2015 sets global temperature record by a wide margin

Experts say no sign of slowdown in long-term warming trend

2015’s global average temperature broke the record by the biggest margin ever, and 2016 could be even warmer.

By Bob Berwyn

The average global temperature for 2015 was the warmest since record-keeping started in 1880, breaking the mark set last year by a full quarter degree, according to the latest climate update from NASA and NOAA.

Discussing the new temperature record in a telephone conference call, experts with the two agencies said 2016 could be hotter yet because of warmth stored in the oceans. There’s no sign at all that the long term global warming trend will slow down any time soon, said NASA researcher Gavin Schmidt. Continue reading “2015 sets global temperature record by a wide margin”

Can’t get enough of our Blue Marble?

New NASA website features daily deep space views of Earth

Remind yourself, once a day, of the fragility of our planet. Via NASA.

Staff Report

A high-tech space camera on a satellite orbiting 1 million miles away is giving Earthlings a daily view of the planet via a new NASA website. The images gathered by the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) enable the world to see images of the full, sunlit side of the Earth every day. Continue reading “Can’t get enough of our Blue Marble?”

NASA spacecraft flies to within 8,000 miles of Pluto

New Horizons mission a big step in exploration of solar system

Pluto! Photo courtesy NASA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — After a 10-year, 3 billion mile voyage across the solar system, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew within 8,000 miles of Pluto today — the  first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

“The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system,” Bolden said.

Federal officials also touted other NASA space efforts, including the Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. Continue reading “NASA spacecraft flies to within 8,000 miles of Pluto”

Satellite data may yield early warning on toxic algae blooms

Toxic algal blooms like this one in Lake Erie in 2011 can cause human and animal health risks, fish kills, and degrade drinking water supplies. Image Credit:  USGS/NASA Earth Observatory
Toxic algal blooms like this one in Lake Erie in 2011 can cause human and animal health risks, fish kills, and degrade drinking water supplies. Image Credit: USGS/NASA Earth Observatory.

NASA and partners to track developing algal blooms from space

Staff Report

FRISCO — As global warming threatens to make toxic algal blooms more frequent and more intense, NASA, NOAA, the EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have teamed up to try and develop an early warning system based on satellite data.

Algal blooms are a global environmental problem. They pose a health risk to people and animals and threaten drinking water supplies. In the United States, the cost of freshwater degraded by harmful algal blooms is estimated at $64 million annually. In August 2014, officials in Toledo, Ohio, banned the use of drinking water supplied to more than 400,000 residents after it was contaminated by an algal bloom in Lake Erie.

The new $3.6 million, multi-agency effort will use ocean color satellite data to develop an early warning indicator for toxic and nuisance algal blooms in freshwater systems and an information distribution system to aid expedient public health advisories. Continue reading “Satellite data may yield early warning on toxic algae blooms”

Climate research shows clear trend of more Midwest flooding during past 50 years

Warmer atmosphere means more moisture, more rain

Missouri River flooding in July, 2011, via NASA’s Earth Observatory program.

Staff Report

FRISCO — After carefully reviewing data from hundreds of stream gauges, University of Iowa scientists say they’ve identified a clear trend of increasing floods during the past 50 years.

“It’s not that big floods are getting bigger, but that we have been experiencing a larger number of big floods,” said Gabriele Villarini, a civil and environmental engineer and corresponding author on the paper, published Feb. 9 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change. Continue reading “Climate research shows clear trend of more Midwest flooding during past 50 years”

Climate: NASA study confirms global sea ice decline

Antarctic sea ice has expanded in the past few years, but overall, the planet is still losing an area of ice the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined each year. bberwyn photo.

Growth in Antarctic ice extent doesn’t cancel out Arctic decline

Staff Report

FRISCO — NASA researchers who took a close look at both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice say that, overall, Earth has been losing ice at an average rate of about 13,500 square miles per year since 1979, equivalent to an area about the size of Maryland. Continue reading “Climate: NASA study confirms global sea ice decline”

Psst! Wanna see some carbon dioxide?

New NASA visual helps trace path of greenhouse gases

Staff Report

FRISCO — In a way, addressing global warming is like fighting a ghost. How do you tackle odorless and colorless heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide and methane?

NASA, the government agency that literally has the best global perspective on climate change, has just released a new computer generated animation that help show the source of greenhouse gases and how they disperse around the planet. Continue reading “Psst! Wanna see some carbon dioxide?”