Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blue October

An unusual scene for October with vehicles plugged in to keep them warm so they will start. This looks more like a mid-winter scene...not October. It's been unusually chilly in northern Alaska with temperatures well below zero Fahrenheit.

A lot of cool information can be extrapolated from this infrared satellite image of northern Alaska which was aquired early this morning. The darkest pixels indicate warm temperatures while the white/blue pixels are cold. The ribbon of black which is arched across the bottom of the photo is the Yukon River. The river is still mostly ice-free and quite warm relative to the cold arctic air sitting over the region.

The white dedritic fingers in the upper half of the image are the deep cold river valleys in the Brooks Range mountains. The dense cold air sinks to the valley bottoms and remains there until some sort of mechanism kicks it out (warm air, clouds, etc). There are few, if any, ground based observation sites in this area but this satellite image suggests that the coldest (blue pixels) valleys are approaching -50F (-46C) ---> and its only October! These are by far some of the coldest temperatures being experienced in the northern hemisphere today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scenes from Central Asia

Mir-i-Arb Medressa (active Islamic school) in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

I just returned from nearly 5 weeks of stumbling my way across the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The abundance of scenery, ancient architecture, historical sites, and culturally diverse people along the ancient Silk Route through the heart of Asia was absolutely fascinating. I found it difficult to absorb or retain even a fraction of the history of this region which has been invaded from various directions for centuries. Irregardless of my ability to grasp the history of this area, it was a memorable trip through a very welcoming and friendly part of the world.

Here is a map of the former Soviet Republics that define central Asia

Here are some pictures from my trip: Scenes from Central Asia