Today’s Image of the Day is part of a series highlighting wintertime photographs of Earth shot by astronauts onboard the International Space Station. View the full collection here.
A layer of snow blanketed Virginia’s Tidewater region and the Delmarva Peninsula when an astronaut aboard the International Space Station snapped this photograph on January 30, 2022.
An average of 9 to 20 inches (23 to 51 centimeters) of snow falls in Delaware each year, according to NOAA’s 2022 State Climate Summaries. But like other parts of the Northeast U.S., this is gradually changing as the climate changes. Total annual precipitation has trended up in recent decades, though it increasingly falls as rain rather than snow as temperatures warm.
Looking forward, total annual precipitation is projected to increase in both Delaware and Maryland, with the greatest increases occurring in winter and spring. A similar change is expected across a large part of the Northern Hemisphere in the higher mid-latitudes, with climate scientists projecting increases in both total precipitation and extreme precipitation events.
Sea level is also rising in the Mid-Atlantic. Tide-gauge records show that sea level in the Chesapeake Bay has increased at an average rate of 1.3 to 1.5 inches (3.3 centimeters to 3.8 centimeters) per decade over the past 100 years. That is 50 percent more than the global historical average observed over the same time period. That makes the Chesapeake Bay the third most vulnerable area of the United States to sea level rise, behind Louisiana and South Florida, according to the NOAA analysis.
Astronaut photograph ISS0676-E-132335 was acquired on January 30, 2022, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 70 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 66 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Adam Voiland.