March 21, 2013
A New World View From NASA
I've just stumbled across an exciting new (to me at least) section of the NASA web site. It's called Worldview, and it does what it says on the tin. It's part of NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS for short), and it gives you a satellite's view of planet Earth a bit like Google Earth, except that it's updated on a daily basis! To give you some idea of the power of Worldview, and also an insight into why I was wandering the virtual corridors of NASA late last night, here's a "close up" image of Cape Morris Jesup, the most northerly point in Greenland, taken on March 18th 2013:
Two days later here is NASA Worldview's take on recent events in that one small part the Arctic:
As you can see, the United States Navy's predictions a couple of days ago about what would happen to the Arctic sea ice in the near future are starting to come true. There is a distance scale visible in the bottom right hand corner of those images, but to give my fellow Devonians a better feel for the scale of these momentous events thousands of miles away, here is NASA's view of our home county, taken from on high and to the same scale the last time it stopped raining here:
Careful comparison between the two images above will reveal that the biggest "crack" in the Arctic sea ice just at the moment is roughly the distance between Exeter and Newton Abbot across, and it literally opened up "overnight".
Do you think it would be a good idea if somebody turned out some of those lights?
It's now the evening of Thursday 21st March in not so sunny South West England. Here's what's happened in the Arctic over the last day or so:
As you can see, the "cracks" have now spread past Nordøstrundingen out into the Fram strait, and also down the east coast of Greenland towards the area often occupied by the North East Water polynya. Note that I've had to zoom out to fit everything in. The little scale in the bottom right now reads "20 miles" instead of the "10 miles" in the earlier images.
In a related local event, the path outside my front door has turned into a stream once again, and the Environment Agency has just issued it's first red flood warning for a while. This one is for the River Cober at Helston in Cornwall. I expect there'll be some in Devon too, before the night is out. There are currently 37 amber flood alerts across South West England:
River levels are very high following persistent heavy rainfall today. Further rainfall is expected throughout the night. Flooding is imminent.
[Addendum Friday March 22nd]
Here's a video showing the floods in Newlyn overnight, and the rain induced landslide which cost one Looe resident her life:
In other related events here in Devon, the BBC report that:
Jubilee Bridge, in Modbury, was destroyed when up to 50mm (2 ins) of rain fell in 24 hours.
Ashburton Primary School near Newton Abbot was closed after part of a road outside it collapsed.
Landslips were reported on the A383 near Bickington, Willow Park Lane in Kingskerswell, and the A379 near Shaldon, where there was also a fallen tree.
The River Otter burst its banks at Otterton. Sidmouth was also affected by flooding.
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