This true-color image of the Northeast United States was taken February 20, 2003, two days after record snowfalls blanketed the area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite took the image.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
Snow Blankets the Eastern United States!
News story originally written on March 5, 2003
Last year, winter in the Northeast United States was mild with very little snow. This year, however, there is tons of the white fluffy stuff! Several winter snowstorms have rumbled through the Eastern part of the United States, with one in mid-February dumping record, or near record, amounts of snow in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.
This winter weather has been brought to the East coast of the United States by changing air pressure over the Atlantic, a phenomena called the North Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO for short. The NAO controls how intense winter weather is by changing the high and low air pressure over the Atlantic Ocean.
How does air pressure over the Atlantic cause wintry weather a few thousand miles away in New York? Low air pressure over Iceland pulls cold air down from the Arctic. It mixes with moist air brought up from the tropics by high air pressure over the Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain. The warm moist air hits the cold air from the Arctic producing snowstorms, some of which roll towards the East coast. “It sets up a situation where you’ve got a lot of moisture hitting cold air, and that is a recipe for snow,” says David Adamec, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. During some winters, these pressure systems can become very strong producing plenty of snow. This is one of those winters!
What can you do about winter weather? Well, you can’t change the weather! But you can be prepared for whatever weather is coming by looking at weather reports on the radio, television, or web.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
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 weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more