Archive for the ‘atmosphere’ Category

Polar Mesospheric Summer Echoes

Posted: May 22, 2019 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Clouds, physics

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Noctilucent clouds form when molecules from summertime water vapour stick to the microscopic debris of disintegrated meteoroids.

Spaceweather.com

May 21, 2019: Every summer since the late 1970s, radars probing Earth’s upper atmosphere have detected strong echoes from altitudes between 80 km and 90 km. The signals come from noctilucent clouds (NLCs).  NASA’s AIM spacecraft is still waiting to spot the first NLCS of the 2019 season, but the echoes have already begun. Rob Stammes of the Polarlightcenter in Lofoten, Norway, detected them on May 19th and 20th:

pmse

“I detected these VHF signals from Eastern Europe,” he explains. “They reflected from the mesosphere back down to my receiver in Norway. The wave patterns were recognizable and very strong.”

Researchers call them “Polar Mesospheric Summer Echoes” or “PMSEs.” They occur over the Arctic during the months of May through August, and over the Antarctic during the months of November through February. These are the same months that NLCs appear.

The underlying physics of these echoes is still uncertain.

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Saturn seen across a sea of methane on Titan by Huygens probe 2005


Not sure they mean Earth also has eerie lakes – apart from Lake Erie perhaps. Titan, billed here by a researcher as ‘the most interesting moon in the solar system’, has some observed similarities with Earth, plus some quirks of its own.

There’s one other place in the solar system where liquid rains, evaporates, and seeps into the surface to create deep lakes: Saturn’s moon Titan, says Tech Times.

In this alien world, the Earth-like hydrologic cycle does not take place with water, but with liquid methane and ethane. In Titan’s ultra-cold environment, these gases behave just like water.

Two new papers published in the journal Nature Astronomy detailed the findings of the concluded Cassini mission, particularly the details on Titan’s lakes and their composition.

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As the professor quoted below says: “Despite over 250 years of research, how lightning begins is still a mystery.” Tesla had a few ideas though (video).

In a first-of-its-kind observation, researchers from the University of New Hampshire Space Science Center have documented a unique event that occurs in clouds before a lightning flash happens, says Phys.org.

Their observation, called “fast negative breakdown,” documents a new possible way for lightning to form and is the opposite of the current scientific view of how air carries electricity in thunderstorms.

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Credit: PAR @ Wikipedia


If you think you saw something about this a few days ago, you’re right. This article is a sort of follow-up that has appeared in Nature Climate Change on 1st April [sic] – abstract here. The ‘recent human-induced Walker circulation trends’ in the headline seem to be an artefact of some of the climate models, judging by the report. The authors make a telling point: ‘In contrast to the observed strengthening, the majority of climate computer models simulate a gradual weakening of the Walker Circulation when forced by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations’. So they got it exactly backwards? How unfortunate.

A new study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that the recent intensification of the equatorial Pacific wind system, known as Walker Circulation, is unrelated to human influences and can be explained by natural processes, reports Phys.org.

This result ends a longstanding debate on the drivers of an unprecedented atmospheric trend, which contributed to a three-fold acceleration of sea level rise in the western tropical Pacific, as well as to the global warming hiatus.

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So climate sensitivity… is likely somewhere between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees. This result has not changed until today, about 40 years later. And that’s exactly the problem.
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Maybe the problem lies in thinking that that is the problem.

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

An insightful interview with Bjorn Stevens.

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Credit: PAR @ Wikipedia


This looks significant, pointing directly at solar influences on climate patterns. The researchers found evidence that atmosphere-ocean coupling can amplify the solar signal, having detected that wind anomalies could not be explained by radiative considerations alone.

An international team of researchers from United Kingdom, Denmark, and Germany has found robust evidence for signatures of the 11-year sunspot cycle in the tropical Pacific, reports Phys.org.

They analyzed historical time series of pressure, surface winds and precipitation with specific focus on the Walker Circulation—a vast system of atmospheric flow in the tropical Pacific region that affects patterns of tropical rainfall.

They have revealed that during periods of increased solar irradiance, the trade winds weaken and the Walker circulation shifts eastward.

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Wavy jet stream
[image credit: BBC]


Fly like the wind – but not your everyday wind.

Airplanes often receive a speed increase from air currents high in the skies, but very few get an insane boost like this: helped by a tailwind of more than 322 km (200 miles) per hour, a Boeing 787-9 jet reached a ground speed of 1,289 km (801 miles) per hour on Monday night, reports Science Alert.

The top speed was recorded by the Virgin Atlantic commercial flight from LA to London while over central Pennsylvania, at somewhere around 10,670 metres (35,000 feet) above ground.

“Never ever seen this kind of tailwind in my life as a commercial pilot!!” tweeted Peter James.

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Another possible factor to consider in the climate cause and effect puzzle.

An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests the cooling effect of aerosols in cumulus and MSC clouds is twice as high as thought, reports Phys.org.

In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their analyses of data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) database and what they found.

Global warming is very much in the news of late, as the planet continues to heat up. But one of the factors at play is very seldom mentioned—the role of clouds in cooling the planet.

They do so by reflecting heat from the sun back into space. But how much of the reflecting occurs due to water in the clouds and how much is due to aerosols?

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Confusing Diabatic and Adiabatic Processes within the Climate Theory:

A Reply to Dr. Roy Spencer’s Blog Article “Giving Credit to Willis Eschenbach

Ned Nikolov, Ph.D.
Physical Scientist

In a recent blog post, Dr. Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama at Huntsville attempted to criticize and dismiss the importance of our recent discovery about the physical nature of the atmospheric “Greenhouse effect” (Nikolov & Zeller 2017). I normally do not reply to blog articles, but this one reflects a fundamental generic confusion in the current climate theory that is worthwhile addressing for readership clarification. In his blog, Dr. Spencer demonstrated several misconceptions about our work that could be due to either not having read/understood our papers or perhaps an incomplete grasp of thermodynamics. The fact that Dr. Spencer cites a newspaper article about our research instead of the actual published paper may indicate a lack of familiarity with the technical details of our study. These are some key misrepresentations that I spotted in his article:    

1. Dr. Spencer incorrectly referred to our main finding as a “theory” when, in fact, it is a discovery based on vetted NASA data extracted from numerous published studies. This empirical pressure-temperature (P-T) function emerged from reported NASA measurements in the process of Dimensional Analysis, which is an objective technique employed in classical physics to derive/extract physically meaningful relationships from observed data.

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An artist’s image of a hot-Jupiter exoplanet [credit: NASA]


But they seem to have something in common that scientists were not expecting: their nightside temperature.

New research shows how the nightside of all hot Jupiters is covered in clouds, reports Discover Magazine.

Cloudy Hot Jupiters

“Hot Jupiters” exoplanets that resemble our own Jupiter, except for being, well, hot, have another side to them.

We mean this literally: The planets usually don’t rotate [see Tidal Locking note below], so one side is always facing their star, and the other remains in permanent night.

A new study is suggesting that these night sides probably all look the same, no matter where you go in the universe.

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Venus


The researchers say the key to this is a phenomenon closely connected to Earth’s polar jet streams.

A Japanese research group has identified a giant streak structure among the clouds covering planet Venus based on observation from the spacecraft Akatsuki, reports Phys.org.

The team also revealed the origins of this structure using large-scale climate simulations.

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Credit: NASA climatekids


The necessary ocean-atmosphere coupling needed for El Niño to develop has not been observed so far, despite earlier favourable predictions.

ENSO-neutral conditions are present, says NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center [pdf].

Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are above average across most of
the Pacific Ocean.

The patterns of convection and winds are mostly near average over the tropical Pacific.

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Does it snow on Mars?

Posted: December 30, 2018 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Clouds, solar system dynamics
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Clouds on Mars [image credit: NASA]


H/T Discover Magazine

This wasn’t the first question that came to mind when I photographed these clouds, says Tom Yulsman @ ImaGeo.

But the beautiful phenomenon I witnessed eventually led me to it.
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Mars is certainly cold. With temperatures that can plunge to more than negative 100 degrees Celsius, it’s bloody frigid!

But as cold as it might get, does it snow on Mars?

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They say “By shading and cooling the Earth’s surface, cloud cover plays a direct role in rates of global climate change”, but that’s only half the story. Cloud cover at night, i.e. the other 50% of the year, has the opposite effect and slows the rate of heat loss.

Everyday our atmosphere has to find a way to clean itself of the air, sea and soil pollution we throw at it, says Phys.org.

So, in order to study how this cleaning process works, the University of Melbourne’s Dr. Robyn Schofield is sailing through the pristine environment of the Southern Ocean to our most untouched continent, Antarctica—an environment with the least amount of pollution on the planet.

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While this may all seem a bit vague, it looks like a step in the right direction.

Historic space weather could help researchers better predict future events and atmospheric cycles, a new study in Space Weather reports.

This finding comes from scientists at the University of Warwick, who tracked space weather in solar cycles for the last half century, reports The Space Reporter.

That then revealed a repeatable pattern in the way space weather activity alters over each solar cycle.

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Layers of Earth’s atmosphere


Some fairly advanced theorising here, but the possibilities look interesting. For example, could ‘resonant trapping’ exist?

Resonating oscillations of a planet’s atmosphere caused by gravitational tides and heating from its star could prevent a planet’s rotation from steadily slowing over time, according to new research by Caleb Scharf, who is the Director of Astrobiology at Columbia University.

His findings suggest that the effect is enhanced for a planet with an atmosphere that has been oxygenated by life, and the resulting ‘atmospheric tides’ could even act as a biosignature, reports Phys.org.

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Credit: intergalactic-hq.com


ASTROBIOLOGY NASA picked this article from the Many Worlds website, and by doing so endorsed the writer’s apparent belief in ‘heat-trapping gases’. But the “thought experiment” the science meeting was engaging in did not seem to include any reference to Nikolov and Zeller’s Universal Theory of Climate, which could have helped them out considerably.

What would happen if you switched the orbits of Mars and Venus? Would our solar system have more habitable worlds?

It was a question raised at the “Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets III”; a meeting held in Houston at the end of August, writes Elizabeth Tasker.

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Credit: solen.info


The storm was so strong that the change in magnetic direction could be easily measured on a compass, as this 2013 article explains.

Ghosts and goblins, candle-lit jack o’lanterns and dark haunted houses, ominous screeching and maniacal laughter – these are some of the frightening fantasies we associate with Halloween.

But ten years ago during the Halloween of 2003, while children in costumes paraded door-to-door for treats, the Sun was playing its own tricks with planet Earth, says Directions Magazine.

The consequence: a solar-terrestrial nightmare became a scary reality.

The Halloween Storm

In mid-October 2003, a bundle of concentrated magnetic energy emerged from the Sun’s interior, forming a large sunspot, a site of seething activity. Enormous solar flares soon followed. Then, on October 28, the sunspot abruptly ejected a concentrated mass of electrically conducting solar wind, flinging it out into interplanetary space toward the Earth. Less than a day later, on October 29, a geomagnetic storm was initiated as the solar wind disrupted the Earth’s protective magnetosphere.

Over the next three days, the “Halloween magnetic storm” would evolve and grow to become one of the largest such storms in half a century.

Magnetic storms are global phenomena, and their effects can be easily seen around the world. During the Halloween storm, for example, magnetic direction in Alaska quickly changed by more than 20 degrees. In other words, the storm was so large that it could be measured with a simple compass.

The Halloween magnetic storm also produced spectacular aurora, with green phantom “northern lights” seen as far south as Texas and Florida.

The Impacts of this Storm

The USGS network of magnetic observatories monitored activity from the Halloween storm in collaboration with international partners. The storm played tricks on technological systems around the world, which scientists continue to analyze even today.

Continued here.

See also: The Halloween Storms: When Solar Events Spooked the Skies | GPS World

Descending air in the atmosphere rises in temperature as it is adiabatically compressed in the pressure gradient created by gravity acting on atmospheric mass. This has been known for centuries. However, the MET Office has decided to do away with this fundamental fact of physics in a short video it has produced.

Even their own website page on the Foehn effect (now safely screenshotted and web-cited) tells us:

“ foehn air… becomes warmer and drier on the leeside after it is compressed with descent due to the increase in pressure towards the surface.”

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