Image of the Day: Meandering Mississippi From Space

An image captured from Landsat 7, an Earth-observing satellite managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), portrays the “graceful swirls and whorls of the Mississippi River” as NASA says.

Spring 2011 brought some of the worst flooding in history, from the Upper Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico. Snowmelt and more than three times the normal spring rainfall in the Ohio Valley made rivers, including the Mississippi overflow their banks along with many smaller tributaries. Though climate change cannot be blamed for causing the flooding, scientists have detected large-scale trends indicating that extreme precipitation events are becoming more likely as temperatures warm in response to increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the air. This means that heavy rainfall events are more frequent than they used to be, in part because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture that can be wrung out by storm systems.

For more info on climate change and the Mississippi River, check out our coverage: Explainer: Is Climate Change Playing a Role In Mississippi River Floods?

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS