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Satellite photos show California coming back to life after drought

One way to beat the heat, at least indirectly

If the current California heat wave gets to be too much, take a minute—or in this case, a minute and 41 seconds—to reflect on just how lucky the state is compared to this same time last year, thanks to the friendly folks at NASA.

Just in time to put our climate in a little perspective, the space agency uploaded a video to one of its YouTube channels today—the Earth Observatory channel features footage of earthbound weather phenomena from orbit, and also for some reason many videos of beavers—titled “California Rises From Drought.”

The fleeting science documentary doesn’t reveal much that most Californians don’t know already: reservoirs and snowpack vanished in 2014 and 2015 (some down to the lowest levels ever recorded), that El Nino didn’t bring as much relief as hoped, and then that the seemingly miraculous manifestation of an atmospheric river channeled huge amounts of moisture from across the ocean.

What you do get out of this, however, is some dramatic and startling satellite imagery of our fair state vacillating between looking both fair and foul. The change in mountain snowpack over just one month in early 2017, from a barely there dusting in January to an icy blue crush in February, still seems too good to be true, even though everyone is still living in it.

Check out the action below: