Archive for the ‘atmosphere’ Category

The ocean carbon cycle [credit: IAEA]


The article asks: ‘So what really happened?’ They often try to play the aerosol card when changes to CO2 levels fail to deliver their supposed effects. But could the answer simply be that climate obsessives discovered the atmosphere is a minor player in the climate compared to the oceans?
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Countries across the world took unprecedented action in the first few months of 2020 to control the spread of COVID-19, says The Conversation (via Phys.org).

At its peak, one-third of the world’s population was in lockdown.

Around the world, car travel fell by 50%, the number of flights plummeted by 75% and industrial activity fell by around 35%.

With so many cars parked, airplanes grounded and factories closed, global carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions fell by around 17% compared with the same period in 2019.

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Since Arrhenius was mentioned in the ‘conversation with Roger Pielke Senior’ post this week, let’s look at his science efforts a bit more closely — with Ron Clutz.

Science Matters

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”–George Santayana 1905

Interesting that Svante Arrhenius was elevated as the founder of AGW belief system. He was ignored for many decades after Knut Ångström and his assistant Herr Koch showed that reducing CO2 concentrations did not affect the amount of IR absorbed by the air. That’s almost as interesting as discovering that shutting down the global economy over fear of Covid19 has little effect on atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

As a fellow Scandinavian, Ångström agreed with Arrhenius that his projected warming would be a good thing, even in the lower estimates Svante made later on. Still, Ångström had two objections to Arrhenius’ conjecture about global warming from increasing CO2. In 1900, Herr J. Koch, laboratory assistant to Knut Ångström, did not observe any appreciable change in the absorption of infrared radiation by decreasing the concentration of CO2 up to a…

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Whose drought?
[image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]


The spectre of the disastrous events of the 1930s is raised for the US Midwest, thanks in some measure to the change in land use brought about by subsidised biofuel production, according to this study. Another own goal for climate alarmist ideology?
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Got any spaces left on that 2020 bingo card? Pencil in “another Dust Bowl in the Great Plains”, suggests Phys.org.

A study from University of Utah researchers and their colleagues finds that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains at a rate of up to 5% per year.

The trend of rising dust parallels expansion of cropland and seasonal crop cycles, suggesting that farming practices are exposing more soil to wind erosion.

And if the Great Plains becomes drier, a possibility under climate change scenarios, then all the pieces are in place for a repeat of the Dust Bowl that devastated the Midwest in the 1930s.

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Credit: earthhow.com


As Accuweather explains here, research has shown that a combination of conditions at solar minimum can create this effect.
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The European Union’s Earth observation program said Tuesday that the ozone hole over Antarctica has swelled to its largest size and deepest level in years, reports Phys.org.

Experts at the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service said a strong, stable and cold polar vortex has driven the expansion, and called for greater international efforts to ensure countries abide by an international accord to phase out use of ozone-depleting chemicals.

Vincent-Henri Peuch, who heads the service, said in a statement that the ozone hole was “definitely” among the largest in the last 15 years.

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Another round of the enduring hexagon mystery.
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With its dazzling system of icy rings, Saturn has been a subject of fascination since ancient times, says Phys.org.

Even now the sixth planet from the sun holds many mysteries, partly because its distance away makes direct observation difficult and partly because this gas giant (which is multiple times the size of our planet) has a composition and atmosphere, mostly hydrogen and helium, so unlike that of Earth.

Learning more about it could yield some insights into the creation of the solar system itself.

One of Saturn’s mysteries involves the massive storm in the shape of a hexagon at its north pole.

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Himalayan region


The researchers say “It’s likely that these results translate to other high mountain chains”. Above 4,500 metres dust is found to be ahead of other forms of pollution.
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Dust blowing onto high mountains in the western Himalayas is a bigger factor than previously thought in hastening the melting of snow there, researchers show in a study published Oct. 5 in Nature Climate Change.

That’s because dust—lots of it in the Himalayas—absorbs sunlight, heating the snow that surrounds it, reports Phys.org.

“It turns out that dust blowing hundreds of miles from parts of Africa and Asia and landing at very high elevations has a broad impact on the snow cycle in a region that is home to one of the largest masses of snow and ice on Earth,” said Yun Qian, atmospheric scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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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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