Posts Tagged ‘baffled scientists’


When they say ‘sudden’ they don’t mean short-lived. The report notes that ‘some of the events, unlike the brief flashes we recognize as solar flares, lasted for one or two years’. Only a handful of these so-called ‘cosmic barrages’ have occurred in the last 9000 years or so, according to the data.
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One of the events was 80 times more powerful than the strongest solar flare ever recorded, says LiveScience.

A series of sudden and colossal spikes in radiation levels across Earth’s history could have come from a series of unknown, unpredictable and potentially catastrophic cosmic events, a new study has revealed.

Named Miyake events after the lead author of the first study to describe them, the spikes occur roughly once every 1,000 years or so and are recorded as sudden increases in the radiocarbon levels of ancient tree rings.

The exact cause of the sudden deluges of radiation, which periodically transform an extra chunk of the atmosphere’s nitrogen into carbon sucked up by trees, remains unknown.

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The conclusions of a recent study are quite blunt: ‘We show that the spatial pattern of observed surface temperature changes since 1979 is highly unusual, and many aspects of it cannot be reproduced in current climate models, even when accounting for the influence of natural variability.’ Hardly inspiring, when such models are being relied upon by governments for radical so-called climate policies.
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Forecasters are predicting a “three-peat La Niña” this year, says Phys.org.

This will be the third winter in a row that the Pacific Ocean has been in a La Niña cycle, something that’s happened only twice before in records going back to 1950.

New research led by the University of Washington offers a possible explanation. The study, recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that climate change is, in the short term, favoring La Niñas.

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As Nasa is reported as suggesting that ‘stronger winds in El Niño years can slow down the planet’s spin’, can we – on the basis of no research at all – nominate La Niña as a suspect here? Just trying to be helpful, as MSN claims: Experts confused after earth spins faster.
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Analysis: Reflecting a recent trend, 29 June was the shortest day on our planet since the 1960s. What’s going on? – wonders The Guardian.
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If time feels tighter than ever of late, blame it on the revolution. On 29 June this year, Earth racked up an unusual record: its shortest day since the 1960s, when scientists began measuring the planet’s rotation with high-precision atomic clocks.

Broadly speaking, Earth completes one full turn on its axis every 24 hours. That single spin marks out a day and drives the cycle of sunrise and sunset that has shaped patterns of life for billions of years.

But the curtains fell early on 29 June, with midnight arriving 1.59 milliseconds sooner than expected.

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Mars from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope


The hunt is now on for the offending ‘missing ingredient’: “Carbon dioxide is a strong greenhouse gas, so it really was the leading candidate to explain the drying out of Mars,” said Kite, an expert on the climates of other worlds. “But these results suggest it’s not so simple.” The article calls this ‘unusual’, but is what it considers usual really so?
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Mars once ran red with rivers, says Phys.org.

The telltale tracks of past rivers, streams and lakes are visible today all over the planet.

But about three billion years ago, they all dried up—and no one knows why.

“People have put forward different ideas, but we’re not sure what caused the climate to change so dramatically,” said University of Chicago geophysical scientist Edwin Kite. “We’d really like to understand, especially because it’s the only planet we definitely know changed from habitable to uninhabitable.”

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When observations show modellers ‘the opposite of what their best computer model simulations say should be happening with human-caused climate change’, it’s surely time to revisit their assumptions. Meanwhile, much head-scratching.
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Something weird is up with La Nina, the natural but potent weather event linked to more drought and wildfires in the western United States and more Atlantic hurricanes, says Phys.org.

It’s becoming the nation’s unwanted weather guest and meteorologists said the West’s megadrought won’t go away until La Nina does.

The current double-dip La Nina set a record for strength last month and is forecast to likely be around for a rare but not quite unprecedented third straight winter. And it’s not just this one.

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Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC]


The obvious conclusion would be that the climate models are wrong, due to application of incorrect climate theory. As usual, researchers cast around desperately for other alternatives, only to find natural variation preventing warming from being global.
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Antarctic sea-ice has expanded over the period of continuous satellite monitoring, which seemingly contradicts ongoing global warming resulting from increasing concentrations of greenhouse gasses, says Phys.org.

In a study, published in Nature Climate Change, an international team of scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and South Korea shows that a multi-decadal swing of the tropical sea surface temperatures and its ability to change the atmospheric circulation across large distances is in large part responsible for the observed sea-ice expansion since the late 1970s.

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Antarctica


The alarmist Guardian’s ‘climate disaster’ turns out to be ‘climate mitigation’, due to the massive snowfall. A so-called heatwave where temperatures reached a chilly 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 Celsius), seems to have fooled a lot of people. The Guardian speculates that ‘climate breakdown could be accelerating’, but seeing what you wanted to see doesn’t always work.
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While researchers say it’s too early to know what role, if any, climate change plays here, the event has their attention because it’s so extreme, says NBC News.

It’s been a strange stretch for the icy desert at the bottom of the world.

In mid-March, temperatures in parts of East Antarctica soared 70 degrees Fahrenheit above average. It was high enough for researchers living there to brave the elements for a bare-chested group photo.

The comparatively balmy temperatures, which reached around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, arrived courtesy of a history-making atmospheric river — a plume of concentrated moisture that flows through the sky.

This one brought an incredible dump of snow in the inner reaches of the ice sheet, something quite rare for the area.

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Credit: NASA


Compensating for the lost time may prove challenging for scientists, says Astronomy magazine. Turning the internet clock back one second implies a repeat of a computer-generated timestamp for example, which might confuse some vital systems not designed to handle that.
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Ever feel like there’s just not enough time in the day? Turns out, you might be onto something.

Earth is rotating faster than it has in the last half-century, resulting in our days being ever-so-slightly shorter than we’re used to.

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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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eclipse_1999

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

Expecting a variable, researchers found a constant.
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From traversing sand dunes in the Sahara Desert to keeping watch for polar bears in the Arctic, a group of solar scientists known as the “Solar Wind Sherpas” led by Shadia Habbal, have traveled to the ends of the Earth to scientifically observe total solar eclipses—the fleeting moments when the Moon completely blocks the Sun, temporarily turning day into night.

With the images, they’ve uncovered a surprising finding about the Sun’s wind and its wispy outer atmosphere—the corona—which is only visible in its entirety during an eclipse, says NASA (via Phys.org).

From more than a decade’s worth of total eclipse observations taken around the world, the team noticed that the corona maintains a fairly constant temperature, despite dynamical changes to the region that occur on an 11-year rotation known as the solar cycle.

Similarly, the solar wind—the steady stream of particles the Sun releases from the corona out across the solar system—matches that same temperature.

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Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC]


Warming, but not global – is the polar see-saw hypothesis in play here? In any case, it seems climate models are falling short again.
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Sea ice in the Southern Ocean defies predictions.

Observations show that ice extent in the Antarctic has been growing slightly, reports The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

Paul Holland, a climate modeler with the British Antarctic Survey, has spent the last ten years studying Antarctica’s sea ice and the Southern Ocean.

Lately, he has been scrutinizing the seasons of Antarctica and how fast the ice comes and goes.

Holland thinks these seasons may be a key to a conundrum: If Earth’s temperatures are getting warmer and sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking fast, why then is sea ice in the Antarctic slowly increasing?

Opposite poles

Sea ice is simply frozen seawater. Although found only in the Arctic and the Antarctic, it influences Earth’s climate in big ways. Its bright surface reflects sunlight back into space. Icy areas absorb less solar energy and remain relatively cool.

When temperatures warm over time and more sea ice melts, fewer bright surfaces reflect sunlight back into space. The ice and exposed seawater absorb more solar energy and this causes more melting and more warming.

Scientists have been watching this feedback loop of warming and melting in the Arctic. To them, Arctic sea ice is a reliable indicator of a changing global climate. They pay the most attention in September when Arctic sea ice shrinks to its smallest extent each year. Measured by satellites since 1979, this minimum extent has been decreasing by as much as 13.7 percent per decade.

Antarctic sea ice, on the other hand, has not been considered a climate change indicator. Whereas Arctic sea ice mostly sits in the middle of land-locked ocean—which is more sensitive to sunlight and warming air—Antarctic sea ice surrounds land and is constantly exposed to high winds and waves.

According to climate models, rising global temperatures should cause sea ice in both regions to shrink. But observations show that ice extent in the Arctic has shrunk faster than models predicted, and in the Antarctic it has been growing slightly.

Researchers are looking much closer at Antarctica, saying, “Wait, what is going on down there?” Holland is one of those intrigued.

“The Antarctic case is as interesting as the Arctic case,” Holland said. “You can’t understand one without understanding the other.”

Minding the models

To Holland, the discrepancy calls parts of the climate models into question.

Continued here.

NASA pdf: https://cdn.earthdata.nasa.gov/conduit/upload/756/NASA_SOP_2014_unexpected_ice.pdf

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The NLCs are playing a game of hide-and-seek this season, bemusing regular observers.

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 8, 2021:

They’re back. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), recently missing, are once again circling the South Pole. And, in an unexpected twist, they’ve just appeared over Argentina as well.

“This is a very rare event,” reports Gerd Baumgarten of Germany’s Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, whose automated cameras caught the meteoritic clouds rippling over Rio Grande, Argentina (53.8S) on Jan. 3rd:

A second camera recorded the clouds at even higher latitude: Rio Gallegos (51.6S). At this time of year, noctilucent clouds are supposed to be confined to the Antarctic–not Argentina. In the whole history of atmospheric research, NLCs have been sighted at mid-southern latitudes only a handful of times.

“Personally, I am thrilled to see NLCs in Argentina, as I had not expected them to occur so far north,” says Natalie Kaifler of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), who operates a lidar (laser radar) alongside one of Baumgarten’s…

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Credit: earth.com


Greetings Earthlings, or should we say ‘habitable-zone-dwelling asteroid dodgers’? We even have the right amount of atmosphere — not too little (like Mars) or too much (like Venus), and the essential oxygen.
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Pure chance is the reason that Planet Earth has stayed habitable for billions of years.

A new study has found that it’s nothing more than good luck that has kept our world full of life, reports I-news.

Scientists at the University of Southampton have carried out a mass simulation of climate evolution of 100,000 randomly generated planets.

Each planet was simulated 100 times with random climate-altering events occurring each time in order to see if habitable life could be sustained for three billion years like on Earth.

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Is it a coincidence that we’re just past the end of the lowest sunspot cycle for over a century?

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 28, 2020: Something strange is happening 50 miles above Antarctica. Or rather, not happening. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which normally blanket the frozen continent in December, are almost completely missing. These images from NASA’s AIM spacecraft compare Christmas Eve 2019 with Christmas Eve 2020:

“The comparison really is astounding,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. “Noctilucent cloud frequencies are close to zero this year.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up from the poles to the edge of space. Water crystallizing around specks of meteor dust 83 km (~50 miles) above Earth’s surface creates beautiful electric-blue structures, typically visible from November to February in the south, and May to August in the north.

A crucial point: Noctilucent clouds form during summer. And that’s the problem. Although summer officially started in Antarctica one week…

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Quote: ‘STEVE is a recently identified atmospheric phenomenon caused by supersonic plasma jets flowing at altitudes >100 km.’ Scientists continue to wrestle with its electromagnetic mysteries.

Spaceweather.com

Nov. 22, 2020: Just when you thought STEVE couldn’t get any weirder. A new paper published in the journal AGU Advances reveals that the luminous purple ribbon we call “STEVE” is often accompanied by green cannonballs of light that streak through the atmosphere at 1000 mph.

“Citizen scientists have been photographing these green streaks for years,” says Joshua Semeter of Boston University, lead author of the study. “Now we’re beginning to understand what they are.”

STEVE is a recent discovery. It looks like an aurora, but it is not. The purple glow is caused by hot (3000 °C) rivers of gas flowing through Earth’s magnetosphere faster than 13,000 mph. This distinguishes it from auroras, which are ignited by energetic particles raining down from space. Canadian aurora watchers first called attention to the phenomenon about 10 years ago, whimsically naming it STEVE; researchers have been studying it ever since.

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Image credit: Elfiehall @ Wikipedia


More unexplained goings-on as the solar wind’s charged particles reach Earth’s ionosphere. For the latest photos showing bright green light, see the source article here.
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The purple-and-green, atmospheric light show nicknamed STEVE just got even stranger, says Science News.

STEVE, short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, is a sky glow that appears south of the northern lights (SN: 3/15/18).

STEVE’s main feature is a mauve band of light formed by a stream of plasma flowing westward through the atmosphere — a different phenomenon from the one that gives rise to auroras (SN: 4/30/19).

But STEVE’s purple arc is often accompanied by a “picket fence” of vertical green stripes.

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Credit: BBC


What weird weather puzzle? Static high or low pressure systems (blocking patterns) are not that uncommon or unusual, but are likely to be pounced on by headline-seeking climate alarmists. And statistics for calendar months (‘wettest February’) are to some extent just arbitrary period selection. Better theories might be at least as useful as fancier computers.
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A top climate scientist has called for more investment in climate computing to explain the UK’s recent topsy turvy weather, reports BBC News.

Prof Tim Palmer from Oxford University said there were still too many unknowns in climate forecasting.

And in the month the SpaceX launch grabbed headlines, he said just one of the firm’s billions could transform climate modelling.

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Credit: Wikipedia


Time for another Tunguska meteor theory.
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When a meteor zooms toward Earth at 45,000 mph with the strength 10-15 megatons of TNT—185 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb—it could possibly take out the entire planet, says Syfy.

If something like that doesn’t scream total annihilation, it’s hard to say what does, except this time it just missed.

Scorched earth and flattened trees were all that was left of the mysterious object after it passed dangerously close to the Tunguska region of Siberia in 1908.

Theories have ranged from a black hole colliding with Earth to a clash of matter and antimatter to an alien spaceship crash-landing. An eyewitness even swore the sky was being ripped in two. But why no crater? No debris?

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Credit: NASA


This BBC link includes a video which shows the weakening of the magnetic field over the last 400 years (under ‘Magnetic flip’ sub-heading).
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In an area stretching from Africa to South America, Earth’s magnetic field is gradually weakening, says Phys.org.

This strange behaviour has geophysicists puzzled and is causing technical disturbances in satellites orbiting Earth.

Scientists are using data from ESA’s Swarm constellation to improve our understanding of this area known as the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly.’

(more…)


Wikipedia says:

Dansgaard–Oeschger events (often abbreviated D–O events) are rapid climate fluctuations that occurred 25 times during the last glacial period. Some scientists say that the events occur quasi-periodically with a recurrence time being a multiple of 1,470 years, but this is debated. —

The 25 occurrences of 1470 years are represented in this synodic chart posted in the comments of our 2018 blog post:
Possible origin of Dansgaard-Oeschger abrupt climate events.

Re. the ‘debate’, let’s take a line from this paper:
On the 1470-year pacing of Dansgaard-Oeschger warm events
Michael Schulz
First published: 01 May 2002
Citations: 99
‘a fundamental pacing period of ~1470 years seems to control the timing of the onset of the Dansgaard-Oeschger events.’

Another study: Timing of abrupt climate change: A precise clock
Stefan Rahmstorf
First published: 21 May 2003

An analysis of the GISP2 ice core record from Greenland reveals that abrupt climate events appear to be paced by a 1,470-year cycle with a period that is probably stable to within a few percent; with 95% confidence the period is maintained to better than 12% over at least 23 cycles. This highly precise clock points to an origin outside the Earth system; oscillatory modes within the Earth system can be expected to be far more irregular in period.

[bold added]

However, researchers often admit defeat when looking for a viable mechanism to explain its regularity, or just say there isn’t one to date.

Kepler’s trigon – the orientation of consecutive Jupiter-Saturn synodic periods, showing the repeating triangular shape (trigon).


Returning to the synodics chart, a relevant number doesn’t appear in it. The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of 19.865~ years is an important period in the solar system, and it returns to almost the same position after every three occurrences, as Johannes Kepler noted with his ‘trigon’, centuries ago.

We can work out the rate of movement per conjunction in degrees:
360 – ((360 / S) * J-S) = 117.147 degrees
(360 / 117.147) * J-S = 61.046482y (‘JS-360’)
[Data: https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?planet_phys_par ]

Then, from the chart:
1470*25 / ‘JS-360’ = 602.00029
Check: (602*360) / 117.147 = 1849.983 (1850 J-S, see chart)
Since ‘JS-360’ is almost exactly a whole number (602), the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction should be in its original position at the end of the 25 D-O cycles.

Adding 602 to the orbits of each planet = multiples of 25:
223(N) + 602 = 825 (25*33) = 1850-1025(S-N)
[33 = 74-41]
1248(S) + 602 = 1850 (25*74)
3098(J) + 602 = 3700 (25*74*2)

Another way to get multiples of 25:
Add 2 to each orbit number (see chart), and subtract 2 from 602.

More on the 602 number:
602 = 14*43
14*61.046482y = 854.651y
43 J-S = 854.197y
These two results are only about half a year apart, and we find:
43*43 = 1849 J-S
Add 1 = 1850 J-S completing the 25 D-O cycle.

43*61.046482y = 2625 years (2624.9987)
1470:2625 = 14:25 ratio
1470*25 = 2625*14 (hence 602 of ‘JS-360’ = 14*43)

Obliquity note:
28 D-O = 41160 years, a fair match to the expected 41 kyr period.
One paper refers to a fit between D-O and obliquity.
Others support the notion of a link — possibly a topic for another post.
(28*25*1470 = 1,029,000 years)

Example of a 1470 year period from Arnholm’s solar simulator — click on image to enlarge:

Showing Neptune, Jupiter, Saturn and Earth.
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Another one — Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn