Quantcast

NASA's 14 Second Video Says It All

Climate

NASA produced a video last week that helps visualize what we already know to be true. The first half of this year has been a really wet one overall for the eastern and southeastern U.S. and a very dry one for the West and Southwest. This year is expected to be the hottest on record and May and June already smashed records for heat and rainfall in many parts of the country. We know that with climate change, heavy downpours are increasing, especially in areas that already receive abundant rainfall, while drought-prone states like California and the rest of the West continue to be mired in an epic drought.

The video is from NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement constellation of 12 satellites, which can sense 13 different types of precipitation, including snow and light rain. Just like a typical radar image, green indicates lower levels of precipitation with yellow, red and purple indicating increasingly higher levels.

Oklahoma, Texas and other parts of the Southeast witnessed insane amounts of rainfall this past spring. A series of storms in late May "provided 200 to 600 percent more May rainfall than normal, set all-time monthly records, and obliterated a drought that had gripped the region for five years," reports Climate Central. In June, the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill added to the dousing in that region. The storm brought rainfall totals to more than 75 inches in areas that normally see 40 inches for the entire year.

In contrast, the West has seen very little precipitation overall. Though it appears that Washington and Oregon saw a fair amount, it's deceiving. "While it looks like parts of the Cascades have received a fair amount of precipitation, the visualization is missing one key indicator of drought: temperature," says Climate Central. "And on that front, Washington and Oregon have dealt with particularly high temperatures, leading to what scientists have termed a 'wet drought.'"

With the Pacific Northwest recording its second warmest winter ever, much of the precipitation that would have normally fallen as snow fell as rain. This reduced the snowpack dramatically, leaving western states scrambling to deal with critically low water levels during the dry, summer season. In May, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency drought declaration.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

World’s Glaciers Melting at Record Rate

15 Things the World Is Running Out of

Clean Power Plan Paves Way Toward a Carbon-Free Economy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD

Pears are sweet, bell-shaped fruits that have been enjoyed since ancient times. They can be eaten crisp or soft.

Read More Show Less
Photon-Photos / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The desert of Australia's Northern Territory has the iconic Ayers Rock, but not much else. Soon, it may be known as home to the world's largest solar farm, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A Boeing 737-800 BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) is marked "Prime Air" as part of Amazon Prime's freight aircraft during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France on June 22. Mustafa Yalcin / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

It's Prime Day! The day when thousands of increasingly absurd items are discounted so deeply that you suddenly need items you never knew existed. Yes, I do need a hotdog shaped toaster next to me while I watch this Fast & Furious seven movie box set! And I need it in my house today!

Read More Show Less

By Peter Sinclair

The weather in many areas across the U.S. has been – and certainly throughout America's heartland was for much of the past winter and spring – frightful.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
There's a short window between when a tick bites and when it passes on bacteria or virus. MSU Ag Communications, Courtesy Dr. Tina Nations, CC BY-ND

By Jerome Goddard

When it comes to problems caused by ticks, Lyme disease hogs a lot of the limelight. But various tick species carry and transmit a collection of other pathogens, some of which cause serious, even fatal, conditions.

Read More Show Less
tomosang / Moment / Getty Images

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

Say goodbye to one of the dreamiest things about childhood. In the Midwest, fireflies are dying off.

Read More Show Less
A new Climate Emergency Fund contains more than $625,000 which will go to grassroots climate action groups like Extinction Rebellion and students who have organized weekly climate strikes all over the world. @ExtinctionR / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Heeding the call of grassroots campaigners, several wealthy philanthropists announced Friday a new fund that will raise money for climate action groups around the world.

Read More Show Less