some areas. NOAA satellites monitor these rivers in the sky as they make their way over the West Coast. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA/CIRA/CIMSS

Hurricane Sam Powers Across the Atlantic:

As Hurricane Sam churns in the Atlantic Ocean, NOAA satellites are carefully monitoring the powerful Category 4 storm, the strongest of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season to date. Sam formed on Sept. 23 and rapidly intensified into a Category 4 hurricane by Sept. 25. Sam’s rate of intensification was the highest on record that far east in the Atlantic this late in the calendar year. Satellite observations showed convective bursts and the presence of a defined, stable eye during rapid intensification. Significant lightning activity was also seen within the eyewall as Sam rapidly intensified. Despite several fluctuations in intensity, Sam has maintained major hurricane strength since Sept. 25. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Atlantic Hurricane Season Hits Its Peak:

September 10 marked the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. Climatologists determined this peak date by recording the total number of named storms in the Atlantic basin over the last 100 hurricane seasons and taking an average of when the most storms occur. Around 75% of Atlantic seasons since the beginning of the satellite era in 1966 have had at least one named storm on September 10 and about 50% of seasons have had at least one active hurricane on that date. Tropical activity tends to peak around this time because of warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures and weaker wind shear. NOAA satellites recently monitored several storms in the Atlantic during hurricane season’s peak. Download Video | Transcript NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Hurricane Ida Causes Days of Destruction:

Hurricane Ida caused intense flooding and destruction from the Gulf of Mexico to New England, and is blamed for several fatalities. Ida struck Louisiana near Port Fourchon on August 29 as a powerful Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. The storm made landfall in Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and is tied with 2020’s Hurricane Laura and the Last Island Hurricane in 1856 for the strongest maximum sustained winds at landfall for a Louisiana hurricane. In just three days, Ida rapidly progressed from a tropical wave to a hurricane. After striking Cuba’s Isle of Youth as a Category 1 hurricane on August 27, Ida headed northward and rapidly intensified to a Category 4 hurricane. Ida moved inland and brought heavy rainfall and widespread flooding from the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys into the Central and Southern Appalachians and mid-Atlantic, bringing record rainfall and deadly flooding to the New York region. NOAA satellites monitored the progression of the storm as it developed and intensified. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: Hurricane Season Heats Up:

As we approach the peak of Atlantic hurricane season, activity in the tropics is ramping up. NOAA satellites are monitoring storms in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Tropical Storm Fred formed on Aug. 11, 2021 and made landfall on the eastern Florida panhandle on Aug. 16. Tropical Storm Grace developed on Aug. 14 in the Caribbean Sea and strengthened into a hurricane on Aug. 18 as it approached Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. And Tropical Storm Henri developed south of Bermuda on Aug. 16. Meanwhile, hurricane Linda churns in the eastern Pacific. As hurricane season heats up, NOAA satellites provide critical data for forecasting and tracking the location, movement and intensity of the storms. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Fires Rage Across the Globe:

As wildfires continue to rage in North America, and the Dixie Fire became the second largest in California history, fire activity has also spiked across the globe. Thick smoke from the hundreds of wildfires burning in Siberia has reached parts of Mongolia, western Greenland, and, for the first time in recorded history — the North Pole. Hundreds of fires are also raging in Greece, Italy, Algeria and Turkey among one of the worst heat waves in decades. NOAA’s satellites and those from our partners across the globe are providing critical data for detecting and tracking the hundreds of fires that are burning worldwide as well as monitoring reduced visibility and air quality from the smoke produced by the blazes. These observations aid forecasters, decision-makers, and first responders. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/EUMETSAT

Earth from Orbit: Wildfires Spawn Severe Weather:

Wildfires continue to rage in the western U.S. Some of the fires are so intense, they’re creating their own severe weather. NOAA satellites are monitoring wildfire conditions as well as fire-generated storms. Intense heating by wildfires can generate a smoke-infused thunderstorm or pyrocumulonimbus cloud. These clouds can produce lightning and generate strong winds, making it more difficult to contain the spread of fire. In rare instances, they can even spawn a tornado. The Bootleg Fire in Oregon produced a tornado on July 18, 2021. When wildfires spawn severe weather, dangerous conditions become even worse. NOAA satellites are our eyes in the sky, detecting and monitoring wildfires as well as storms created by the most intense fires. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Satellites and Solar Energy:

Sunglint from solar panels is often observed in satellite imagery. While an interesting phenomenon to see, there’s actually an important connection between satellite observations and solar energy production. Detailed data about clouds from NOAA satellites can aid solar energy forecasts. Clouds affect the output of solar power generation systems. GOES-16 (GOES East) and GOES-17 (GOES West) monitor what types of clouds are present, how they are distributed in the sky, how much shadow they are creating over solar farms, and where they will move next. This provides valuable information about the variations that can occur in power production over the next few minutes to hours. As demand for solar energy grows, the need for timely, detailed information about solar radiation and cloud cover is essential. GOES-16 and GOES-17 provide critical data for harnessing solar energy and efficiently delivering it to consumers. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Wildfire Smoke Blankets U.S.:

Wildfire activity amid extreme heat and drought has resulted in smoke blanketing much of the United States and Canada. NOAA satellites are monitoring the fires and their smoke output as well as the effects of the smoke on air quality, visibility, and weather. The satellite data are critical for forecasters, decision-makers, and first responders. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth From Orbit: Record Heat and Drought Raising Risk of Wildfire:

The western U.S. has seen record-breaking high temperatures over the past week as a heat dome, or mass of warm air, blankets the Pacific Northwest. This essentially occurs when a “mountain” or “dome” of warm air rises into the atmosphere, gets pinched off by the jet stream, and blocks new weather systems from moving in. The extreme heat, coupled with a severe drought this spring and summer in the region, has combined to significantly raise the risk of wildfire from both human and natural hazards, such as lightning. As the drought and heat wave stretches on, vegetation in these areas dries out, creating ample fuel for potential wildfires. But how dry is it? Learn how NOAA satellites help monitor fires and fire weather conditions that can lead to increased likelihood of them occurring. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth From Orbit: Tropical Storm Claudette Batters Southeastern U.S.:

This past weekend, NOAA satellites closely monitored Tropical Storm Claudette, the third named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Claudette slammed into the Gulf and southeastern coasts of the U.S., causing severe damage in parts of the Deep South. The storm was officially named on June 19 after it organized and strengthened near the town of Houma in southeastern Louisiana. It is the fifth-earliest third-named storm to form in the Atlantic basin since 1950. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Fire Season Heats Up:

Fire weather is heating up across the western United States, exacerbated by an intense heatwave and ongoing severe drought. NOAA satellites are monitoring numerous wildfires and keeping watch on areas primed for ignition. As of June 17, 2021, 33 large fires are currently active, burning more than 400,000 acres in 10 states. NOAA satellites zoomed in on several of the major fires burning in the western U.S, including the Telegraph and Mescal Fires in southeastern Arizona, Pack Creek and Bear Fires in Utah, and the Robertson Draw Fire in Montana. Data from the satellites help forecasters monitor drought conditions, locate hot spots, detect changes in a fire’s behavior, predict a fire’s motion, and monitor smoke and air quality Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Actinoform Clouds:

NOAA satellites captured actinoform clouds over the eastern Pacific Ocean on June 3, 2021. These collections of shallow clouds, organized in a distinctive radial pattern, often appear as leaf-like or reminiscent of wagon wheel spokes. They are commonly observed over open water in the Pacific Ocean, in areas where stratocumulus clouds form. These cloud formations are usually so large that they cannot be seen from below. They were first observed in 1962, by NASA’s TIROS V satellite. It’s not yet clearly understood how these complex clouds organize, and studying these clouds with NOAA’s advanced satellite sensors may lead to important new insights about our atmosphere. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: 2021 Hurricane Season Has Begun:

The 2021 hurricane season is officially underway. June 1 marked the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season; the eastern Pacific season began on May 15. 2020’s Atlantic season was the busiest on record with a total of 30 named storms, including 13 hurricanes. And NOAA is predicting another above-average Atlantic season for 2021. NOAA satellites provide vital information for forecasting hurricanes and monitoring the location, movement and intensity of storms. As hurricane season gets underway, NOAA satellites are vigilantly watching over the Atlantic and eastern Pacific hurricane basins. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Supercells Strike Louisiana and Texas:

Severe storms struck Louisiana and Texas on May 17, 2021, producing heavy rain, extensive flooding, damaging winds, large hail, and several tornadoes. Hail the size of baseballs was reported near Girard, Texas, and wind gusts of more than 70 mph downed trees and damaged buildings. The storms produced several tornadoes. Torrential rain fell over parts of eastern Texas and Louisiana, producing widespread flooding. At least four people died amid floodwaters after more than a foot of rain fell in Lake Charles and 10 inches in Baton Rouge. GOES-16’s orbit allows the satellite to keep vigilant watch over a fixed area and capture storms in motion. The ability to monitor clouds and atmospheric conditions in near-real time helps forecasters track rapidly changing weather conditions and give advance warning of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: von Kármán Vortices:

On May 8, 2021, NOAA satellites captured von Kármán vortices streaming around Guadalupe Island, off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California. These cloud formations often occur over the ocean when islands disrupt the flow of the wind. This disruption creates spiral patterns in the clouds. NOAA satellites and those from NASA and international partners observe this phenomenon all over the world. When von Kármán vortices form, satellites capture them in stunning detail. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Texas Dry Line Drives Storms:

Severe storms struck Texas on May 3, 2021. They formed along a dry line, where moist air from the Gulf of Mexico met dry air from the Desert Southwest. The storms generated strong straight-line winds, hail, and tornadoes. A variety of GOES-16 and GOES-17 imagery shows the severity of the storms. When severe weather strikes, GOES keep a watchful eye to help identify intensifying storms and track rapidly changing weather conditions. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Earth from Orbit: Every Day is Earth Day for NOAA Satellites:

To celebrate Earth Day, we are sharing stunning views of our beautiful planet, captured by NOAA satellites. Every day, NOAA satellites provide critical information that keeps us informed and helps us stay safe. From our satellites, we see cloud patterns, severe weather, lightning, hurricanes, ice and snow cover, phytoplankton blooms, fires, dust storms, and more. At NOAA, every day is Earth Day. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA/CIMSS

Earth from Orbit: La Soufrière Erupts:

On the morning of April 9, 2021, La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent began erupting, spewing ash at least 25,000 feet in the air. The volcano continued to erupt over the next several days, with multiple violent explosions. NOAA satellites captured stunning imagery of the eruptions and provided critical monitoring of the resulting volcanic emissions and ash clouds Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

This Week in Weather: Gravity Waves:

On April 3, 2021, NOAA’s GOES-16 and NOAA-20 satellites viewed gravity waves rippling over Western Pennsylvania. Waves form in the atmosphere when air is disturbed, like a stone dropped into a calm pond. The gravity waves seen over Pennsylvania were caused by air being forced upward by hills into a layer of stable air. Gravity causes the air to fall back down, and it begins to oscillate, creating a ripple effect. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

This Week in Weather: Severe Storms Strike Southern U.S.:

From March 17-18, 2021, a severe weather outbreak swept across the Southern U.S. The storms produced damaging winds, large hail, and dozens of tornadoes, including significant EF2 tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama. Throughout the event, GOES-16 (GOES East) monitored conditions and tracked the storms in real time. The satellite provided important information on cloud properties, storm structure, and lightning activity within the storms. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

This Week in Weather: Late-Season Snowstorm Breaks Records:

A late-season snowstorm dropped feet of snow in parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota from March 13-14, 2021. Record-breaking snowfall was measured in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Denver, Colorado. NOAA’s geostationary satellites, GOES-16 (GOES East) and GOES-17 (GOES West) and polar-orbiting NOAA-20 and Suomi-NPP satellites monitored a low-pressure system in the region and followed its evolution into an historic storm. The satellites allowed scientists to forecast the storm’s path and intensity while providing early warning. They also kept watch throughout the event, monitoring the progression of the storm and resulting snow cover. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Tracking Fires from Space:

From March 7-9, 2021, NOAA satellites monitored numerous fires over the Southern Plains. GOES-16 (GOES East) observed these fires in near-real time. By keeping constant watch over the same area, GOES-16 helps to locate fires, detect changes in a fire’s behavior, and predict its motion. The NOAA-20 satellite captured high-resolution imagery of the fires on March 9. This satellite’s VIIRS instrument has an imager band with high spatial resolution, at 375 meters per pixel, which allows it to detect smaller, lower temperature fires. Together, the satellites monitored both the hot spots and smoke plumes from the fires. Satellites allow for detecting and monitoring a range of fires, providing information about the location, duration, size, temperature, and power output of those fires that would otherwise be unavailable. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CIRA

Superior Flow of Clouds:

On March 1, 2021, NOAA satellites monitored lake-effect clouds flowing over Lake Superior. The satellites captured light snow bands embedded in the clouds. Lake-effect snow occurs when very cold air moves over the warmer waters of a lake. GOES-16 viewed the clouds in motion and tracked convection within them, while NOAA-20 captured the scene in stunning detail when the satellite passed over that afternoon. Specialized GOES-16 imagery distinguished snow/ice (white) from the clouds (yellow). Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA

This Week in Weather: Tracking Dust in the Wind:

From Feb. 17–22, 2021, NOAA satellites monitored a large plume of dust from the Sahara Desert as it traveled off the west coast of North Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean. The Saharan Air Layer (SAL), a mass of dry, dusty air that forms over the Sahara Desert, can transport dust far away from the Sahara throughout the year. NOAA satellites like the geostationary GOES-16 and GOES-17 and the polar-orbiting NOAA-20 and NOAA/NASA Suomi-NPP help forecasters and scientists to continuously monitor the evolution of SAL outbreaks and their effects on the meteorology and climatology of the tropical North Atlantic. Download Video | Transcript Credit: NOAA/NASA/CIRA