The first sign of coming change

The bright yellows of Goldenrod are now plentiful in fields and along roadways in Western North Carolina; last weekend’s cold front brought cooler and drier air into the region; and you may have noticed that some of the leaves on the trees are beginning to lose their deep green color. These first signs of the coming autumn are a welcome sight to many of us who claim fall to be our favorite season.

The lush forests of Western North Carolina

The forests that blanket Western North Carolina go through a yearly cycle of growth that can often occur unnoticed by most of us until we see the colorful displays of leaves in the fall … or have to fight the non-stop weeds of August. The ever-watchful eyes of NASA’s Earth Observing System makes it possible for us to appreciate this annual growth cycle from a new vantage point, thanks to the MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites.

Where is winter? Look to the polar vortex


Snowflakes were flying earlier this week, as Valentine’s Day started off white at the higher elevations.

Snowflakes were flying earlier this week, as Valentine’s Day started off white at the higher elevations.  This image of Max Patch in western Madison County shows the short-lived snow.  So – what has happened to this winter? Why has it been so different than the last two years?

Satellite image shows snow, clear skies for this eve’s orbit of the International Space Station-attachment0

Satellite image shows snow, clear skies for this eve’s orbit of the International Space Station

The above image was taken today, Jan. 5, at about 11 a.m. by the Terra satellite, part of NASA’s Earth Observing System. It shows a bit of snow in the high elevations outside of town, and clear skies for viewing the International Space Station, which will be visible over the region at 6:33 p.m.