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30 June 2016

Electric forces in desert air create mighty dust storms, study finds

Electric fields in dust storms have been discovered lifting 10 times more dust into the air than winds alone, according to new experiments conducted in the Sahara Desert. The discovery has big implications for global climate studies, as well as for understanding dust storms on Mars.

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29 June 2016

Sol 1386: Curiosity rover studying Trekkopje, checking the wheels

Our drive for the Curiosity rover in the Sol 1385 plan took us 66 meters, continuing our path south between the “Baynes Mountains” and “Helgas Dune.” The plan for Sol 1386 starts off with APXS and MAHLI observations of the target “Trekkopje,” followed by a short science block. Mastcam will start off the block with some atmospheric measurements, then ChemCam will join in the fun and analyze Trekkopje too. Mastcam …

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31 Scientific Societies Send Congress Letter on Climate Change. It pulls no punches.

A letter signed by the directors of over 30 different scientific societies was sent to the Congress this week. The AGU, and the American Meteorological Society, were among the signers. Jason Samenow at the Washington Post has a piece on this as well today. Research by Ed Maibach at George Mason Univ., and others at the Yale Program on Climate Change, indicates that the number of those who dismiss climate …

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A massive secondary landslide in Devdoraki Gorge, Georgia

On 23rd June a massive secondary landslide occurred in the Devdoraki Gorge in Georgia, blocking the main road between Georgia and Russia. The landslide is a reactivation of a landslide deposit left in the river after a major landslide sequence in 2014,

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28 June 2016

Sol 1385: Drive Curiosity rover, then drive some more

Not a lot to report today: these one-sol drive plans are pretty simple! (Well, as simple as driving a giant robot on another planet can be…) Yesterday’s Curiosity rover drive took us a little over 60m and we’re planning another drive in the sol 1385 plan. Before the drive, we have a short science block with a ChemCam observation of the target “Epembe” and a Mastcam mosaic of “Baynes Mountain” …

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Up to 8 Inches of Rain Fall on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

I live here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and we had a severe flood event last night. Nearly 6 inches of rain fell at my house. This comes after my post yesterday about the difficulty in forecasting extreme events like floods. Look below and read what I posted to my local viewers about the event. This area is flat, so we did not have any loss of life, but …

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Climate change causing oceanic boundary currents to intensify and shift poleward

Weather along the eastern coasts of South Africa, Asia, Australasia and South America will get significantly warmer and stormier on average over the next 100 years, a new study finds. The culprit? Climate changes that are causing ocean currents next to these coastal regions, called western boundary currents, to become stronger and extend further toward the poles, according to the new study.

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“Dunbar marble” at Barns Ness, Scotland

Thanks to the website ScottishGeology.com, run by Angus Miller, I learned of Barns Ness, a Mississippian-aged limestone fossil site on the shore not far from where we are staying at Dunbar. We ventured out there on Saturday afternoon, in search of fossils. The presence of the Dunbar Cemenet Works nearby is an indication that this is the most extensive limestone outcrop in central Scotland. I set my field assistant loose …

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New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering report on the Kumamoto Earthquake

The New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering have produced a very nice reconnaissance report on the impacts of the Kumamto Earthquake in Japan with a very nice interpretation of some of the landslides triggered by this important event.

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Using Satellite Data to Forecast Flooding

A lot of folks have a vague idea of how valuable satellite data is for forecasting severe weather. With the launch of GOES R this fall, the data will be nearly real-time, like radar is now, and it will revolutionize forecasting. That said, we already have satellite products that (using the different IR and visible channels) can detect and track water vapor in the atmosphere.  I chair the NWA Committee …

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27 June 2016

Sol 1384: Curiosity Rover at Baynes Mountain

Our weekend Curiosity rover soliday plan was successful, putting us about halfway to our next likely drilling location. We are now in “unrestricted” planning again, meaning we will be getting data down overnight and can plan every day this week.

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Yellowstone hot springs: Upsetting your color scale

I was fortunate enough to spend several weeks in Yellowstone National Park this summer, doing geophysical surveys in hydrothermal areas. I’ll be talking about those elsewhere in a few weeks (keep an eye on the AGU Instagram!), but in the meantime I wanted to show off some of the other excellent features of the park. Fieldwork in Yellowstone – and especially fieldwork with electrical equipment – is at the mercy of …

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Sol 1382-1383: Curiosity Rover observes Phobos Transit and a “Soliday”

Curiosity rover’s contact science in the Sol 1380-1381 plan went well, so we’re back to driving in the weekend plan! Sol 1382 will start with a Mastcam video of Phobos crossing in front of the sun, plus a multispectral observation of the brushed target “Koes.” ChemCam will then analyze the targets “Koes,” “Kongola,” and “Rundu” and Mastcam will document those observations. After that, we will drop off some of the …

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Capping warming at 2 degrees: New study details pathways beyond Paris

Even if countries adhere to the Paris climate agreement hammered out last fall, capping global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Fahrenheit) would likely require net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2085 and substantial negative emissions over the long term, according to an in-depth analysis by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.

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Teen Science Cafés: A vehicle for connecting scientists with high school teenagers

By Michael Mayhew and Michele Hall Teen Science Café s are a free, informal, low-risk way for scientists to share their science with a receptive audience focused on future careers. They are an adaptation of the globally popular Science Cafe model for connecting the adult public with science and scientists. Adaptations of the model include teen leadership to ensure the programs are relevant to teens, discussions of career pathways related …

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Suatisi Glacier Retreat, Mount Kazbek, Georgia

Comparison of Suatisi Vost (SV) and Suatisi Sredny (SS) in 1986 and 2015 Landsat images.  The red arrow is the 1986 terminus and the yellow arrows the 2015 terminus.  Point A and B are to areas of expanding bedrock amidst the glacier.  Suatisi Vost and Suatisi Sredny Glacier are two glaciers on the south flank of Mount Kazbek in northern Georgia.  The region is prone to landslides and debris flows. On …

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26 June 2016

Landslides in Art Part 26: Robyn Collier

Robyn Collier, an artist from New South Wales in Australia, has painted The Landslide, a beautiful image of a rockfall scar in the Blue Mountains

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25 June 2016

A virtual field trip to the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Some of planet Earth’s best examples of basaltic cooling columns are found at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. In this post, explore four different kinds of interactive digital media as a way of experiencing the Causeway virtually, from the comfort of your computer.

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A peat bog landslide in Galway, Ireland

On Thursday night heavy rainfall triggered a peat bog landslide in Galway in the far west of Ireland, blocking a main road.

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23 June 2016

Can a commons design-pattern lexicon show open-science to its destination?

After more than a decade of discussion and argument, the international open-science effort is looking for a roadmap to that single destination where it can consolidate its gains and allow science to reboot itself as entirely open. Several groups are calling for an integrative scholarly commons, where open-science objects—from ideas to published results—can be grown, shared, curated, and mined for new knowledge.

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