There may be a counterintuitive explanation for the deep freeze that hit New England this winter: The rapidly warming Arctic is causing big disruptions in the jet stream, which carries weather across North America. Is this the worst winter you've experienced?
Tags: physical, weather and climate, Arctic, Boston, climate change, podcast.
Twenty kilometers (12 miles) from England’s Kent and Essex coasts, the world’s largest offshore wind farm has started harvesting the breezes over the sea. Located in the Thames Estuary, where the River Thames meets the North Sea, the London Array has a maximum generating power of 630 megawatts (MW), enough to supply as many as 500,000 homes.
The wind farm became fully operational on April 8, 2013. Twenty days later, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of the area. The second image is a closeup of the area marked by the white box in the top image. White points in the second image are the wind turbines; a few boat wakes are also visible. The sea is discolored by light tan sediment—spring runoff washed out by the Thames.
A NASA-led science team has created an accurate, high-resolution map of the height of Earth's forests.
The map will help scientists better understand the role forests play in climate change and how their heights influence wildlife habitats within them, while also helping them quantify the carbon stored in Earth's vegetation.
Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the University of Maryland, College Park; and Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Mass., created the map using 2.5 million carefully screened, globally distributed laser pulse measurements from space. The light detection and ranging (lidar) data were collected in 2005 by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System instrument on NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat).
"Knowing the height of Earth's forests is critical to estimating their biomass, or the amount of carbon they contain," said lead researcher Marc Simard of JPL. "Our map can be used to improve global efforts to monitor carbon. In addition, forest height is an integral characteristic of Earth's habitats, yet is poorly measured globally, so our results will also benefit studies of the varieties of life that are found in particular parts of the forest or habitats."
The map, available at http://lidarradar.jpl.nasa.gov, depicts the highest points in the forest canopy. Its spatial resolution is 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). The map was validated against data from a network of nearly 70 ground sites around the world.
The researchers found that, in general, forest heights decrease at higher elevations and are highest at low latitudes, decreasing in height the farther they are from the tropics. A major exception was found at around 40 degrees south latitude in southern tropical forests in Australia and New Zealand, where stands of eucalyptus, one of the world's tallest flowering plants, tower much higher than 130 feet (40 meters).
The researchers augmented the ICESat data with other types of data to compensate for the sparse lidar data, the effects of topography and cloud cover. These included estimates of the percentage of global tree cover from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Terra satellite, elevation data from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, and temperature and precipitation maps from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and the WorldClim database. WorldClim is a set of freely available, high-resolution global climate data that can be used for mapping and spatial modeling.
In general, estimates in the new map show forest heights were taller than in a previous ICESat-based map, particularly in the tropics and in boreal forests, and were shorter in mountainous regions. The accuracy of the new map varies across major ecological community types in the forests, and also depends on how much the forests have been disturbed by human activities and by variability in the forests' natural height.
"Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner and pumpkins are already showing up at roadside stands. Jack o’lanterns, decorative displays and pumpkin pies are the main destinies of most pumpkins in the United States. Elsewhere in the world, however, the pumpkin is nearly exclusively considered a food crop or animal feed."
This interactive map documents where 443 million people around the world get there water (although the United States data is by far the most extensive). Most people can't answer this question. A recent poll by The Nature Conservancy discoverd that 77% of Americans (not on private well water) don't know where their water comes from, they just drink it. This link has videos, infographics and suggestions to promote cleaner water. This is also a fabulous example of an embedded map using ArcGIS Online to share your geospatial data with a wider audience.
Amazing things about Google Earth - news, features, tips, technology, and applications...
If you've never seen the Google Earth Blog, this post is a good primer to the educational possibilities that this technology opens up to teachers. It is not just for geography teachers; it can be a visualization tool for any subject that has real-world applications that take place somewhere.
Esri's GIS (geographic information systems) mapping software helps you understand and visualize data to make decisions based on the best information and analysis. (RT @Esri: #EsriUC--Where ideas are born!
If All of Earth's Water was put into Single Sphere, from the USGS Water Science School...
"This picture shows the size of a sphere that would contain all of Earth's water in comparison to the size of the Earth. The blue sphere sitting on the United States, reaching from about Salt Lake City, Utah to Topeka, Kansas, has a diameter of about 860 miles (about 1,385 kilometers) , with a volume of about 332,500,000 cubic miles (1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers). The sphere includes all the water in the oceans, seas, ice caps, lakes and rivers as well as groundwater, atmospheric water, and even the water in you, your dog, and your tomato plant."
A colourful summer marine plankton bloom fills much of the Baltic Sea in this Envisat image. Plankton are microscopic marine plants that drift on or near the surface of the sea, by far the most abundant type of life found in the ocean.
"One of our colleagues and leaders in spatial thinking in education, Dr. Diana Stuart Sinton, has written a book entitled The People’s Guide to Spatial Thinking, along with colleagues Sarah Bednarz, Phil Gersmehl, Robert Kolvoord, and David Uttal. As the name implies, the book provides an accessible and readable way for students, educators, and even the general public to understand what spatial thinking is and why it matters. It “help[s] us think across the geographies of our life spaces, physical and social spaces, and intellectual space.” Dr. Sinton pulls selections from the NRC’s Learning to Think Spatially report and ties them to everyday life. In so doing, she also provides ways for us in the educational community to think about teaching these concepts and skills in a variety of courses. Indeed, as she points out, spatial thinking is particularly essential within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as geography." - See more at: ESRI's GIS Education Community blog.
"Schools used to be the heart of a neighborhood or community. Children and not a few teachers could walk to class, or to the playground or ball field on the weekend. This was relatively easy to do, because the schools were placed within, not separated from, their neighborhoods. They were human-scaled and their architecture was not just utilitarian, but signaled their importance in the community. Now it has become hard to tell one from a Walmart or Target."
What better way to demonstrate the concepts of urban sprawl, automobile-dependent city planning and economies of scale than by analyzing the very geographic context of our schools themselves? This is a very nicely arranged photo essay that most could spark conversation and would foster some discussion on how best to plan neighborhoods and spatially arrange the city.
The natural landscapes shown as captured by satellite imagery is as beautiful as anything artists have ever created. Some of the colors shown in the video may seem otherworldy. Most of those color anomalies are due to the fact that remotely sensed images have more information in them than just what we see in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Some of these images are processed to show different bands so we can visually interpret data such as what is in the near infra-red band, skewing the color palette.
The NDVI (Normalized Digital Vegetation Index) is on of the primary methods for detecting healthy vegetation using satellite imagery. This also serves as a useful way to distinguish between distinct ecological and agricultural regions and the temporal patterns of planting seasons.
In geography, the antipodes of any place on Earth is its antipodal point; that is, the region on the Earth's surface which is diametrically opposite t...
I know that most Americans have learned at an early age that if you dig a hole through the center of the Earth, you'll end up in China. Geologic and impossibilities aside, most Americans would actually end up in the Indian Ocean as displayed by this clever pairing up maps that shows the user the Antipode of any given place on Earth. Try it out! http://www.antipodemap.com/
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