March 20, 2014 - Central Europe

Central Europe

On March 12, 2014 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of a sunny late winter day across Central Europe.

Exactly one year prior to this image, on March 12, 2013, Euronews headlines read “Snow Chaos in France, UK, and Germany”. On that day, snow blocked motorways and airports. Flights between Paris, France and Frankfurt, Germany were cancelled. Even the Eurostar train service between London, Paris and Brussels had been stopped due to the 50 cm (19 in) of snow dumped by a winter storm.

The scene was very different in March, 2014, as this image illustrates. Snow covered the Alps – the large, slightly crescent-shaped range that runs 1,200 km (750 mi) across Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, France, Italy and Monaco. Significant snow also topped the slimmer Pyrenees Mountains, which are seen in the southwest corner of this image and form a border between France and Spain. Snow also dotted other mountain peaks, but elsewhere land appears a snow-free green or tan.

Temperatures have been warmer than usual for much of the winter across Central Europe. On March 12, the high temperature in Paris, France, according to Weather Underground, was 64°F (17.8°C) – or 10°F higher than average for that date. Frankfurt registered a high of 64°F (17.8°C), and Brussels, Belgium was at 61°F (16°C) – both 11°F above average.

The Weather Channel has predicted that end of March and start of April should see cooler, more unsettled weather, thanks to the jet stream’s southerly track which curves it south over central Europe. They also expect the formation of a cut-off low pressure system over the central Mediterranean and southern Europe, which could bring showery weather from northern Algeria to Italy, the Alps, and southern Germany. But, no additional winter snow appears to be in the short-term forecast for the region.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 3/12/2014
Resolutions: 1km (1.2 MB), 500m (4.3 MB), 250m (10.8 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC