Winter Storm Southern Us
This winter's massive snowstorms have created massive headaches. But when seen from space, a calmer winter is revealed.
Satellites have captured snow-covered parts of the planet in spectacular fashion. From the great Christmas Blizzard of 2010 along the East Coast to a snow-capped Russian volcano, this winter's reach has been impressive.
Lake Effect Snow
The snow has been so bad near Buffalo, N.Y., that even the snow plows are getting stuck.
Western New York and many other cities around the Great Lakes can be miserable during the winter because of a phenomenon called the lake effect . This is essentially a snow machine that runs on two key ingredients: warm lake water and cold air.
The snow is created when bitter Arctic air spills south over the warmer Great Lakes. The cold air warms, moistens and forms into snow clouds, which drops the white stuff in whichever direction the strongest wind is blowing. Lake effect snow is heaviest downwind, or leeward.
Great Britain, Blanketed
Snow lingered in Great Britain and Ireland on Dec. 8 from storms that buffeted northern Europe in recent weeks, shutting down airports, closing off roads and leading to many deaths from exposure to the elements.
In this image, taken by NASA's Aqua satellite, snow extends from Northern Ireland southward past Dublin, and from Scotland southward into England. Snow cover stops short of London; the white over the city is clouds, which are distinguishable from the underlying snow by their billowy shapes and indistinct margins.
Rugged hills and gray-toned urban areas interrupt the snow cover, especially in northern England.
Christmas Blizzard of 2010
During the Christmas Blizzard of 2010, the East Coast was pummeled with snow and intense winds . In Wellfleet, Mass., wind speeds were clocked at 80 mph (128.7 kph). [Related: The Blow-by-Blow: Snowmageddon vs. Christmas Blizzard of 2010 .]
The Christmas Blizzard brought 20 inches (50.8 cm) of snow to Central Park, while Rahway, N.J. got the most snow during the storm, with 32 inches (81 cm).
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite caught this unusual view of snow across the southern United States on Jan. 12, 2011.
The swath of white follows the track of a winter storm that moved across the country between Jan. 9 and Jan. 11, according to a NASA statement. The rare snow led governors in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee to declare emergencies, reported the Associated Press.
A classic Nor'easter plowed up the East Coast of the United States on Jan. 12, 2011, dumping heavy snow on New England states for the third time in three weeks, according to a NASA statement. The storm began developing late on Jan. 11, as a snow-making system that had hit the southern states rode up the Atlantic seaboard and merged with another system crossing from the Midwest.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite took this photo-like image at 10 a.m. EST on Jan. 12, when the storm was centered over southern New England .
On Jan. 17, 2011, clear skies afforded NASA's Terra satellite an uninterrupted view of the Alps.
This natural-color image shows snow-capped mountains interspersed with vegetated valleys. Clouds snake through valleys in the north and west, and a nearly continuous cloud bank fills the Po Valley in the south, but skies over the mountains are clear.
The Alps form a crescent stretching from the Mediterranean coasts of Italy and France to Vienna, Austria.
East Coast Snowstorm, Jan. 26
Heavy snows struck the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States again on Jan. 26 and 27.
The storm brought 19 inches (48.3 centimeters) of snow to New York City's Central Park, putting the winter's snowfall total for New York City at 56.5 inches (143.5 cm).
The 1995-96 winter is the Big Apple's snowiest of all time, with 76.5 inches (194.3 cm). Through Jan. 27, 1996, New York City had only seen 39.6 inches (100.6 cm) of snow.
During the Jan. 26 snowstorm, thundersnow was heard rumbling in several places along the East Coast including Washington, Philadelphia and New York.
Thundersnow is a rarity, a wintertime thunderstorm with snow instead of rain. These storms spawn long, low rumbles of thunder, sometimes with lightning flashes. The lightning can stretch out in long creepy-crawly branches moving over tens of miles, similar to the lightning in squall line storms during Midwestern summers.
Siberia's Lake Baikal
Ice covered Lake Baikal in late January 2011, as snow coated nearby peaks.
Ice on Lake Baikal is not at all unusual in January. The ice that forms on the lake is generally quite strong, even strong enough to support the weight of vehicles driving over the surface. Runners also rely on the ice to support their weight in the Lake Baikal International Ice Marathon.
Snow Covered Volcano
Snow cover highlights the calderas and volcanic cones that form the northern and southern ends of Onekotan Island, part of the Russian Federation in the western Pacific Ocean.
Calderas are depressions from when a volcano empties its magma chamber in an explosive eruption and then the overlaying material collapses into the evacuated space.
In this astronaut photograph from the International Space Station, the northern end of the island (image right) is dominated by the Nemo Peak volcano , which began forming within an older caldera approximately 9,500 years ago, according to a NASA statement. The last recorded eruption at Nemo Peak occurred in the early 18th century.
This wintery image captures the German capital city of Berlin surrounded by snow.
Berlin lies in northeastern Germany, in the wide glacial valley of the Spree River, which can be seen in the image flowing east to west through the city.
Berlin's three airports can be seen in the image: Tegel airport, which is the long thin structure to the northwest of the center; the old Tempelhof airport is the large hexagonal structure just south of the city; and the new Brandenburg International, which is being developed on the site of Schönefeld airport and set to replace the three old airports, lies to the southwest covered by snow.
The signature of the snowstorm that swept across Oklahoma and Texas last week, leaving much shoveling to be done before yesterday's Super Bowl, is still evident in satellite images that bear the unmistakable white of snow on the ground.
The snow that fell through much of Texas -- even as far south as El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico across the border -- was part of a monster winter storm that affected people from the Rockies to New England.
The rare Texas snowfall was followed by unusually frigid temperatures in the state, as a pocket of Arctic air pushed southward. The cold temperatures came just in time for the Super Bowl , held last night in Dallas.
In early February, 30 U.S. states were affected by a massive winter storm that plowed over the country. NASA satellites captured the aftermath of the whopper storm with a panorama of snow on the ground across the country.
The icy fingers of winter 2010-11 reached down into the south central United States for the second time in a week during February, breaking many local records for snowfall in a month that was only 10 days old.
Snowfall totals topped 20 inches (50 centimeters) in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, according to a NASA statement, just one week after a Groundhog Day storm coated the region with several inches.
Meanwhile, temperatures dropped into the single digits in the American Plains and in Colorado. The storms moved east to dump more snow, ice and rain in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Carolinas.
NASA's Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image of snowfall across the Korean peninsula on Feb. 15, 2011.
South Korea's east coast struggled to dig out from the heaviest snowfall in more than a century, according to a NASA statement. The South Korean government deployed 12,000 soldiers to assist and rescue residents and stranded motorists.
Agence France-Presse reported that the port city of Samcheok recorded 39 inches (100 centimeters) of snowfall on Feb. 11 and 12 the heaviest snowfall amount since recordkeeping began in 1911.
In the west, Seoul, South Korea's capital, escaped heavy snow, although the Han River froze over for the first time in years, according to the BBC.