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23 April 2014

Sutherland Sky: Part V

Today I’m continuing with 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, and Part IV of this series here. In my last post, …

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22 April 2014

Sutherland Sky: Part IV

Today I’m continuing with 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, and Part III of this series here. Today I’m sharing some pictures of SALT, the most …

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21 April 2014

More About The Guy Who Almost Poisoned The Planet (As Seen on COSMOS Sunday Night)

If you saw COSMOS Sunday night, (20 April) then you might be fascinated by the story of Thomas Midgley who invented lead additives for gasoline, and formed the Ethyl Corporation. Neil deGrasse Tyson used the entire episode to tell the story Clair Patterson who discovered the age of the Earth. In doing so, he also discovered that the lead additives in the gasoline were burning slowly poisoning all plant and …

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18 April 2014

Suomi Satellite Night Vision Sees Great Lakes Ice

The CIMMS Satellite blog has posted a fantastic image of the ice cover on the Great Lakes. See my previous post for more info. This is a visible light (not IR) image made by the VIRRS sensor on Suomi is below: (click for full resolution)

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What would the 1906 earthquake look like today?

Today is the 108th anniversary of the devastating M7.8 San Francisco earthquake. As with any “quakiversary” it’s a ripe opportunity for reflection on how earthquake knowledge and engineering have progressed since we learned from that disaster, and to consider how we would fare if faced with the same catastrophe today. One powerful way to consider how modern-day San Francisco would fare in a repeat of the 1906 quake is by …

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Great Lakes Ice Unprecedented? Hardly.

The headline above is on the Huffington Posts front page this evening, and it’s rather misleading. Yes, it’s been a rather cold winter around the Great Lakes and a cold spring has slowed the ice melt as well. It’s really not that big of a deal however, and the claim that this will affect the environment for years is more than dubious. The ice was worse in the cold winters …

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16 April 2014

Arroumd – an interesting rock avalanche in Morocco

In a new paper, Hughes et al. (2014) have shown that there is a the remains of a large rock avalanche at Arroumd in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Dating suggests that this might have been triggered by an earrthquake on a nearby fault about 4500 years ago.

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Can’t Get Enough of Cosmos? Netflix Has 6 Hours of Neil deGrasse Tyson

I have mentioned the lectures you can buy from the Teaching Company before here, and one of those lecture sets is a six lecture series called The Inexplicable Universe, by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s worth the money IMHO, but before you buy it, Netflix has made available this entire series for its customers. That’s a pretty good deal. Now, this series does not have all the flash bang the COSMOS …

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15 April 2014

New Research Shows Asian Soot Cloud Affecting Pacific Storms

A group of researchers from Texas A & M University have a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this week that is getting a lot of attention. Cloud droplets and rain drops need something to form on, and without dust and other aerosols in the atmosphere we would see a lot less of both. Sometimes though, the addition of particulates can cause tiny cloud droplets …

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Boulder blitz

Last week I got to spend a couple of days in lovely Boulder, CO for a meeting (fortunately right before Sunday’s snow). The meeting (which was for the Thriving Earth Exchange’s Advisory Board – keep an eye out for updates!) kept us inside a lot, but the NCAR facility that hosted us has some fantastic views of Colorado’s Front Range and the famous Flatirons. The boulders in the foreground and …

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14 April 2014

Dart River (Te Horo) landslide complex in New Zealand

The Dart River landslide in New Zealand is an unusual case of a complex landslide that has generated valley-blocking debris flows. A new GNS Science report provides the details.

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13 April 2014

Sutherland Sky: Part III

Today I’m continuing with 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 and Part II of this series here. Today I’m going to share some pictures from our visit to the SAAO Visitor …

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11 April 2014

Bet You Did Not Know This

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10 April 2014

Mapping fantasy: The story behind the Game of Thrones geologic maps

Science fiction can be a really cool gateway for sharing science fact. Earth science is imaginative, and can draw on pop culture, like the HBO show Game of Thrones. My graduate school friend and Generation Anthropocene co-producer, Miles Traer, recently brought science fact and science fiction together over this show in a hilariously awesome and super fun project.

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The Most Pervasive Scientific Myth

I’ve written before here about how pervasive the myth is that science is divided about the reality of and the threat of man-made interference with our climate system. It truly is the number one science myth out there. Just by writing this post, I’ll get the usual comments with links to the usual rabid political sites (with unflattering pictures of Al Gore) telling me that thousands of scientists disagree, and …

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7 April 2014

How climate modelers became calendar models

With some trepidation, we knocked on the first climate scientist’s door. Although we’re seasoned science writers at major research institutions, the request we were about to make was far different from our usual ones for interviews or images from field expeditions. We had decided to create a 2014 Climate Models wall calendar, using climate scientists as models, in the belief that humor can be used to deliver serious messages in a less serious, but still meaningful way.

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6 April 2014

Wave Clouds, Contrails, and Sahara Dust

What causes this? Very good website about it here: It was a bit chilly with an onshore sea-breeze, but sparkling early spring sunshine in spite of it being 10° C. I got a decent pic of the Ocean City pier that was damaged by a February nor’easter. Also notice the Jet contrails over the Eastern Mediterranean today. This image from the NASA Terra satellite about 600km up. Dust blowing off …

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Edinburgh: Arthur’s Seat, Salisbury Crags and Hutton’s Section

On the last day of my visit to Scotland, my advisor and her husband (both former UB volcanology folks) took me on a hike to Holyrood Park to visit Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s volcano.

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3 April 2014

Cutting back on refrigerants could drop greenhouse gas emissions

Research published this month in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, calculates the environmental impact of phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, under the Montreal Protocol. The landmark 1987 agreement phased out the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants, like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), leading to increased used of replacements that include HFCs.

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The Melt Begins- Arctic Sea Ice Max Was 5th Lowest on Record

The March Sea Ice Record is downward at 2.6% /decade. The melt season is now extending by 5 days per decade. Most of the ice is very young ice so the melt will likely be rapid, depending on weather conditions.  

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