Right now California is experiencing what some call a “pineapple express” — a jet stream of moisture that has already resulted in over 10 inches of rain in some locations. How common are these rivers of atmospheric moisture, and how might they change with climate change? Check out this in-depth story from Scientific American, published early in light of the current storms.
A NASA satellite image shows Hurricane Sandy battering the Caribbean on Thursday. Image Source: Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A looming gap in satellite coverage, expected within the next few years unless a jury-rigged solution can be implemented, will mean loss of data critical to tracking storms such as the now-approaching Hurricane Sandy. ATMO‘s Dennis Hartmann is quoted; read more here.
A temperature record derived from measurements of an ice core drilled on James Ross Island, Antarctica, prompts a rethink of what has triggered the recent warming trends on the Antarctic Peninsula. Read more about what Eric Steig – professor of Earth and Space Sciences – has to say about this.
The scientific majority believes clouds will likely have a neutral effect or even amplify global warming, perhaps strongly, but the lack of unambiguous proof has left room for dissent. Two CoEnv scientists – Christopher Bretherton, professor of atmospheric sciences, and Andreas Muhlbauer, research scientist in JISAO – are quoted. Read more here.
James Hansen, climate scientist and activist, has updated his analysis of how the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases is loading the climate “dice.” John Michael Wallace, professor of atmospheric sciences, is quoted. Read more here.
In ancient Earth history, the sun burned as much as 30 percent dimmer than it does now. Theoretically that should have encased the planet in ice, but there is geologic evidence for rivers and ocean sediments between 2 billion and 4 billion years ago.
Scientists have speculated that temperatures warm enough to maintain liquid water were the result of a much thicker atmosphere, high concentrations of greenhouse gases or a combination of the two.
Now University of Washington researchers, using evidence from fossilized raindrop impressions from 2.7 billion years ago to deduce atmospheric pressure at the time, have demonstrated that an abundance of greenhouse gases most likely caused the warm temperatures.
Their work, which has implications for the search for life on other planets, is published March 28 in Nature. Read more here.
A new UW modeling study shows that injecting sulfate particles in the stratosphere to increase aerosol levels would not stop the effects of increased greenhouse gases. The study, authored by Atmospheric Sciences’ Kelly McCusker and others, shows that increased aerosol levels cannot balance changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation brought on by higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Read more here.