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8 September 2022

An attempt to de-mystify the mysterious

In this wild place where dump truck drivers once tipped load after load of gravel onto the moss to make roads and building pads, scientists rolled open an iron gate one recent Saturday afternoon. They invited in conspiracy theorists, reality-TV hosts and salmon fishermen from Chistochina to the grounds of a mysterious antenna field.

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1 October 2021

AGU position statement on resilience open for member comment

Starting today, AGU members have until 31 October to comment on revisions to a position statement outlining the role of scientists, policymakers and communities in building resilience to disruptions. AGU encourages all members to read and comment on the position statement because the expert writing panel relies on this feedback. Resilience is the ability of systems — including people — to anticipate, respond, recover and adapt to disruptions, which can …

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24 December 2020

Top AGU news and views from 2020

As we look back on 2020, we wanted to share some of the top news and views coming out of AGU.

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15 October 2019

Radioactive chlorine from nuclear bomb tests still present in Antarctica

Antarctica’s ice sheets are still releasing radioactive chlorine from marine nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s, a new study finds. This suggests regions in Antarctica store and vent the radioactive element differently than previously thought. The results also improve scientists’ ability to use chlorine to learn more about Earth’s atmosphere.

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13 February 2019

Mining climate models for seasonal forecasts

A team of scientists has figured out a shortcut way to produce skillful seasonal climate forecasts with a fraction of the computing power normally needed.

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1 February 2019

Climate change may push Santa Ana fire season into winter months

Climate models predict a narrowing of the Santa Ana season in tandem with the wet season in Southern California over the next century, which could leave vegetation dry and fire-prone as winds peak in December and January, according to a new study.

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28 December 2018

Who is vulnerable to the impacts of tropical cyclones and why?

Tropical cyclones, and the torrential rains and strong winds these storms bring along with them, threaten coastal communities around the world and are expected to increase in intensity due to climate change. Whether or not a natural hazard, such as a tropical cyclone, becomes a natural disaster depends on whether the hazard overwhelms existing human infrastructure in a particular country or region. But when does a natural disaster result in fatalities?

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6 December 2018

Scientists find causes of firenado in deadly Carr Fire

Climate, weather set the stage for uncontrollable inferno in Redding, California.

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20 November 2018

Pacific Ocean typhoons could be intensifying more than previously projected

Changes to the uppermost layer of Earth’s oceans due to rising temperatures are likely causing an increase in intense Pacific Ocean typhoons, suggesting strong typhoons may occur more frequently than scientists project in the coming decades, according to new research.

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26 October 2018

Study finds unexpected levels of bromine in power plant exhaust

Some coal-fired power plants in the United States emit gases that may produce harmful compounds in drinking water and can have significant effects on the atmosphere, according to new research. A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds unexpectedly high levels of reactive bromine-containing chemicals in plumes emitted by coal-fired power plants not using a particular type of exhaust-cleaning technology.

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11 October 2018

Changes in Polar Jet Circulation Bring More Saharan Dust to the Arctic

Researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi, along with other global scientists, have identified a new mechanism by which warm dust travels from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Circle, which has been proven to affect rising temperatures and ice melt in Greenland. Their findings highlight the role that the polar jet and associated atmospheric circulation plays in the transport of mineral dust from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic across the eastern side of the North Atlantic Ocean.

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1 October 2018

High CO2 levels thicken plant leaves, which could worsen climate change effects

Plant scientists have observed that when levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rise, most plants do something unusual: They thicken their leaves. And since human activity is raising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, thick-leafed plants appear to be in our future.

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18 September 2018

Coral skeletons act as archive of desert conditions from Little Ice Age

The Sahara and Arabian deserts did not cool as much as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere during the Little Ice Age, but in fact were drier 200 years ago than they are today, according to a new study. The Little Ice Age was a cool period from around 1450 to 1850. During this time, Europe was very cool and even experienced a “year without a summer” in 1816 due to the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia. Scientists knew Europe experienced significant cooling during the Little Ice Age because of historical data but were unsure how other parts of the world were affected, such as the Sahara and Arabian deserts.

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6 September 2018

Mysterious ‘lunar swirls’ point to moon’s volcanic, magnetic past

The mystery behind lunar swirls, one of the solar system’s most beautiful optical anomalies, may finally be solved thanks to a joint Rutgers University and University of California Berkeley study. The solution hints at the dynamism of the moon’s ancient past as a place with volcanic activity and an internally generated magnetic field. It also challenges our picture of the moon’s existing geology.

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14 August 2018

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

More than 100 oceanic floats are now diving and drifting in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica during the peak of winter. These instruments are gathering data from a place and season that remains very poorly studied, despite its important role in regulating the global climate.

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25 July 2018

Research provides new clues to origins of mysterious atmospheric waves in Antarctica

Two years after a research team discovered a previously unknown class of waves rippling continuously through the upper Antarctic atmosphere, they’ve uncovered tantalizing clues to the waves’ origins. The interdisciplinary science team’s work to understand the formation of “persistent gravity waves” promises to help researchers better understand connections between the layers of Earth’s atmosphere—helping form a more complete understanding of air circulation around the world.

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23 July 2018

Researchers find an easier way to simulate cloud cover

Clouds are an inspiration to most of us, but a nightmare for climate scientists. Clouds are exceptionally complex creatures, and that complexity makes it difficult to predict how and where they’ll form – which is unfortunate, since those predictions are essential to understanding precipitation patterns and how our climate will change in the future.

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10 July 2018

Scientists discover “ghost dunes” on Mars

Scientists have discovered hundreds of crescent-shaped pits on Mars where sand dunes stood billions of years ago. The curves of these ancient dune impressions record the direction of prevailing winds on the Red Planet, providing potential clues to Mars’s past climate, and may hold evidence of ancient life.

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17 May 2018

A bolt of insight

A new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres observes rare terrestrial gamma ray flashes produced by lightning strikes.

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22 March 2018

An afternoon above the clouds

Yesterday we took a trip to Mt. Teide, Tenerife’s highest point and an active volcano. Teide’s peak is about 3,700 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level. While not very tall by mountain standards, from the base of the seafloor to the tip of its peak, Teide is 7,500 meters (24,600 feet) tall, making it the third tallest volcano in the world (Mauna Kea is the tallest).

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