Archive for the ‘atmosphere’ Category


One high-altitude nuclear test even managed to create its own artificial aurora. Others knocked out orbiting satellites.

Our Cold War history is now offering scientists a chance to better understand the complex space system that surrounds us, says Phys.org.

Space weather — which can include changes in Earth’s magnetic environment— is usually triggered by the sun’s activity, but recently declassified data on high-altitude nuclear explosion tests have provided a new look at the mechanisms that set off perturbations in that magnetic system.

Such information can help support NASA’s efforts to protect satellites and astronauts from the natural radiation inherent in space. From 1958 to 1962, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. ran high-altitude tests with exotic code names like Starfish, Argus and Teak.

The tests have long since ended, and the goals at the time were military. Today, however, they can provide crucial information on how humans can affect space.

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Image credit: Chris Sampson / Wikipedia


Even buying an ice cream from a van could be a health hazard, in Britain at least, according to the Mail on Sunday’s roadside test results. A pre-existing condition might be triggered by the fumes, they say. The anti-diesel campaign rumbles on.

Diesel-engined ice cream vans are spewing out dangerously high levels of a deadly pollutant which is especially harmful to young children, a Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed.

The engines are kept running while the vans are parked to power their fridges, leaving queuing families to breathe in a pollutant that can trigger asthma attacks after just a few minutes’ exposure and is responsible for thousands of deaths each year.

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The satellites won’t land as the surface pressure – 92 times that of Earth – and heat of Venus would destroy them. Instead they will look for a ‘mysterious substance’ thought to be lurking in its atmosphere.

NASA has spent $3.6 million to build 12 small satellites to explore the planet Venus in search of a mysterious substance that absorbs half the planet’s light, reports The Daily Caller.

The CubeSat UV Experiment (CUVE) mission will launch the satellites to investigate atmospheric processes on Venus. The 12 satellites vary in size. One is less than four inches across and weighs a few ounces. Another weighs 400 pounds.
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Who gets a say in deciding whether to interfere with nature on a global scale?

sentinelblog

From Activist Post, by Derrick Broze

At a recent geoengineering conference two Harvard engineers announced plans for a real-world climate engineering experiment beginning in 2018.

The science of geoengineering has increasingly become a part of the public conversation around climate change and an ever-controversial topic within the scientific community. Geoengineering is a type of weather modification (or climate engineering) which has been researched, but, until recently, has been considered too unpredictable to attempt on a large scale.  According to a 2013 congressional report:

The term ‘geoengineering’ describes this array of technologies that aim, through large-scale and deliberate modifications of the Earth’s energy balance, to reduce temperatures and counteract anthropogenic climate change. Most of these technologies are at the conceptual and research stages, and their effectiveness at reducing global temperatures has yet to be proven. Moreover, very few studies have been published that document the cost, environmental effects, socio-political impacts, and…

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Despite confessing to being ‘baffled by clouds’, climate science and its media followers are still prone to assertions like ‘as the world warms’ – as though it’s bound to do so indefinitely.

Though we see them every day, clouds remain such a mystery to scientists that they are inhibiting climate change predictions. But a new atlas could be a game changer, thinks DW.COM.

Nothing beats a lazy afternoon sitting on the grass and watching the clouds roll by. These white fluffy friends can feel like a constant and comforting presence in life. And since the dawn of air travel, as folk singer Joni Mitchell once sang, we’ve looked at clouds from both sides now.

But as Mitchell cautioned, somewhow we still don’t know clouds at all. Her words were true in 1969, and they are still true today.
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Tropical beach

Tropical beach


Can the tropics ever get too hot for life on Earth, or not? That’s the question posed by this research. As the report notes: ‘these theories are controversial’.

New research findings show that as the world warmed millions of years ago, conditions in the tropics may have made it so hot some organisms couldn’t survive, reports Phys.org.

Longstanding theories dating to the 1980s suggest that as the rest of the earth warms, the tropical temperatures would be strictly limited, or regulated by an internal ‘thermostat.’

These theories are controversial, but the debate is of great importance because the tropics and subtropics comprise half of the earth’s surface area, greater than half of the earth’s biodiversity, as well as over half the earth’s human population.

But new geological and climate-based research indicates the tropics may have reached a temperature 56 million years ago that was, indeed, too hot for living organisms to survive in parts of the tropics.
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atmos
They admit the hiatus, or pause, is still a puzzle: ‘processes remain unclear’. What is clear is that the observed temperature trend in the study period is unlike the carbon dioxide trend.

The increasing rate of the global mean surface temperature was reduced from 1998 to 2013, known as the global warming hiatus, or pause.

Researchers have devoted much effort to the understanding of the cause, reports Phys.org. The proposed mechanisms include the internal variability of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, ocean heat uptake and redistribution, and many others.

However, scientists also want to understand the atmospheric footprint of the recent warming hiatus as the dynamical and physical processes remain unclear.
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Arctic sea ice [image credit: cbc.ca]

Arctic sea ice [image credit: cbc.ca]


Variations of this aerosol claim have been around for many years. These researchers seem uninterested in known oceanic cycles which might help to explain the observed temperature changes, instead relying on climate models. But another researcher notes that ‘black carbon emissions in some parts of the Arctic are still quite common’, as confirmed recently here. An earlier study (2007) reported ‘There is, however, at least a fourfold uncertainty in the aerosol forcing effect.’ So it looks like the jury is still out regarding air pollution in the Arctic.

Humans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the mid-20th Century.

The new results challenge the perception that Arctic sea ice extent was unperturbed by human-caused climate change until the 1970s, reports Phys.org. Scientists have observed Arctic sea ice loss since the mid-1970s and some climate model simulations have shown the region was losing sea ice as far back as 1950.

In a new study, recently recovered Russian observations show an increase in sea ice from 1950 to 1975 as large as the subsequent decrease in sea ice observed from 1975 to 2005.
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nasalogo
It looks more like ‘winding down’ at this stage, but ‘scrapping’ eventually. Not unexpected, if it goes ahead as suggested.
H/T Europe Breaking News

Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.

Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century. This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena.
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Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China


This runs counter to claims that a warming world leads to more extreme weather. The summer monsoon strength shows a consistent decline over the study period. But last year was an exception – possibly related to the big El Niño?

In one of the most comprehensive studies on trends in local severe weather patterns to date, an international team of researchers found that the frequency of hail storms, thunderstorms and high wind events has decreased by nearly 50 percent on average throughout China since 1960, as Phys.org reports.

The team analyzed data from the most robust meteorological database known, the Chinese National Meteorology Information Center, a network of 983 weather observatories stationed throughout China’s 3.7 million square miles. Meteorologists have been collecting surface weather data through the network since 1951 or earlier, which provided the researchers an unprecedented look at local severe weather occurrences.
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Image credit: carmagazine.co.uk

Image credit: carmagazine.co.uk


The predictable war on diesel cars is underway. The days of promoting them as ‘climate-friendly’ are over, in the UK at least. Diesel trucks, vans and buses are overlooked.

London’s air pollution problem is so bad that just five days into 2017 Brixton had already used up its traffic fume allowance for the year, reports iNews.

Brixton has since been overtaken by Knightsbridge as Britain’s most polluted district so far this year. The wealthy west London suburb has exceeded the EU nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit for a total of 52 hours already this year, nearly three times the legal annual allowance of 18 hours, according to the latest figures from Dr Gary Fuller at King’s College London.

But traffic pollution is by no means confined to these London hotspots.
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Image credit: earth-chronicles.com

Image credit: earth-chronicles.com


Viewing and filming ‘exotic’ electrical events from space sounds like interesting work if you can get it.

For years, scientists have been piecing together evidence of peculiar phenomena known as red sprites, blue jets, pixies and elves – exotic types of electrical discharges that emanate from thunderstorms.

Just one week after his arrival on the International Space Station, Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen captured the best evidence that blue jets exist, reports Sott.net.

Mogensen’s 160-second video documented 245 blue flashes as the space station flew 250 miles above the Bay of Bengal.

Now the findings have been published in Geophysical Research Letters. “According to the researchers, this is the first time they’ve ever seen this blue lightning shoot up like that,” Mogensen said.
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Credit:NOAA

David Rose in the Mail on Sunday reports that John J Bates has revealed a host of questionable practices committed by NOAA scientists as they rushed through the ‘Pausebuster’ paper.

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Bad air day in London [image credit: BBC]

Bad air day in London [image credit: BBC]


At one time diesel vehicles were given tax concessions in the UK due to lower emissions of CO2 than petrol equivalents, but that tide is turning now.

London’s pollution problem worsened this week – so much so that it briefly overtook Beijing in the filthy-air department for the first time – an alarming development widely attributed to the rapidly growing use of household wood burners, as iNews reports.

Readings on Monday afternoon showed that the air in parts of London contained 197 micrograms per cubic metre of ‘particulate’ matter, compared to 190 in the Chinese capital.
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Choking on greencrap – ‘unintended consequences’ indeed :/

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

h/t Ian

image

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38716498

From the BBC:

A “very high” air pollution warning has been issued for London for the first time under a new alert system.

Warnings are being issued at bus stops, roadside signs and Tube stations under the new system set up by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The rise has been attributed to cold, calm and settled weather, meaning winds are not dispersing local pollutants.

The mayor said “the shameful state of London’s toxic air” meant he had to trigger the alert.

“This is the highest level of alert and everyone – from the most vulnerable to the physically fit – may need to take precautions to protect themselves from the filthy air,” he said.

A spike in pollution on Sunday was the highest level recorded since April 2011……

The last time pollution reached this level was early last month, according to pollution monitoring stations…

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Credit: airbus.com

Credit: airbus.com


The observed radiation surges seem to occur ‘at relatively high latitudes, well above 50 degrees in both hemispheres’. They suspect certain magnetic phenomena could be at work. Korean researchers may have found something similar occurring at middle latitudes.

A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Space Weather reports the discovery of radiation “clouds” at aviation altitudes. When airplanes fly through these clouds, dose rates of cosmic radiation normally absorbed by air travelers can double or more, reports Spaceweather.com.

“We have flown radiation sensors onboard 264 research flights at altitudes as high as 17.3 km (56,700 ft) from 2013 to 2017,” says Kent Tobiska, lead author of the paper and PI of the NASA-supported program Automated Radiation Measurements for Aerospace Safety (ARMAS). “On at least six occasions, our sensors have recorded surges in ionizing radiation that we interpret as analogous to localized clouds.”
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Beijing smog [image credit: BBC / Reuters]

Beijing smog [image credit: BBC / Reuters]


The BBC TV News was quick to claim this should encourage China to ‘move away’ from fossil fuels. They conveniently (for themselves) forgot to mention that gas is also classed as a fossil fuel but does not cause smog, so is a viable option which China will use. The BBC’s implication was that alternatives like renewables would save the day, but ironically the smog itself is only lingering due to lack of wind and is blocking out the sun.

NB the report below is from CBBC (children’s TV) and doesn’t include the ‘spin’.

Parts of China have been covered under a thick blanket of smog for the last four days.The air quality in China can sometimes be so bad, that the government have to give people warnings about the level of pollution in the air.

When the levels are high they can close schools, stop planes taking off, close factories and limit the number of cars on the road.In north and central China, cities like Beijing, are currently under a red alert air pollution warning – the highest level.
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A different view - source:  ARGO marine atlas [credit: climatedepot.com]

A different view – source: ARGO marine atlas [credit: climatedepot.com]


This is from US CLIVAR. If their graph is to be believed the ocean heat content went up by a factor of about 6 between 1980 and 2012. The title of their paper is ‘The global warming hiatus: Slowdown or redistribution? (Earth’s Future)’. Of course ‘missing heat hiding in the ocean’ is not exactly a new claim from climate alarm theorists.

Atmospheric greenhouse gases have continued their steady increase in the new century. Logically, one would expect that global mean surface temperature (GMST) would also continue to increase in the same fashion as experienced in the latter decades of the 20th century.

However, between 1998 and 2013 GMST actually plateaued with much smaller increases than the average over the last 60 years and labeled the “global warming hiatus.” The fact that this slowdown in GMST increase was not predicted by most climate models has led some to question the steady increase in heat predicted under increased greenhouse gas conditions.

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orbdrag
There seems to be plenty going on up there so how it all works, and how that might affect Earth, must be well worth pursuing. Phys.org reporting. [Click on graphic to enlarge]

Scientists from NASA and three universities have presented new discoveries about the way heat and energy move and manifest in the ionosphere, a region of Earth’s atmosphere that reacts to changes from both space above and Earth below.

Far above Earth’s surface, within the tenuous upper atmosphere, is a sea of particles that have been split into positive and negative ions by the sun’s harsh ultraviolet radiation. Called the ionosphere, this is Earth’s interface to space, the area where Earth’s neutral atmosphere and terrestrial weather give way to the space environment that dominates most of the rest of the universe – an environment that hosts charged particles and a complex system of electric and magnetic fields.

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cardellini_scrTalkshop readers with good memories may remember the article I wrote back in 2012 on findings by Cardellini et al that volcanic soils emitted far more CO2 than previously thought (and are not included in IPCC carbon cycle inventories). The implication is that longer sunshine hours during the 1980s-90s may well have released a lot of sequestered CO2 from these soils, thus raising atmospheric levels. Which would mean humans are not responsible for all of the increase, as has long been assumed.

Now another article from Robert Wylie on Livescience.com raises the issue again:

Robin Wylie, is a doctoral candidate in volcanology, atUniversity College London. He contributed this article to LiveScience’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The exploding hills really give the game away: We’ve always known the Earth is a smoker. The true extent of its habit, though, is only just beginning to surface.

Before the human species found its talent for pyromania, atmospheric levels of the Earth’s greenhouse superstar, carbon dioxide (CO2), were controlled, for the most part, by volcanoes.

Since our planet emerged from the debris which formed the solarsystem, some four and a half billion years ago, a lifetime supply of primordial carbon has been locked away in the mantle — against its will. Partnering with oxygen and smuggled as a dissolved gas in liquid rock, it breaches the surface at our planet’s volcanic airways: CO2, then, has been seeping into the planet’s atmosphere for as long as there has been one.

Until the end of the 20th century, the academic consensus was that this volcanic output was tiny — a fiery speck against the colossal anthropogenic footprint. Recently, though, volcanologists have begun to reveal a hidden side to our leaking planet.

Exactly how much CO2 passes through the magmatic vents in our crust might be one of the most important questions that Earth science can answer. Volcanoes may have been overtaken in the carbon stakes, but in order to properly assess the consequences of human pollution, we need the reference point of the natural background. And we’re getting there; the last twenty years have seen huge steps in our understanding of how, and how much CO2 leaves the deep Earth. But at the same time, a disturbing pattern has been emerging.

In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.

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