I have been unhappy with the interim step in WordPress Reader for opening a blog post. Click on something in the post in Reader. You get a pop-up window that may or may not show much. Then, click on View Original at the top to finally get to see it. It is particularly tricky on an iPad. I don’t have a smart phone. That must be hard.
A while ago I was clicking on other buttons in the Reader window list and tried the one circled in this image. Presto! It went directly to the original of the post.
Could be everyone else in the world knows about this and I am just now finding it out. Wouldn’t surprise me.
On Friday February 28, 2014, Japan time, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The GPM spacecraft will coordinate with an international network of existing and future satellites to measure rainfall and snowfall globally every three hours. The mission will greatly enhance what we know of Earth’s water and energy cycles, aid in the forecasting of extreme weather events, and give us all added benefits in areas where precipitation affects our lives.
Rainfall in the tropics is being measured by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), launched in 1997. It has added important observations of tropical weather systems and hurricanes. The GPM Core Observatory will provide measurements to higher latitudes. GPM will observe from the Antarctic Circle to the Arctic Circle every 3 hours. This graphic compares the ground tracks of the two missions for a 3 orbit time period. GPM, in blue, will add to our data many times over in areal and time coverage compared to TRMM.
The Great Lakes of the United States were 88% ice covered as of mid-February 2014. That is the largest extent since 1994. Since 1973, the average ice coverage is 51%. This is only the fifth time in 40 yrs that it has exceeded 80%. The least extent during that time was 9.5% in 2002. Ice started forming in some of the bays and inlets in November instead of mid-December because of an unusually cold fall season.
This image was taken February 19, 2014. It was recorded by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Visible are snow cover, darker grey forested areas, clouds, ice, and some open water as black. Click on this and the next image if you want to see a very large version 5200×4000 pixels. You need a fast internet connection.
This image recorded the same scene in infrared and red wavelengths to help discern snow, water, and clouds. Pale blue is ice. Navy is open water. Snow is blueish green. Clouds are white in most cases. Some cloudswith high ice content appear blueish green.
Does this large extent of ice have other impacts? The answer is yes.
Lake effect snows are decreased. Cities like Buffalo, NY, and South Bend, IN, usually receive massive amounts of snow each winter from lake effects. Air blows across open waters upwind and becomes more laden with moisture. When it comes ashore, it chills quickly and precipitates out as heavy snow. The larger extent of lake ice this year will help to reduce those snows.
The large extent of ice helps to reduce evaporation. This could help to keep the lake level a little higher and help with water supplies for cities that use the lake.
Shipping and recreational use would also benefit by the higher water levels.
Before sunrise Feb. 26, 2014, the Moon and Venus presented a beautiful conjunction witnessed by many people. I set up my camera and tripod in the living room and posted this blog entry with four photographs.
Earlier that morning on the other side of the Earth, people were treated to a rare sight. The Moon passed in front of Venus and occulted the planet. The sight was featured in today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. The two people got this daytime view minutes before the Moon passed in front of Venus. Beautiful, isn’t it? More below the image.
The Moon moves from west to east across the field of stars due to its orbit around the Earth. It moves east to west across our sky due to the rotation of the Earth. Each day, the Moon appears a little more to the east than the day before.
I opened my desktop planetarium software and set my viewing location to south of India in the Indian Ocean, just north of the equator. I set the time to 8:15 am local time. I located, locked on, and zoomed into Venus. There was the Moon very near to the right, or west of Venus. It is very bright because of the daylight. I clicked to animate the scene. The Moon moved to the east and occulted Venus like this. I wish that had happened here. Some day it will. I will be watching.
A few minutes after 6 am on February 26, 2014, the Moon and Venus were paired in conjunction through the mantle window. It was -5˚F outside, too cold to go out for a photograph. The window framing seemed to add some interest to the scene. What do you think? There is a poll below if you would rather not say in words.
The phone rang Thursday evening. It was our son. He had a three day weekend coming up. His other last-minute attempts to plan some diversion didn’t pan out. Would we meet him halfway, in Kansas City.
We’re not the most spontaneous people in the world, but we agreed to meet him on Saturday at a hotel in downtown KC, MO. It was well-located near the spots we wanted to visit. After driving through blizzard conditions for part of our trip, we arrived safely.