NASA satellite captures U.S. 'Big Chill'

Feb 02, 2011
This composite infrared image of the continental United States was taken by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft on Feb. 1, 2011. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- The current winter storm system blasting much of the United States is depicted in this new NASA satellite image from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite.

The image, a composite of AIRS data swaths taken on Feb. 1, 2011, highlights the preponderance of cold air blanketing Canada and the northern U.S. The coldest air is depicted in purples, blues and greens.

AIRS was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The AIRS data create an accurate 3-D map of atmospheric temperature, water vapor and , data that are useful to forecasters. The image shows the temperature of the storm's cloud tops or the surface of Earth in cloud-free regions. The coldest cloud-top temperatures appear in purple, indicating towering cold clouds and heavy precipitation. The infrared signal of AIRS does not penetrate through clouds. Where there are no clouds, AIRS reads the infrared signal from the surface of the ocean waters, revealing warmer temperatures in orange and red.

AIRS observes and records the global daily distribution of temperature, water vapor, clouds and several atmospheric gases including ozone, methane and carbon monoxide.

Explore further: Tropical depression 21W forms, Philippines under warnings

More information: For more on AIRS, see airs.jpl.nasa.gov/

Related Stories

Hurricane Igor, unchained, in NASA satellite images

Sep 20, 2010

While its intensity has dropped slightly, massive Hurricane Igor remains a powerful Category Three storm, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 105 knots (115 miles per hour) as it continues on a projected ...

Alex Stirs Up the Gulf

Jun 30, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Tropical Storm Alex, soon to be a hurricane, churns its way through the western half of the Gulf of Mexico in this NASA infrared image taken Tuesday afternoon, June 29.

Huge storm heads across the US

Feb 01, 2011

The roads are a skating rink where I live! This visible image was captured by the GOES-13 satellite on January 31, 2011 and it shows the low pressure area bringing snowfall to the Midwest US. Heavy snow is ...

NASA captures Typhoon Nida's clouds from 2 angles

Nov 30, 2009

NASA satellites capture amazing views of tropical cyclones, and the Aqua and CloudSat satellites captured a top-down look at temperatures in Typhoon Nida's clouds, and an image of what they look like from ...

Fay Comes Ashore in Florida

Aug 19, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's CloudSat and Aqua satellites are just two of NASA's fleet keeping eyes on Tropical Storm Fay. NASA is using these data to see cloud height and cloud temperatures which give hints at ...

Recommended for you

Questions of continental crust

6 hours ago

Geological processes shape the planet Earth and are in many ways essential to our planet's habitability for life. One important geological process is plate tectonics – the drifting, colliding and general ...

Better forecasts for sea ice under climate change

Nov 25, 2014

University of Adelaide-led research will help pinpoint the impact of waves on sea ice, which is vulnerable to climate change, particularly in the Arctic where it is rapidly retreating.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
Clearly, Global Warming has caused this blizzard. Why all the ice and snow, and record low temperatures, is clear evidence of AGW. Who could possibly deny now?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.