Earth Buzz: Mount Merapi, AGU Blogosphere, and More

Merapi Blast Lingers
Nearly three weeks ago, Indonesia’s notoriously capricious Mount Merapi roared to life and began to fling towering plumes of ash and gas aloft. NASA’s MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite captured this image of the now waning eruption Wednesday.  (MODIS Rapid Response)

AGU Launches Blogging Network
Confusions about a supposed AGU-sponsored misinformation response team aside, it is true that the American Geophysical Union recently launched a new blog network that is well worth a look. One of their bloggers is writing about how reporters can avoid making common mistakes when covering volcanoes.  (AGU blogosphere)

Making Sense of Multiyear Ice Melt
A new study has quantified the amount ofolder and thicker “multiyear” sea ice lost from the Arctic via melting. “[The] results show that thick multiyear sea ice is not immune tomelt in the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean in today’s climate,” the author of the study said. (NASA Portal)

Tiny Particles, Big Impact

Despite their small size, tiny airborne particles called aerosols have major impacts on our climate. The problem: despite considerable advances in recent decades, estimating the precise climate impacts of aerosols remains an immature science. (Earth Observatory)

Overselling an Image
A picture can say a thousand words, especially if you are trying to explain earth science. But images can also mislead if not presented with care. One of NASA’s data visualization specialists explains one of his pet peeves: vertical exaggeration.  (Elegant Figures)

Ed Begley Jr. on Climate
The Emmy award-winning actor and environmentalist guest blogs for My Big Fat Planet, and he’s hoping climate deniers are right. (My Big Fat Planet)

The Adventures of IceBridge
NASA scientists are back in the Southern Hemisphere flying IceBridge missions to Antarctica. Track their progress on the IceBridge blog and Twitter feed. (IceBridge)

Russian Fires Revisited
Remember the raging wildfires that paralyzed Moscow during the summer? A group from Goddard has released a new information that highlights the meteorological ingredients that fueled the disaster. (GES DISC)

Tweet of the Week
Veterans Day photo of the NASA DC-8 contrail taken from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station on November 4

Image courtesy of NASA’s MODIS Rapid Response Team

Earth Buzz: Weather Satellites, A Solar Stumper, and More

Look Up

Fabulous new animation shows orbital paths of weather satellites. (GSFC SVS)

Antarctica, Here We Come
Operation IceBridge heads to Chile to begin a new phase of its campaign. (NASA Explorer)

Solar Spectral Stumper
Every now and then Nature throws scientists a curve ball — such as (ifthey turn out to be right) these provocative finding about the sun’sspectral irradiance. (RealClimate)

Sorry, Water Vapor
It’s actually carbon dioxide that controls Earth’s temperature. (

Food For Thought
Ten things you probably don’t know about Earth. (NASA Global Climate Change)

Get On Board
Scientists from across the country are prepping for next week’s A-Train meeting in New Orleans. (Langley)

Fire Breathing Storms
Pyrocumulonimbus: the fire-breathing dragon of clouds. (Langley)

Tweet of the Week
Whoa, the sun just got mooned! SDO Observed its First Lunar Transit HD Video here: & #photo here: (NASA_GoddardPix)

–Adam Voiland, NASA’s Earth Science News Team, Image courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Earth Buzz: Summer Temps, Icy Interactive, and More

How Warm Was This Summer?
…The 4th warmest on record. The Goddard Institute for Space Studies has all the details.  (NASA, Earth Observatory, GISTEMP)

Interactive Ice
The world’s ice–on both sea and land–is changing.  See it with your own eyes. (Eyes on the Earth)

December 2012
You’re not going to die.  The world’s not going to end.  Can we talk about something else now, please? (
JPL Video)

G. Projector, What?
You’ve never heard of it, but it’s the best map processing software on the internet.  (
Elegant Figures)

Goddard’s Brent Holben offers a tour of the robots on his roof (NASA Explorer)
Venus + Moon + Lake
…Equals a breathtaking photo. (Earth Science Picture of the Day)
Tweet of the Week
Look mom, no Photoshop! Check out this awesome image from our friends @APOD An Airplane in front of the Moon  (NASA_GoddardPix)
–Adam Voiland, NASA’s Earth Science News Team
Summer 2010 temperature image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory

Earth Buzz: Beautiful Igor, Smoke, and More

Beautiful Igor
Astronauts have called the massive storm in the Caribbean
“Igor the Horrible”, but from above the monster of a storm sure looks stunning. (Earth Observatory)

Up in Smoke

Fascinated by fire? It’s not just firefighters and arsonists. NASA researchers, such as Langley’s Elena Kukavskaya, make careers of tracking smoke. (Langley)

Mountain Pine beetles could be priming the pump for huge wildfires in the Rocky Mountains. (NASA Explorer)

GogBlog Video Rewind
Hurricane Alley sends storms barreling up the Atlantic coast every year in late summer and early fall, but how do the giant storms actually form and why? (Geeked on Goddard)

Evolution from Afar

NASA’s ASTER instrument offers a satellite view of the world-famous Australopithecus Afarensis Lucy. (My Big Fat Planet)

Icy Adventures
Learn how just one satellite–the recently departed IceSat–measured the thickness of ice sheets, the health of sea ice, and even the height of the world’s forests. (Goddard Cryospheric Sciences Branch)

Satellites, Ice Sheets, and Earth’s Shifting Surface(Oh My)
New calculations suggest the melting of the Laurentide ice sheet has shifted Earth’s surface and center of mass. (JPL)

Stayed Tuned

The annual Arctic Ocean sea ice minimum is coming in the next few weeks (as is the annual maximum of the ozone hole over Antarctica). In the meantime, check out this snapshot of the polar region captured by Aqua in early September. (

Image courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory

NASA Earth Buzz: Steamy July, Shakedown in the Gulf, and Look How Good We All Look

Degrees of Change
New data from GISS puts July 2010 in a three-way tie with 1998 and 2005 for warmest July on record. (Earth Observatory)

“Shakedown” in the Gulf
NASA’s DC-8, which is in Florida preparing to hunt for hurricanes, took to the air this week for a practice flight as part of GRIP. (

Fingerprints of Fire
A massive plume of carbon monoxide made its way across Asia, unleashed by Russian wildfires. (JPL)

A Bit of Elegance for Your Day
A visual artist at the Earth Observatory has a new blog on the development of science imagery; the first post offers fascinating details about imaging Eyjafjallajökull. (Elegant Figures)

Gray Marble
See Earth in its grayest and gloomiest glory. (My Big Fat Planet)

Straight to the Source
Tired of the filter? Get closer to the data with this new Twitter feed from the Data Information and Services Center at Goddard, one of eight core data dissemination groups across NASA. (NASA_GESDISC)

Tweet of the Week
We look good, don’t we? (NASA_GoddardPix)

NASA Earth Buzz: Soot, the Big Melt, and More

What on Earth Was That?
Last week, we asked you to identify the image on the left, and we received all sorts of replies. (Nope, it’s not an ant eating salt, spitting acid, or laying eggs). The correct answer? A microscopic view of soot from a wildfire. Check the original post for more details.

The Big Melt
A massive chunk of glacial ice tumbled from the shores of Greenland on July 6-7. The calving front – where the ice sheet meets the ocean – retreated nearly 1.5 kilometers (a mile) in a day. The mass of ice lost was nearly 1/8 the size of Manhattan. (

Get a GRIP on This
A group of NASA researchers based in Florida and southern California won’t be sipping lemonade by the beach this summer. Instead, they’ll be chasing hurricanes with three NASA aircraft. (JPL News)

Record Setting Heat Sears Mid-Atlantic Region
After the whopper snowstorms this winter, a broiling heat wave has descended on the U.S. Mid-Atlantic. By June 28, Washington DC had endured 10 consecutive days where temperatures soared above 90°F (32° C). (Goddard DISC)

Climate Connections
Have questions about global warming and climate change? Tired of all the spin? Try these straightforward questions and answers from NASA scientists and science writers. (Earth Observatory)

Coming to a Theater Near You
You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that NASA studies the Moon, Mars, and deep space. But as a rocket-pack clad astronaut points out in a new video short at your local movie theater, a big part of our mission is to study Earth. (NASA Explorer)

A Porthole on the Arctic
Get a glimpse of science in action as NASA-funded researchers cruise the Arctic on an icebreaker. (NASA HQ Flickr)

Tweet of the Week
Floods kill an average of 140 people per year in the U.S., making it the number one severe weather killer. (SciJinks)

Aerosol image (left) from Peter Buseck, Arizona State University. Fire image (right) from Jim Ross, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

NASA Earth Buzz: World Cup, New Climate Satellite, and a Five-Word Acceptance Speech We Love

Please view the slideshow on Firefox if you experience difficulty with Internet Explorer. You can also view it here and here.

World Cup Fever
You can’t quite make out the ball from space, but look at all that you can see (including a stadium and massive piles of slag in Johannesburg) in this soccer-inspired satellite slideshow. (NASA Goddard Flickr)

Adios El Niño, Hello La Niña?
The tropical Pacific has cooled during the last few months, perhaps foreshadowing a transition from El Niño to La Niña conditions. (Earth Observatory)

Just Five Words
NASA’s JPL-based climate change website picked up a Webby Award for best science site this week. We’re big fans of the 5-word-acceptance speech given by one of the site’s editors. (My Big Fat Planet)

Summer Haze
Clear skies, light winds, and long days with a high solar zenith are a recipe for haze and ozone–and that’s exactly what the last few days have brought in many parts of the country. (Smog Blog)

A Glorious New Mission
Enjoy the unique music–and an introduction to NASA’s newest climate monitoring satellite–in this newly released video about Glory. (NASA Explorer)

Tweet of the Week
From NASAHurricane: E.PACIFIC – Once a tropical storm, now a remnant, Blas has the blahs. Tropically speaking, that means that Blas is dissipating…. (NASA Hurricane Page)

–Adam Voiland, NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA Earth Buzz

Earth science links, video, and more that caught our eye…

Tragedy in the Gulf
Heartbreaking video (above) from NASA shows a time-series of satellite snapshots of oil tendrils as they spread through the Gulf of Mexico. The video has appeared on the New Yorker and Gizmodo web sites and has garnered more than 600,000 views on YouTube. (NASAExplorer)

Who CARES About Urban Aerosols?
NASA scientist Matteo Ottiviani is blogging from an airborne field campaign in California, and he has a gift for making aerosols (small particles in the air, not the spray cans) sound exciting.   (Notes from the Field)

NASA Expedition Heads to the Arctic
Yep, we work from ships, too. A NASA-funded expedition has set sail for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas above Alaska to study the ecological impacts of sea ice decline. (IceScape Blog)

Supercomputing Climate Simulation Center Debuts
Many skeptics point to erratic models as the Achilles heel of climatology. A recently unveiled supercomputing center at Goddard, packed with more than 10,000 computer processors, should help. (

Sensing the Sun’s Irradiance
Little fluctuations in the sun’s output might have more impact than you might think. A Q & A with the Glory Mission’s Judith Lean explores what it all means for climate. (NASA Earth Observatory)

New Earth Observer Is out
NASA’s bimonthly newsletter Earth Observer has news about IceSat, IceBridge, sea ice and more. It’s a somewhat technical read, but worth checking out. (Earth Observer – PDF)

Tweet of the Week
Why is permafrost like frozen chicken? (@NASA)

Though you may not know it, NASA has tens of thousands of websites devoted to earth science. It would be a Herculean task to keep track of all of them, so we created this column to save you the trouble. We’ll periodically scour what NASA has to offer and serve up the most fascinating, surprising, and thought-provoking Earth science we stumble across. Think we missed something? Post a comment in the most recent Earth Buzz.

–Adam Voiland, NASA’s Earth Science News Team