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1 October 2014

Nobody Lobbies for Geosciences Like Geoscientists

I confess that, if I had my druthers, I would spend my days solely ‘sciencing’—conducting fieldwork in remote places, examining samples in the laboratory, and interpreting data with my graduate students. I am now convinced that geosciences advocacy should be added to my list of regular duties.

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Science haiku to communicate research and more

NOAA is doing it. Even the entire IPCC Report was boiled down to 19 illustrated haiku. Can science-themed haiku be used for education & outreach, or just for fun?

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30 September 2014

Scientists use fiber-optic cables to measure ice loss in Antarctic

Fiber-optic cables like the ones that bring television and Internet into millions of homes are now being used to measure how fast ice shelves in Antarctica are melting, according to new research. Researchers installed moorings containing fiber-optic cables hundreds of meters down into the McMurdo Ice Shelf in West Antarctica to collect temperature information about the base of the ice shelf, where the thick platform of floating ice meets the ocean. The sensors were able to measure mere millimeters of ice loss at the interface, demonstrating that the new fiber-optic method could be used to remotely monitor the ice shelves in real-time.

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Up close and personal with a volcanic eruption

Thorbjorg Agustsdottir, a Ph.D. student studying seismology at the University of Cambridge, had the rare opportunity to witness a volcanic eruption up close when Iceland’s Bardarbunda volcano erupted while she and fellow researchers were servicing seismometer stations around the volcano.

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The Devil In The Climate Change Details

  Greenland is melting, the oceans are warming, the sea is rising (and becoming more acidic), and the Arctic sea ice is in a serious decline (that seems to be faster than predicted). These are all things that those who work in climate science understand and accept. They also accept that they are almost certainly being caused by rising greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Yes, large portions of the public may not …

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29 September 2014

As expedition ends, scientists crack like deep-sea rocks

Amy West is the science writer and outreach and education officer for the JOIDES Resolution, a drill ship operated by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) that is on a two-month expedition studying the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc in the region where the Pacific Plate is descending under the Philippine Plate to form the Mariana Trench and the deepest point in the ocean–the Challenger Deep.

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The Thin Line Between A Nobel Prize and a Straight-Jacket

I’ve written frequently here about conspiracy theories, and it’s something that has long fascinated me (and many meteorologists as well, thanks to the chemtrail folks). I spotted a great piece on the subject today by Katy Waldman in Slate. I must say, that having conversed with these folks in person, and via email for 3 decades, it made a lot of sense to me. So, if you have relative or …

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Cross-country recap, and a brief hiatus

So I’ve made it across the country, and I’m now happily settled in California and getting used to my new job as a postdoc with the USGS! However, being a federal employee means I have different regulations to follow while using social media, so I’m going to be taking a break from blogging while I sort those out. To tide you over, here are some of my favorite photos from the cross-country drive, which was a great (though long) experience.

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26 September 2014

Saharan Dust Storm Below Towering Thunderstorms

Here are the particulars of the image, and what you are seeing from NASA Earth Observatory: More dust blows out of the Sahara Desert and into the atmosphere than from any other desert in the world, and more than half of the dust deposited in the ocean lifts off from these arid North African lands. Saharan dust influences the fertility of Atlantic waters and soils in the Americas. It blocks or reflects …

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Dead Rat Journalism, and The Ethics of Communicating Scientific Uncertainty

  I spent all day Monday (and part of Tuesday) at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, attending a seminar on the ethics of communicating scientific uncertainty. It was hosted by the Environmental Law Institute with funding from the National Science Foundation, and it brought together a diverse group of lawyers, journalists and scientists. I was one of two meteorologists invited (Jason Samenow of the Washington Post being the other) …

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25 September 2014

Sutherland Sky: Part VI – Dwyka Diamictite

At long last, I’m finishing up my series of posts about my October 2013 visit to the small town of Sutherland in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. Sutherland is home to a South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) research station that contains many telescopes, including the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). You can read Part I of this series here, Part II of this series here, Part III of this series here, Part IV of this series here, and Part V of this …

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24 September 2014

Answers To The Climate Questions TV Meteorologists Get Asked The Most

My good friend Meteorologist Paul Gross, at WDIV-TV in Detroit, decided to do something very few on air weathercasters have done: he directly addressed climate change in a station webcast. Paul was my predecessor as chairman of the AMS Committee on Station Science (he actually started the committee), and he and I care deeply about using our positions to give viewers accurate science information. Many on air weathercasters shy away …

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Sunkoshi landslide – reopening the road

Geotechnical engineer has kindly sent some images he took earlier this week when walking along the Arniko Highway past the Sunkoshi landslide. The images show the very poor condition of the highway after te recent heavy rainfall.

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23 September 2014

Santorini: where the Hellenic arc meets the Cyclades

The geologic story of Santorini begins, with some tectonic perspective on the two major aspects of subduction recorded in the island’s rocks.

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Joshua Tree mudslide, California – a very lucky escape for a baby

A baby had a very lucky escape when a mudslide struck the town of Joshua Tree in California last week, washing him away

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22 September 2014

Sea arch in pyroclastic deposits, Santorini, Greece

A series of blog posts on the geology of Santorini and Athens, Greece begins with a look at a sea arch on the south shore of Thera.

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19 September 2014

NOAA: Hottest August On Record. Ocean Temperatures Smash Old Record

The NOAA, National Climate Data Center has released the global summary of temperatures this summer. It was the hottest June-August period on record, and August was also the hottest on record globally. Ocean temperatures were also hottest on record. NASA, and the Japanese Metr. Agency also compile the data (using a slightly different method ), and they also showed record temps. Here is the data from NCDC: Global Highlights The …

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Pulling secrets from deep-sea, drillbit-eating rocks

Amy West is the science writer and outreach and education officer for the JOIDES Resolution, a drill ship operated by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) that is on a two-month expedition studying the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc in the region where the Pacific Plate is descending under the Philippine Plate to form the Mariana Trench and the deepest point in the ocean–the Challenger Deep.

This is her latest blog post about the expedition.

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Moving to the University of East Anglia and two new landslide videos

I have now moved to the University of East Anglia at PVC (RE). To restart blogging, two new landslide videos have been posted, from India and Costa Rica

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18 September 2014

Planetary atmospheres and climate: An interview with Dr. Jonathan Mitchell

Dr. Jonathan Mitchell is Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth & Space Sciences and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA. Dr. Mitchell’s research interests include surface-atmosphere interactions on Titan, superrotating atmospheres, tidal interactions of synchronous satellites, and Earth’s paleoclimate.

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