Archive for the ‘research’ Category

Saturn seen across a sea of methane on Titan by Huygens probe 2005


Not sure they mean Earth also has eerie lakes – apart from Lake Erie perhaps. Titan, billed here by a researcher as ‘the most interesting moon in the solar system’, has some observed similarities with Earth, plus some quirks of its own.

There’s one other place in the solar system where liquid rains, evaporates, and seeps into the surface to create deep lakes: Saturn’s moon Titan, says Tech Times.

In this alien world, the Earth-like hydrologic cycle does not take place with water, but with liquid methane and ethane. In Titan’s ultra-cold environment, these gases behave just like water.

Two new papers published in the journal Nature Astronomy detailed the findings of the concluded Cassini mission, particularly the details on Titan’s lakes and their composition.

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Coral reef [image credit: Toby Hudson / Wikipedia]


Researchers call it ‘an important counterpoint’ to some of the negative reports about coral bleaching, which are often used to promote climate alarm. At least some of the usual doom and gloom is overdone, to say the least.

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and engineers at UC San Diego have used new imaging software to detect dramatic recovery after a bleaching event on the reefs surrounding remote Palmyra Atoll in the tropical Pacific, reports Phys.org

The research was published April 5 in Coral Reefs.

In 2015, Palmyra experienced its warmest water in recorded history, prompting a widespread bleaching event that affected over 90 percent of the corals surrounding the island.

Researchers found that despite the widespread bleaching, most of the corals recovered, with less than 10 percent dying.

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As the professor quoted below says: “Despite over 250 years of research, how lightning begins is still a mystery.” Tesla had a few ideas though (video).

In a first-of-its-kind observation, researchers from the University of New Hampshire Space Science Center have documented a unique event that occurs in clouds before a lightning flash happens, says Phys.org.

Their observation, called “fast negative breakdown,” documents a new possible way for lightning to form and is the opposite of the current scientific view of how air carries electricity in thunderstorms.

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Credit: British Antarctic Survey


The EPICA ice cores clearly showed CO2 lagging behind temperature increases – probably by centuries. But observed effects aren’t supposed to precede alleged causes.

European scientists from 10 countries have spent years scouring the Antarctic ice sheet with one ambition in mind: to drill for the oldest-ever ice core.

Now, they have zeroed in on just the spot says IFL Science.

The team have chosen Little Dome C – one of the coldest, most barren places on Earth. For the next five years, they will drill for a 1.5-million-year-old ice core – a frozen timepiece of Earth’s climatic past.

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Coronal rain [image credit: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory]


We’re told “The physics is literally the same” for the Earth’s rain and the Sun’s plasma showers, except that on the Sun the scale is much bigger than the entire Earth.

It’s one of the most enduring mysteries of the Sun: why the superheated surface of this great ball of glowing plasma is actually cooler than its outer atmosphere, called the corona.

Scientists now have a new explanation for this hotly debated topic says ScienceAlert, and the answer was hidden in a strange solar phenomenon that’s never been observed quite like this before: a deluge of plasma rain falling within newly discovered magnetic structures called Raining Null Point Topologies.

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1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damage [image credit: H.G. Wilshire, U.S. Geological Survey]


Smaller quakes seem to have taken over, for the time being at least. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 in Northern California had a magnitude of 6.9 but was not considered to be ‘major’, despite some deaths and billions of dollars worth of damage.

There have been no major ground rupturing earthquakes along California’s three highest slip rate faults in the past 100 years, reports ScienceDaily.

A new study concludes that this current ‘hiatus’ has no precedent in the past 1000 years.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers Glenn Biasi and Kate Scharer analyzed long paleoseismic records from the San Andreas, San Jacinto and Hayward Faults for the past 1000 years, to determine how likely it might be to have a 100-year gap in earthquakes across the three faults.

They found that the gap was very unlikely — along the lines of a 0.3% chance of occurring, given the seismic record of the past 1000 years.

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


Another aspect of natural variability in weather and climate patterns emerges.

A new study led by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory researcher Suzana Camargo and Université du Québec à Montréal’s Francesco Pausata provides deeper insight into how large volcanic eruptions affect hurricane activity, says Phys.org.

Previous studies could not clearly determine the effects of volcanic eruptions on hurricanes, because the few large volcanic eruptions in the last century coincided with El Niño-Southern Oscillation events, which also influence hurricane activity.

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Credit: PAR @ Wikipedia


This looks significant, pointing directly at solar influences on climate patterns. The researchers found evidence that atmosphere-ocean coupling can amplify the solar signal, having detected that wind anomalies could not be explained by radiative considerations alone.

An international team of researchers from United Kingdom, Denmark, and Germany has found robust evidence for signatures of the 11-year sunspot cycle in the tropical Pacific, reports Phys.org.

They analyzed historical time series of pressure, surface winds and precipitation with specific focus on the Walker Circulation—a vast system of atmospheric flow in the tropical Pacific region that affects patterns of tropical rainfall.

They have revealed that during periods of increased solar irradiance, the trade winds weaken and the Walker circulation shifts eastward.

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Solar flare erupting from a sunspot [image credit: space.com]


Another of the sun’s secrets comes into view.

The sun’s magnetic field is ten times stronger than previously believed, new research from Queen’s University Belfast and Aberystwyth University has revealed.

The new finding was discovered by Dr. David Kuridze, Research Fellow at Aberystwyth University, reports Phys.org.

Dr. Kuridze began the research when he was based at Queen’s University Belfast and completed it when he moved to Aberystwyth University in 2017. He is a leading authority on the use of ground-based telescopes to study the sun’s corona, the ring of bright light visible during a total eclipse.

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Credit: NASA – GISS


Showing once again that significant warming and cooling are normal features of the global climate over thousands of years and longer. We could speculate whether this particular research might be linked to the de Vries cycle.

The warm waters of the Gulf Stream flow up along the east coast of North America, moderating the climate of vast areas of northern and western Europe, says Phys.org.

Once the Gulf Stream gets far enough north, the warm waters cool.

As they cool, they sink and start flowing south, forming what scientists call the North Atlantic Deep Water.

Nick Balascio explained that the Gulf Stream/Deep Water system is known as the AMOC, or Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

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The ability to recognize patterns in Earth’s behaviour by sifting through masses of geological data could be programmed into machines.

Scientists seeking to understand Earth’s inner clockwork have deployed armies of sensors listening for signs of slips, rumbles, exhales and other disturbances emanating from the planet’s deepest faults to its tallest volcanoes.

“We measure the motion of the ground continuously, typically collecting 100 samples per second at hundreds to thousands of instruments,” said Stanford geophysicist Gregory Beroza. “It’s just a huge flux of data.”

Yet scientists’ ability to extract meaning from this information has not kept pace, reports Phys.org.

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Pairs or multiple systems of stars which orbit their common center of mass. If we can measure and understand their orbital motion, we can estimate the stellar masses.

How does this work? The two massive stars in question are orbiting each other at a distance of 180 AU (astronomical units), six times greater than that of Neptune to the Sun. Each orbit may take nearly 600 years.

Scientists from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research in Japan, Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and the University of Virginia in the USA and collaborators have made observations of a molecular cloud that is collapsing to form two massive protostars that will eventually become a binary star system, reports Phys.org.

While it is known that most massive stars possess orbiting stellar companions it has been unclear how this comes about—for example, are the stars born together from a common spiraling gas disk at the center of a collapsing cloud, or do they pair up later by chance encounters in a crowded star cluster.

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Desalination in California


As usual with these types of experiment, nothing can be assumed unless or until the tests of economic and industrial viability have been passed. They say the electrode ‘is able to go more than a thousand hours’ but that’s still only a few weeks. Storage and management of hydrogen is known to be tricky and expensive compared to most other fuels.

Stanford researchers have devised a way to generate hydrogen fuel using solar power, electrodes and saltwater from San Francisco Bay, reports Phys.org.

The findings, published March 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate a new way of separating hydrogen and oxygen gas from seawater via electricity.

Existing water-splitting methods rely on highly purified water, which is a precious resource and costly to produce.

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Solar tsunami can trigger the sunspot cycle

Posted: March 17, 2019 by oldbrew in Cycles, research
Tags: ,

Sunspots [image credit: NASA]


Something else for solar theorists to ponder. The researchers say: ‘We have demonstrated here a physical mechanism, the solar tsunami, which gives birth to the new cycle’s sunspots precisely within a few weeks from the cessation of old cycle’s spots.’

According to the model, the next sunspot cycle can be expected to begin in 2020, says The Hindu.

It is believed that the “solar dynamo” — a naturally occurring generator which produces electric and magnetic fields in the sun — is linked to the production of sunspots.

What kick-starts the 11-year sunspot cycle is not known. Now, a group of solar physicists suggests that a “solar tsunami” is at work that triggers the new sunspot cycle, after the old one ends.

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Glacier in Patagonia


The latest Ice Ages theory rolls off the production line. This one relies on ‘pulling enough carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere’, so we can see how they’re thinking. A possible problem there is that historical data from ice cores usually show carbon dioxide changes following temperature changes by a few hundred years, which seems to contradict the findings here. It’s the old chicken and egg conundrum – effects can’t precede causes. An important part of the carbon cycle is ocean outgassing of CO2 (response to warming) and absorption (response to cooling).

Over the last 540 million years, the Earth has weathered three major ice ages—periods during which global temperatures plummeted, producing extensive ice sheets and glaciers that have stretched beyond the polar caps.

Now scientists at MIT, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of California at Berkeley have identified the likely trigger for these ice ages, reports Phys.org.

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Impact [image credit: karbalion.com]


This time, unusually, the new Younger Dryas evidence is from way below the equator, which they believe shows that ‘the Younger Dryas climatic onset was an extreme global event’.

When UC Santa Barbara geology professor emeritus James Kennett and colleagues set out years ago to examine signs of a major cosmic impact that occurred toward the end of the Pleistocene epoch, little did they know just how far-reaching the projected climatic effect would be, says Phys.org.

“It’s much more extreme than I ever thought when I started this work,” Kennett noted. “The more work that has been done, the more extreme it seems.”

He’s talking about the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, which postulates that a fragmented comet slammed into the Earth close to 12,800 years ago, causing rapid climatic changes, megafaunal extinctions, sudden human population decrease and cultural shifts and widespread wildfires (biomass burning).

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Theorists take another look at the mechanisms that may or may not be important regulators of Earth’s ice ages.

Climate Etc.

by Donald Rapp, Ralf Ellis and Clive Best

A review of the relationship between the solar input to high latitudes and the global ice volume over the past 2.7 million years.

View original post 4,521 more words

China and ‘The Pause’ 

Posted: March 8, 2019 by oldbrew in climate, pause, research
Tags: ,


The pause seems to fit nicely into the gap between two major El Niños.
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Chinese climate scientists: The so-called hiatus in global temperature is illuminating, significant and real.

Chinese climate scientists are clearly off-message, says Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor.

They keep referring to the global warming hiatus which so many scientists and activists – those who shout on twitter and prowl the comment sections of off-colour articles on the subject – know has been trounced and discredited again and again. They clearly ought to have a word with the emerging science powerhouse that is China.

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These types of tech ‘breakthroughs’ tend to have a low survival rate in the real world, so we await any developments – or not.

Bioscience engineers at KU Leuven have created a solar panel that produces hydrogen gas from moisture in the air, reports Science Business.

After ten years of development, the panel can now produce 250 litres per day – a world record, according to the researchers.

Twenty of these solar panels could provide electricity and heat for one family for an entire winter. 

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Spiral galaxy NGC 5457 aka the Pinwheel Galaxy [image credit: European Space Agency & NASA]


OK, that’s not the original title of the article below – but it sounded a bit more interesting from a layman’s perspective 🙂

The rotation of stars in galaxies such as the Milky Way is puzzling, says Phys.org.

The orbital speeds of stars should decrease with their distance from the center of the galaxy, but in fact, stars in the middle and outer regions of galaxies have the same rotational speed.

This may be due to the gravitational effect of matter that we can’t see. But although researchers have been seeking it for decades, the existence of dark matter has yet to be definitively proven and we still don’t know what it might be made of.

With this in mind, the physicists Dmitri Ryutov, Dmitry Budker and Victor Flambaum have suggested that the rotational dynamics of galaxies might be explained by other factors. They hypothesize that the mass of photons, which are particles of light, might be responsible.

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