Archive for the ‘research’ Category

Science under stress?[image credit: thespiritscience.net]


Problems can arise ‘because experiments are not designed well enough to ensure that the scientists don’t fool themselves and see what they want to see in the results.’ For example, it seems ‘up to 85% of all biomedical research carried out in the world is wasted effort’.

Machine-learning techniques used by thousands of scientists to analyse data are producing results that are misleading and often completely wrong, reports BBC News.

Dr Genevera Allen from Rice University in Houston said that the increased use of such systems was contributing to a “crisis in science”.

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Antarctica [credit: Wikipedia]


It’s hard to be too surprised by this news even though it’s well into the Antarctic summer.

A British-led expedition to find the Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, has been defeated by horrendous weather and pack ice – the very conditions that trapped the explorer’s vessel in Antarctica more than a century ago, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The expedition was called off on Thursday after “extreme weather conditions” led to the loss of an autonomous robotic submarine that, it was hoped, would have located the wreck.

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During a total solar eclipse, the Sun’s corona and prominences are visible to the naked eye [image credit: Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be ]


The Sun continues to pose questions for scientists, such as the way solar cycle variability works and the surprisingly intense heat of its corona, compared to its surface.

A team of scientists who collected numerous observations of last summer’s total solar eclipse via telescopes and electronic cameras has used the data to better understand motions within the solar corona, the Sun’s outer atmosphere, says Space Reporter.

Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in Williamstown, MA, who led the team in observing the eclipse in Salem, Oregon, presented their findings to the 232nd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in early June.

His team has observed numerous solar eclipses during various times in the 11-year sunspot cycle.

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Active solar regions
[image credit: NASA/Goddard]


Very interesting, bearing in mind that magnetism is caused by moving electric charges. The corona has frequencies.

New research undertaken at Northumbria University, Newcastle shows that the sun’s magnetic waves behave differently than currently believed, reports Phys.org.

Their findings have been reported in Nature Astronomy.

After examining data gathered over a 10-year period, the team from Northumbria’s Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering found that magnetic waves in the sun’s corona – its outermost layer of atmosphere – react to sound waves escaping from the inside of the sun.

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Topographic map of Greenland


We already knew that, but some of the background climate details were not as scientists had thought. They also claim ‘Medieval warmth was localized’ without offering any evidence, while admitting they aren’t sure what caused the warming. Looks like another attempt to downplay the significance of the MWP.

After reconstructing southern Greenland’s climate record over the past 3,000 years, a Northwestern University team found that it was relatively warm when the Norse lived there between 985 and 1450 C.E., compared to the previous and following centuries, says EurekAlert.

“People have speculated that the Norse settled in Greenland during an unusually, fortuitously warm period, but there weren’t any detailed local temperature reconstructions that fully confirmed that. And some recent work suggested that the opposite was true,” said Northwestern’s Yarrow Axford, the study’s senior author. “So this has been a bit of a climate mystery.”

Now that climate mystery finally has been solved.

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Image credit: NASA


Researchers have an ambition to use ‘new mathematics’ to try and predict where and when these extreme events will occur.

Florida State University researchers have found that abrupt variations in the seafloor can cause dangerous ocean waves known as rogue or freak waves—waves so catastrophic that they were once thought to be the figments of seafarers’ imaginations, Phys.org reports.

“These are huge waves that can cause massive destruction to ships or infrastructure, but they are not precisely understood,” said Nick Moore, assistant professor of mathematics at Florida State and author of a new study on rogue waves.

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We’re told there are patterns which ‘appear to be created by Rossby waves – wiggles in fast-flowing currents of air high in the atmosphere, known as the jet streams.’

An analysis of satellite data has revealed global patterns of extreme rainfall, which could lead to better forecasts and more accurate climate models, reports Phys.org.

Extreme rainfall—defined as the top five percent of rainy days—often forms a pattern at the local level, for example tracking across Europe.

But new research, published today in Nature, reveals that there are also larger-scale global patterns to extreme rainfall events.

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Is the desire to promote climate alarm leading researchers to make mistakes?

Second ocean paper in three months is refuted by independent climate scientist Nicholas Lewis, reports The GWPF.
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A scientific paper, published in Science magazine last week, led to widespread claims that the oceans were warming faster than previously thought, and received media attention around the world.  

But less than a week after the headlines, an independent scientist, Nicholas Lewis, has found that a team led by Lijing Cheng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, had made what he calls important factual errors.

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Another possible factor to consider in the climate cause and effect puzzle.

An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests the cooling effect of aerosols in cumulus and MSC clouds is twice as high as thought, reports Phys.org.

In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their analyses of data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) database and what they found.

Global warming is very much in the news of late, as the planet continues to heat up. But one of the factors at play is very seldom mentioned—the role of clouds in cooling the planet.

They do so by reflecting heat from the sun back into space. But how much of the reflecting occurs due to water in the clouds and how much is due to aerosols?

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Credit: mining.com


A longer delay in the middle of an existing process could be the key to even greater success than is currently being achieved.

Oil companies are missing out on vast sums of recoverable oil in unconventional reservoirs, according to Penn State experts, as Phys.org reports.

The researchers propose that companies are applying tried-and-true transport mechanisms for conventional oil extraction but are hitting recovery stumbling blocks because they are not accounting for the difference in physics found at unconventional reservoirs.

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An artist’s image of a hot-Jupiter exoplanet [credit: NASA]


But they seem to have something in common that scientists were not expecting: their nightside temperature.

New research shows how the nightside of all hot Jupiters is covered in clouds, reports Discover Magazine.

Cloudy Hot Jupiters

“Hot Jupiters” exoplanets that resemble our own Jupiter, except for being, well, hot, have another side to them.

We mean this literally: The planets usually don’t rotate [see Tidal Locking note below], so one side is always facing their star, and the other remains in permanent night.

A new study is suggesting that these night sides probably all look the same, no matter where you go in the universe.

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Credit: planetsave.com


This supports the idea that temperature cycles in the region of 60 years are very likely a common feature of Earth’s climate.

Deploying a new technique for the first time in the region, geoscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have reconstructed the longest and highest-resolution climate record for the Northeastern United States, which reveals previously undetected past temperature cycles and extends the record 900 years into the past, well beyond the previous early date of 1850, reports Phys.org.

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Venus


The researchers say the key to this is a phenomenon closely connected to Earth’s polar jet streams.

A Japanese research group has identified a giant streak structure among the clouds covering planet Venus based on observation from the spacecraft Akatsuki, reports Phys.org.

The team also revealed the origins of this structure using large-scale climate simulations.

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Snow-covered Swiss Alps [image credit: BBC]


We *suggest* the researchers are being wildly over-optimistic here. Snow landing on solar panels and ruining their effectiveness seems like an obvious hazard, for example.
Other practical difficulties in mountainous environments are not hard to imagine either.

A trio of researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has found that solar panels could provide a lot more power for Switzerland than has been previously thought, says TechXplore.

In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Annelen Kahl, Jérôme Dujardin and Michael Lehning describe their feasibility study of solar panel use in mountainous Swiss regions using satellite data.

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The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt – blue = deep cold and saltier water current, red = shallower and warmer current
[credit: NWS / NOAA]


It’s known, or at least believed, that transit times of some ocean waters can be as long as 1,000 years. The researchers are well aware that this exceeds the time since some well-known warming and cooling periods in the Earth’s past, such as the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age.

Whereas most of the ocean is responding to modern warming, the deep Pacific may be cooling, say researchers.

The ocean has a long memory. When the water in today’s deep Pacific Ocean last saw sunlight, Charlemagne was the Holy Roman Emperor, the Song Dynasty ruled China and Oxford University had just held its very first class.

During that time, between the 9th and 12th centuries, the earth’s climate was generally warmer before the cold of the Little Ice Age settled in around the 16th century.

Now ocean surface temperatures are back on the rise but the question is, do the deepest parts of the ocean know that?

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Credit: klimatetochskogen.nu


Climate models are known to have their shortcomings, whether due to use of faulty theories or shortage of computing skills.

H/T The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

Tropical forests store about a third of Earth’s carbon and about two-thirds of its above-ground biomass.

Most climate change models predict that as the world warms, all of that biomass will decompose more quickly, which would send a lot more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

But new research presented at the American Geophysical Union’s 2018 Fall Meeting contradicts that theory.

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Image credit: BBC


These climatic swings (cycles) were in sync with changes in the Earth’s tilt, say the researchers. They therefore believe ice ages are not the primary factor in these swings.

The Sahara desert is one of the harshest, most inhospitable places on the planet, covering much of North Africa in some 3.6 million square miles of rock and windswept dunes.

But it wasn’t always so desolate and parched, reports Phys.org.

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Coal-hungry China [image credit: democraticunderground.com]


Brace for impact: ‘Hotter days will boost Chinese residential electric use’. Are we supposed to weep instead of sleep? The report refers to ‘China’s low-carbon policy’, which must be something other than the one which sees it opening a new coal-fired power station almost every week, and which led to a massive long-term import contract with Russia for natural gas. Who are they kidding?

A new study from Duke University and Fudan University in China is the first to estimate how much Chinese residential electricity consumption would increase due to climate change.

It’s a lot, says Phys.org.

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Hoover Dam


Another headache for the ‘carbon-free’ crowd. When there’s less water in the dams, they have to crank up the power stations. Is a study needed to find this out?

When hydropower runs low in a drought, western states tend to ramp up power generation—and emissions—from fossil fuels, says Phys.org.

According to a new study from Stanford University, droughts caused about 10 percent of the average annual carbon dioxide emissions from power generation in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington between 2001 and 2015.

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Not exactly shock news perhaps, but words like ‘extreme’ and ‘unrealistic’ ought to be embarrassing for those who summoned over 20,000 people from around the world to Poland to spend several days discussing it.

From The GWPF.

London, 20 December: One of Europe’s most eminent climate scientists has documented the main scientific reasons why the recent UN climate summit failed to welcome the IPCC’s report on global warming of 1.5°C.

In a paper published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation Professor Ray Bates of University College Dublin explains the main reasons for the significant controversy about the latest IPCC report within the international community.

The IPCC’s Special Report on a Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5) was released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in advance of the recent COP24 meeting in Katowice, Poland, but was not adopted by the meeting due to objections by a number of governments.

Professor Bates examines some key aspects of the SR1.5 report. He assesses if the IPCC report exhibits a level of scientific rigour commensurate with the scale of its extremely costly and highly disruptive recommendation that carbon emissions be reduced to zero by mid-century.

The paper concludes that such a level of scientific rigour is not present in the report. Specifically, SR1.5 is deficient in scientific rigour in the following respects:

● It departs from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report in conveying an increased sense of planetary emergency without giving rigorous scientific reasons for doing so.

● It fails to communicate to policymakers a considerable body of important observationally-based research evidence that has accumulated since the Fifth Assessment which reduces the sense of a looming emergency.

● It fails to communicate important information made public by climate modellers since the Fifth Assessment regarding the empirical tuning of models to achieve desired results.

The paper concludes that, in view of these deficiencies, the SR1.5 report does not merit being regarded by policymakers as a scientifically rigorous document.

“There is much recent observational and scientific evidence that the IPCC report has failed to include and which supports a more considered mitigation strategy than the extreme and unrealistic measures called for in the SR1.5 report,” said Prof Bates.

Continued here.

About the author
Professor J. Ray Bates is Adjunct Professor of Meteorology in the Meteorology and Climate Centre at University College Dublin. He was formerly Professor of Meteorology at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, and a Senior Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre. In his early career he was Head of Research at the Irish Meteorological Service. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in physics at University College Dublin and a PhD in meteorology at MIT. His PhD supervisor at MIT was Jule G. Charney, chairman of the committee that wrote the 1979 ‘Charney Report’ on the effects of carbon dioxide on climate. Professor Bates has been the recipient of a number of awards for his scientific work, including the 2009 Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal of the European Geosciences Union. He is a former President of the Irish Meteorological Society. He has served as an Expert Reviewer of the IPCC’s Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the Academia Europaea and a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the Royal Meteorological Society.