What You Use For Cooking Oil Can Be Seen on Satellite

Brian Donegan
Published: July 12, 2018

Satellite imagery recently caught a clear view of something you've likely used in your kitchen while cooking dinner.

The NOAA GOES-East satellite captured a widespread speckling of yellow across portions of northern North Dakota and into the prairies of southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan on Tuesday.

The yellow corresponds to fields of blooming canola, as the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, North Dakota, posted in a tweet.

Before-and-after satellite data from the NASA Worldview satellite show that these canola fields bloomed quickly in the past month.

The "before" image below is from June 6 and shows no indication of the canola. The "after" image from Monday points to the canola fields.

NASA Worldview satellite imagery from June 6, 2018, and July 9, 2018. The annotated July 9 image shows vast fields of blooming canola in northern North Dakota and the prairies of southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, appearing as speckled shades of yellow.

"They bloom fast and furious," NWS-Grand Forks tweeted.

Canola is a crop with plants that grow 3 to 5 feet tall, producing pods from which seeds are harvested and crushed to create the canola oil found in your kitchen, according to the U.S. Canola Association. The plants produce small, yellow flowers.

Roughly 1.7 million acres of canola are grown in the United States, predominantly in North Dakota, the U.S. Canola Association noted. Canola is also grown in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and several other states.

In Canada, more than 15 million acres of canola are harvested each year in the prairie provinces and southern Ontario, according to canolagrowers.com.

Brian Donegan is a meteorologist at weather.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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