Archive for the ‘atmosphere’ Category

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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View from Titan [artist’s impression]


From the report: ‘the researchers said, learning more about the energy budget of Titan can add to the understanding of climate change on Earth.’ Indeed – and help could be at hand with that.

Researchers have found that Saturn’s largest moon Titan undergoes significant seasonal changes in its energy budget — the amount of solar energy it absorbs, and the heat it emits — an advance that may lead to new insights about climate fluctuations on the Earth, reports Financial Express.

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, noted that Titan is the only body in the solar system, other than Earth, with a significant atmosphere and liquid surface lakes.

The researchers, including those from the University of Houston in the US, said Titan’s dynamically-varying energy budget has important impacts on its weather and climate systems.

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So IPCC climate theory now means that cleaner air is more of a problem. Classic.

The relationship between aerosols (particulate matter) and their cooling effect on the Earth due to the formation of clouds is more than twice as strong as was previously thought, reports Phys.org.

As the amounts of aerosols decrease, climate models that predict a faster warming of the Earth are more probable.

These are the conclusions of researcher Otto Hasekamp from SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, who published the results in Nature Communications. He carried out his research together with Edward Gryspeerdt from Imperial College London, and Johannes Quaas from Leipzig University.

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Ice core sample [image credit: Discovering Antarctica]


Of course they are pushing the usual doom and gloom messages based on dubious greenhouse gas theories, but a glimmer of light perhaps is that they accept the Earth has warmed and cooled in the past due to unknown factors. They in effect admit the obvious, namely that attribution of climate change to humans in some, or any, degree cannot be quantified at present. But the bluffing goes on.

As the pace of global warming outstrips our ability to adapt to it [Talkshop comment – allegedly], scientists are delving deep into the distant past, hoping that eons-old Antarctic ice, sediments and trees chart a path to navigate our climate future, says Phys.org.

“What interests us is to understand how the climate works,” says Didier Roche of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

At the Laboratory for Climate and Environment Sciences (LSCE), just outside Paris, the aim is to establish a comprehensive record of climate change dating back hundreds of thousands of years, to chart the repeated warming and cooling cycles the Earth has gone through and to try to understand what drives them.

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This looks self-explanatory, so here’s the graphic…


[click on image to enlarge]


Could this point to an increasing difference between polar and equatorial average temperatures? Researchers cite ‘ocean-atmosphere oscillations’.

In a boon to wind farms, average daily wind speeds are picking up across much of the globe after about 30 years of gradual slowing, reports Phys.org.

Research led by a team at Princeton University shows that wind speeds in northern mid-latitude regions have increased by roughly 7% since 2010.

The findings mark a reversal of the pattern of declining winds in these regions since the 1980s—a phenomenon known as global terrestrial stilling.

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Credit: weather.com


By what known physics could a few molecules of carbon dioxide upset the jet stream? A meteorologist is not impressed by such claims.

By Chris Martz | November 9, 2019
INTRODUCTION Just when wildfires weren’t enough, we now have people blaming cold weather on a warming climate, which seems quite contradictory.

In light of the Arctic outbreak in forecast this coming week, people like Phil Plait (who has since blocked me) took to Twitter (Figure 1) to claim that man-made climate change is causing frigid, Arctic air to be displaced south into the United States, Europe, and Asia.

His argument, which is supported by some climate scientists, suggests that man-made global warming causes the polar jet stream to destabilize causing it to become wavy rather than zonal, sending Arctic air southward into the mid-latitude regions.

He also stated that without global warming, the polar air would stay near the north pole.

Both of these claims are exactly backwards from reality and are not supported by weather dynamics, the global warming theory, or statistical observations in long-term temperature data.

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A reconstruction of the Anglian ice sheet in Precambrian North London (credit: BBC / The Natural History Museum, London)


This might rattle a few cages in climate-land.

An analysis of air up to 2 million years old, trapped in Antarctic ice, shows that a major shift in the periodicity of glacial cycles was probably not caused by a long-term decline in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, writes Eric W. Wolff in Nature.
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During the past 2.6 million years, Earth’s climate has alternated between warm periods known as interglacials, when conditions were similar to those of today, and cold glacials, when ice sheets spread across North America and northern Europe.

Before about 1 million years ago, the warm periods recurred every 40,000 years, but after that, the return period lengthened to an average of about 100,000 years.

It has often been suggested that a decline in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide was responsible for this fundamental change.

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Close Encounter with a Gigantic Jet

Posted: October 27, 2019 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Travel
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One jet meets another 😎

Spaceweather.com

Oct. 25, 2019: When you see lightning, run! So NOAA advises in lightning safety brochures. On Oct. 15th, however, pilot Chris Holmes had no place to go when lightning started to crackle in thunderstorms around his aircraft. Like it or not, he was in position for a close encounter … with a Gigantic Jet.

“I was flying 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan Peninsula when a super cell started pulsing with light,” he says. “It wasn’t just ordinary lightning, though. The cell was also creating lots of sprites and jets. They were leaping up from the thunderhead.”

At a distance of only 35 miles, he video-recorded a towering Gigantic Jet:

gj_crop

“It was the most amazing thing I’ve seen in my aviation career,” he says.

Sometimes called “Earth’s tallest lightning,” Gigantic Jets were discovered in 2001-2002 shooting out of thunderstorms near Taiwan and Puerto Rico. Since then…

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As this is going on, cosmic rays are near a record high since measurements began. Researchers are using natural cosmic rays this time.

CERN’s colossal complex of accelerators is in the midst of a two-year shutdown for upgrade work.

But that doesn’t mean all experiments at the Laboratory have ceased to operate.

The CLOUD experiment, for example, has just started a data run that will last until the end of November, reports Phys.org.

The CLOUD experiment studies how ions produced by high-energy particles called cosmic rays affect aerosol particles, clouds and the climate.

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Venus


As usual the ‘runaway greenhouse effect’ theory rears its ugly head, and the event that supposedly led to it ‘forced massive amounts of CO² into the atmosphere’. But the huge atmospheric pressure of Venus (> 90 times that of Earth’s surface), combined with its being nearer to the Sun than Earth, can adequately explain the observed temperatures.

A new study on the volcanic highlands of Venus casts doubt on whether the planet ever had oceans, reports Universe Today.
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Venus is often referred to as “Earth’s sister planet“, owing to the number of similarities between them.

Like Earth, Venus is a terrestrial (aka. rocky) planet and it resides with our Sun’s Circumstellar Habitable Zone (CHZ). And for some time, scientists have theorized that billions of years ago, Venus had oceans on its surface and was habitable – aka. not the hot and hellish place it is today.

However, after examining radar data on the Ovda Fluctus lava flow, a team of scientists at the Lunar and Planetary Institute concluded that the highlands on Venus are likely to be composed of basaltic lava rock instead of granite.

This effectively punches a hole in the main argument for Venus having oceans in the past, which is that the Ovda Regio highlands plateau formed in the presence of water.

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Stating the obvious, but most of the heat is in the oceans if compared to the heat in the atmosphere. Wikipedia says ‘the top 2.5 m of the ocean holds as much heat as the entire atmosphere above it.’ If improved predictions are expected, evidence of that will be needed.

University of Maryland (UMD) scientists have carried out a novel statistical analysis to determine for the first time a global picture of how the ocean helps predict the low-level atmosphere and vice versa, reports Phys.org.

They observed ubiquitous influence of the ocean on the atmosphere in the extratropics, which has been difficult to demonstrate with dynamic models of atmospheric and oceanic circulation.

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