Archive for the ‘atmosphere’ Category

Layers of Earth’s atmosphere


Have experts missed a huge tropical ozone hole that has existed since the 1980s? — asks Geographical. Or could it be more a question of definitions?
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In July, an extraordinary research paper, documenting a huge, previously undetected ozone hole over the tropics, prompted a flurry of news stories.

Said to be seven times the size of the well-known ozone hole over Antarctica, the discovery is cause for ‘great global concern’, according to Qing-Bin Lu, a professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and author of the report.

His research suggests that, unlike the Antarctic hole, which only opens in spring, the tropical hole remains open year-round, putting roughly half the world’s population at higher risk from ultraviolet radiation.

Most surprisingly of all, Lu claims that the hole has existed since the 1980s.

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Nature’s carbon cycle still working as expected.
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Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have contributed to a rise in wood volume or biomass of forests in the US, according to a new study.

The research, published recently in the Journal Nature Communications, found that elevated carbon levels have led to a consistent increase in wood volume in 10 different temperate forest groups across the US, says The Independent.

By bulking up this way, trees are helping shield Earth’s ecosystem from the impacts of global warming, say scientists, including those from the Ohio State University.

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Current rates of temperature increase, if accurate, don’t look all that startling despite the odd few hot days. For example, Roy Spencer reports a linear warming trend of +0.13C per decade since 1979. We know previous cooling trends must have occurred over the centuries from the regular advance and retreat of glaciers, to cite one obvious line of evidence. Focussing on CO2 all the time is a bit like looking through the wrong end of the telescope.
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How did plants and animals survive around 200 million years ago when the carbon dioxide concentration went up to 6,000 parts per million?

Paul Olsen, a geologist and paleontologist at Columbia Climate School’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, walked us through what scientists know about carbon dioxide levels over time, says Phys.org.

Although no one was around to measure the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration millions of years ago, paleoclimatologists can reconstruct past temperature and carbon dioxide levels using ice cores, tree rings, corals, ancient pollen, and sedimentary rocks.

These natural recorders of climate fluctuations can also reveal how various animals and plants thrived or perished during different geological periods.

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Credit: klimatetochskogen.nu


An expensive exercise in futility. As noted below, ‘the scheme will be able to process 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, then later between five and six million tonnes. But that is just a tiny fraction of annual carbon emissions across Europe.’ Even Greenpeace opposes it. It’s for show, not for any useful purpose.
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On the shores of an island off Norway’s North Sea coast, engineers are building a burial ground for unwanted greenhouse gas, reports Phys.org.

The future terminal is to pump tonnes of liquefied carbon dioxide captured from the top of factory chimneys across Europe into cavities deep below the seabed.

The project in the western municipality of Oygarden aims to prevent the gas from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

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Arctic sea ice [image credit: Geoscience Daily]


The authors propose that sea-ice formation is the key factor and not biology. In their paper, we read: ‘Results: Carbon dioxide is very strongly correlated with sea ice dynamics, with the carbon dioxide rate at Mauna Loa lagging sea ice extent rate by 7 months.’ However, drawing conclusions from correlations can go wrong. The authors conclude: ‘If sea ice does not drive the net flux of these gases, it is a highly precise proxy for whatever does. Potential mechanisms should be investigated urgently.’
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Could we be wrong about the annual cycle of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? – asks Net Zero Watch.

That’s the suggestion by a pair of distinguished Oxford zoologists Clive Hambler and Peter Henderson who have just published a paper that could change our understanding about one of the key observations of this greenhouse gas.

They propose that sea-ice formation is the key factor and not biology.

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Saharan dust cloud over the Atlantic [image credit: NASA]


For the first time in seven years, no hurricane has formed in the Atlantic Basin by mid-August. An excess of Saharan dust is thought to be a factor.
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After two years of alphabet-exhausting tropical storms, and the disruptive remnants that have soaked the Philly region, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a surprisingly benign start, says The Philadelphia Inquirer.

And it may have something to do with all the heat the Philly region and much of the East endured July into August.

All those ominous outlooks notwithstanding, for the first time in seven years, no hurricane has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or the Gulf of Mexico by Aug. 15. The long-term average for a first hurricane, one with peak winds of at least 74 mph, is Aug. 11.

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Air conditioning sign
[image credit: BBC]


‘Is propane a solution for more sustainable air conditioning?’ asks TechXplore. We put the question another way in our headline. The article asserts: ‘Apart from the rise in energy consumption, space-coolers also threaten the environment in different ways…’. So someone has concluded that rises in energy consumption – meaning electricity here – are a threat of some sort to the environment. One question then might be: where does that leave electric vehicles, or data centres, for example? The IEA estimates ‘that by 2025, data centres will consume 1/5 of the world’s power supply’.
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Current severe heatwaves that will likely increase in severity and frequency in the future are driving a rise in the use of air conditioners, threatening the environment with their high energy consumption and refrigerants with high warming potential.

A new study finds that switching to propane as a refrigerant could lessen the global temperature increase from space cooling.

We spend enormous amounts of energy on fighting off the heat in the summer, or throughout the whole year at lower latitudes—about one-tenth of the total worldwide electricity supply.

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It could still be active into next spring, according to some forecasters. Unusual by its own historical (back to 1950) standards.
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La Niña continues! It’s likely that the La Niña three-peat will happen: the chance that the current La Niña will last through early winter is over 70%, says NOAA’s ENSO blog.

If it happens, this will be only the third time with three La Niña winters in a row in our 73-year record.

ENSO (El Niño/Southern Oscillation, the whole La Niña and El Niño system) has the greatest influence on weather and climate during the Northern Hemisphere cold season, so forecasters pay especially close attention when it looks like ENSO will be active in the winter.

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Next stop: Venus?

Spaceweather.com

August 10, 2022: If you want to detect an earthquake on Venus–good luck. The planet’s surface is hot enough to melt lead, and the atmospheric pressure is crushing. No ground-based seismometer could possibly survive.

What’s an extraterrestrial seismologist to do? Launch a balloon.

Above: Researchers prepare to launch a Strateole-2 balloon with sensors capable of detecting earthquakes from thousands of kilometers away.

A new paper just published in the Geophysical Research Letters reports the detection of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake by a fleet of balloons floating through the stratosphere above Indonesia’s Flores Sea. Onboard infrasound sensors registered acoustic waves rippling upward from the sea surface below, proving that, here on Earth, balloons can be used as seismometers.

“The same technique should work in the atmosphere of Venus,” says Raphael Garcia, the study’s lead author and a planetary scientist at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronatique et de l’Espace of the University…

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‘Clearly, it is important to study blue jets.’ – Indeed.

Spaceweather.com

August 4, 2022: Seeing one blue jet is rare. Photographer Matthew Griffiths just caught several of them over the Big Bend National Park in Texas. “This is by far the best,” he says:

Above: A blue jet emerges from a thunderhead in Big Bend National Park, photographed by Matthew Griffiths in Marfa, Texas: more.

Griffiths is an amateur photographer, primarily interested in wildlife and the Milky Way. “On July 28th, I was starting a five night West Texas road trip to capture the Milky Way,” he says. “But with thunderstorms in the distance I decided to try for red sprites instead.”

He ended up photographing the sprite’s elusive cousin, the blue jet. First recorded by cameras on the space shuttle in 1989, blue jets are part of a growing menagerie of cloudtop “transient luminous events” such as sprites, ELVES and green ghosts. They are all elusive, but blue…

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No emergency in temperature trends, so where is it?

Science Matters

The editors of IBD explain at Issues and Insights Climate Emergency?  What a Crock.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Joe Biden did not declare a climate emergency last week, as many in his party urged him to do. One Democratic senator claimed that the changing climate required “bold, intense executive action” from the president. Another said Biden needed to move because “the climate crisis is a threat to national security.” But there’s no emergency. It’s a wholly manufactured charade.

Though he put off an executive action, Biden said last Wednesday that he has “a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger. And that’s what climate change is about. It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger. The health of our citizens and our communities is literally at stake.”

His non-COVID fever continued:

“Climate change is…

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California wildfire [image credit: NASA]


Another day, another topic of model uncertainty. ‘Refining’ an admitted high level of uncertainty is an odd concept, but researchers assert the issue will be ‘cleared up’. However, their belief in ‘potent climate-warming agents’ doesn’t inspire confidence.
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New research refining the amount of sunlight absorbed by black carbon in smoke from wildfires will help clear up a long-time weak spot in earth system models, enabling more accurate forecasting of global climate change, says Phys.org.

“Black carbon or soot is the next most potent climate-warming agent after CO2 and methane, despite a short lifetime of weeks, but its impact in climate models is still highly uncertain,” said James Lee, a climate researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and corresponding author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters on light absorption by wildfire smoke. “Our research will clear up that uncertainty.”

The Los Alamos research resolves a long-time disconnect between the observations of the amount of light absorbed by black carbon in smoke and the amount predicted by models, given how black carbon is mixed with other material such as condensed organic aerosols that are present in plumes.

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The Bastille Day Event

Posted: July 14, 2022 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Solar physics, solar system dynamics
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Some interesting solar physics here.

Spaceweather.com

July 14, 2022: When a solar storm is so strong that the Voyager spacecraft feel it at the edge of the solar system, you know it must be special. Twenty-two years ago today, July 14, 2000, the lonely travelers were on the verge of escaping space weather altogether when giant sunspot AR9077 exploded. The flare was so intense, it sent shockwaves to the very edge of the solar system.

SOHO images of the Bastille Day solar flare (left) and CME (right). The onset of snow in the images is a result of energetic protons hitting the spacecraft

Earth was on the doorstep of the blast, dubbed The “Bastille Day Event” because it coincided with the national day of France. Subatomic particles, especially protons, arrived in a ferocious wave, peppering satellites and penetrating deep into Earth’s atmosphere. Sensors on Earth’s surface registered a rare GLE–a “ground-level event.”

“People flying in commercial…

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CO2 is not pollution


The researchers are not going overboard with positivity, but seem clear that the Earth’s carbon cycle is still working much as expected. Unsurprisingly perhaps, they theorise problems might occur by 2100 if some presently unknown limit is approached, but say ‘the Twilight Zone region of the ocean’ needs more research. In short, so far so good.
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The amount of carbon stored by microscopic plankton will increase in the coming century, predict researchers at the University of Bristol and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

Using the latest IPCC models (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the team expects the “biological pump”—a process where microscopic plants, often called phytoplankton, take up carbon and then die and sink into the deep ocean where carbon is stored for hundreds of years—to account for between 5 and 17% of the total increase in carbon uptake by the oceans by 2100.

Their findings were published today in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), says Phys.org.

Lead author Dr. Jamie Wilson, of the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, explained, “The biological pump stores roughly double the amount of carbon dioxide that is currently in our atmosphere in the deep ocean. Because plankton are sensitive to climate change, this carbon pool is likely to change in size, so we set out to understand how this would change in the future in response to climate change by looking at the latest future projections by IPCC models.”

Microscopic organisms called plankton, living in the sunlit surface of the ocean, use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. When these plankton die, their remains rapidly sink down through the “Twilight Zone” of the ocean (200–1000m), where environmental factors, such as temperature and oxygen concentration, and ecological factors, such as being eaten by other plankton, control how much reaches the deep ocean where the carbon from their bodies is stored away from the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years.

Warming of the oceans slows down the circulation, increasing the time that carbon is stored in the deep ocean.

Contributing author Dr. Anna Katavouta, who worked alongside early-career scientist Dr. Chelsey Baker, both from the National Oceanography Centre, added, “Our research found a consistent increase in the carbon stored in the ocean by the biological carbon pump over the 21st century in the latest IPCC model projections. In contrast, we found a decline in the global export production (the amount of organic matter, such as dead plankton, sinking below the ocean surface), which suggests that export production may not be as accurate a metric for the biological carbon pump than previously thought. We demonstrated that the organic matter flux at 1000 meters is instead a better predictor of long-term carbon sequestration associated with the biological carbon pump. This outcome will help us to better understand the processes that control the biological carbon pump and to predict more reliably how much of the carbon released due to human activity will be stored in the ocean in the future.”

However, the IPCC models have no consistent representation of the environmental and ecological processes in the Twilight Zone. This leads to a large uncertainty in how much carbon dioxide originating from the atmosphere the biological pump will store beyond the end of the century.

In theory, after 2100, carbon storage by the biological pump could stall and instead may start acting as a source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which could exacerbate climate change further.

Full article here.


Welcome to another round of evidence-free alarmist climate assertions and propaganda, such as these gems: ‘climate-fueled weather events’ and ‘greenhouse gas pollution’. The summary says ‘Projects will give better understanding of Earth’s atmosphere’. But wasn’t it all supposed to be settled a long time ago?
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $14 million in funding for 22 projects aimed at improving climate change predictions, says Eurekalert.

As extreme weather events and impacts of climate change continue to escalate, the research projects will advance fundamental scientific understanding of atmospheric processes, ranging from cloud formation to Arctic weather.

Expanding the scientific understanding of extreme weather and climate patterns is key to tackling the climate crisis and meeting President Biden’s climate goals like slashing greenhouse-gas emissions.

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CO2 has nothing to do with ‘clean air’, hence these problems…

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

There are lots of happy reports on the Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan. Some go so far as to suggest that EPA is barred from regulating power plant CO2 emissions.

It is not quite that simple and the result is rather amusing. EPA is still required to regulate CO2 under the terms of the Clean Air Act, but that Act provides no way to do that regulation. The Clean Power Plan attempted to expand an obscure minor clause in the Act to do the job but SCOTUS correctly ruled that the clause does not confer that kind of massive authority.

EPA is between a rock and a hard place. It should tell Congress that it cannot do the job and needs a new law, along the lines of the SO2 law added to the Act in 1990, curbing emissions. But…

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Credit: NOAA


Some scientists contacted by Carbon Brief have their doubts about the reasons given for the reported expansion of the Azores high. An assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, warns that “the title statement is not justified by the study”. Another assistant professor, at the University of Dartmouth, told Carbon Brief ‘that changes in the size and intensity of the Azores high could also have been driven by changes in aerosol levels, rather than changes in greenhouse gases emissions. (For example, the passing of the US Clean Air Act in the 1970s saw pollution levels drop significantly, causing localised warming.) That the authors did not investigate this factor is “a curious omission” he says.’ On top of that, Prof Richard Seagar – a research professor at Columbia University – told Carbon Brief that the expansion in the Azores high could also “easily be explained by the long-term variability and changes of the North Atlantic Oscillation”.
In short, this attempt to put the blame on humans for the more recent climatic conditions related to this phenomenon is already starting to look shaky.

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Parts of Portugal and Spain are the driest they have been in a thousand years due to an atmospheric high-pressure system driven by climate change, according to research published Monday, warning of severe implications for wine and olive production.

The Azores High, an area of high pressure that rotates clockwise over parts of the North Atlantic, has a major effect on weather and long-term climate trends in western Europe says Phys.org.

But in a new modeling study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers in the United States found this high-pressure system “has changed dramatically in the past century and that these changes in North Atlantic climate are unprecedented within the past millennium”.

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Landfalling hurricane [credit: NOAA]


A reconstructed record of cyclone activity going as far back as 1850 doesn’t show what climate alarmists, with their assertions of ‘human-induced’ global warming, might have expected. The intensity question is left for future research. The researchers note that ‘For most tropical cyclone basins (regions where they occur more regularly), including Australia, the decline has accelerated since the 1950s. Importantly, this is when human-induced warming also accelerated.’ [Or so they believe.] ‘The only exception to the trend is the North Atlantic basin’. Of course detailed historical records of natural climate variation may also be hard to find.
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The annual number of tropical cyclones forming globally decreased by about 13% during the 20th century compared to the 19th, according to research published today in Nature Climate Change.

Tropical cyclones are massive low-pressure systems that form in tropical waters when the underlying environmental conditions are right, says The Conversation.

These conditions include (but aren’t limited to) sea surface temperature, and variables such as vertical wind shear, which refers to changes in wind speed and direction with altitude.

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Mars from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope


The hunt is now on for the offending ‘missing ingredient’: “Carbon dioxide is a strong greenhouse gas, so it really was the leading candidate to explain the drying out of Mars,” said Kite, an expert on the climates of other worlds. “But these results suggest it’s not so simple.” The article calls this ‘unusual’, but is what it considers usual really so?
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Mars once ran red with rivers, says Phys.org.

The telltale tracks of past rivers, streams and lakes are visible today all over the planet.

But about three billion years ago, they all dried up—and no one knows why.

“People have put forward different ideas, but we’re not sure what caused the climate to change so dramatically,” said University of Chicago geophysical scientist Edwin Kite. “We’d really like to understand, especially because it’s the only planet we definitely know changed from habitable to uninhabitable.”

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Swedish permafrost [image credit: International Permafrost Association]


Another attempted climate scare gets dented. In short, nature takes care of it.
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It is widely understood that thawing permafrost can lead to significant amounts of methane being released, says Phys.org.

However, new research shows that in some areas, this release of methane could be a tenth of the amount predicted from a thaw.

The research was conducted in Sweden by an international group that includes researchers from the University of Copenhagen.

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