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28 May 2015

Scientists should speak simply to other scientists, too

By Ilissa Ocko The canonical rule of thumb for scientists speaking to nonscientists is to talk as if you were speaking to eighth graders, because a lay audience often has a basic, and certainly not specialized, understanding of science – about the same level as an eighth grader. If you want the information to resonate with the non-scientist audience, you have to strip down to the essentials, craft a story, …


Retreat forms Embayment at Kropotkina Glacier in Novaya Zemlya

Kropotkina Glacier is a tidewater glacier on the southeast coast of Novaya Zemlya that drain into Vlaseva Bay.  The glaciers terminate in the Kara Sea and has been retreating like all tidewater glaciers in Novaya Zemlya LEGOS, 2006 .  The map shown below from this project indicate the lack of an embayment in 1952, red dashed line and limited retreat from 1952-1988, with 1988 being the yellow line. Carr et al (2014) identified an …


NASA Earth Observation Satellites See Floods in Oklahoma and Arkansas

These two images from the NASA Terra and Aqua satellites are almost exactly 2 years apart. You can easily see the difference the flooding rains have had in the Arkansas River, especially around Fort Smith. More flooding rains are likely over the next 3-4 days across the Plains of Texas and Oklahoma.    


27 May 2015

NOAA Issues 2015 Hurricane Season Forecast

You cannot learn to forecast something if you do not try, and testing predictions is what science is all about, so with that in mind, here is the hurricane forecast from NOAA for 2015. There is not a lot of skill in these forecasts, but this year we have some help. A growing El Nino (that looks like it may be a strong one) is the major factor in the …


Sol 998: Contact Science at Marias Pass

By Lauren Edgar A short bump on Sol 997 put Curiosity in a great position to investigate a few different rock units in Marias Pass, using the instruments on the rover’s arm.  The 2.5 m drive brings our total odometry to 10,599 m.  With the upcoming solar conjunction (Mars will be on the opposite side of the sun from the Earth, so we can’t communicate with the rover for most …


The sounds and songs of climate data

Have you heard the statement, “any geophysical time series can be represented by music.” Look no further than this blog post to listen to the sounds of climate data over time.


Sol 997: Preparing for contact science

By Lauren Edgar Curiosity spent the weekend characterizing the terrain and bedrock exposed in Marias Pass.  Curiosity drove 33 m further into Marias Pass, bringing our total odometry to 10,596 m.   The drive set us up perfectly to investigate the contact between two different types of bedrock – the underlying Pahrump unit and the overlying Stimson unit. Today’s plan is focused on characterizing the contact in this new location, and …


Wind River Canyon in Wyoming: US20 closed by rockslides and debris flows

On Sunday exceptional rainfall triggered a series of landslides in Wind River Canyon in Wyoming, blocking both US20 and the BNSF railway line


26 May 2015

Mack and Velkena Glacier Retreat Novaya Zemlya 1988-2013

Mack and Velkena Glacier are tidewater glaciers on the northwest coast of Novaya Zemlya that drain into Legzdina Gulf.  The glaciers terminate in the Barents Sea and have been retreating like all tidewater glaciers in northern Novaya Zemlya LEGOS, 2006).  The map shown below from this project indicate the glaciers joined in 1952 and 1976 and separated by less than 1 km in 1988. Carr et al (2014) identified an …


Kali Gandaki: an interesting landslide dam and breach

On Sunday a landslide blocked the Kali Gandaki river in Nepal for about 15 hours before breaching to release a significant flood.


An El Nino connection to the floods in Oklahoma and Texas?

There were more flash floods across the Hill Country of Texas into the eastern part of the state as well on Monday, and a Flash Flood Emergency was declared in the Austin area. Now, look at the sea surface temperature anomalies for the globe right now, with the signs of a developing El Nino (the warm water off south America stretching westward along the Equator), and also note the warm …


25 May 2015

Sols 993-996: A long weekend at Marias Pass

By Lauren Edgar  On Sol 992 Curiosity took a short drive into Marias Pass to get a better look at the terrain ahead.  The 6 m drive on Sol 992 brought our total odometry to 10,562 m.  It also put Curiosity in a great position for targeted science over the long holiday weekend. The 4 sol plan includes some large Mastcam mosaics to characterize the terrain and the contact between …


23 May 2015

My Inner Geek

We have a popular local program where I work at (WBOC in Salisbury Maryland) called Delmarva Life and reporter Sean Streicher asked me to sit down and talk about myself. Sean explored my inner geek and I thought I’d share it here.


22 May 2015

Sol 992: Marias Pass

By Lauren Edgar Curiosity conquered the hill on Sol 991, and we were rewarded with a beautiful view of Marias Pass.  The 22 meter drive on Sol 991 brings our total odometry to 10,556 meters. In today’s plan, Curiosity will acquire ChemCam and Mastcam observations on the targets “Elk” and “Bull” to characterize the bright bedrock and a nearby boulder.  We’ll also take several Mastcam mosaics to document the local …


21 May 2015

Nooksack River: Glacier Runoff Maintains Suitable Aquatic Conditions for Salmon

Sholes Glacier from our runoff measurement station. Glaciers are a critical water resource in the North Cascades of Washington for hydropower, irrigation , municipal supply and aquatic life. In dry summers glaciers play an even larger role in the overall water budget and maintaining suitable aquatic conditions.  The summer of 2015 will pose particular challenges due to the drought emergency that is likely to persist and we will be investigating the …


Soft sediment deformation in sandstone and shale, Bolt Mountain

Two nice new examples of soft sediment deformation structures in Pennsylvanian-aged clastic sedimentary rocks from West Virginia.


Sol 991: Taking the high road

By Lauren Edgar After assessing a few different drive paths to deal with the challenging terrain, the team decided to drive uphill to avoid crossing the ripples near Jocko Butte.  On Sol 990, Curiosity drove 53 m back towards Mt. Shields, which puts our total odometry at 10,749 m.   The goal of today’s plan is to climb uphill towards an interesting geologic contact.  It’s the same contact that we would …


20 May 2015

The timing of the landslide season in Nepal

Using my fatal landslide database for Nepal, I’ve looked at the timing of the landslide season in recent years. The main landslide season starts in late June and runs to early October.


Semester over? Make time for a quick #microadventure

If you only have a short time to recover from the spring semester before you begin your teaching/research this summer, make time for a microadventure!


19 May 2015

Skykomish River, Washington Reduced Minimum River Flow and Glacier Retreat

Fording the outlet of Blanca Lake, headwater North Fork Skykomish River. The focus this spring has been on the developing drought in Washington as a result of record low snowpack, the winter was a record warmth though not dry. The focus of this article is on another component of many alpine watersheds, glacier runoff, both the ameliorating role and their reduced ability as they shrink to augment flow during low …