Archive for the ‘Measurement’ Category

Credit: NASA


Looks like game over for the Planet Nine idea. Unavoidable observational biases may be at least partly to blame.
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Planet Nine is a theoretical, undiscovered giant planet in the mysterious far reaches of our solar system, says The Conversation (via Phys.org)

The presence of Planet Nine has been hypothesized to explain everything from the tilt of the sun’s spin axis to the apparent clustering in the orbits of small, icy asteroids beyond Neptune.

But does Planet Nine actually exist?

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Browsing twitter recently I ran across this short video of a solar flare shot a few days ago.

After asking for some clarification on frame rate I was really intrigued.

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Kangerlussuaq Fjord, Greenland [image credit: notsogreen.com]


Less than a year ago NASA was reporting from Greenland: Jakobshavn Glacier Grows for Third Straight Year, and ‘The glacier grew 22 to 33 yards (20 to 30 meters) each year between 2016 and 2019.’ So this new report may be, to some degree at least, already obsolete since it says: ‘The largest thinning rates were between 4 and 6 m a−1 in Jakobshavn and Kangerlugssuaq glaciers’.
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Sea levels have risen by 14mm since 2003 due to ice melting in Antarctica and Greenland, scientists have said.

Nasa launched a satellite to measure global heights in 2018 and spotted the rise after bouncing laser pulses against sheets of ice, says the London Evening Standard.

The study found that Greenland lost an average of 200 billion tonnes of ice per year, and Antarctica lost an average of 118 billion tonnes.

One billion tonnes of ice is enough to fill 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington compared the data with measurements taken by the satellite between 2003 and 2009.

The findings, published in the journal Science, found the loss of ice from Antarctica and Greenland outweighs any gains from accumulated snow.

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NASA claims humans now have 50 times more influence on temperatures than the Sun, according to this report. But they don’t link to any supporting evidence so we’re back to alarmist assertions and numbers pulled out of the sky, as usual.

NASA has shut down a spacecraft that measured the amount of solar energy entering Earth’s atmosphere for 17 years, more than three times the mission’s original design life, reports Spaceflight Now.

The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment, or SORCE, mission ended Feb. 25 after the spacecraft labored through battery problems for years until NASA could launch a replacement.

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To go to the technical discussion, search for ‘Overview’.

Science Matters

Dr. Peter Ward explains at The Hill Greenhouse gases simply do not absorb enough heat to warm Earth Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Science is not done by consensus, by popular vote, or by group think. As Michael Crichton put it: “In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.”

The drive to demonstrate scientific consensus over greenhouse-warming theory has had the unintended consequence of inhibiting genuine scientific debate about the ultimate cause of global warming.

Believers of “the consensus” argue that anyone not agreeing with them is uninformed, an idiot or being paid by nefarious companies. The last thing most climate scientists want to consider at this point, when they think they are finally winning the climate wars, is the possibility of some problem with the science of greenhouse-warming theory.

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The Fainting of Betelgeuse — Update

Posted: January 12, 2020 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, Measurement, News

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This enormous star seems to be fading fast.

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 10, 2020: One day, perhaps in our lifetimes, perhaps a million years from now, the red giant Betelgeuse will dim a little–and then explode. The resulting supernova will rival the full Moon and cast shadows after dark, completely transforming the night skies of Earth. No wonder astronomers are closely tracking the current “fainting of Betelgeuse.”

“Fainting” is an actual astronomical term. It means dimming, the opposite of brightening. And right now, Betelgeuse is definitely fainting.

Brian-Ottum-Betelgeuse_Fainting_4x4_dated_1577930828  Betelgeuse photographed by Brian Ottum of Animas, New Mexico, almost 4 years apart using the same telescope and observing methods. 

Edward Guinan of Villanova University and colleagues caused a minor sensation last month when they reported “[Betelgeuse] has been declining in brightness since October 2019, now reaching a modern all-time low of V = +1.12 mag on 07 December 2019 UT. Currently this is the faintest the star has been during our…

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Rinks Glacier, West Greenland
[image credit: NSIDC]


Estimates are always uncertain to some degree – that’s why they’re called estimates. So an uncertain estimate can’t be all that useful. They admit ‘there are still key deficiencies in the models’ — but these are usually ignored when alarmist climate predictions are headlined. As ever, ice-related sea level claims should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Estimates used by climate scientists to predict the rate at which the world’s ice sheets will melt are still uncertain despite advancements in technology, new research shows.

These ice sheet estimates feed directly into projections of sea-level rise resulting from climate change, says Phys.org.

They are made by measuring how much material ice sheets are gaining or losing over time, known as mass balance, to assess their long-term health.

Snowfall increases the mass of an ice sheet, while ice melting or breaking off causes it to lose mass, and the overall balance between these is crucial.

Although scientists now have a much better understanding of the melting behaviour of ice sheets than they did in previous decades, there are still significant uncertainties about their future melt rates, researchers found.

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Image credit: livescience.com


A way of getting around some of the questionable data manipulations in vogue at present is proposed. Whether it would appeal to the ‘offenders’, so to speak, is another matter.

July 2019 was probably the 4th warmest of the last 41 years, writes Dr. Roy Spencer.

Global “reanalysis” datasets need to start being used for monitoring of global surface temperatures.

We are now seeing news reports (e.g. CNN, BBC, Reuters) that July 2019 was the hottest month on record for global average surface air temperatures.

One would think that the very best data would be used to make this assessment. After all, it comes from official government sources (such as NOAA, and the World Meteorological Organization [WMO]).

But current official pronouncements of global temperature records come from a fairly limited and error-prone array of thermometers which were never intended to measure global temperature trends.

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Lift-off is scheduled for 2:51GMT on the 15th July 2019

Our friends Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller will be keen to see the data from the Chandrayaan 2 lunar mission scheduled for take-off next week. Among many other experiments planned, the rover will be measuring surface thermal conductivity – a key factor in estimating the global lunar surface temperature.

The daily mail reports:

India’s space agency is preparing to launch its ambitious Chandrayaan-2 mission next week which is set to land near the currently unexplored south pole of the moon.

Chandrayaan-2 will blast off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota on the country’s south west coast at 2.51am (10.21pm BST) on July 15.

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Earth’s magnetic field keeps weakening at a faster rate. Should we be concerned?

The Next Grand Minimum

Earth’s magnetic field is getting significantly weaker, the magnetic north pole is shifting at an accelerating pace, and scientists readily admit that a sudden pole shift could potentially cause “trillions of dollars” in damage. Today, most of us take the protection provided by Earth’s magnetic field completely for granted. It is essentially a colossal force field which surrounds our planet and makes life possible. And even with such protection, a giant solar storm could still potentially hit our planet and completely fry our power grid. But as our magnetic field continues to get weaker and weaker, even much smaller solar storms will have the potential to be cataclysmic. And once the magnetic field gets weak enough, we will be facing much bigger problems. As you will see below, if enough solar radiation starts reaching our planet none of us will survive.
But now we are being told that data collected…

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Saturn from the Cassini orbiter [image credit: NASA]


This has been a tricky problem for years as explained below, and now appears to have been resolved. But whether that’s the end of the story remains to be seen.

Saturn’s distinctive rings were observed in unprecedented detail by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, and scientists have now used those observations to probe the interior of the giant planet and obtain the first precise determination of its rotation rate, reports Phys.org.

The length of a day on Saturn, according to their calculations, is 10 hours 33 minutes and 38 seconds.

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Arctic region


At last – something that can’t be blamed on Brexit! Just joking of course, and wandering poles can be a serious matter for navigators.

Erratic motion of north magnetic pole forces experts to update model that aids global navigation.
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Something strange is going on at the top of the world, a Nature article says.

Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core.

The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move.

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The idea that humans can ever know exactly what the temperature is or was, everywhere on Earth – including the vast oceans – all the time, is amusing but not much else.

Science Matters

Reification is the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness. It is a mental process by which someone comes to believe that an abstraction (idea or concept) is a material, physical object in the real world. Mike Hulme observes that many people are obsessing over global temperatures, not realizing they are abstractions and not things to be feared. He provides calm and sensible views regarding global temperature reporting. The post at his blog is Climatism and the Reification of Global Temperature. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Over the last 40 years global-mean surface air temperature – ‘global temperature’ for short – has gained an extraordinary role in the science, politics and public discourse of climate change. What was once a number crudely calculated through averaging together a few dozen reasonably well-spaced meteorological time series, has become reified as an objective entity that simultaneously measures Earth System behaviour, reveals the future, regulates…

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Iceland’s Katla volcano [image credit: icelandmonitor]


Precision measurements show that sub-glacial volcanoes have been greatly underestimated as an ongoing source of carbon dioxide emissions. When will they re-do the calculations?
H/T Warwick Hughes

Recent research suggests the volume of volcanic CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere is far greater than previously thought, challenging man-made warming, says ClimateChangeDispatch.

The cornerstone principle of the global warming theory, anthropogenic global warming (AGW), is built on the premise that significant increases of modern era human-induced CO2 emissions have acted to unnaturally warm Earth’s atmosphere.

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How constant is the “solar constant?”

Posted: September 19, 2018 by oldbrew in Analysis, data, IPCC, Measurement
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Well…it’s complicated. The available data is less than perfect, but the ‘natural variation option’ (so to speak) is still on the table.

Andy May Petrophysicist

The IPCC lowered their estimate of the impact of solar variability on the Earth’s climate from the already low value of 0.12 W/m2 (Watts per square-meter) given in their fourth report (AR4), to a still lower value of 0.05 W/m2 in the 2013 fifth report (AR5), the new value is illustrated in Figure 1. These are long term values, estimated for the 261-year period 1750-2011 and they apply to the “baseline” of the Schwabe ~11-year solar (or sunspot) cycle, which we will simply call the “solar cycle” in this post. The baseline of the solar cycle is the issue since the peaks are known to vary. The Sun’s output (total solar irradiance or “TSI”) is known to vary at all time scales (Kopp 2016), the question is by how much. The magnitude of short-term changes, less than 11 years, in solar output are known relatively accurately, to better…

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Screenshot from NASA video


The reporter here is obviously sold on endless warming of planet Earth, but ignoring the propaganda, there are some technical details of the mission which is due to last three years but could be extended up to ten. NASA says: ‘The ICESat-2 laser will pulse 10,000 times a second; each pulse will release about 20 trillion photons. Only about a dozen photons hit Earth’s surface and return to the satellite.’

NASA is poised to launch Saturday its most advanced space laser ever, ICESat-2, a $1 billion dollar mission to reveal the depths of the Earth’s melting ice as the climate warms, says Phys.org.

The half-ton satellite, about the size of a smart-car, is scheduled to blast off atop a Delta II rocket on September 15 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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The Sun Watcher and the Dragon 

Posted: December 16, 2017 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Measurement, research, Solar physics
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TSIS-1 heading for the ISS [image credit: NASA]


In these times of unusually low sunspot activity, it’s more important than ever to get the best possible data about solar irradiance, using the latest technology – and here it is.

A new solar irradiance sensor is headed for the International Space Station, NASA reports.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on December 15, 2017, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket carried a SpaceX Dragon laden with 4,800 pounds of research equipment, cargo, and supplies for the International Space Station.

Amidst the research equipment is the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1), a Sun-watching sensor that will measure how much solar energy reaches Earth (total solar irradiance) and how that energy is distributed across the electromagnetic spectrum (spectral solar irradiance).

The measurements are critical to understanding Earth’s energy budget, climate change, and how small variations in the Sun’s output can change the way energy circulates through Earth’s atmosphere.

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Credit: Environment Canada


Whether this tells us anything about long-term climate trends is not clear, but worth a mention anyway. The report from Phys.org states: ‘Scientists said the smaller ozone hole extent in 2016 and 2017 is due to natural variability and not a signal of rapid healing’.

Measurements from satellites this year showed the hole in Earth’s ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September was the smallest observed since 1988, scientists from NASA and NOAA announced today.

According to NASA, the ozone hole reached its peak extent on Sept. 11, covering an area about two and a half times the size of the United States – 7.6 million square miles in extent – and then declined through the remainder of September and into October.

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Star KIC 8462852 in infrared (2MASS survey) and ultraviolet (GALEX) [credit: NASA]


One observer commented about “Tabby’s Star” that ‘every explanation that doesn’t involve aliens has some sort of problem’. Its nickname is the WTF star, reports Phys.org.

Round 5 a.m. on a Tuesday this past May, Tabetha “Tabby” Boyajian sat staring at a laptop, cross-legged on her couch in the living room of her Baton Rouge, La., home. The coffee table was cluttered with the artifacts of an all-nighter: an empty wine glass to calm her nerves alongside an empty coffee mug to fuel her through the night.

Since midnight, Boyajian had been downloading and analyzing data from the Las Cumbres telescopes—two on Maui, Hawaii, and two more on the Spanish island of Tenerife off the coast of West Africa—that sat trained on an F-type star, bigger and hotter than the sun, near the constellation Cygnus.

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