Archive for February, 2013

Hat tip to Michele Casati for this news from A cometary impact on Mars could potentially leave a 500km wide crater this October! A near miss will be just as interesting in terms of the way the coma is affected by Mars’ magnetosphere. The ‘Electric Universe’ and plasma science people will be busy making predictions I should think.

Author: Leonid Elenin


Chris Smith / NASA

As I wrote previously, the recently discovered comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will make a extremal close approach to Mars on 19 October 2014. A collision scenario isn’t ruled out either. Today, at the ISON-NM observatory, new astrometric measurements were received for this comet. Based on the existing measurements, more accurate orbital elements were calculated. The results of the second calculation for the close approach show that the comet might pass just 41,000 km (0.000276 a.u.) from the planet’s centre, that is less than 37,000 km from its surface!


Chilbolton: slight drizzle

Posted: February 26, 2013 by tchannon in Clouds, Surfacestation, weather


There was slight dizzle yesterday, slightly more at times. Low cloud, low light levels.

Larkhill is quite close to Chilbolton (26km west) and by a stroke of luck are launching at the moment. This plot is for the next day, weather is similar.

On check later it seems C. Lidar was not working on the 26th! Never ever all the data. Lidar data has updated 03:30hrs.
Basically heavy low cloud all day.


If you live in the UK, get yourself over here and sign the epetition to scrap the Climate Change Act.
UPDATE. From GWPF: Breaking news from the European Parliament where a vote on the ETS Carbon Market has been inexplicably cancelled. See below Doug Carswell’s article.

I was wrong about the Climate Change Act
By Douglas Carswell MP

carswellMy biggest regret as an MP is that I failed to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. It was a mistake. I am sorry.

On the very day the Labour government passed this fatuous attempt to “stop global warming”, it was, if I remember rightly, snowing. Had I opposed the Bill, it wouldn’t have made much difference, but I feel I should have known better.

Unlike much of the gesture legislation that goes through Parliament, this law has turned out to have real consequences.  The Climate Change Act has pushed up energy prices, squeezing households and making economic recovery ever more elusive.

The aim of the Climate Change Act was to create a low carbon economy. I fear the Act will do that, but perhaps not the way intended. The Climate Change Act is giving us a low carbon economy the way that pre-industrial Britain had a low carbon economy.


Al Gore: Arguing for censorship in 1992  (a blast from the UK media past)
guest post by Russell Cook

goreWhen the idea of human-induced global warming cannot stand on its own scientific merits, the critical necessity now – as it always has been – is to marginalize critics in the eyes of the public by any means possible. And to erase any hint that a “consensus” does not actually exist.

Thankfully, the UK Independent sees fit to maintain a current web link to a July 6, 1992 US New Republic “Green Cassandras” article by Gregg Easterbrook. (original scan is at the U. of California San Francisco Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, despite the article not mentioning a single word about tobacco or cigarette smoking).


Etna Observatory. Etna is in major erruption.

The Forge of Vulcan by Lombardo -The hermitage, St Petersburg- (I hope health and safety aren't looking)

The Forge of Vulcan by Lombardo
-The hermitage, St Petersburg-
(I hope Health and Safety aren’t looking)

Observatory reports are dry. Lot of news content around too.

“On the evening of 23 February 2013, a new episode of lava fountaining occurred at Etna’s New Southeast Crater, two-and-a-half days after the previous episode from the same crater, and 36 hours after the latest eruptive episode in the summit area, which took place at the Bocca Nuova on the morning of 22 February. The 23 Febriary paroxysm was more intense than its predecessors, with lava fountains up to 600-800 m tall, and an eruption cloud charged with ash and scoriae that was blown northeastward by strong wind, whereas the lava volume this time is smaller than that of the previous episodes. The culminating phase of this episode lasted less than one hour. A more detailed report will be posted here shortly.” Some has English translations.


From the Sunday Telegraph, an article by Tony Blairs bette noir, Andrew Gilligan:

NowindWriting in the scientific journal Nature, the scientists, Dr Jo Smith, Dr Dali Nayak and Prof Pete Smith, of Aberdeen University, say:

“We contend that wind farms on peatlands will probably not reduce emissions …we suggest that the construction of wind farms on non-degraded peats should always be avoided.”

Dr Nayak told The Telegraph: “Our full paper is not yet published, but we should definitely be worried about this. If the peatland is already degraded, there is no problem. But if it is in good condition, we should avoid it.”

Another peat scientist, Richard Lindsay of the University of East London, said: “If we are concerned about CO2, we shouldn’t be worrying first about the rainforests, we should be worrying about peatlands.

“The world’s peatlands have four times the amount of carbon than all the world’s rainforests. But they are a Cinderella habitat, completely invisible to decision- makers.”


From Science Daily:

A constant stream of particles and electromagnetic waves streams from the sun toward Earth, which is surrounded by a protective bubble called the magnetosphere. A scientist at NASA Goddard has recently devised, for the first time, a set of equations that can help describe waves in the solar wind known as Alfven waves. (Credit: European Space Agency)

A constant stream of particles and electromagnetic waves streams from the sun toward Earth, which is surrounded by a protective bubble called the magnetosphere. A scientist at NASA Goddard has recently devised, for the first time, a set of equations that can help describe waves in the solar wind known as Alfven waves. (Credit: European Space Agency)

Feb. 21, 2013 — Many areas of scientific research — Earth’s weather, ocean currents, the outpouring of magnetic energy from the sun — require mapping out the large scale features of a complex system and its intricate details simultaneously.

Describing such systems accurately, relies on numerous kinds of input, beginning with observations of the system, incorporating mathematical equations to approximate those observations, running computer simulations to attempt to replicate observations, and cycling back through all the steps to refine and improve the models until they jibe with what’s seen. Ultimately, the models successfully help scientists describe, and even predict, how the system works.

Understanding the sun and how the material and energy it sends out affects the solar system is crucial, since it creates a dynamic space weather system that can disrupt human technology in space such as communications and global positioning system (GPS) satellites.


Chilbolton: freezing fog

Posted: February 22, 2013 by tchannon in atmosphere, climate, Surfacestation, weather



Morning of the 20th was foggy and below freezing.


Chilbolton: cold sunny winter day

Posted: February 22, 2013 by tchannon in climate, Clouds, Surfacestation, weather



This is the first day I have seen were there were no obvious clouds. This reveals the cold sky pyrgeometer values.

However there is a surprise, the pyranometer short wave solar hump is considerable offset in time from the shallow hump of long wave. Eyeballing it looks 2 to 3 hours later.  (more…)

World Bank: failure in the tropical forests

Posted: February 21, 2013 by Rog Tallbloke in Incompetence, Politics, Robber Barons


Created on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 09:07

rain_forest_clearing_cameroonAn independent evaluation leaked earlier this week found that the World Bank’s support for the logging of tropical rainforests is failing in its key aims of preventing their destruction and addressing rural poverty. But, according to sources in the Bank, its forestry department is refusing to reconsider its approach, is lobbying the Board hard to avoid being held accountable for its failures, and has stated its intention to continue supporting tropical forest logging.
“The World Bank’s evaluation confirms what has long been obvious – cutting down trees on an industrial scale is not the way to preserve the world’s remaining tropical forests or help the people that live in them.” said Rick Jacobsen,  of Global Witness. “When Bank Board members meet on Monday to decide next steps, they need to act on the evaluation’s findings and demand that the Bank pursue alternatives to industrial logging in tropical forests that better help the poor and preserve forests.”