State of the Climate 2012

2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States

Weather from space turns 50

Fifty years ago today, the world’s first weather satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Not even a blown April Fools rain forecast for Los Angeles can suppress the jubilation at NOAA, which adds: “The first image from the satellite, known as TIROS-1 (Television Infrared Observation Satellite), was a fuzzy picture of thick bands and clusters of clouds over the United States. An image captured a few days later revealed a typhoon about a 1,000 miles east of Australia.”

TIROS-1, (NASA photo left) a polar-orbiting satellite that lasted 78 days, weighed 270 pounds and carried two cameras and two video recorders.

Below, as contrast, is a March 2010 NASA satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Paul, posted today at NASA’s Earth Observatory. This was taken by the Aqua satellite, launched in May 2002 as part of a project to better understand the

Chance of rain

Click on the image to be taken to the National Weather Service

Rain likely

Click on the image to be taken to the satellite image page of the National Weather Service

We in Los Angeles can live in hope that forecasts of  rain by Monday are true. To follow the rain, click here. For the best explanation of what the recent State Water Project guarantee of only 5% of normal deliveries for 2010 means, go to Peter Gleick’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s not as bad as it sounds, he says, but we must prepare for another dry year. For a graphic of reservoir conditions as California enters its rainy season, click here. NOAA image updated 12/06/09, 5.45pm PST.

Some relief

Source: NOAA. Click on the map to be taken to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

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