Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Archive for the ‘atmosphere’ Category

Unraveling El Niño Mysteries

Posted by feww on March 18, 2010

The following entry is adopted from a NOAA site. They say their researchers have found clues in stratosphere, troposphere and Arctic Vortex that help them unravel El Niño’s ‘mysteries.’

Unraveling El Niño’s Mysteries: New Clues Found in Stratosphere, Troposphere and Arctic Vortex

El Niño’s emergence in the Pacific Ocean creates ripple effects that extend around the globe.

El Niño (Spanish for “the little boy”) is a natural phenomenon that refers to irregular periods of sea surface temperature warming in the tropical Pacific that impacts global weather patterns.


Supercell.
Source NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

El Niño influences our weather:  Ocean temperature, air temperature, ocean currents, winds at various altitudes, air pressure … , and its effects are even more complicated  by human-caused climate change.

El Niño causes weather chaos across the globe:

  • More intense storms in the West Coast of  United States,  but  fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.
  • India, southeastern Africa, northern Brazil, and Australia usually experience dramatically drier conditions. Shifts in patterns are even stronger in other parts of the world.


Layers of the atmosphere. Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

El Niño creates  highly complex “ripples” that alter atmospheric features from the ocean surface right up to the stratosphere, high above the Earth.

The stratosphere,  a layer of the atmosphere beginning about five miles above sea level, influences weather at ground level. The stratospheric layer of the atmosphere is located above the troposphere.

The troposphere begins at the Earth’s surface and extends up to 6-20 km (4-12 miles) high. We occupy this layer.  The stratosphere begins above the troposphere and extends up to 50 km above the Earth’s surface. This layer holds 19 percent of the atmosphere’s gases but very little water vapor.

Researchers say they have recently found a connection between another atmospheric feature, swirling upper-level winds called the Arctic vortex, and colder than average winters in Europe. They have found links between three factors that also influence the Arctic vortex:

  • El Niño
  • Cooling of the tropical stratosphere
  • Warming of the Arctic stratosphere

More information on El Niño :

Posted in Arctic vortex, atmosphere, Pacific Ocean, stratosphere, Supercell | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Earth’s scars of human destruction visible: astronaut

Posted by feww on July 27, 2009

Earth’s ice caps have melted a bit —Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk

Oh Really? Well, Einstein, try grounding the white elephant in space, it might just help!


International Space Station [aka, the white elephant.] The International Space Station (ISS) is an internationally developed white elephant project. On-orbit construction of the station began in 1998 and is scheduled to be complete by 2011, with operations continuing until 2015.

Bob Thirsk, the duplicitous Canadian astronaut aboard the $150-300 billion International Space Station said he believes Earth’s ice caps have melted somewhat since he was last in space 12 years ago.

“Most of the time when I look out the window I’m in awe. But there are some effects of the human destruction of the Earth as well.” Thirsk said in an in-orbit news conference. “It’s a very thin veil of atmosphere around the Earth that keeps us alive.”

“This is probably just a perception, but I just have the feeling that the glaciers are melting, the snow capping the mountains is less than it was 12 years ago when I saw it last time… That saddens me a little bit.”  Thrisk said.

The total carbon footprint of the International Space Station over a 30-year period: 300 x 10^9 [dollars] x 584 [g of CO2 per dollar] = 1.75 10^14 g of Co2 [1.75 MTM of CO2]

Related Links:

Posted in atmosphere, CO2 per dollar, glaciers are melting | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Guess what, the Arctic temps are 5 ºC warmer!

Posted by feww on October 17, 2008

Who’s Afraid of the Heating Arctic?

Arctic fall temperatures are at a record 5 ºC above normal

Fall temperatures in the Arctic are a record 5 ºC warmer than the average as less sunlight is reflected because of the major loss of sea ice  allowing  more solar heating of the ocean to occur, NOAA reported. Winter and springtime temperatures remain relatively warm over the entire Arctic, in contrast to the 20th century and consistent with an emerging global warming influence.

The Arctic-wide warming trend that began about 4 decades ago continues, with 2007 recorded as the warmest year ever for the Arctic.


Arctic-wide annual averaged surface air temperature anomalies (60°–90°N) based on land stations north of 60°N relative to the 1961–90 mean.

As more more of the ice cover was lost during the the 2005 to 2007 melt season, the ocean absorbed more heat from solar radiation which resulted in the ice freeze-up occurring later than usual.  Surface air temperature (SAT) remained high into the following autumns, with warm anomalies above an unprecedented +5 °C during October and November across the central Arctic. Report summary.


Near surface air temperature anomaly map for October and November for recent years with a reduced sea ice cover, 2005–2007. Data are from the NCEP – NCAR reanalysis through the NOAA /Earth Systems Research Laboratory, generated online CDC/NOAA.

“Changes in the Arctic show a domino effect from multiple causes more clearly than in other regions,” said James Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle and one of the authors of the report, Atmosphere.

“It’s a sensitive system and often reflects changes in relatively fast and dramatic ways.”


Ice breaks away from a frozen coastline near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen April 23, 2007, an earlier than usual spring thaw. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (NORWAY). Image may be subject to copyright.

Hell hath no fury like a planet with little autumn ice!

Related Links:

See Also:

Posted in atmosphere, Climate Change, heating ocean, sea ice cover, solar heating of the ocean | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Ocean’s Carbon Balance

Posted by feww on July 2, 2008

From NASA’s Earth Observatory:

The Ocean’s Carbon Balance

by Holli Riebeek • design by Robert Simmon • June 30, 2008

[WARNING: Beware of booby traps!]

The idea seemed simple enough: the more carbon dioxide that people pumped into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, the more the oceans would absorb. The ocean would continue to soak up more and more carbon dioxide until global warming heated the ocean enough to slow down ocean circulation. Water trapped at the surface would become saturated, at which point, the ocean would slow its carbon uptake. To oceanographers of 30 years ago, the question was less, how will human emissions change the ocean carbon cycle, and more, is the ocean carbon cycle changing yet?


One of the largest unknowns in our understanding of the greenhouse effect is the role of the oceans as a carbon sink. Much of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels is soaked up by the oceans, but changes in the climate are altering this absorption in surprising ways. (Photograph ©2007 *Fede*.)
.

The question matters because if the ocean starts to take up less carbon because of global warming, more is left in the atmosphere where it can contribute to additional warming. Scientists wanted to understand how the ocean carbon cycle might change so that they could make more accurate predictions about global warming. Thus motivated, oceanographers began a series of research cruises, trolling across the Pacific from Japan to California, from Alaska to Hawaii, and through the North Atlantic from Europe to North America. On shore, others developed computer models.

For more than 30 years, research ships have cruised the world’s oceans, measuring carbon dioxide concentrations, ocean temperatures, winds, and other properties. The map shows the paths of research cruises conducted as part of the World Climate Research Programme’s Climate Variability and Predictability project. Cruise measurements—along with those from buoys, drifting floats, orbiting satellites, and land-based weather stations—are beginning to reveal long-term trends to ocean researchers. (Map by Robert Simmon, based on data from Dana Greeley, NOAA.)

After 30 years of research, the question itself hasn’t changed, but the reasoning behind it couldn’t be more different. Oceanographers started out wanting to know if the ocean was keeping up with the amount of carbon dioxide people are putting into the atmosphere. Instead, they found that people aren’t the only players changing the ocean carbon cycle. Over decades, natural cycles in weather and ocean currents alter the rate at which the ocean soaks up and vents carbon dioxide. What’s more, scientists are beginning to find evidence that human-induced changes in the atmosphere also change the rate at which the ocean takes up carbon. In other words, it turns out that the world is not a simple place. More …

For eons, the world’s oceans have been sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and releasing it again in a steady inhale and exhale. The ocean takes up carbon dioxide through photosynthesis by plant-like organisms (phytoplankton), as well as by simple chemistry: carbon dioxide dissolves in water. It reacts with seawater, creating carbonic acid. Carbonic acid releases hydrogen ions, which combine with carbonate in seawater to form bicarbonate, a form of carbon that doesn’t escape the ocean easily.

As we burn fossil fuels and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels go up, the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide to stay in balance. But this absorption has a price: these reactions lower the water’s pH, meaning it’s more acidic. And the ocean has its limits. As temperatures rise, carbon dioxide leaks out of the ocean like a glass of root beer going flat on a warm day. Carbonate gets used up and has to be re-stocked by upwelling of deeper waters, which are rich in carbonate dissolved from limestone and other rocks.

In the center of the ocean, wind-driven currents bring cool waters and fresh carbonate to the surface. The new water takes up yet more carbon to match the atmosphere, while the old water carries the carbon it has captured into the ocean.

The warmer the surface water becomes, the harder it is for winds to mix the surface layers with the deeper layers. The ocean settles into layers, or stratifies. Without an infusion of fresh carbonate-rich water from below, the surface water saturates with carbon dioxide. The stagnant water also supports fewer phytoplankton, and carbon dioxide uptake from photosynthesis slows. In short, stratification cuts down the amount of carbon the ocean can take up.

The rest of this feature article is available at: The Ocean’s Carbon Balance

Related Links:

Posted in air soil and water pollutions, atmosphere, biosphere, Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Tipping Point: Here and Now!

Posted by feww on April 30, 2008

Our thanks to Lisa G. for forwarding the link to the following (Source)

We are at the tipping point because the climate state includes large, ready positive feedbacks provided by the Arctic sea ice, the West Antarctic ice sheet, and much of Greenland’s ice. James Hansen

Tipping Point: PERSPECTIVE OF A CLIMATOLOGIST [PDF]
by JAMES HANSEN

An Excerpt from Hansen’s report:
Our home planet is dangerously near a tipping point at which human-made greenhouse gases reach a level where major climate changes can proceed mostly under their own momentum. Warming will shift climatic zones by intensifying the hydrologic cycle, affecting freshwater availability and human health.

[James Hansen is director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.]

The ice in the Arctic is much younger than normal, with vast regions now covered by first-year ice and much less area covered by multiyear ice. Left: February distribution of ice by its age during normal Arctic conditions (1985-2000 average). Right: February 2008 Arctic ice age distribution. Credit: NSIDC [Caption: NASA]

Related Links:

.-.

Posted in Arctic, atmosphere, big oil, biofuels, biosphere, Climate Change, environment, food, greenhouse gases, Greenland’s ice, health, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Repeat After Me!

Posted by feww on December 17, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) — “A small group of US experts stubbornly insist that, contrary to what the vast majority of their colleagues believe, humans may not be responsible for the warming of the planet Earth.

“These experts believe that global warming is a natural phenomenon, and they point to reams of data they say support their assertions.”

Repeat after me …

There’s no such thing as global warming!

  • Global Warming is a figment of our imagination [AAR, is has nothing to do with human activity. ]
  • It makes no difference whether you have 290, 450, or 560 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 in the atmosphere. A million is a 1 followed by six zeros, you know how big a number that is? [AAR, what is to do with you, are you a f**king scientist or something?]
  • There’s NO toxic pollution in the environment. Do you know how toxic dioxins, mercury … blah, blah are? They are so toxic even a minute trace of them in your breast milk could cause permanent brain damage to your baby. [AAR, it has nothing to do with industrial production.]
  • There’s NO ozone hole in the atmosphere [AAR, the NASA conjurers could easily make anything disappear. ;-)]
  • Our oceans are so clean and teeming with fish, you could eat from them. [AAR, they were OK just a few years ago; ask your grandma, she would tell you!]
  • There’s no global shortage of potable water [AAR, what’s wrong with buying your own bottled water like the rest of us?]
  • If fertilizers are good for the crops and vegetables, then sewage discharge into the rivers and coastal waters must be good for the fish. [AAR, just because you don’t eat fish, it doesn’t mean they should be starved!]
  • There is no deforestation [or habitat what?] anywhere on the planet. [AAR, if we don’t cut all the trees they catch fire and pollute the air- heard about global warming, buster?]
  • Land degradation is scientific mumbojumbo. [AAR, the same scientists have calculated that our planet can easily feed 14 billion people and produce enough ethanol to run 2 billion cars. How could it do all of that, if it were running out of cropland?]

Now close your eyes, take a big breath of fresh air and repeat after me…

Related Links:

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic
26 most common climate myths and misconceptions
Climate myths: Assessing the evidence

[Problems with IPCC data? Absolutely none! Perhaps ... only a minor issue of a time lag-a slight delay of about 30 years compared with the real-time events.]


Posted in atmosphere, breastmilk, food, Global Warming, ocean, toxic pollution, water shortage | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 429 other followers