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30 June 2016
Electric fields in dust storms have been discovered lifting 10 times more dust into the air than winds alone, according to new experiments conducted in the Sahara Desert. The discovery has big implications for global climate studies, as well as for understanding dust storms on Mars.
28 June 2016
Weather along the eastern coasts of South Africa, Asia, Australasia and South America will get significantly warmer and stormier on average over the next 100 years, a new study finds. The culprit? Climate changes that are causing ocean currents next to these coastal regions, called western boundary currents, to become stronger and extend further toward the poles, according to the new study.
22 December 2015
In March of this year, the sun hurled a giant magnetic solar storm into Mars. The solar wind, full of charged particles, slammed into the red planet’s atmosphere, bouncing or “sputtering” the oxygen into deep space.
Researchers now think the same process could have evaporated Mar’s water several billion years ago, according to a new study presented at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting and recently published in AGU’s publication Geophysical Research Letters.
5 March 2015
The summer fog that shrouds coastal southern California – what locals call the June Gloom – is being driven up into the sky by urban sprawl, according to scientists who have studied 67 years of cloud heights and urban growth in the region. Less fog may, at first, seem like a good thing. But less fog is bad news for native plants in the coastal hills and mountains, which depend on the cool fog as their only source of water during the rainless summer months. So less fog means warmer, drier, less healthy hillsides and potentially more fires.
3 April 2014
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.
11 February 2014
The polar vortex made large parts of the country miserable this year with freezing cold air. But, in the Arctic, air temperatures were above average, sea ice grew slower than average, and the yearly ice cover continues thinning into sheets that break up in the summer. This shift is altering the chemistry of the air over the Arctic, and may affect the climate in ways that scientists don’t yet understand.
12 December 2013
NASA’s Land Vegetation and Ice Sensor has yet to leave the atmosphere, but that’s the long-term plan for this high-flying mapping technology. In the nearer future, LVIS will produce high-resolution, three-dimensional maps of Earth’s unexplored polar regions, allowing scientists to follow changes in ice cover more accurately than ever before. Since 1998, LVIS has mapped rainforest canopies in Costa Rica, surveyed Gulf Coast ocean topography, and even tracked ivory-billed woodpeckers …
10 December 2013
Months before the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, warning signs could be detected hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface, according to new data presented Monday at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting. There were strange disturbances in a layer of the atmosphere called the ionosphere up to one month before the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck about 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, according to Pierre-Richard Cornely, an atmospheric …
19 July 2013
Heavy rainfall brought severe flooding last month to swaths of Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and other Central European nations, raising water levels in one city to the highest they’ve reached since the 1500s. New research finds that most of the continent’s extreme rainfalls since at least 1979 have spilled from fast flows of warm, moisture-laden air known as atmospheric rivers.
6 November 2012
Air turbulence is a familiar annoyance to travelers and a hassle to airlines. Scientists have long suspected — and predicted in computer models — that mountain-generated atmospheric waves play a key role in such bumpy rides. But the waves have been hard to detect outside of polar regions. New research shows that not only do the turbulence-generating waves exist in those mountainous areas, but scientists can detect them with satellites — if they look hard enough.