‘Red states’ also red on drought map

Drought and dust across the Great Plains demand that science trump politics as the GOP conducts its 2012 election post-mortem

Drought and dust

According to NASA, portions of Interstate 35 in Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as Interstate 80 in Wyoming, had to be shut down due to accidents and poor visibility. Click on the photo for the full resolution image and text from the Earth Observatory.

“Parched by months of drought and searing heat, the Great Plains of the United States endured a widespread dust storm in mid-October 2012,” reports NASA’s Earth Observatory. “Severe winds blew soil and sediment across hundreds of miles, closing highways and reminding longtime residents of the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s and the severe dust storms of the 1950s.”

 

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Image of the Day: Owens Valley

Hat tip to the Great Basin Water Network for forwarding this link to today’s image from NASA Earth Observatory of Owens Valley (formerly lake) in the Eastern Sierra. “The present-day Owens Lake was once part of a much larger lake and river system along the northeastern border of California and Nevada during the Pleistocene Epoch (about 3 million to 12,000 years ago),” reads the NASA caption. “Melt water from alpine glaciers in the Sierra Nevada filled the regional valleys of the Basin and Range to form glacial lakes—ancestors of the now-dry lakebeds (or playas) of Owens, Searles Lake, and China Lake. While Searles and China Lakes dried out because of regional changes to a hotter and drier climate, Owens Lake became desiccated largely due to the diversion of the Owens River in the early 20th century to serve the needs of Los Angeles, 266 kilometers (165 miles) to the south.”

‘Irene’ in 3-D

As Hurricane ‘Irene’ intensifies in the Caribbean, NASA offers this perspective revealing “an area of deep convection (shown in red) near the storm’s center where precipitation-sized particles are being carried aloft. These tall towers are associated with strong thunderstorms responsible for the area of intense rain near the center of Irene seen in the previous image. They can be a precursor to strengthening as they indicate areas within a storm where vast amounts of heat are being released. This heating, known as latent heating, is what is drives a storm’s circulation and intensification.” For more, click here here to be taken to NASA’s Earth Observatory.

The snow is turquoise

Click on the image to be taken to a NASA Earth Observatory item on the snow cover from "the Blizzard of Oz." The shot above has been colorized turquoise for better visibility.

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