Posts Tagged ‘planetary’

Apogee = position furthest away from Earth. Earth. Perihelion = position closest to the sun. Moon. Perigee = position closest to Earth. Sun. Aphelion = position furthest away from the sun. (Eccentricities greatly exaggerated!)


Planetary cycles affecting climate. The study title: ‘Two annual cycles of the Pacific cold tongue under orbital precession’. Some real climate change theory to ponder.
– – –
Weather and climate modelers understand pretty well how seasonal winds and ocean currents affect El Niño patterns in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, impacting weather across the United States and sometimes worldwide, says Robert Sanders, University of California – Berkeley (via Phys.org).

But new computer simulations show that one driver of annual weather cycles in that region—in particular, a cold tongue of surface waters stretching westward along the equator from the coast of South America—has gone unrecognized: the changing distance between Earth and the sun.

The cold tongue, in turn, influences the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which impacts weather in California, much of North America, and often globally.

(more…)

Credit: Wikipedia


Interesting, if the suggested predictions work. Tallbloke identified this 13 years ago.
– – –
How long is a day on earth? The obvious answer of 24 hours is accurate enough for many applications, says the Met Office blog.

But for those interested in GPS or deep space, then understanding the fluctuations of about one millisecond in the length of a day can be fundamentally important.

A team at the Met Office, led by Professor Adam Scaife, has calculated that these length of day fluctuations are predictable out to more than one year ahead and this is all to do with predicting the strength of atmospheric winds.

(more…)

Layers of Earth’s atmosphere


Have experts missed a huge tropical ozone hole that has existed since the 1980s? — asks Geographical. Or could it be more a question of definitions?
– – –
In July, an extraordinary research paper, documenting a huge, previously undetected ozone hole over the tropics, prompted a flurry of news stories.

Said to be seven times the size of the well-known ozone hole over Antarctica, the discovery is cause for ‘great global concern’, according to Qing-Bin Lu, a professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and author of the report.

His research suggests that, unlike the Antarctic hole, which only opens in spring, the tropical hole remains open year-round, putting roughly half the world’s population at higher risk from ultraviolet radiation.

Most surprisingly of all, Lu claims that the hole has existed since the 1980s.

(more…)

Jupiter [image credit: NASA]


Even less feasible than permanently changing Earth’s climate with tiny amounts of trace gases, but theorists have ideas to test.
– – –
We have exactly one world, in all the Universe, that we know for a fact to be hospitable to life: ours, says Science Alert.

So when we’re looking for habitable planets in other planetary systems, beyond our own corner of the galaxy, we often use Earth as the perfect template.

But a new study has revealed Earth isn’t as habitable as it could be. In fact, it could be even more livable, if Jupiter’s orbit shifted slightly.

(more…)

.
Next stop: Venus?

Spaceweather.com

August 10, 2022: If you want to detect an earthquake on Venus–good luck. The planet’s surface is hot enough to melt lead, and the atmospheric pressure is crushing. No ground-based seismometer could possibly survive.

What’s an extraterrestrial seismologist to do? Launch a balloon.

Above: Researchers prepare to launch a Strateole-2 balloon with sensors capable of detecting earthquakes from thousands of kilometers away.

A new paper just published in the Geophysical Research Letters reports the detection of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake by a fleet of balloons floating through the stratosphere above Indonesia’s Flores Sea. Onboard infrasound sensors registered acoustic waves rippling upward from the sea surface below, proving that, here on Earth, balloons can be used as seismometers.

“The same technique should work in the atmosphere of Venus,” says Raphael Garcia, the study’s lead author and a planetary scientist at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronatique et de l’Espace of the University…

View original post 368 more words

.
‘Clearly, it is important to study blue jets.’ – Indeed.

Spaceweather.com

August 4, 2022: Seeing one blue jet is rare. Photographer Matthew Griffiths just caught several of them over the Big Bend National Park in Texas. “This is by far the best,” he says:

Above: A blue jet emerges from a thunderhead in Big Bend National Park, photographed by Matthew Griffiths in Marfa, Texas: more.

Griffiths is an amateur photographer, primarily interested in wildlife and the Milky Way. “On July 28th, I was starting a five night West Texas road trip to capture the Milky Way,” he says. “But with thunderstorms in the distance I decided to try for red sprites instead.”

He ended up photographing the sprite’s elusive cousin, the blue jet. First recorded by cameras on the space shuttle in 1989, blue jets are part of a growing menagerie of cloudtop “transient luminous events” such as sprites, ELVES and green ghosts. They are all elusive, but blue…

View original post 291 more words


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.
– – –
Analysis: Reflecting a recent trend, 29 June was the shortest day on our planet since the 1960s. What’s going on? – wonders The Guardian.
. . .
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.

(more…)

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?
– – –
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.”

(more…)

A reconstruction of the Anglian ice sheet in Precambrian North London (credit: BBC / The Natural History Museum, London)


They claim this solves the so-called 100,000 year problem described by Wikipedia:
‘The 100,000-year-problem refers to the lack of an obvious explanation for the periodicity of ice ages at roughly 100,000 years for the past million years, but not before, when the dominant periodicity corresponded to 41,000 years. The unexplained transition between the two periodicity regimes is known as the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, dated to some 800,000 years ago.’ [41,000 years being the approximate obliquity cycle period]

– – –
In a new study published today in the journal Science, the team from Cardiff University has been able to pinpoint exactly how the tilting and wobbling of the Earth as it orbits around the Sun has influenced the melting of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere over the past 2 million years or so.

Scientists have long been aware that the waxing and waning of massive Northern Hemisphere ice sheets results from changes in the geometry of Earth’s orbit around the Sun, says Phys.org.

There are two aspects of the Earth’s geometry that can influence the melting of ice sheets: obliquity and precession.

(more…)

Neptune


Planetary temperature conundrums are not confined to Earth. Nobody foresaw the observed changes that occurred on Neptune between 2018 and 2020.
– – –
An international team of astronomers have used ground-based telescopes, including the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT), to track Neptune’s atmospheric temperatures over a 17-year period, Phys.org.

They found a surprising drop in Neptune’s global temperatures followed by a dramatic warming at its south pole.

“This change was unexpected,” says Michael Roman, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Leicester, UK, and lead author of the study published today in The Planetary Science Journal. “Since we have been observing Neptune during its early southern summer, we expected temperatures to be slowly growing warmer, not colder.”

(more…)

Mercury


Something similar was also detected on Mars a few years ago. One researcher commented: “The sudden intensification of a ring current causes the main phase of a magnetic storm.” Coronal mass ejections from the sun were identified as a cause.
– – –
An international team of scientists has proved that Mercury, our solar system’s smallest planet, has geomagnetic storms similar to those on Earth, says Science Daily.

Their finding, a first, answers the question of whether other planets, including those outside our solar system, can have geomagnetic storms regardless of the size of their magnetosphere or whether they have an Earth-like ionosphere.

The research by scientists in the United States, Canada and China includes work by Hui Zhang, a space physics professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.

Their finding, a first, answers the question of whether other planets, including those outside our solar system, can have geomagnetic storms regardless of the size of their magnetosphere or whether they have an Earth-like ionosphere.

(more…)

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.
– – –
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.

(more…)

Credit: reference.com

Plate tectonics has always been good for a science controversy or two. This one throws some solar-planetary spice into the mix, putting a focus on the Earth-Moon barycentre.
– – –
A study led by geophysicist Anne M. Hofmeister in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis proposes that imbalanced forces and torques in the Earth-moon-sun system drive circulation of the whole mantle, says Phys.org.

The new analysis provides an alternative to the hypothesis that the movement of tectonic plates is related to convection currents in the Earth’s mantle.

Convection involves buoyant rise of heated fluids, which Hofmeister and her colleagues argue does not apply to solid rocks.

They argue that force, not heat, moves large objects.

(more…)


Caption: This data visualization shows the ICON spacecraft in orbit around Earth. The green arrows show the strong, high-altitude winds—known as atmospheric tides—detected by ICON’s MIGHTI wind imager. These winds are not uniform and can be altered by changes in the lower-altitude atmosphere. This, in turn, changes the particle motion high in the ionosphere. Changes in plasma at 370 miles above Earth’s surface was also detected by ICON as shown in red. Magnetic field lines are shown in magenta and turn yellow as measurements of winds detected by MIGHTI (green arrows) influence the direction of plasma (red arrows). Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/William T. Bridgman
===
One researcher said: “We found half of what causes the ionosphere to behave as it does right there in the data”. The hunt is on for the other half. Link includes animations.
– – –
What happens on Earth doesn’t stay on Earth, says Phys.org.

Using observations from NASA’s ICON mission, scientists presented the first direct measurements of Earth’s long-theorized dynamo on the edge of space: a wind-driven electrical generator that spans the globe 60-plus miles above our heads.

The dynamo churns in the ionosphere, the electrically charged boundary between Earth and space.

It’s powered by tidal winds in the upper atmosphere that are faster than most hurricanes and rise from the lower atmosphere, creating an electrical environment that can affect satellites and technology on Earth.

(more…)

.
.
Observing a recurring feature of the Earth’s ring current system.

Spaceweather.com

Nov. 22, 2021: The biggest geomagnetic storm in years erupted this month when a Cannibal CME slammed into Earth’s magnetic field. Auroras spread as far south as California and New Mexico. Upon closer inspection, however, not all of those lights were auroras. Some were “SARs.”

SARs are pure red arcs of light that ripple across the sky during strong geomagnetic storms. Here’s an example from Finland in 2018:

“The SAR was visible to the naked eye for nearly 30 minutes and, after fading a bit, remained visible to my camera for another hour and a half,” recalls photographer Matti Helin.

On Nov 4, 2021, Earth experienced a veritable SAR storm. “We photographed SARs as far south as the McDonald Observatory in Texas,” reports Jeff Baumgardner of Boston University’s Center for Space Physics. “The bands of light swept over our cameras near Boston, then headed south. We knew something special was…

View original post 376 more words

Diagram showing solid-body rotation of the Earth with respect to a stationary spin axis due to true polar wander. [Credit: Wikipedia]

The researchers say their finding ‘challenges the notion that the spin axis has been largely stable over the past 100 million years.’
– – –
We know that true polar wander (TPW) can occasionally tilt whole planets and moons relative to their axes, but it’s not entirely clear just how often this has happened to Earth, says ScienceAlert.

Now a new study presents evidence of one such tilting event that occurred around 84 million years ago – when dinosaurs still walked the Earth.

Researchers analyzed limestone samples from Italy, dating back to the Late Cretaceous period (100.5 to 65.5 million years ago), looking for evidence of shifts in the magnetic record that would point towards an occurrence of TPW.

Bacteria fossils trapped in the rock, forming chains of the mineral magnetite, offer some of the most convincing evidence yet of true polar wander in the Late Cretaceous – and it may help settle a scientific debate that’s been going on for decades.

(more…)

Mars [image credit: ESA]


Wikipedia says: ‘Within the Solar System there are five candidates for Schumann resonance detection besides the Earth: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Saturn’s biggest moon Titan.’ The frequencies reported from Mars in 2009 are also found on Earth.
– – –
The interaction of dust particles in Martian dust storms may cause electric fields that are powerful enough to have charges that induce standing electromagnetic waves known as Sсhumann resonances, reports Phys.org.

This is the conclusion drawn by physicists from HSE University, the Space Research Institute, and MIPT. The paper was published in the journal Icarus.

Mars has been a focus of active study over the last decade, with researchers looking at possible space missions to the planet. Knowledge about the Martian atmosphere increases the chances that such missions will be successful.

In particular, the behavior of dust particles and the plasma-dust system on the surface of Mars should be taken into account in planning space trips.

(more…)

Mars_NASA

Mars [image credit: NASA]

Researchers say this could open the door to prediction of dust storms, which can seriously affect the solar panels of devices sent to investigate distant bodies like Mars. They also suggest such patterns may be common to all planetary atmospheres.
– – –
Annular modes explain much of the internal variability of Earth’s atmosphere but have never been identified as influential on other planets, says Sci-News.

On Earth, the regularity of storm systems in the middle latitudes is associated with what is called an annular mode — a variability in atmospheric flow that is unrelated to the cycle of seasons.

Annular modes affect the jet stream, precipitation, and cloud formations across the planet.

They explain up to one-third of the variability in wind-driven ‘eddies,’ including blizzards in New England and severe storm outbreaks in the Midwest.

In a new study, Yale University researchers Juan Lora and J. Michael Battalio found that annular modes on Titan and Mars are even more influential than they are on Earth.

(more…)

.

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…

View original post 225 more words

EarthspaceScientists previously proposed 26 million year cycles of mass extinctions, but this appears to correct the period. They suggest ‘cycles of activity in the Earth’s interior’ could be behind their new period, but then say: ‘However, similar cycles in the Earth’s orbit in space might also be pacing these events.’ Their study also says ‘a strong secondary signal occurs at a period 8.9 Myr’.
– – –
Geologic activity on Earth appears to follow a 27.5-million-year cycle, giving the planet a ‘pulse,’ according to a new study published in the journal Geoscience Frontiers. Phys.org reporting.

“Many geologists believe that geological events are random over time. But our study provides statistical evidence for a common cycle, suggesting that these geologic events are correlated and not random,” said Michael Rampino, a geologist and professor in New York University’s Department of Biology, as well as the study’s lead author.

Over the past five decades, researchers have proposed cycles of major geological events—including volcanic activity and mass extinctions on land and sea—ranging from roughly 26 to 36 million years.

But early work on these correlations in the geological record was hampered by limitations in the age-dating of geologic events, which prevented scientists from conducting quantitative investigations.

(more…)