You are browsing the archive for January 2011 - Dan's Wild Wild Science Journal.
31 January 2011
Super Blizzard To Hit Plains and Midwest
It looks like the model guidance is in very good agreement on a major blizzard for the Midwest. It will start in Oklahoma tonight and spread into Missouri and Illinois Tuesday. The guidance is indicating some incredible snow totals, and over a foot is likely in a stripe from Tulsa to near Chicago. The Plains have had a mild winter so far, with little snow, but that is about to …
28 January 2011
Far off Galaxies and Hockey Sticks of Arctic Plankton-Lots of wild science this week.
It’s Friday, and there has been some really fascinating science news this week. So here is a quick summary of what caught my eye (and links to find out more about it). In A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY First, is the announcement in NATURE that the most distant galaxy known has been detected. It’s 13.2 billion light years away, and since the Universe itself is 13.7 billion years old, we …
26 January 2011
While The U.S. Shivered- Amazing Arctic Warmth
NASA released an image today that shows just how strong the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) was in January. The warmth in the Canadian Arctic and parts of Greenland was amazing. (So was the snow in the Southeast USA!) Also, notice that extreme East Russia seems to have the highest anomalies. This is also typical of a strongly negative NAO. The negative phase of the NAO was …
24 January 2011
Is This Why Many TV Weathercasters are Skeptical of Climate Change?
There is a common myth on climate change that goes along the lines of “How can they possibly know what the climate will do in a hundred years, when they can’t even get the forecast for tomorrow right”. This seems to be shared among a lot of TV weather people as well, and I think it is one of the main reasons that so many are skeptical of climate change. …
22 January 2011
Another Deep South Snow and Northeast Blizzard? This time the NAO is innocent!
Here in the Eastern USA this winter will be remembered for many years if not generations. A white Christmas in North Alabama and Georgia is a less than once in a century event. The two East Coast blizzards the past 4 weeks have been amazing. Now, don’t shoot the messenger but another one MIGHT be brewing. We are in a different pattern now than the strongly negative NAO of a …
19 January 2011
Is The Sun White or Yellow?
Ask a meteorologist “why is the sky blue?” and they will (at least they should) quickly give you the proper answer. The basics are this: shorter wavelengths of blue light are scattered by the air molecules much more than longer wavelengths of red light. The blue light gets scattered across the sky and makes the sky look blue. The technical term is Rayleigh scattering.
17 January 2011
Shackleton’s Scotch Heads Home
When I visited Antarctica last January, the talk was all about the discovery of the Scotch that was found buried under Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds. Five cases in all were found frozen in the ice beneath the hut. The dry cold of Antarctica preserves everything in a state of suspended animation. Jeep tracks in the dry valleys from 60 years ago are still visible. A carved cross by Robert …
15 January 2011
More Frost Flowers!
Some more amazing pictures of frost flowers in the email this past week. Thanks to Joni Atkins for these incredible shots. The science behind them is discussed in my previous post. Water is such an incredibly weird substance! Thanks Joni!
14 January 2011
Kudos to ABC News for Doing an Accurate Story On Climate
Many network news stories I’ve seen on climate change end with an interview of someone who has never published anything in the field repeating an often heard myth. The myth almost always has long ago been shown to totally wrong, so it gets a new life. ABC News (U.S. not ABC Australia) aired an excellent, and scientifically accurate piece last night on the flooding around the world over the past …
13 January 2011
Deep South Snow from Aqua Satellite
NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites with their MODIS sensor have produced some incredible images of Earth. I spent some time looking at the images today, and found a gorgeous view of the snow cover from Memphis to Atlanta. I put a few landmarks on it but the fun is to find cities like Memphis and Chattanooga. Can you spot Birmingham, AL? How about the jet contrail over Kentucky? Hint: Use …