During the week of May 13th, the CO2 level at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii topped 400 ppm repeatedly. Daily levels of CO2 can vary due to weather, and there are seasonal trends as well. The level of atmospheric greenhouse gases continues to increase, now over 120 ppm since the Industrial Revolution began. For more on the Keeling Curve, see http://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/. Find out more about greenhouse gases and warming.
The week of May 19 brings dozens of tornadoes to Tornado Alley in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. On May 20th, a massive tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, devastating communities - destroying over 100 homes and hitting two elementary schools and a hospital - with many casualties and deaths. Our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues suffering from these storms. For more on the May 20th storms, see the NOAA Storm Prediction Center Storm Report.
March 11, 2011 - Huge Earthquake and Tsunami Hits Japan
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan at about 02:46 pm in the afternoon. The earthquake was not too deep, at 24.4 km. It occurred on the boundary between the Pacific and the North American plates. Beginning on March 9, there were many smaller earthquakes (foreshocks) before the main earthquake.
After the earthquake, a huge tsunami hit the coast of Japan and caused widespread damage, killing and injuring many people across the region. As of March 14, several thousand have been found dead, with many more missing. The tsunami continued to travel across the Pacific Ocean, causing damage in Hawaii, as well as in California. There have been hundreds of aftershocks following the earthquake, with more than two dozen at a magnitude of 6 or greater. The region is continuing to deal with tsunami warnings, which are complicating efforts to save people and clean up.
The tsunami also damaged reactors at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima. To date, there have been at least three explosions at the plant, which officials believe were due to explosive release of steam. Officials are working to cool the reactors and figure out if they are safe. In the meantime, as a result of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor damage, hundreds of thousands of people are living in shelters, many having lost their homes.
The ground underfoot might seem like itís not going anywhere but it is. It moves. If it moves all of a sudden the ground shakes. Thatís an earthquake! Earthquakes happen as pieces of the Earthís crust...more
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It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more