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NOAA-20 Sees Snow Blanketing Northern US and Canada

January 24, 2020


As the NOAA-20 satellite zoomed over North America on Jan. 20, 2020, it snapped this beautiful image of the Great Lakes and the areas surrounding them in the United States and Canada. You can clearly see the grayish-white snow blanketing the ground in the northern regions in stark contrast to where the ground is bare in the south.

The lakes themselves stand out against the snow-covered landscape, thanks to few clouds being present along with the fact that there is currently not much ice cover on the water. Although some wintery weather is still expected in parts of the Midwest and closer toward the East Coast ranging from Virginia through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, average temperatures throughout most of the United States are expected to become milder in general through the end of the month.


A closeup view of Lake Erie with Lake Huron to its north (under some cloud cover) and Lake Ontario to its northeast.


You may also notice the light bluish-green swirls in Lake Erie, which give the entire lake a lighter hue than the others. While prone to harmful algae blooms from mid-summer through early fall, in this case, sediments in the lake’s shallow water are being stirred up by wind-driven waves. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, with an average depth of just 62 feet.

This chart shows how shallow Lake Erie is compared to the other Great Lakes.


This image was captured by NOAA-20’s VIIRS instrument , which scans the entire Earth twice per day at a 750-meter resolution. Multiple visible and infrared channels allow it to detect atmospheric aerosols, such as dust, smoke and haze associated with industrial pollution and fires. The polar-orbiting satellite circles the globe 14 times daily and captures a complete daytime view of our planet once every 24 hours.