Earlier this morning on KXAN News Today, we were lucky enough to chat with NASA scientists about their new satellite–launching this morning–that will help scientists forecast the weather more effectively, in addition to better-understanding droughts like the one plaguing Central Texas.
NASA’s first U.S. Earth-observing satellite designed to map global soil moisture, the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket Jan. 29 from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Travel on the roads and in the skies began creeping back to normal Wednesday after a winter storm that saw more than 7,500 flights canceled and driving bans implemented across the Northeast.
While another 600 flights were pre-emptively canceled across the nation for Wednesday, United Airlines, Jet Blue, American Airlines and U.S. Airways all flew journeys overnight in preparation for a fresh start in the morning.
With the snow cleared in New York, ramps and runways at all three airports serving the city were back in business.
Snow falls Friday morning near Fredericksburg. Betty Hahn (Doss, TX)
PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
1150 AM CST FRI JAN 23 2015
..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
0218 AM SNOW ROCKSPRINGS 30.02N 100.21W
01/23/2015 M0.0 INCH EDWARDS TX LAW ENFORCEMENT
SHERIFFS OFFICE CONFIRMED MODERATE SNOW FALLING WITH
0622 AM SNOW KERRVILLE 30.04N 99.14W
01/23/2015 M0.0 INCH KERR TX LAW ENFORCEMENT
RELAYED LIGHT SNOW MIXED WITH RAIN. SOME LIGHT SNOW
ACCUMULATION ON GRASSY SURFACES A FEW MILES WEST OF
KERRVILLE BUT NOT ROADWAYS
A jump in lightning strikes inside a thunderstorm might be a severe weather early warning, says research by Sarah Stough, a UAH graduate student in atmospheric science. Credit: UAH
A sudden jump in the number of lightning strikes inside a garden-variety thunderstorm might soon give forecasters a new tool for predicting severe weather and issuing timely warnings, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).
The sudden increase in lightning is one sign a normal storm is rapidly evolving into a supercell, with a large rotating updraft – or mesocyclone – at its heart.
“Supercells are more prone to produce severe weather events, including damaging straight line winds and large hail,” said Sarah Stough, a UAH graduate student in atmospheric science. “Supercells also produce the strongest and most deadly tornadoes.”
Early results from Stough’s research were scheduled to be presented Wednesday, Jan.7, in Phoenix at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting.
(NASA.gov): A new NASA satellite that will peer into the topmost layer of Earth’s soils to measure the hidden waters that influence our weather and climate is in final preparations for a Jan. 29 dawn launch from California.
The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will take the pulse of a key measure of our water planet: how freshwater cycles over Earth’s land surfaces in the form of soil moisture. The mission will produce the most accurate, highest-resolution global maps ever obtained from space of the moisture present in the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of Earth’s soils. It also will detect and map whether the ground is frozen or thawed. This data will be used to enhance scientists’ understanding of the processes that link Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles.
This animation shows Earth’s surface temperature in 2014 compared to the 1981-2010 average, followed by monthly maps of difference from average temperatures for each month January through December 2014. Maps are based on data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
In 2014, the combined land and ocean surface temperature was 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20thcentury average, making the year the warmest since records began in 1880. The ocean alone was record warm, while the land alone was fourth warmest. Five months set new records for warmth: May, June, August, September, and December. October tied for record warmest.
The 20 warmest years in the historical record have all occurred in the past 20 years. Except for 1998, the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2002.
Annual temperatures since 1880 compared to the twentieth-century average. The ten warmest years on record (darkest red) have occurred in the most recent decades. Graph by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data from the National Climatic Data Center.