Music of the Sphere

NASA has gathered data about the Earth for a long time with a wide range of Earth science missions. As time has passed, missions have become more robust and collected much more data. Specialists at Earth Data have put the data starting in the mid-60s into musical tones in this brief video. Turn up the sound and enjoy.

If more data was collected from the Earth science mission, the pitch of the tone is higher. A guitar represents mission launches. The field of each mission is categorized into these orchestral parts:

      • Strings = Atmosphere and Weather
      • High Woodwinds = Geosphere – Landforms
      • Low Woodwinds = Hydrosphere – Water Worlds
      • High Brass = Cryosphere – Ice Formations
      • Low Brass = Biosphere – Living Organisms

By the way, April 22 is the 50th Earth Day. Listen to the first episode of NASA’s Curious Universe podcast:

Amazon River Sunglint

I looked at the GOES-17 full-disk view of Earth during sunrise across the Americas on the morning of 7 Oct 2018. It was a beautiful way to start the day. The video on the site looped repeatedly while I watched showing images taken every 15 min.

Something curious caught my eye in the Amazon Basin. I screen-captured this short video. Watch the Amazon region for movement of bright light up-river. It is sunglint. Reflection of sunlight off the water surface into the GOES satellite optics.

Using the tools on the site, I zoomed into the Amazon Basin for a better look. Here it is from the mouth at the Atlantic to the west toward the Andes. Not much of the river is visible.

Watch what happens when the same region is viewed at 15 min intervals in this video loop. I stepped the video forward over a 3 hour interval, rewound, and repeated.

Here is a close-up of the river and tributaries at the middle of the basin. Amazing what you can see with the new GOES weather satellites.

If you want to explore more from a GOES weather satellite. Here is a link to the image viewer. Note the tabs across the page. Try them out. The U.S. Regions tab offers closer views and animations. Go ahead and have some fun. You can’t break anything.

Aerosols on 23 Aug 2018

Aerosols are very small particles of matter in the air suspended by winds and air currents. The haze they cause can reduce visibility and redden sunrises and sunsets. The particles are much smaller than grains of sand. Common types are carbon from fires, wind blown dust from deserts, and salt from winds at the ocean surface.

The map below is a snapshot from 23 August 2018 showing where these three types were observed globally by satellite sensors. Color coding makes them easy to identify. A much larger version of this map is available at this link. The download allows you to zoom in on any of the regions shown. A previous aerosol post is here.

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Earth and Sky in Time Lapse

We live on a planet just the right distance from the Sun. Our survival depends on many critical factors being in delicate harmony. The shallow space we inhabit on Earth bathes all of humanity. Looking up on a clear night, we see through the thin layer of air to the vast expanse of the heavens. The wonders of the night sky can be inspirational.

Too often, we experience forces of evil and destruction. We wonder why. Why do some choose senseless and hurtful ways? These events can shake us to our core.

May you feel renewed and motivated by this video. It highlights some of the beauty of the natural world. Choose positive and good actions each day. Promote peace and understanding.

View in full screen mode for best effect. Time lapse by Terje Sorgjerd. 

Greenland Ice | Mapped in 3-D

Operation IceBridge Mission Statement

NASA’s Operation IceBridge images Earth’s polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets.

Now in the seventh year, IceBridge is deep into the Arctic research campaign. Each year, the aircraft fly over the Arctic or the Antarctic to gather data on the ice and how it is responding to climate change. The data is related to that of other research efforts such as ice core drilling and satellite observations. One of the regions intensely studied is Greenland which is 85% covered by ice to up to an average depth of 2.3 km (1.6 miles). The great weight of the ice has pressed the central rock layers of Greenland down 300 m (1000 ft) below sea level. There is enough ice on Greenland to raise sea level by 7 m (23 ft) if it were to all melt. Knowing the structure and past history during previous climate eras will help understand the prospects for future behavior. To that end, IceBridge researchers released this 3-D visualization animation of the ice layers. It was produced by the NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio. Run time is 3 min 37 sec.