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15 March 2017

Properly Communicating Uncertainty Is Just as Important as Making A Good Forecast

There has been a bit of a firestorm in the last 24 hours over an AP report that the NWS decided to stick with its snowfall forecast even after last minute model guidance showed lesser amounts were likely. There’s a story in the Washington Post and Seth Borenstein at the AP broke the story. Here are some thoughts on this based on 37 years of forecasting, and I will say …

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Relativistic electrons uncovered with NASA’s Van Allen Probes

Earth’s radiation belts were discovered over fifty years ago, but their behavior is still not completely understood. Now, a new study finds there typically isn’t as much radiation in the inner belt as previously assumed – good news for spacecraft flying in the region.

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Klippi Glacier Retreat Causes Separation, British Columbia

Klippi Glacier in Landsat images of 1987 to 2016. Red arrows indicate 1987 terminus, yellow arrows 2016 terminus and purple dots the transient snowline.  The glacier beings at 2600 m sharing a divide with Klinaklini Glacier, flowing northwest from Silverthrone Mountain and terminating at  1040 m in 1987. Klippi Glacier drains into the Machmell River, Owikeno Lake and then River Inlet on the British Columbia Coast. The Machmell River is …

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Making a difference with science-based art [Women’s History Month]

Mary Capaldi has found a way to take her passion and talent for science art to make a difference for others (people & nature)

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14 March 2017

High-Resolution Mapping Reveals the Evolution of Underwater Landscapes in the Johnston Atoll

The mapped region is almost the size of the state of Connecticut and falls within the recently expanded boundaries of a U.S. marine protected area. The area is populated with high-density deep-sea corals and sponges and is of great interest to researchers who view it as a stepping-stone between distinct marine ecosystems in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the Central and South Pacific.

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Volcanic eruption expanded ozone hole to record size

On April 22, 2015, the Chilean volcano Calbuco erupted, spewing volcanic ash 10 kilometers (six miles) skyward. But Calbuco didn’t just tear a hole in the Earth that day. A new study suggests it also tore a hole in the sky.

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Sol 1637: Stop 3

Yesterday’s short drive was successful, so we started today with the rover parked at stop #3 of the dune campaign and the rover’s arm up in the “ready out” position.

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13 March 2017

Sol 1636: Another Early Morning

Thankfully I wasn’t actually on duty today, because with daylight savings time Arizona is now on West-coast time, and planning started at 6:30am! In any case, the weekend plan was successful, and put us close to the third stop of the current campaign to study the Bagnold Dunes.

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A picture is worth a thousand words

The diversity of shapes and sizes in phytoplankton is overwhelming and beautiful. I was able to see the actual individuals that were in the sea surrounding us all the way across the Pacific. Seeing them first-hand made me realize how interrelated all things are on this planet: they may be invisible, but they are important. We are dependent on them and they on us.

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A perfect storm of fire and ice may have led to snowball Earth

Harvard University researchers have a new hypothesis about what caused the runaway glaciation that covered the Earth pole-to-pole in ice.

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Undergrads can publish too…really!

By John Maclachlan Traditionally, undergraduate research rarely includes the dissemination of results beyond the classroom. Through an open letter to the McMaster University Community, University President Dr. Patrick Deane called for a reinvigoration of key principles of McMaster University including improving the student experience through research opportunities. In response to this challenge, I proposed a goal to the students in my course to publish their research.  The course, Glacial Sediment …

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10 March 2017

What color is the ocean? The sky?

What Color is the ocean? The sky? Most of us would reply immediately—blue! But what shade of blue? I am exploring this topic during the research cruise by capturing the blues of the sky and sea through direct observation using my eyes and three instruments—watercolors, photography and a cyanometer.

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Far-north mallards thriving on the edge

With dogs’ breath fogging the 30-below zero air at their knees, 71 Iditarod mushers steamed their way down the frozen Chena River in Fairbanks on March 6. Upstream, just a few miles behind them, 500 ducks were surviving in a one-mile stretch of open water.

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GOES-16 Data Back Online

The GOES-16 non-operational data is back online! It’s amazing too. I have been looking at one-minute data of storms over Kentucky and Tennesee tonight, and it is a real WOW. I grabbed the images below, and this data quickly told me that the storms in Kentucky were maintaining their strength. I suspect it was very valuable to the NWS offices in Tennesee and Kentucky tonight. Many warnings were issued and …

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Sols 1634-1635: Back to nominal MAHLI planning

Curiosity drove about 29 meters toward the south on Sol 1632, and is in a good position for weekend activities.

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9 March 2017

Cavagnoli Glacier, Switzerland Fading Away

Google Earth image of Cavagnoli in 2010 and a Sentinel 2 image from Sept. 9  2016.  Ice masses are numbered.  No retained 2016 snowpack, note the lighter colored snow on the upper Basodino Glacier Cavagnoli Glacier (Ghiacciaio dei Cavagnöö) drains south into Lago dei Cavagnoli (Lago dei Cavagnöö), which is impounded by a dam that is 111 meters high.  The glacier like its neighbor Basodino Glacier  is in the Ticino River …

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Lugworm casts on the beach, Islay

Who dwells beneath the sands of Islay? Lugworms do. These embedded annelids process the sediment for food, extruding the undigested sand in charismatic piles that adorn the beach of Loch Gruinart.

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Climate change puts California’s snowpack under the weather

Skiing in July? It could happen this year, but California’s days of bountiful snow are numbered. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides 60 percent of the state’s water via a vast network of dams and reservoirs, has already been diminished by human-induced climate change and if emissions levels aren’t reduced, the snowpack could largely disappear during droughts, a new study finds.

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A Virtual Field Trip Through Appalachian Geology

A tour of Appalachia, as reconstructed Virginia Tech Active Tectonics and Geomorphology Lab.

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Chamba: an impressive set of landslide videos from Himachal Pradesh

Three new videos have been posted on Youtube that show a dramatic landslide at Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, India, which apparently occurred on Monday

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