NOAA: Would you believe this wasn’t actually a “photograph” of Earth?

This true color image may seem like you are looking at Earth from space, but it is actually produced by combining specific data sets from the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument, known as VIIRS, into one composite image.
This true color image may seem like you are looking at Earth from space, but it is actually produced by combining specific data sets from the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument, known as VIIRS, into one composite image.

Click here to go to the NOAA Satellite and Information Service website. Here’s an excerpt:

Three of the VIIRS instrument’s 22 channels that measure different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum are used to create these photorealistic snapshots of the planet. The images are made by combining the RGB color channels 5, 4, and 3 (which are sensitive to the red, green, and blue wavelengths of light respectively) to create “true color” images. Several other channels are often also included to cancel out atmospheric interference, such as clouds and aerosols, which can cause a blurry picture.

With 22 channels available, VIIRS’s allows for a variety of different combinations allowing for vastly different images of the same thing. For example, the images below were both created using data provided by the Suomi NPP satellite’s VIIRS instrument. These images show the exact same storm only one day apart and represent just two of the many ways the VIIRS instrument can capture a storm. By using different channels and light wavelengths you get two drastically different views, revealing different features of the same storm.

“True Color” RGB composites (such as the first image) are used for many applications including differentiating snow, ice, smoke, and ash from clouds, or even the boundaries between warm and cold air masses.

Infrared images (such as the second image) can help, among other things, identify the location of a storm’s eye.

Other VIIRS multi-band images, like those created by the VIIRS day/night band and high resolution infrared channel, are also available for scientists and forecasters.

Examples of these images can be found at: http://www.jpss.noaa.gov/media_gallery-p2.html

Click here for more on NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP and the JPSS mission!

A global VIIRS true color image is available daily at http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/view/#TRUE.

@EcoFlight: Flight Across America 2015 #ColoradoRiver #drought #COWaterPlan

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From the EcoFlight website:

Project Overview

EcoFlight’s Flight Across America program dynamically engages college students about environmental issues, using a broad range of perspectives, both aerial and on the ground, to bring attention to pressing conservation issues. Students learn how such issues impact their lives and the world around them, and how to personally participate in advocacy work. Through the aerial perspective and discussions with diverse stakeholders and experts on the ground, EcoFlight offers a tangible educational experience, engaging students in the complexities of environmental issues throughout the West. It is our hope that by offering students the opportunity to delve deeply into issues central to the West, they become better prepared to participate in meaningful discussions public lands and advocate for their beliefs, as the next generation of leaders.

Flight Across America 2015 will focus on water conservation concerns in the West, emphasizing the crucial role water plays in sustaining life, and the mega drought happening in many states across the West. The program provides an excellent learning environment for students, combining the aerial perspective of the role of water in the health of ecosystems and how watersheds connect landscapes, with on-the-ground discussions of the impact of energy development, urban planning, recreation and agriculture on our water resources. The Colorado River Basin is in its 14th year of drought, and water is a top concern for population centers and agriculture. We will discuss the coping mechanisms of multiple states in the West, as they plan for the future in an attempt to balance an already over-allocated water supply with growing domestic demand. Climate models are predicting an even drier future, with sustained periods of sparse precipitation and significant loss of soil moisture that span generations, about 10 times as long as a normal three-year drought. In the face of these “mega-droughts” it is imperative that we begin thinking in terms of the future and not just the present for water management in the West.

In a five-day tour of four states, FLAA 2015 will engage college students with diverse conservation concerns of water in the West. EcoFlight will provide aerial tours of water storage and diversion projects, over energy development (both fossil fuel and renewable), over agriculture, and wild landscapes, and watersheds that are vulnerable to drought and water-loss. On the ground students will meet with diverse stakeholders – planners, public officials, conservation groups, sportsmen, energy industry representatives, Native Americans, recreationists and journalists to discuss the different and often competing interests in water and water conservation.

Colorado River Basin including Mexico, USBR May 2015
Colorado River Basin including Mexico, USBR May 2015