Archive for the ‘dust’ Category

An Atmospheric River of Dust

Posted: March 19, 2022 by oldbrew in atmosphere, dust, ENSO, research, weather
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At least a few times a year, strong and persistent winds from the south drive Saharan dust north toward Europe, as recent research explains. Two such events in 2021 ‘led to snow darkening by dust deposition over the Alps with 40% decrease in snow albedo’, among other effects. NASA says the dust plays a major role in Earth’s climate and biological systems, absorbing and reflecting solar energy and fertilizing ocean ecosystems with iron and other minerals that plants and phytoplankton need to grow. A slight positive trend in the frequency of such events since 1980 is suggested to be related to the El Niños in the period. The research paper hints at the need for climate models to take these events into account.
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On March 15, 2022, a plume of Saharan dust was blown out of North Africa and across the Mediterranean into Western Europe, says NASA’s Earth Observatory.

The dust turned skies orange, blanketed cities, impaired air quality, and stained ski slopes.

The plume was driven by an atmospheric river arising from Storm Celia, which brought strong winds, rain, and snow to the Canary Islands.

Atmospheric rivers, normally associated with extreme moisture, can also carry dust.

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Several types of cirrus clouds [image credit: Piccolo Namek @ Wikipedia]


Headline: ‘Airborne study reveals surprisingly large role of desert dust in forming cirrus clouds’. Researchers found ‘Even at low concentrations dust was found to play a big role in controlling cloud properties’. One said: “These results are a striking message to the aerosol and cloud science community, that we need to improve our treatment of dust and cloud formation in climate models to more accurately predict current and future climate.” Not much faith can be put in predictions of the future climate if predicting the present one is known to be inaccurate?
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Every year several billion metric tons of mineral dust are lofted into the atmosphere from the world’s arid regions, making dust one of the most abundant types of aerosol particles in the atmosphere, says Phys.org.

Now, scientists are learning that tiny bits of dust from the hottest and driest parts of the Earth are a surprisingly large driver in forming the delicate, wispy ice clouds known as cirrus in the cold, high-altitudes of the atmosphere.

While scientists have known that desert dust particles can seed certain clouds, the extent of that relationship has been a long-standing question.

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Mars [image credit: ESA]


Wikipedia says: ‘Within the Solar System there are five candidates for Schumann resonance detection besides the Earth: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Saturn’s biggest moon Titan.’ The frequencies reported from Mars in 2009 are also found on Earth.
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The interaction of dust particles in Martian dust storms may cause electric fields that are powerful enough to have charges that induce standing electromagnetic waves known as Sсhumann resonances, reports Phys.org.

This is the conclusion drawn by physicists from HSE University, the Space Research Institute, and MIPT. The paper was published in the journal Icarus.

Mars has been a focus of active study over the last decade, with researchers looking at possible space missions to the planet. Knowledge about the Martian atmosphere increases the chances that such missions will be successful.

In particular, the behavior of dust particles and the plasma-dust system on the surface of Mars should be taken into account in planning space trips.

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Escaping a planet’s gravity is supposed to be difficult, but some Martian dust does just that.

Spaceweather.com

July 6, 2021: Dust storms on Mars are bigger than we thought; they even spill into space. According to a recent paper in JGR Planets, Mars appears to be leaking dust, filling a huge volume of the inner solar system with gritty debris. You can see it with your naked eye. The bright triangle in this image from the Haleakalā Observatory in Hawaii is marsdust:

“A friend described it as blazing,” says Rob Ratkowski, who took the picture on Feb. 10th. “It was bright and very obvious.”

It’s called Zodiacal Light, and astronomers have long wondered what causes it. The usually faint triangle is sunlight scattered by dust in the plane of our solar system. The dust, it turns out, comes from Mars.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew through the dust cloud en route to Jupiter between 2011 and 2016. Dust grains smashed into Juno at about 10,000 mph…

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Image credit: ScienceDaily


This has echoes of the ice age dust/albedo theory – with no CO2 feedbacks – proposed by Ralph Ellis a few years ago. The article concludes: ‘The result thus has the potential to aid the understanding of the abrupt warming and cooling periods during the ice ages called Dansgaard/Oeschger events which bear the marks of climate tipping points.’

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Every late winter and early spring, huge dust storms swirled across the bare and frozen landscapes of Europe during the coldest periods of the latest ice age, says Phys.org.

These paleo-tempests, which are seldom matched in our modern climate frequently covered Western Europe in some of the thickest layers of ice-age dust found anywhere previously on Earth.

This is demonstrated by a series of new estimates of the sedimentation and accumulation rates of European loess layers obtained by Senior Research Scientist Denis-Didier Rousseau from Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France, and colleagues.

The work, which is published in Quaternary Science Reviews is part of the TiPES project on tipping points in the Earth system, coordinated by The University of Copenhagen.

In the study Denis-Didier Rousseau and colleagues reinterpreted layers in loess from Nussloch, Germany.

Loess is a fine-silt-sized earth type found all over the world. It mainly consists of aeolian sediments, which are materials transported by the wind from dry areas without vegetation such as deserts of any type, moraines, or dried-out river beds.

Within the aeolian sediments, darker layers of paleosol alternate within the loess layers. Every layer in the loess represents a shift in climatic conditions.

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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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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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