Archive for the ‘research’ Category


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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Australian coral [image credit: heraldsun.com.au]


Another setback for know-it-all climate alarmism, but a win for resilient nature.

For the first time ever, scientists have found corals that were thought to have been killed by heat stress have recovered, a glimmer of hope for the world’s climate change-threatened reefs, says Phys.org.

The chance discovery, made by Diego K. Kersting from the Freie University of Berlin and the University of Barcelona during diving expeditions in the Spanish Mediterranean, was reported in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday.

Kersting and co-author Cristina Linares have been carrying out long-term monitoring of 243 colonies of the endangered reef-builder coral Cladocora caespitosa since 2002, allowing them to describe in previous papers recurring warming-related mass mortalities.

“At some point, we saw living polyps in these colonies, which we thought were completely dead,” Kersting told AFP, adding it was a “big surprise.”

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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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We like to see a few bold predictions here at the Talkshop, even if they expect things to be ‘average’, but as these go out to ten years ahead we’ll add them to the (imaginary) list. The current very low solar minimum could be a wild card.

In a new study, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) show that the average March precipitation, over the next ten years in western Europe is predictable using a novel method, says Phys.org.

The research team also issued a forecast for the coming years.

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Venus


The article here notes that: ‘The atmosphere of Venus – which is mostly carbon dioxide – is extremely dense and hot; atmospheric pressure on Venus’ surface is some 90 times that of Earth.’ An extremely dense atmosphere with enormous atmospheric pressure is always going to be hot, regardless of its composition. Just a thought, but maybe it needs a lot of convection (wind) to offset the heat.

Why does Venus’ upper atmosphere circle the planet in just 4 Earth-days, while the planet itself takes 243 Earth-days to spin once?

Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft probed the mysterious “super-rotation” of Venus’ clouds, reports EarthSky.org.

The spacecraft – aka the Venus Climate Orbiter – got off a rocky start but has been sending back useful data from Venus for several years now.

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Thanks to Ian Wilson for introducing us to his new paper, which is part three of the planned four-part series. The paper can be downloaded from The General Science Journal here. Abstract below.

Abstract

The best way to study the changes in the climate “forcings” that impact the Earth’s mean atmospheric temperature is to look at the first difference of the time series of the world-mean temperature, rather than the time series itself.

Therefore, if the Perigean New/Full Moon cycles were to act as a forcing upon the Earth’s atmospheric temperature, you would expect to see the natural periodicities of this tidal forcing clearly imprinted upon the time rate of change of the world’s mean temperature.

Using both the adopted mean orbital periods of the Moon, as well as calculated algorithms based upon published ephemerides, this paper shows that the Perigean New/Full moon tidal cycles exhibit two dominant periodicities on decadal time scales.

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Himalayan region


The report says: ‘Many scientists believe that ocean acidification from high carbon dioxide levels will reduce the calcium carbonate in algae, especially in the near future. The data, however, suggest the opposite occurred over the 15 million years before the current global warming spell.’ Evidence meets ‘greenhouse gas’ based climate theory, which struggles. Time for a re-think?

A key theory that attributes the climate evolution of the Earth to the breakdown of Himalayan rocks may not explain the cooling over the past 15 million years, according to a Rutgers-led study.

The study in the journal Nature Geoscience could shed more light on the causes of long-term climate change, says Phys.org.

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Sunspots [image credit: NASA]


Here it’s claimed that the model matches the observations, which is surely a good start in any research. With a deep solar minimum now in progress, theorists should have plenty of new data to work with.

For 400 years people have tracked sunspots, the dark patches that appear for weeks at a time on the sun’s surface, says Phys.org.

They have observed but been unable to explain why the number of spots peaks every 11 years.

A University of Washington study published this month in the journal Physics of Plasmas proposes a model of plasma motion that would explain the 11-year sunspot cycle and several other previously mysterious properties of the sun.

“Our model is completely different from a normal picture of the sun,” said first author Thomas Jarboe, a UW professor of aeronautics and astronautics. “I really think we’re the first people that are telling you the nature and source of solar magnetic phenomena—how the sun works.”

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Arctic sea ice [image credit: cbc.ca]


This time researchers plan to get stuck on purpose, unlike several earlier notoriously over-ambitious climate-themed ship fiascos in the supposedly ‘vanishing’ polar sea ice in recent years, like this one. With such a massive budget this time, what could possibly go wrong? (That’s rhetorical of course.)

It’s being described as the biggest Arctic science expedition of all time, says BBC News.

The German Research Vessel Polarstern is about to head for the far north where it intends to drift in the sea-ice for an entire year.

Hundreds of scientists will visit the ship in that time to use it as a base from which to study the climate.

The MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) project is expected to cost about €130m (£120m/$150m).

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In 24 out of 34 cases anyway, which is said to be better than existing methods.

A trio of researchers from Chonnam National University, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has found that a deep learning convolutional neural network was able to accurately predict El Niño events up to 18 months in advance, reports Phys.org.

In their paper published in the journal Nature, Yoo-Geun Ham, Jeong-Hwan Kim and Jing-Jia Luo, describe their deep learning application, how it was trained and how well it worked in predicting El Niño events.

El Niño-Southern Oscillation events are periods during which water warms above normal temperatures in tropical parts of the Pacific. When that warm water moves east, it leads to more rainfall and other weather events, such as hurricanes, in the Americas, and less rain in Australia and Indonesia.

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Ian Wilson: Solving this week’s trade winds puzzle

Posted: September 18, 2019 by oldbrew in research, weather, wind
Tags:

Credit: Ian Wilson


Researcher and Talkshop contributor Ian Wilson writes:

The Easterly Trade Winds Over the Equatorial Pacific Ocean Have Disappeared Over the Last 5 Days or So!

If you want to find out why, go to his own blog post: here.
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The trail of clues goes on from there!

The grand cliffs of the island of São Jorge, formed by fissural volcanism. [Credit: Azores @ Wikipedia]


New research suggests that ‘the composition of Earth’s entire mantle may differ from current thinking’. More work for theorists beckons.

What is the chemical composition of the Earth’s interior?

Because it is impossible to drill more than about ten kilometres deep into the Earth, volcanic rocks formed by melting Earth’s deep interior often provide such information, says Phys.org.

Geochemists at the Universities of Münster (Germany) and Amsterdam (Netherlands) have investigated the volcanic rocks that build up the Portuguese island group of the Azores.

Their goal: gather new information about the compositional evolution of the Earth’s mantle, which is the layer roughly between 30 and 2,900 kilometres deep inside the Earth.

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Image credit: NASA


But why so? ‘No theories so far’ seems to be the real meaning behind the quote ‘for reasons that are not yet fully understood’. One of the few clues is that such strikes tend to be over water, and mainly in specific areas e.g. the Mediterranean.

The lightning season in the Southeastern U.S. is almost finished for this year, but the peak season for the most powerful strokes of lightning won’t begin until November, according to a newly published global survey of these rare events.

A University of Washington study maps the location and timing of “superbolts”—bolts that release electrical energy of more than 1 million Joules, or a thousand times more energy than the average lightning bolt, in the very low frequency range in which lightning is most active, reports Phys.org.

Results show that superbolts tend to hit the Earth in a fundamentally different pattern from regular lightning, for reasons that are not yet fully understood.

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Wild geese take climate action

Posted: September 5, 2019 by oldbrew in climate, Natural Variation, research
Tags: ,

Image credit: Jasper Koster / Phys.org


But is there a twist to this tale? From the research article we learn this:
‘The geese spend the winter and spring on the Solway Firth, United Kingdom. They utilize areas in Norway for spring staging, and breed on the high‐arctic archipelago of Svalbard (Figure 1; Owen & Black, 1999). Recently, a small but increasing number of barnacle geese spend the pre‐migratory period on the Solway before heading directly towards Svalbard (LG, unpublished), which was disregarded in the current study due to a lack of quantitative data.’

Why are they now – apparently at least – staying longer on the Solway (south coast of Scotland) in the spring and bypassing their ‘spring stage’ in Norway? As Dutch researchers asked two years ago: Can barnacle geese predict the climate?
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Migratory animals are actively adjusting their traditions to climate change, new research has found.

An international team of researchers from the University of St. Andrews, with Norwegian, Dutch and British colleagues, found that barnacle geese have shifted their migratory route within the last 25 years, reports Phys.org.

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Antarctica


The lead oceanographer in this research says: “The deep oceans have been warming across much of the world for decades, so we were surprised to suddenly see this trend reversing and stabilizing in the Scotia Sea.”
Carbon dioxide up, warming down – surprising to some it seems.

The supply of dense Antarctic water from the bottom of the ocean to the Atlantic has declined in recent years, says Phys.org.

However, a new study explains for the first time how since 2014 this has stabilized and slightly recovered due to the variability in upstream dense waters, with implications for the global climate.

The study, led by British Antarctic Survey, is published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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Credit: UN/WWAP


The report says the productivity of the new water harvester is ’10 times that of the previous device and 100 times higher than the early proof-of-concept device’, and that ‘no traces of metal or organics have been found in the water’.

In 2017, UC Berkeley chemists demonstrated that a new MOF design could rapidly adsorb water from even dry air, allowing it to be condensed and collected for drinking, reports TechXplore

A second-generation MOF can now cycle through adsorption and desorption in 20 minutes, allowing continous collection of more than a liter per day per kilogram of MOF using solar power.

The new MOF is the basis of a planned microwave-sized device that delivers 7-10 liters per day.

With water scarcity a growing problem worldwide, University of California, Berkeley, researchers are close to producing a microwave-sized water harvester that will allow you to pull all the water you need directly from the air—even in the hot, dry desert.

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Ex-drone, somewhere in Siberia


Incontinent pigeons could be the least of pedestrians’ worries if any of these headline-seeking flights of fancy come to fruition. Election soon?

Funding will support new technologies including electric passenger planes, flying urban taxis and freight-carrying drones, says Energy Live News.

Up to £300 million of investment has been announced for the development of cleaner and greener forms of transport in Britain.

The government will provide £125 million of funding, which will be supported by industry co-investment of up to £175 million for new technologies including electric passenger planes, flying urban taxis and freight-carrying drones.

It is part of a new Future of Flight Challenge announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation.

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Natural gas flare {credit: Wikipedia]


As we already knew from elsewhere in the solar system, fossils are not essential for the production of methane aka natural gas. Only two ingredients are needed, one being water, as explained below.

New research from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) published Aug. 19, 2019, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science provides evidence of the formation and abundance of abiotic methane—methane formed by chemical reactions that don’t involve organic matter—on Earth and shows how the gases could have a similar origin on other planets and moons, even those no longer home to liquid water.

Researchers had long noticed methane released from deep-sea vents, says Phys.org. But while the gas is plentiful in the atmosphere where it’s produced by living things, the source of methane at the seafloor was a mystery.

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Intertropical Convergence Zone [image credit: University of New Mexico]


A key finding of this research concerns the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The researchers report ‘southward mean positions of ITCZ during the early Medieval Warm Period and the Current Warm Period in the central Indo-Pacific.’ This seems to contradict claims, repeated recently, that the MWP was confined to northern parts of the European and American continents, or at least was not global. But the ITCZ is a global phenomenon, which in turn suggests any recent warming (CWP) could have similar origins to the MWP – surely a somewhat inconvenient proposition for man-made greenhouse gas theorists. Remember this Climategate story – ‘We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period’?

Rainfall variations in the tropics not only potentially influence 40% of the world’s population and the stability of the global ecosystem, but also the global hydrologic cycle and energy balance, says Phys.org.

Beginning in the 20th century, a decline in northern tropical rainfall has been observed, with researchers unsure whether the decline stems from natural or anthropogenic causes.

New rainfall research has shed some light on this question, but left the final answer up in the air.

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