NASA Satellite Captures U.S. 'Big Chill'

satellite images showing winter storms sweeping across the U.S. 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
› Larger image
  • submit to reddit

February 01, 2011

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 clouds, 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. For more on AIRS, see http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/.

Alan Buis 818-354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

2011-035



NASA Satellite Spots Severe Weather Outbreak in South NASA Satellite Spots Severe Weather in U.S. South

› Read more

The retreat of Pedersen Glacier, Alaska. Left: summer 1917. Right: summer 2005. NASA iPad App Shows Earth Changing Before Your Eyes

› Read more

Infrared images of Super Typhoon Haiyan NASA Peers Into One of Earth's Strongest Storms Ever

› Read more


Get JPL Updates
Sign Up for JPL UpdatesRegister today and receive up-to-the-minute e-mail alerts delivered directly to your inbox.
Sign Up for JPL Updates