Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

California Landscape is Mix of Green and Brown
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 26, 2015

The maps above show the enhanced vegetation index (EVI) for California for early January 2014 (left) and January 2015 (right). For a larger version of this image please go here.

California just finished its driest year on record and is now in its fourth year of drought. The effects have been reflected by the landscape in many ways, from exposed lake bottoms to snowless mountains. The effect is uneven and complicated, however, when you look at the vegetation in this fertile, agriculturally rich state.

The maps above show the enhanced vegetation index (EVI) for California for early January 2014 (left) and January 2015 (right). EVI is a satellite data product that describes the "greenness" of the landscape.

The product quantifies the amount of sunlight absorbed and reflected by vegetation-a proxy measurement of the health of trees, shrubs, crops, and grasses as reflected by their amount of chlorophyll.

Greenness increases with seasonal growth and decreases with droughts, frosts, seasons, or other events that cause leaves to die and change color. The data for the maps above were collected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite.

"The January 2014 map is extremely anomalous and is an indicator of the nature of this historic drought in one picture," said Jennifer Dungan, a remote sensing specialist at NASA's Ames Research Center.

"With the 2015 data, the story gets more complex. There is green-up from strong December storms, but that does not mean the drought is over."

In January 2014, the majority of California had below-normal levels of vegetation, though the farm-filled Central Valley was at a steady state, neither positive nor negative.

In both years, the Sierra Nevada and other mountain ranges are unusually brown, a reflection of the lack of rain and of snow. And in January 2015, more of the state has greened, an immediate result of several heavy rain events in December 2014. The effect will not be lasting, though, unless the state receives more of the rain and snow that typically moisten the region each winter.

"We took a close look at the early January data because it is the time of year when California's 'natural' vegetation is normally green, reflecting the response of the vegetation to autumn rains," Dungan said, referring to the native vegetation as opposed to artificially watered farmland and orchards.

"The main green-up in 2015 is on the edges of the Central Valley, primarily the flanks of the Sierra and Diablo ranges."

In the 2014 water year (October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014), most farmers received 10 percent or less of their usual surface water allocations from the California State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. This led to extensive pumping of groundwater for use in irrigation. So while some amount of farmland and orchards have been idled by the drought, many still appear active while the rest of the landscape gets crispy and parched.

January usually arrives with the most precipitation in an average year, but California just had its driest January on record. And despite a few December rains, the state has seen just 47 percent of its usual precipitation four months into the water year. So unless rain picks back up, the EVI maps will likely grow brown again this spring.


Related Links
NASA Earth Observatory
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

ESA's Biomass satellite goes ahead
Paris (ESA) Feb 20, 2015
Following the initial selection in 2013 for Biomass to become ESA's seventh Earth Explorer mission and the completion of preparatory activities, ESA Member States yesterday gave the green light for its full implementation for launch in 2020. The mission addresses one of the most fundamental components in the Earth system: the status and dynamics of tropical forests. Its primary scientific ... read more

Application of laser microprobe technology to Apollo samples refines lunar impact history

NASA releases video of the far side of the Moon

US Issuing Licenses for Mineral Mining on Moon

LRO finds lunar hydrogen more abundant on Moon's pole-facing slopes

Curiosity confirms methane in Mars' atmosphere

NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Drills at 'Telegraph Peak'

How Can We Protect Mars From Earth, While Searching For Life

The Search For Volcanic Eruptions On Mars Reaches The Next Level

Diamantino Sforza - Gentleman Farmer of Prince George's County

Water pools in US astronaut's helmet after spacewalk

Korean tech start-ups offer life beyond Samsung

Fast visas and dim sum: Spain seeks to attract Chinese tourists

Argentina welcomes first Chinese satellite tracking station outside China

More Astronauts for China

China launches the FY-2 08 meteorological satellite successfully

China's Long March puts satellite in orbit on 200th launch

US astronauts speed through spacewalk at orbiting lab

Watching Alloys Change from Liquid to Solid Could Lead to Better Metals

Spacewalk to go ahead on Sunday despite helmet leak

NASA Hopes to Continue Cooperation on ISS Until 2024

Soyuz-2.1a Rocket Takes Military Satellite to Designated Orbit

Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome Construction Reaches Home Stretch

Next Launch of Heavy Angara-5 Rocket Due Next Year

SES Announces Two Launch Agreements With SpaceX

Planets Can Alter Each Other's Climates over Eons

The mystery of cosmic oceans and dunes

Laser 'ruler' holds promise for hunting exoplanets

Scientists predict earth-like planets around most stars

Australia researchers create 'world first' 3D-printed jet engines

New NASA Space Cowboy Deploys Its 'Lasso'

Watching bonds form using femtosecond X-ray liquidography

New research predicts when, how materials will act

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.