Archive for the ‘Clouds’ Category

sun-earth-moon

Using satellite data on how water moves around Earth, NASA scientists have solved two mysteries about wobbles in the planet’s rotation — one new and one more than a century old. The research may help improve our knowledge of past and future climate.

Although a desktop globe always spins smoothly around the axis running through its north and south poles, a real planet wobbles. Earth’s spin axis drifts slowly around the poles; the farthest away it has wobbled since observations began is 37 feet (12 meters). These wobbles don’t affect our daily life, but they must be taken into account to get accurate results from GPS, Earth-observing satellites and observatories on the ground.

In a paper published today in Science Advances, Surendra Adhikari and Erik Ivins of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, researched how the movement of water around the world contributes to Earth’s rotational wobbles. Earlier studies have pinpointed many connections between processes on Earth’s surface or interior and our planet’s wandering ways. For example, Earth’s mantle is still readjusting to the loss of ice on North America after the last ice age, and the reduced mass beneath that continent pulls the spin axis toward Canada at the rate of a few inches each year. But some motions are still puzzling.

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Cumuliform cloudscape over Swifts Creek, Australia [image credit: Wikipedia]

Cumuliform cloudscape over Swifts Creek, Australia
[image credit: Wikipedia]


Climate modellers know less about cloud formation than they thought they did, according to new research.

There is enough known about cloud formation that replicating its mechanism has become a staple of the school science project scene. But a new study by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) reveals that much more is going on at the microscopic level of cloud formation than previously thought.

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Cloud formation [image credit:NASA]

Cloud formation [image credit:NASA]


This extract from a Phys.org article looks at some of the difficulties climate models have with clouds, a subject the Talkshop featured recently. One scientist says: ‘A key problem is that we generally do not have data on clouds from the pre-industrial era, before there was pollution, for comparison with the clouds of today.’ Another good reason to use more caution over possible future climate trends, perhaps?

Cloudy complexity

Currently, when scientists use models to calculate the extent to which aerosols—through clouds—affect the earth’s climate, they get a much, much wider range and greater uncertainty than for greenhouse gases. Why?

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Send in the clouds [credit:NASA]

Send in the clouds [credit:NASA]


Adding cloud data to climate models must be long overdue if it’s considered to be a new technique. Scientists were surprised to find that doing so accounted for over half the strength of El Niños, as Phys.org reports:

A small team of researchers from the U.S., Australia and Germany has found evidence that suggests cloud formation may have a much bigger impact on weather patterns associated with El Niño events than has been thought.

In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the team describes they differences they found when they input cloud data into computer models that simulated weather patterns associated with El Niño events and why they now believe that all such models should include such data going forward.

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DSCOVR observatory [image credit: NASA]

DSCOVR observatory [image credit: NASA]


Solid data on global cloud cover seems hard to come by, but NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) could be changing that. SpaceRef reports.

From a dusty atmosphere stretching across the Atlantic Ocean to daily views of clouds at sunrise, a new NASA camera keeping a steady eye on the sunlit side of Earth is yielding new insights about our changing planet.

With NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), affixed to NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) about one million miles from Earth, scientists are getting a new view of our planet’s clouds, land surfaces, aerosols and more.

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Using holography to better understand clouds

Posted: October 11, 2015 by oldbrew in Clouds, research, weather
Tags:

Cumulus thunderheads near Sao Paulo, Brazil [image credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute]

Cumulus thunderheads near Sao Paulo, Brazil [image credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute]


Another shortcoming of computer models used in climate science is exposed here, as SpaceDaily explains.

As clouds change shape, mixing occurs, as drier air mingles with water-saturated air. New research led by Michigan Technological University analyzes this mixing with a holographic imaging instrument called HOLODEC and an airborne laboratory.

The work was done in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and Mainz University. This new way of seeing clouds – and the way wet and dry air form sharp boundaries – is the focus of the team’s study, published in Science this week.

What the team found with these naturally created boundaries, formed by completely evaporating some water drops and leaving others unscathed, is called inhomogenous mixing. And it goes against base assumptions used in most computer models for cloud formations. [bold added]

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isoprene1This may sound like a joke but it seems not – it’s all over the usual blogs and sceptic media. Does it put a spanner in the works? This from The Register’s report:

As world leaders get ready to head to Paris for the latest pact on cutting CO2 emissions, it has emerged that there isn’t as much urgency about the matter as had been thought.

A team of top-level atmospheric chemistry boffins from France and Germany say they have identified a new process by which vast amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted into the atmosphere from the sea – a process which was unknown until now, meaning that existing climate models do not take account of it.

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Cloud cuckoo land in Silicon Valley

Posted: July 12, 2015 by oldbrew in Clouds, innovation, research
Tags:

[image credit: latinoamericarenovable.com]

[image credit: latinoamericarenovable.com]


Are these people just mind-bogglingly naive, downright dangerous – or something else? You decide. And for the record we don’t support the ‘scientific consensus’ claim in this Mercury News report:

A team of elder Silicon Valley scientists is building an audacious device that might solve one of humanity’s most profound dilemmas — a “cloud whitener” designed to cool a warming planet.

The men — retired physicists, engineers, chemists and computer experts from some of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies — have been meeting four days a week for seven years in the Sunnyvale lab of the Marine Cloud Brightening Project to design a tool that creates perfectly suspended droplets of water resembling fog.

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[credit: NASA]

[credit: NASA]


A few weeks ago we put up a post to discuss the role of convection in the Earth’s atmosphere:
Beginner’s guide to convection cells

The introduction, linked to a short video, said:
‘When you warm air, it rises. Cool air will sink. This process of convection can lead to flows in the atmosphere, in a manner that we can illustrate [see video] on a small scale. Warm and cool air in a fish tank rise and fall; this motion is made visible by adding fog. Ultimately, the motion leads to a convection cell, with air rising, moving to the side, falling, and moving back. This heat-driven motion of air moves heat around in the atmosphere. It is also responsible for making the wind blow.’

That may have seemed straightforward to some, but a few hundred comments later controversy continues, so we’re starting a new post using this website for reference : Lapse Rate, Moisture, Clouds and Thunderstorms

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Let’s put this up for discussion as the dominant role of WV often gets buried in all the focus on man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Musings from the Chiefio

This posting just points to a very well done page that calculates the relative contributions to the greenhouse effect as used by the AGW thesis, by various gasses. In particular, it includes water vapor. The result is a conclusion that human caused CO2 is not relevant to global temperature. Something I have said before, but without the nice graphs and calculations.

It really is all about the water on our water world.

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

Water Vapor Rules the Greenhouse System

Just how much of the “Greenhouse Effect” is caused by human activity?

It is about 0.28%, if water vapor is taken into account– about 5.53%, if not.

This point is so crucial to the debate over global warming that how water vapor is or isn’t factored into an analysis of Earth’s greenhouse gases makes the difference between describing a significant human contribution to the greenhouse effect, or a negligible one.

Subscribe…

View original post 2 more words

Making beer from fog in Chile

Posted: May 20, 2015 by oldbrew in Clouds, innovation
Tags:

Made at The Fog Catcher Brewery [image credit: BBC]

Made at The Fog Catcher Brewery [image credit: BBC]


BBC News reports:
The dry, red earth could almost be mistaken for a Martian landscape. It is in fact the Atacama desert in Chile, one of the driest places on Earth.

Average rainfall here is less than 0.1mm (0.004 in) per year and there are many regions which have not seen any precipitation for decades.

But while there is little rain, the clouds here do carry humidity. Coastal fog forms on Chile’s shore and then moves inland in the form of cloud banks. The locals call it “camanchaca”.

Read the rest here.

Also from the report: ‘The largest expanse of fog catchers is located in Tojquia in Guatemala, where 60 fog catchers trap 4,000 litres of water a day.’

Global circulation of Earth's atmosphere displaying Hadley cell, Ferrell cell and polar cell [credit: NASA]

Global circulation of Earth’s atmosphere displaying Hadley cell, Ferrell cell and polar cell [credit: NASA]


Introducing by popular demand (?) [click to view]:
‘Convection Cells Move Air Around’ (short video) – Windows to the Universe.

When you warm air, it rises. Cool air will sink. This process of convection can lead to flows in the atmosphere, in a manner that we can illustrate [see video] on a small scale. Warm and cool air in a fish tank rise and fall; this motion is made visible by adding fog. Ultimately, the motion leads to a convection cell, with air rising, moving to the side, falling, and moving back. This heat-driven motion of air moves heat around in the atmosphere. It is also responsible for making the wind blow.

***
Cue discussion by Talkshop commenters:-)

This post arose from a discussion on another thread that seems to have started somewhere around here.

Larger version of the NASA graphic here.
————————————————————————————————
Update – a newer post (2015/06/11) can now be viewed here:
Atmospheric convection – what does it mean?
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[comments are now closed on this thread – see ‘Update’ above]

The Albedo of Earth

Posted: March 10, 2015 by Andrew in atmosphere, Clouds

image“An important new paper finds that the albedo of Earth is highly regulated, mostly by clouds, with some surprising consequences”.

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Celestial light and earthshine

Posted: January 17, 2015 by tchannon in Astronomy, climate, Clouds, Measurement, moon, Uncertainty

This paper is about adding a further layer of correction to earthshine measurements and therefore albedo determination by terrestrial based observations.

Influence of celestial light on lunar surface brightness determinations: Application to earthshine studies
P. Thejll, H. Gleisner, C. Flynn
A&A 573 A131 (2015)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201424824
(open access with registration)

ABSTRACT

Aims. We consider the influence of celestial-sphere brightness on determinations of terrestrial albedo from earthshine intensity
measurements. In particular, the contributions from zodiacal light and starlight are considered.

Results. We find that celestial-sphere surface brightness can be so large that a considerable and unacceptable error level would have
an impact on half of typical earthshine-based albedo-determinations if left unaccounted for. Considering the empirical uncertainty on
ZL, we show that almost all our earthshine data can be used if a sky correction is made. In real observations we find up to a 1% effect
on albedo results of correcting for the celestial brightness.

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Ferenc Miskolczi

Well here’s a nice surprise. Out of the blue, Dr Ferenc Miskolczi has dropped a link onto Tim Channon’s thread, which goes to his major new paper, published by the SEI. So we are privileged to be among the first to read it and start a discussion. It challenges the entire basis of the IPCC AGW theory by deriving a theoretical atmosphere which fits observations and demonstrates stability of the Earth’s radiative balance. Thanks Ferenc!

Ferenc Mikolczi 2014 Abstract

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By Kelly Dickerson for Yahoo News:

ESA-Magnetospheres_600_MThe sun may be partly responsible for lightning strikes on Earth, and scientists think fluctuations in the sun’s magnetic field could be used to predict lightning storms weeks in advance.

The sun’s magnetic field can bend Earth’s own magnetic field, and this twisting and turning may be allowing an influx of high-energy particles into the planet’s atmosphere. These particles can cause a buildup of electric charge that can trigger lightning strikes.

From 2001 to 2006, during a period when the sun’s magnetic field was severely skewing the Earth’s magnetic field, the United Kingdom saw 50 percent more lightning strikes than normal, according to the new study. This severe skewing happens regularly as the sun’s magnetic field shifts. Scientists say this suggests the sun’s magnetic field could be used to predict the occurrence of lightning.

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Forster_PiersWithout comment, an extract from a Guardian piece:

Prof Piers Forster, at the University of Leeds, led a project using in-computer models to assess six types of SRM (Solar Radiation Management). All reduced temperatures but all also worsened floods or droughts for 25%-65% of the global population, compared to the expected impact of climate change:

  • mimicking a volcano by spraying sulphate particles high into the atmosphere to block sunlight adversely affected 2.8bn people
  • spraying salt water above the oceans to whiten low clouds and reflect sunlight adversely affected 3bn people
  • thinning high cirrus clouds to allow more heat to escape Earth adversely affected 2.4bn people
  • generating microbubbles on the ocean surface to whiten it and reflect more sunlight adversely affected 2bn people
  • covering all deserts in shiny material adversely affected 4.1bn people
  • growing shinier crops adversely affected 1.4bn people

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More videos have been added to the monthly series.

  • compare most of the wet winter of 2013/14 with 2012/2013
  • how a good English summer looks
  • the dry September 2014 but unfortuantely not all of a descent into colder weather (happened in two phases into October, missing so far)

This is kept on a Talkshop static page off top menu portal.
Here is a link

Image

I’d not followed up on the saga of DMS, a reminder came up so I’ve dug out the tale up to 2003 or so. What then, can anyone add more? Because IPCC AR4 looks to me to be obfuscating. Best do a quick scan of the long article before dipping too deeply into links.

“Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) or methylthiomethane is an organosulfur compound with the formula (CH3)2S. Dimethyl sulfide is a water-insoluble flammable liquid that boils at 37 °C (99 °F) and has a characteristic disagreeable odor. It is a component of the smell produced from cooking of certain vegetables, notably maize, cabbage, beetroot and seafoods.”
And the smell of seaside. Stinky stuff is Sulphur.
__ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethyl_sulfide

Why mention this on the Talkshop?
Ocean critters produce the stuff, a very complex situation.
The C is produced from CO2. S probably from volcanoes. Predation of the critters is also involved etc. part of a food chain.  Sulphur is in short supply, so bad that farming often needs additional input wherein lies yet another sad tale of enviro own goals, perhaps too why volcanic soils are lauded as highly productive.

Dated 2000

  • Abstract. Continuous measurements of atmospheric dimethylsulfide (DMS) have been performed over a 10-year period (1990-1999) at Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean. Atmospheric DMSranges from 5 to1930 parts per trillion by volume (pptv) and shows a clear seasonal variation with a factor of 20 in amplitude between its maximum in January (austral summer) and minimum in July-August (austral winter). Important deviations from the 10-year monthly mean as high as 100% have been detected, which could not be explained by changes in meteorology and/or oxidation capacity of the atmosphere. Comparison with a three dimensional (3-D) chemistry/transport model revealed that changes in the source strength of DMS as high as a factor of 2 were required to account for such DMS interannual variations. In addition, DMS variability was found to be closely related to sea surface temperature anomalies, clearly indicating a link between DMS and climate changes.
    — [1]
sciere-fig7-a

Fig 7a from Sciare et al

From this I assume there is a strong positive cloud seeding temperature coefficient but suitable data for an attempt at computing effect does not seem to exist.

 

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From the Guardian:

bare-arsedTwelve scientists and sceptics (sic) have met privately to discuss how to suck the venom out of the climate change debate.

It was one of science’s strangest social events to date.

Some of the best known names in the climate debate – including Mail on Sunday journalist David Rose, blogger Anthony Watts, and Met Office scientist Richard Betts – shared salmon and civilities at a dinner party last month.

Hosted by the sceptical scientist Nicholas Lewis at his house in Bath in September, the group discussed their similarities, differences, and how they might calm the debate that rages across the pathologically provocative medium of Twitter.

“Both sides are really fed up with the outrageous alarmists who are not representing science properly. Both don’t like those who shout about it and call people names and take a polarised point of view,” says David Whitehouse from the sceptic thinktank The Global Warming Policy Foundation.

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