Archive for the ‘atmosphere’ Category


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. Spenser 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
Tags: ,

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.
– – –
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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Grand Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland [Image credit: Wikipedia]


It’s not the conclusion some might be expecting…

Analysis of ice cores delivers continuous data for the first time on industrial soot from 1740 to today, reports HeritageDaily.

In the first half of the 19th century, a series of large volcanic eruptions in the tropics led to a temporary global cooling of Earth’s climate.

It was a natural process that caused Alpine glaciers to grow and subsequently recede again during the final phase of the so-called Little Ice Age.

This has now been proven by PSI researchers, on the basis of ice cores.

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The Chill of Solar Minimum

Posted: September 28, 2018 by oldbrew in atmosphere, research, solar system dynamics, Temperature
Tags:

Credit: NOAA


Researchers have found that the last time the thermosphere was rated ‘hot’ was around 2003 (see chart below). Now with a deep solar minimum upon us, the obvious question is: what effect might this have on our planet as a whole?

Sept. 27, 2018: The sun is entering one of the deepest Solar Minima of the Space Age, says Dr. Tony Phillips at Space Weather.

Sunspots have been absent for most of 2018, and the sun’s ultraviolet output has sharply dropped. New research shows that Earth’s upper atmosphere is responding.

“We see a cooling trend,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. “High above Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record for cold.”

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Old town, Frankfurt


Not just older diesels are implicated, but some petrol cars too. The ban would apply to certain areas within the city only, at the initial stage. Tougher rules would come in later.

First Hamburg and Stuttgart, now the diesel ban has come for Germany’s financial capital. A new ban could affect a quarter of vehicles in Frankfurt, as well as countless commuters, says DW.com.

The western German city of Frankfurt must introduce a ban on diesel vehicles, a court ruled on Wednesday.

Environmental activists had sued the state of Hesse for allowing Germany’s financial capital to exceed maximum safe levels of nitrogen oxide.

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Saturn’s north polar vortex and hexagon along with its expansive rings. The hexagon is wider than two Earths [image credit: NASA]


Another case of observing something that wasn’t thought possible. As the report notes: ‘The presence of a hexagon way up in Saturn’s northern stratosphere, hundreds of kilometres above the clouds, suggests that there is much more to learn about the dynamics at play in the gas giant’s atmosphere.’

The long-lived international Cassini mission has revealed a surprising feature emerging at Saturn’s northern pole as it nears summertime: a warming, high-altitude vortex with a hexagonal shape, akin to the famous hexagon seen deeper down in Saturn’s clouds.

This suggests that the lower-altitude hexagon may influence what happens up above, and that it could be a towering structure spanning hundreds of kilometres in height, reports Phys.org.

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Credit: NASA


Temporary weather effects and more. For more background, there are several extra links in the original ScienceNews article.

A year after the total solar eclipse of 2017, scientists are still pondering the mysteries of the sun.

It’s been a year since the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, captured millions of imaginations as the moon briefly blotted out the sun and cast a shadow that crisscrossed the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.

“It was an epic event by all measures,” NASA astrophysicist Madhulika Guhathakurta told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans in December. One survey reports that 88 percent of adults in the United States — some 216 million people — viewed the eclipse either directly or electronically.

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Nir Shaviv is co-author along with Henrik Svensmark and others of a major new paper in Nature Communications titled Increased ionization supports growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei. He has a write up at his Sciencebits blog. Here’s the introduction:

Our new results published today in nature communications provide the last piece of a long studied puzzle. We finally found the actual physical mechanism linking between atmospheric ionization and the formation of cloud condensation nuclei. Thus, we now understand the complete physical picture linking solar activity and our galactic environment (which govern the flux of cosmic rays ionizing the atmosphere) to climate here on Earth though changes in the cloud characteristics. In short, as small aerosols grow to become cloud condensation nuclei, they grow faster under higher background ionization rates. Consequently, they have a higher chance of surviving the growth without being eaten by larger aerosols. This effect was calculated theoretically and measured in a specially designed experiment conducted at the Danish Space Research Institute at the Danish Technical University, together with our colleagues Martin Andreas Bødker Enghoff and Jacob Svensmark.

shaviv-fig4

Figure 4: The correlation between the linearly detrended sea level measured using satellite altimetry (blue dots) and a model fit which includes just two components: The sun and el Niño southern oscillation. The excellent fit implies that the two components are by far the dominant source of sea level change on short time scales

Background:

It has long been known that solar variations appear to have a large effect on climate. This was already suggested by William Herschel over 200 years ago. Over the past several decades, more empirical evidence have unequivocally demonstrated the existence of such a link, as exemplified in the examples in the box below.

 

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