Snowy U.S. panorama caught by satellite

February 9, 2011 By Rob Gutro
Snowfall across 30 U.S. States last week followed by the aftermath of the Groundhog Day blizzard shows snow from the Great Plains to New England under the cold and clear skies that followed. The storms made for a nice snowy satellite-view panorama in this February 3, 2011 GOES-13 satellite image captured at 1445 UTC (11:45 a.m. EST). Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

Last week 30 U.S. states were affected by a massive winter storm. This week satellite images created by NASA provide a snowy panorama of that fallen snow.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) that cover the U.S. weather, GOES-11 and GOES-13 are operated by NOAA, and the NASA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates images and animations from those satellite data.

A Feb. 3 GOES-13 image provided a snowy panorama of the U.S. and showed the snowfall on the ground in many of those 30 U.S. states from last week's giant storm. Last week's storm brought snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain from Texas and the Rockies to the New England states.

In , snow visibility depends on snow depth, terrain, and civilization. Dennis Chesters, a NASA GOES Project scientist at Goddard provided some guidance in looking at satellite images to find snow on the ground. "Wooded regions like the Appalachians and Midwest river valleys can remain dark even with a foot of snow on the ground," Chesters said. "Metropolitan areas like Chicago are dark due to urban development like cleared highways and parking lots."

Usually in mid-winter, Lake Erie is lightly frozen over as it appeared in the February 3 GOES-13 image. "Lake Erie is more easily chilled than the other Great Lakes because it is the shallowest -- waters along the northern shore are open because prevailing northwest winds push the lake ice away from the Canadian shore," he said.

Chesters also addressed the veiny-looking images on the GOES-13 satellite image. He said "the low winter vegetation on the Midwest allows the snow to delineate the great river systems of the Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois Rivers converging on St. Louis."

NASA's captured a piece of the snowy puzzle this past weekend, capturing snow in the south central U.S. where countless fans flocked to the Super Bowl. Despite the in Dallas, Texas, those fans flocked to snow-covered Cowboys Stadium where the Green Bay Packers captured their fourth Super Bowl victory in a 31 to 25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This MODIS image from the Terra satellite was captured on Feb 5 at 17:30 UTC (12:30 p.m. EST) and shows snowfall on the ground in northeast Texas (lower left), Oklahoma (above Texas), Arkansas (east of Oklahoma), and the northwestern tip of Louisiana (lower right). Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

A visible image from NASA's Terra satellite's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured that visible image of snowfall on Feb 5 at 17:30 UTC (12:30 p.m. EST). The image showed the snowfall on the ground that caused a lot of problems for those Super Bowl fans in Dallas, Texas and throughout the rest of northeast Texas this weekend. Snowfall is also apparent in Oklahoma where record snowfall closed down Oklahoma City last week. Snows are also visible in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas and the northwestern tip of Louisiana.

MODIS images are created at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. by the NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team.

Explore further: NASA satellites capture data on monster winter storm affecting 30 states (w/ Video)

Related Stories

Minnesota blizzard caught by Terra satellite

December 14, 2010

The upper Midwest was hit by a powerful winter storm this past weekend as more than 17 inches of snow brought down the roof to the Metrodome football complex in Minneapolis. NASA's Terra satellite flew over the upper Midwest ...

GOES-13 Satellite sees Groundhog's Day on ice

February 2, 2011

Punxsutawney Phil predicted that spring will come on time, and NASA satellite data suggests that residents in more than one-third of the U.S. are now anxious for the prediction to come true.

Recommended for you

Hot spot at Hawaii? Not so fast

August 18, 2017

Through analysis of volcanic tracks, Rice University geophysicists have concluded that hot spots like those that formed the Hawaiian Islands aren't moving as fast as recently thought.

Supervolcanoes: A key to America's electric future?

August 16, 2017

Most of the lithium used to make the lithium-ion batteries that power modern electronics comes from Australia and Chile. But Stanford scientists say there are large deposits in sources right here in America: supervolcanoes.

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up

August 16, 2017

Flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet is likely to speed up in the future, despite a recent slowdown, because its outlet glaciers slide over wet sediment, not hard rock, new research based on seismic surveys has confirmed. This ...

Climate change will cut crop yields: study

August 15, 2017

Climate change will have a negative effect on key crops such as wheat, rice, and maize, according to a major scientific report out Tuesday that reviewed 70 prior studies on global warming and agriculture.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (5) Feb 09, 2011
Please send a copy of the photograph to Al Gore, the UN's IPCC, their army of climatologists, and the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
5 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2011
I'll get right on that...
1 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2011
Good idea Olly, give them a good reminder of how the climate worldwide has become very erratic lately.
not rated yet Feb 10, 2011
Global Cooling?
not rated yet Feb 10, 2011
Oliver, the fact that you were principal investigator for Apollo way back when, means jack.... Your degenerating brain cells fail to see the difference between local weather and global climate. Washington DC got 54" of snow last year more than decades. Europeans were freezing their rear ends...However 2010 was one of the warmest years recorded...

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.