Archive for the ‘atmosphere’ Category


Researchers now want to ‘understand both the processes that excite the waves and the processes that act to damp the waves.’
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A ringing bell vibrates simultaneously at a low-pitched fundamental tone and at many higher-pitched overtones, producing a pleasant musical sound, says Phys.org.

A recent study, just published in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences by scientists at Kyoto University and the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, shows that the Earth’s entire atmosphere vibrates in an analogous manner, in a striking confirmation of theories developed by physicists over the last two centuries.

In the case of the atmosphere, the “music” comes not as a sound we could hear, but in the form of large-scale waves of atmospheric pressure spanning the globe and traveling around the equator, some moving east-to-west and others west-to-east.

Each of these waves is a resonant vibration of the global atmosphere, analogous to one of the resonant pitches of a bell.

The basic understanding of these atmospheric resonances began with seminal insights at the beginning of the 19th century by one of history’s greatest scientists, the French physicist and mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace.

Research by physicists over the subsequent two centuries refined the theory and led to detailed predictions of the wave frequencies that should be present in the atmosphere. However, the actual detection of such waves in the real world has lagged behind the theory.

Now in a new study by Takatoshi Sakazaki, an assistant professor at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Science, and Kevin Hamilton, an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, the authors present a detailed analysis of observed atmospheric pressure over the globe every hour for 38 years.

The results clearly revealed the presence of dozens of the predicted wave modes.

Full article here.

Before the last time I had to dive deeply into politics to defend the EU referendum result, I had an email conversation with Roy Spencer in an attempt to resolve the conflict between physicists like himself, who believe the radiative greenhouse theory is correct, but it’s effect small, and physicists like Ned Nikolov, who contend that the theory is fundamentally incorrect.

After a couple of to and fro emails I sent this response in Feb 2019, to which I never received a reply. It’s time we got this discussion back out in the open, because Boris’ green reset #netzero plan for the UK post Brexit and post pandemic is set to ruin our economy and cause untold suffering, deprivation, and death.

the lukewarmers have utterly failed to convince the fanatics that although they think their theory is correct (it isn’t, but that’s their misguided opinion), they’ve overestimated the magnitude of the effect.

It’s time they stopped supporting the fanatics by deploying false arguments against better theory which will exonerate CO2 and move the debate away from ridiculous and expensive ‘mitigation’, and forward to adaption to the effects of natural climatic change.

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It now seems all planetary bodies can have magnetospheres, whether or not they have a significant magnetic field. This would also help to explain why Venus, with hardly any ‘protective’ magnetic field, has a much thicker atmosphere than Earth. Wikipedia might need an update.
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Five years after NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft entered into orbit around Mars, data from the mission has led to the creation of a map of electric current systems in the Martian atmosphere, reports Phys.org.

“These currents play a fundamental role in the atmospheric loss that transformed Mars from a world that could have supported life into an inhospitable desert,” said experimental physicist Robin Ramstad of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“We are now currently working on using the currents to determine the precise amount of energy that is drawn from the solar wind and powers atmospheric escape.” Ramstad is lead author of a paper on this research published May 25 in Nature Astronomy.

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Saturn’s hexagon


The ever-mysterious hexagon goes under the microscope, or telescope at least.

A rich variety of meteorological phenomena takes place in the extensive hydrogen atmosphere of Saturn, a world about 10 times the size of the Earth.

They help us to better understand similar features in the Earth’s atmosphere, says Phys.org.

Among Saturn’s atmospheric phenomena is the well-known “hexagon,” an amazing wave structure that surrounds the planet’s polar region.

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Image credit: NASA-ISS


Dust storms are common in the region, and sometimes bear resemblance to weather events on Mars, according to NASA.
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A surging dust storm and trailing dust cloud captured an astronaut’s attention as the International Space Station (ISS) was passing over South America, says NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Dust storms are common in Patagonia and familiar for people in Comodoro Rivadavia, a coastal city in southern Argentina.

The primary source of dust is Lago Colhué Huapí, a shallow lake adjacent to the much deeper Lago Musters.

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Tropical beach


Are these researchers proposing a kind of reverse greenhouse effect in the tropics?

Conventional knowledge has it that warm air rises while cold air sinks, says Phys.org.

But a study from the University of California, Davis, found that in the tropical atmosphere, cold air rises due to an overlooked effect—the lightness of water vapor.

This effect helps to stabilize tropical climates and buffer some of the impacts of a warming climate.

The study, published today in the journal Science Advances, is among the first to show the profound implications water vapor buoyancy has on Earth’s climate and energy balance.

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Credit: infobarrel.com


Super-rotation of its thick atmosphere, that is. The researchers believe their findings could also be a model for tidally-locked exoplanets with atmospheres.

An international research team led by Takeshi Horinouchi of Hokkaido University has revealed that this ‘super-rotation’ is maintained near the equator by atmospheric tidal waves formed from solar heating on the planet’s dayside and cooling on its nightside.

Closer to the poles, however, atmospheric turbulence and other kinds of waves have a more pronounced effect. The study was published online in Science on April 23.

Venus rotates very slowly, taking 243 Earth days to rotate once around its axis. Despite this very slow rotation, Venus’ atmosphere rotates westward 60 times faster than its planetary rotation.

This super-rotation increases with altitude, taking only four Earth days to circulate around the entire planet towards the top of the cloud cover. The fast-moving atmosphere transports heat from the planet’s dayside to nightside, reducing the temperature differences between the two hemispheres.

“Since the super-rotation was discovered in the 1960s, however, the mechanism behind its forming and maintenance has been a long-standing mystery,” says Horinouchi.

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The atmosphere of Venus has surprised and puzzled scientists before.

Philosopher Nicholas Rescher once wrote, “Scientific discoveries are often made not on the basis of some well-contrived plan of investigation, but through some stroke of sheer luck,” quotes Phys.org.

For a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, that statement couldn’t be more true.

What started as a dry run to ensure instruments on NASA’s Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft worked properly later turned into a 10-year saga that resulted in a chance discovery unrelated to the mission’s target planet, Mercury. It’s about Venus and its atmosphere.

The team reports April 20 in Nature Astronomy that data fortuitously collected by MESSENGER reveals a sudden rise in nitrogen concentrations at about 30 miles above Venus’ surface, demonstrating the planet’s atmosphere isn’t uniformly mixed, as expected. That finding upends an understanding about Venus’ atmosphere that has prevailed for decades.

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Earth and climate – an ongoing controversy


H/T The GWPF

The article would have us believe that so-called ‘greenhouse’ gases are warming while aerosols are cooling, the balance of the two is unknown and that needs addressing to improve climate predictions. There may be other ways to get better predictions, but that’s another matter.

Pollution declines from pandemic shutdowns may aid in answering long-standing questions about how aerosols influence climate, says Scientific American.

As the world scrambles to contain the spread of COVID-19, many economic activities have ground to a halt, leading to marked reductions in air pollution.

And with the skies clearing, researchers are getting an unprecedented chance to help answer one of climate science’s thorniest open questions: the impact of atmospheric aerosols.

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Saturn’s aurora


The report says: ‘Density decreases with altitude, and the rate of decrease depends on temperature.’ Or is it the other way round, i.e. density influences temperature?

The upper layers in the atmospheres of gas giants—Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune—are hot, just like Earth’s, says Phys.org.

But unlike Earth, the Sun is too far from these outer planets to account for the high temperatures. Their heat source has been one of the great mysteries of planetary science.

New analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft finds a viable explanation for what’s keeping the upper layers of Saturn, and possibly the other gas giants, so hot: auroras at the planet’s north and south poles.

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The researchers estimate that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were well over 1000 parts per million in those days, compared to 400+ ppm today. Antarctica and Australia were much closer together.

Antarctica was covered in rainforest in the time of the dinosaurs, according to a new study, Metro News reports.

Researchers have found evidence the South Pole had a climate and forests similar to New Zealand today in a startling discovery. The team discovered soil from an ancient rainforest from the Cretaceous period within 900 km of the South Pole.

The analysis carried out by an international team of researchers of roots, pollen and spores shows the world was a lot warmer than previously thought.

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Image credit: theonlinefisherman.com


A rare chance to brush up on your *vesicle paleobarometry* — or to put it another way, learn that air pressure at sea level has not always been around the 1 bar (1000 mb) that we expect to find nowadays. According to the ideal gas law, pressure and temperature are closely related, implying historic climate variability, but results so far seem inconclusive.

NASA says:
Researchers supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Program have attempted to better understand global barometric pressure on Earth during the Archaean by studying vesicle sizes in 2.9 billion year-old lavas that erupted near sea level.

Today, Earth’s global barometric pressure is 1 bar at sea level. However, barometric pressure has changed throughout the planet’s history.

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Mars from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope


Tales of the unexpected on Mars: ‘Day-night fluctuations and things that pulse in the dark’, and other mysteries. What’s unique to Mars?

New data gleaned from the magnetic sensor aboard NASA’s InSight spacecraft is offering an unprecedented close-up of magnetic fields on Mars, says Phys.org.

“One of the big unknowns from previous satellite missions was what the magnetization looked like over small areas,” said lead author Catherine Johnson, a professor at the University of British Columbia and senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.

“By placing the first magnetic sensor at the surface, we have gained valuable new clues about the interior structure and upper atmosphere of Mars that will help us understand how it – and other planets like it – formed.”

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A beefier computer is still just a computer. The report says ‘Around half of the processing work – the research devoted to climate change – could be located in countries blessed with easy sources of clean energy. Iceland with its geothermal sources and Norway with its hydropower are both possibilities’.

Ever wondered why your village was suddenly flooded by a thunderstorm the weather forecasters hadn’t mentioned? Or why they failed to warn you about the dense fog shrouding your home in the morning?

The fact is that predicting the “big picture” of future conditions has got a lot better – Storm Dennis was spotted six days before it arrived, says BBC News.

But getting local forecasts right – street by street and hour by hour – is still a massive challenge.

And that might now change as the Met Office secures the help of a supercomputer project costing £1.2bn.

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


Some extracts from an article at Phys.org, bypassing the chemistry details. A research professor commented: “The process could be universal”. Interesting…
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Planetary scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) revealed the secrets of the atmosphere of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

The team found a chemical footprint in Titan’s atmosphere indicating that cosmic rays coming from outside the Solar System affect the chemical reactions involved in the formation of nitrogen-bearing organic molecules.

This is the first observational confirmation of such processes, and impacts the understanding of the intriguing environment of Titan.

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Something happening in the “ignorosphere”.

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 29, 2020: A new type of aurora is rippling across Arctic skies. Citizen scientists who discovered it nicknamed it “The Dunes” because of its resemblance to desert sand dunes. A paper published in the Jan. 28th issue of AGU Advances describes the new form and the unexpected physics that causes it.

864572_1_unknown_upload_7036138_q0m4d8_1573153212Above: Aurora dunes over Laitila, Finland, on Oct. 7, 2018. Credit: Pirjo Koski. [more] Dune-shaped auroras form in a narrow altitude range 80 km to 120 km above Earth’s surface. Turns out, this is an extremely hard-to-study layer of Earth’s atmosphere. It’s too high for weather balloons, and too low for rockets.

“Due to the difficulties in measuring atmospheric phenomena between 80 and 120 km, we sometimes call this region ‘the ignorosphere‘,” says Minna Palmroth, Professor of Computational Space Physics at the University of Helsinki and the lead author of the study.

Sky watchers in…

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The stratosphere isn’t even supposed to have clouds…

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 1, 2020: A spectacular display of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) that began two days ago is still going strong around the Arctic Circle. This picture, taken on Dec. 31st by Per-Anders Gustavsson in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, shows why some onlookers mistake them for daytime auroras:

psc_icehotel

“The colors were amazing,” says Gustavsson, who drives a tour bus for Visit Abisko. “I was driving by the world-famous Ice Hotel when we saw the clouds. We just had to stop for pictures.”

“I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things during my years in the Arctic,” he adds. “This was easily one of the greatest displays I have ever seen.”

Polar stratospheric clouds are newsworthy because normally the stratosphere has no clouds at all. The stratosphere is arid and almost always transparent. Only when the temperature drops to a staggeringly cold -85C can sparse water molecules assemble themselves into icy stratospheric clouds. PSCs…

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Six cyclones form a hexagonal pattern around a central cyclone at Jupiter’s south pole. Generated image – credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM


Suddenly Saturn’s hexagon isn’t unique in the solar system any more.

Jupiter’s south pole has a new cyclone, reports Phys.org.

The discovery of the massive Jovian tempest occurred on Nov. 3, 2019, during the most recent data-gathering flyby of Jupiter by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

It was the 22nd flyby during which the solar-powered spacecraft collected science data on the gas giant, soaring only 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) above its cloud tops.

The flyby also marked a victory for the mission team, whose innovative measures kept the solar-powered spacecraft clear of what could have been a mission-ending eclipse.

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Omega blocking highs can remain in place for several days or even weeks [image credit: UK Met Office]


Another day, another attempt at a climate scare story. That’s a well-identified pattern too. But is this jet-stream pattern really ‘newly’ identified, or was it described by NASA nine years ago? Meteorology uses the term omega block. Which side of the block a region is on determines whether it’s warmer or colder than normal for the duration.

Scientists have identified systematic meanders in the globe-circling northern jet stream that have caused simultaneous crop-damaging heat waves in widely separated breadbasket regions-a previously unquantified threat to global food production that, they say, could worsen with global warming.

The research shows that certain kinds of waves in the atmospheric circulation can become amplified and then lock in place for extended periods, triggering the concurrent heat waves, reports Phys.org.

Affected parts of North America, Europe and Asia together produce a quarter of the world food supply. The study appears this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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Unusual goings-on seen in the skies over New Zealand.

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 4, 2019: An atmospheric wave nearly half as wide as Earth itself is supercharging noctilucent clouds (NLCs) in the southern hemisphere. NASA’s AIM spacecraft detected the phenomenon in this series of south polar images spanning Nov. 27th through Dec. 2nd:

fiveday

“This is a clear sign of planetary wave activity,” says AIM principal investigator James Russell of Hampton University, which manages the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere mission for NASA.

Planetary waves are enormous ripples of temperature and pressure that form in Earth’s atmosphere in response to Coriolis forces. In this case, a 5-day planetary wave is boosting noctilucent clouds over Antarctica and causing them to spin outward to latitudes where NLCs are rarely seen.

On Dec. 1st, Mirko Harnisch saw the clouds from Dunedin, New Zealand. “I was enjoying the late-evening sky over the Southern Ocean just after 11 pm local time when these wispy blue-ish clouds appeared,”…

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