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Posts Tagged ‘atmosphere’

Coming soon: the ‘Big Heat’

March 5, 2015 Comments off

theecologist.org

NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Can the Arctic ice survive the ‘Big Heat’? NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

We probably have less than five years before we witness the ‘Big Heat’ – a supercharged surge of rapid global warming, destabilizing the climate system in deeply unpredictable ways.

Forget the so-called ‘pause’ in global warming-new research says we might be in for an era of deeply accelerated heating.

While the rate of atmospheric warming in recent years has, indeed, slowed due to various natural weather cycles – hence the skeptics’ droning on about ‘pauses’ – global warming, as a whole, has not stopped.

Far from it. It’s actually sped up, dramatically, as excess heat has absorbed into the oceans. We’ve only begun to realize the extent of this phenomenon in recent years, after scientists developed new technologies capable of measuring ocean temperatures with a depth and precision that was previously lacking.

In 2011, a paper in Geophysical Research Letters tallied up the total warming data from land, air, ice, and the oceans. In 2012, the lead author of that study, oceanographer John Church, updated his research. What Church found was shocking: in recent decades, climate change Read more…

Arctic Soil Releases Dangerous Levels of CO2, Speeding Global Warming

February 12, 2013 Comments off

scienceworldreport.com

Arctic

(Photo : Reuters) Global warming has caused scientists to worry as permafrost melts, releasing a vast amount of CO2 into the atmosphere and further perpetuating the problem.

For most of the year, the Arctic is frozen: its hard-packed tundra and ice forming solid ground. In fact, some of that ice never melts in what is known as permafrost, which stays solid all year. Now, global warming has caused scientists to worry as permafrost melts, releasing a vast amount of CO2 into the atmosphere and further perpetuating the problem.

Flooding triggered by melting snow washes vast amounts of carbon-rich soil from the land into the water. These waters contain most of the carbon that is currently being released from melting permafrost. Permafrost itself contains years of collected organic matter and when it collapses, it exposes new layers of soil to sunlight. Once this carbon is exposed, it is then oxidized by bacteria and produces CO2. In fact, scientists estimate that carbon from Read more…

‘The Great Acceleration’ And The State Of The Planet: Ominous Outlook

March 27, 2012 Comments off

nanopatentsandinnovations

Scientists describe humanity’s global impact as ‘The Great Acceleration’ and offer ominous outlook: An uncertain future on a much hotter world

Time is running out to minimize the risk of setting in motion irreversible and long-term climate change and other dramatic changes to Earth’s life support system, according to scientists speaking at the Planet Under Pressure conference, which began in London today.

The unequivocal warning is delivered on the first day of the four-day conference opening with the latest readings of Earth’s vital signs.

In subsequent days at the meeting, nearly 3,000 experts spanning the spectrum of interconnected scientific interests, will examine solutions, hurdles and ways to break down the barriers to progress. The conference is the largest gathering of experts in development and global environmental changes in advance of June’s UN “Rio+20” summit in Brazil.

“The last 50 years have without doubt seen one of the most Read more…

ENASA satellite finds Earth’s clouds are getting lower

February 22, 2012 Comments off

physorg.com

(PhysOrg.com) — Earth’s clouds got a little lower — about one percent on average — during the first decade of this century, finds a new NASA-funded university study based on NASA satellite data. The results have potential implications for future global climate.

ENASA satellite finds Earth's clouds are getting lowerThis image of clouds over the southern Indian Ocean was acquired on July 23, 2007 by one of the backward (northward)-viewing cameras of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA’s polar-orbiting Terra spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand analyzed the first 10 years of global cloud-top height measurements (from March 2000 to February 2010) from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA’s . The study, published recently in the journal , revealed an overall trend of decreasing cloud height. Global average cloud height declined by around one percent over the decade, or by around 100 to 130 feet (30 to 40 meters). Most of the reduction was due to Read more…

Nasa study solves case of Earth’s ‘missing energy’

January 30, 2012 Comments off

physorg.com

Clouds play a vital role in Earth's energy balance, cooling or warming Earth's surface depending on their type. This painting, "Cumulus Congestus," by JPL's Graeme Stephens, principal investigator of NASA's CloudSat mission, depicts cumulus clouds, which transport energy away from Earth's surface. Image credit: Graeme Stephens

(PhysOrg.com) — Two years ago, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., released a study claiming that inconsistencies between satellite observations of Earth’s heat and measurements of ocean heating amounted to evidence of “missing energy” in the planet’s system.

Where was it going? Or, they wondered, was something wrong with the way researchers tracked energy as it was absorbed from the sun and emitted back into space?

An international team of and , led by Norman Loeb of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and including Graeme Stephens of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., set out to investigate the mystery.

They used 10 years of data — spanning 2001 to 2010 — from NASA Langley’s orbiting Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Experiment (CERES) instruments to measure changes in the net at the top of Earth’s atmosphere. The CERES data were then combined with estimates of the heat content of Earth’s from three independent ocean-sensor sources.

Their analysis, summarized in a NASA-led study published Jan. 22 in the Read more…

‘Unprecedented’ ozone hole opens over Canadian Arctic

October 3, 2011 Comments off

nationalpost

Euan Rocha / Reuters

Euan Rocha / Reuters

A view of the tundra landscape in Nunavut, at the rim of the Arctic Circle.

A massive Arctic ozone hole opened up over the Northern Hemisphere for the first time this year, an international research team reported Sunday.

The hole covered two million square kilometres — about twice the size of Ontario — and allowed high levels of harmful ultraviolet radiation to hit large swaths of northern Canada, Europe and Russia this spring, the 29 scientists say.

The discovery of the “unprecedented” hole comes as the Canadian government is moving to cut its ozone monitoring network.

Environment Canada scientist David Tarasick, whose team played a key role in the Read more…

NASA Satellite Falling: Will It Hit You?

September 10, 2011 Comments off

ibtimes

A NASA satellite is expected to make a crash landing on Earth in late September or early October. No one knows where it will land, not even NASA. It could even land on you — but luckily, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than of having a piece of the satellite fall on your head.

According to Nicholas Johnson, NASA’s chief scientist for orbital debris (yes, there is such a job), the odds of any specific person getting hit are about 1 in 21 trillion, MSNBC reported. That’s a chance of about 0.0000000001 percent. For perspective, the odds of any given person winning the lottery are 1 in hundreds of billions, depending on the lottery design — but nowhere near the trillions.

There is a much greater, but still minimal, chance that a piece of the satellite will hit someone on Earth: 1 in Read more…