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21 November 2014

2014 On Way to Hottest Year on Record

My friends at Climate Central produced an excellent video that you should see and share.


20 November 2014

And This Weeks Most Scientifically Illiterate Post on Twitter Goes To…

The Heartland Institute long ago proved that they are not among the scientifically literate, but today they posted a real “LMAO fall in the floor laughing” tweet on their twitter account. Let’s talk about just how preposterous this is, and how it shows an absolute total lack of the ability to reason. So, here are 10 reasons why my little dog Riley has greater critical thinking skills than anyone who …


19 November 2014

Kolmanskop in Pictures

Last month I spent some time in Namibia for work. During one of my days off, I was able to spend some time visiting Kolmanskop. Located in the Namib Desert a few miles outside of the seaside town of Lüderitz, Kolmanskop is a “Ghost Town” that is the remains of a former diamond mining town. Kolmanskop was founded shortly after diamonds were discovered in the region in 1908 and was abandoned …


Fountain of youth underlies Antarctic mountains

Time ravages mountains, as it does people. Sharp features soften, and bodies grow shorter and rounder. But under the right conditions, some mountains refuse to age. In a new study, scientists explain why the ice-covered Gamburtsev Mountains in the middle of Antarctica looks as young as they do.


Teaching Professional Skills… what exactly is a “Doctor of Philosophy”?

True story… student walks in to a faculty member’s office, sees the diploma hanging above her desks and comments, “Wow! For someone that has a degree in philosophy, you certainly know oceanography really well!” What can we learn from this and teach students when they see our diplomas that state we have a “Doctor of Philosophy”?


18 November 2014

Rabenstein, South Tyrol: a great new landslide video (and a quick update on the Mannen landslide)

On Sunday a 20,000 cubic metre landslide occurred at Rabenstein in South Tyrol, Italy. It was captured on a dramatic video.


Seeing with Your Own Eyes- What You Can’t See with Your Own Eyes

This is a pretty amazing video from NASA Goddard. Worth a watch!


17 November 2014

Markagunt: A truly gigantic gravity landslide (2000 cubic kilometres!)

A new paper in Geology describes for the first time the Markagunt gravity slide – a c.2000 square kilometre landslide deposit in Utah, USA that occurred about 22 million years ago.


14 November 2014

Indian Summer For The End of November?

There are growing sign,s that after one more blast of even colder air next week, we will see some much warmer air over the Central and Eastern U.S. as we head into Thanksgiving. Indian summer may be on the way! The forecast below is based on an average of many long-range model runs of the Climate Forecast System. Research shows that an average of model runs provides a more accurate …


13 November 2014

Satellite nightlight images show flood exposure increasing worldwide

More people around the world live in flood-prone regions than did 20 years ago, increasing death tolls and economic damage from floods and the chances that flooding will cause similar losses in the future, a new study finds. The increased concentration of human populations in flood-risk zones could exacerbate an already expected upsurge in flood-related destruction in a warming climate, the researchers report.
The study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Its authors used satellite images to show that a widely used proxy for population—the number of lights seen at night—increased globally along rivers by an average of 1.2 percent each year between 1992 and 2012.


Gypsum casts? You be the judge — UPDATE: Syneresis cracks!

Silurian aged mud cracks feature small lensoidal features: are they casts of ancient gypsum crystals?


Some Really Good Science Journalism

I saw three pieces of REALLY good science journalism today, and (in case you missed one or all three) here they are. I usually give top marks on science journalism to the BBC, but the best reporting (BY FAR) today on the Rosetta Probe and it’s Philae Lander came from MSNBC host Rachael Maddow. Well worth a watch: Next is a piece by my friend Bob Henson (who is trying …


12 November 2014

Backtrack to… Who is our big name in geology, and where’s our show?

Science personalities and television series are popular with the general public in generating excitement and interest in physics, chemistry, biology, space science… but where are the geologists? And where’s our TV show?


Mannen landslide: latest status report

The creep rate of the Mannen landslide in Norway has now declined to 2 mm per day. The risk level has been reduced from red to yellow, but the landslide still requires monitoring


11 November 2014

Scientists Engage With the Public During Lava Flow Threat

On 27 June, lava from Kīlauea, an active volcano on the island of Hawai`i, began flowing to the northeast, threatening the residents in Pāhoa. Eos recently spoke with Michael Poland, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) and a member of the Eos Editorial Advisory Board, to discuss how he and his colleagues communicated this threat to the public.


Review of a paper: The Donghekou landslide in China

A recent paper in Engineering Geology discusses the mechanisms of the Donghekou landslide in China, which killed over 700 people. A strange aspect of the landslide was the formation of fumeroles on the landslide deposit; these are believed to have been the result of oxidation of shales exposed by the landslide


The iPhone 6 Pressure Sensor- It’s REALLY Good

The new iPhone 6 has a pressure sensor, and this may very well be the beginning of a massive increase in atmospheric weather observations. It comes at a time when computer power is making it possible to run numerical weather models at resolutions we’ve only dreamed of in the past. NOAA is already running a model with a resolution of 3km (the HRRR), and the UK Met office just bought …


8 November 2014

Note to National Media- Stop Using the Term Polar Vortex!

In spite of valiant attempts by my fellow broadcast meteorologists to stop it, the so-called polar vortex is back and being blamed for just about everything again. Let me show you why this is dead wrong, and if you see a story in mass media blaming a cold air outbreak on the polar vortex, I can say categorically that it’s wrong. DEAD WRONG. There IS such a thing as a polar …


7 November 2014

A roundup of recent landslide events

An roundup of recent landslides, including an update on the Mannen landslide in Norway, a fatal landslide in Switzerland and a rockslide in Canada that has left a train driver missing


El Nino Threat Diminishing?? Modoki El Nino Coming?

NOAA released an update on the El Nino Southern Oscillation this week, and the odds of an El Nino are down to 58%. One of the main reasons for this is that the atmosphere has not responded to the rather weak warming in the Eastern Pacific. El Nino is not just an ocean warming, it is an ocean atmosphere interaction and so far the atmosphere has just not picked up …