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

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"Take the pledge today." Screenshot / StopFoodWasteDay.com

Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.

Stop Food Waste Day is an initiative of food service company Compass Group. It was launched first in the U.S, in 2017 and went global the year after, making today it's second worldwide celebration.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15 in Paris, France. Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images

When Paris's Notre Dame caught fire on April 15, the flames threatened more than eight centuries of culture and history. The fire evoked shock, horror and grief worldwide. While the cathedral burned, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed determination to rebuild what the French regard as a sacred site.

Read More Show Less
An artist's impression of NASA's InSight lander on Mars. NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Scientists have likely detected a so-called marsquake — an earthquake on Mars — for the first time, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Hero Images / Getty Images

Across the political aisle, a majority of American parents support teaching climate change in schools even though most teachers currently do not.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Priit Siimon / flickr / cc

By Andrea Germanos

Lawyer and visionary thinker Polly Higgins, who campaigned for ecocide to be internationally recognized as a crime on par with genocide and war crimes, died Sunday at the age of 50.

She had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer last month and given just weeks to live.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

An E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef has spread to 10 states and infected at least 156 people, CNN reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Anopheles stephensi mosquito, which carries malaria. CDC / Jim Gathany

The world's first malaria vaccine was launched in Malawi on Tuesday, NPR reported. It's an important day in health history. Not only is it the first malaria vaccine, it's the first vaccine to target any human parasite.

Read More Show Less