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Archive for December 29th, 2009

‘Superatoms’ Mimic Elements: Researchers

Posted by feww on December 29, 2009

Combinations of elemental atoms have electronic signatures that mimic other elements

‘Superatoms’ Mimic Elements: Research Reveals New Perspective of Periodic Table

Penn State researchers said they have shown that certain combinations of elemental atoms have electronic signatures that mimic the electronic signatures of other elements. The team’s leader A. Welford Castleman Jr.,  a science professor in the departments of chemistry and physics said, “the findings could lead to much cheaper materials for widespread applications such as new sources of energy, methods of pollution abatement, and catalysts on which industrial nations depend heavily for chemical processing.”

The team used photoelectron imaging spectroscopy to examine similarities between a nickel atom and a titanium-monoxide molecule. Left: Graphical displays of energy peaks were similar between a nickel atom and a titanium-monoxide molecule. Right: Bright spots in the images, which correspond to the energy of the electrons emitted during their removal from the atoms’ outer shells, appeared to be similar between a nickel atom (right, top) and a titanium-monoxide molecule (right, bottom).  Credit: Castleman lab, Penn State.

The researchers are said to have also shown that the atoms that have been identified so far in these mimicry events can be predicted simply by looking at the periodic table. The team used advanced experimentation and theory to quantify these new and unexpected findings. “We’re getting a whole new perspective of the periodic table,” said Castleman. The team’s findings will be published in the 28 December 2009 early on-line issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Castleman said the molecules titanium monoxide, zirconium monoxide, and tungsten carbide are superatoms of nickel, palladium, and platinum, respectively.  Superatoms are clusters of atoms that exhibit some property of elemental atoms.  Former work in Castleman’s lab has involved investigating the notion of superatoms.  One of his previous experiments is said to have shown that a cluster of 13 aluminum atoms behaves like a single iodine atom.  Adding a single electron to this aluminum-atom system results in the cluster behaving like a rare-gas atom.  Further, he showed that a cluster of 14 aluminum atoms has a reactivity similar to an alkaline earth atom.

Posted in alchemy, electron energy, photoelectron imaging spectroscopy, superatom of platinum, titanium-monoxide molecule | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

El Niño Weekly Update [28 Dec 2009]

Posted by feww on December 29, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

El Niño Weekly UPDATE prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  28 December 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.5ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.9ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 1.6ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.5ºC

El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
During the last 4-weeks, SSTs were at least 1.0°C above average across much of the equatorial Pacific east of 170ºE, and more than 2.0°C above average across large regions in the eastern half of the Pacific.

Global SST Departures (°C)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere subtropics.

Weekly SST Departures (°C) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, positive SST anomalies have persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies have increased across the eastern equatorial Pacific.

Click image to enlarge.
Source: Climate Prediction Center / NCEP

Click image to enlarge.
Source: Climate Prediction Center / NCEP

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days
During most of November, a nearly zonal pattern of above-average heights over the mid-latitudes was observed with anomalous troughingover the higher latitudes. This pattern led to above-average temperatures across much of North America and below-average temperatures in Alaska. From late November through December, the anomalous zonal pattern of above-average heights at mid-latitudes was replaced by strong anomalous troughs over the N. Pacific and much of N. America and above-average heights at high latitudes. This pattern led to below-average temperatures acrossthe U.S. and Canada and above-average temperatures over Alaska.

Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) Anomalies

Click image to enlarge. Source: Climate Prediction Center / NCEP

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • The models continue to disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño, but nearly all indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (3-month average greater than +1.0°C) through January-February-March 2010.
  • After peaking, the majority of models indicate Niño-3.4 will gradually weaken, but that El Niño will continue into April-May-June 2010.


  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) are 1.0ºC to 3.0ºC above-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to continue and last at least into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010

Unless otherwise stated, information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA. Edited by FEWW

Related Links:

El Niño Updates:

Posted in Climate Prediction, El Niño, El Niño 2010, El Niño update December, Tropical Pacific SST | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Montserrat Soufrière Hills Resumes Activity

Posted by feww on December 29, 2009

Nature’s SO2 Pumps Turned On

Soufrière Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat resumed activity. NASA images taken by MODIS on Terra and Aqua satellites at a 3-hour interval: 10:45 (top) and 13:45 (above) on December 28, 2009. Credit: NASA

Previous entry:

Previous Images:

21 December 2009

20 December 2009

Related Links:

More Images:

Posted in Brades, FEWW Volcanio Forecast, HUMAN EHANCED NATURAL DISASTERS, Soufrière Hills, volcanic activity | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Mayon Volcano Update [29 December 2009]

Posted by feww on December 29, 2009

The Raging Lava Mill

Mayon Continues to Spew Lava and Eject Tephra

Lave spews out of Mt Mayon. Dated 27 December 27, 2009.
Credit: Erik de Castro, Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

Highlights of news, observations, official and unofficial reports:

  • 9 minor explosions during the past 24-hr observation period
  • Explosions ejected tephra to a height of 2km above the summit
  • Seismic activity high with 38 tremors recorded
  • 171 incidents of rock fall reported as lava fragments detached from Mayon’s upper slopes
  • Sulfur dioxide emission rate at 3,416 ton, almost unchanged from the previous day
  • Fresh lava flowed along the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies
  • Lava advanced by an additional 100 meters to 5.8km from the summit crater
  • Officials have declared the area a no-fly zone
  • Tourists are strictly prohibited from entering the danger zone
  • Pilots are advised to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit to prevent probable damage to aircraft caused by the ejected tephra.

The following Bulletin was released by The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) today:

Mayon Volcano Bulletin 16 released on 29 December 2009

Mayon Volcano (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E) continued to be restive and exhibited 9 ash explosions during the past 24 hours. The explosions produced dirty white to light brown ash columns that rose to a maximum height of about 2000 meters above the summit before drifting towards the west and southwest.

Seismic activity remained at high level as a total of 38 volcanic earthquakes and 171 rock fall events related to the detachment of lava fragments at the volcano’s upper slopes was detected by the seismic network. Measurements of sulfur dioxide emission rate conducted yesterday yielded an average value of 3,416 tonnes per day (t/d).

Red hot lava continued to flow down along the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies. At present, the lava front at Buyuan channel is approximately 5.8 kilometers downslope from the summit crater. From time to time, rolling down of incandescent lava fragments coming from the crater was observed.

The status of Mayon Volcano is maintained at Alert Level 4.  PHIVOLCS-DOST reiterates that the Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) from the summit of 8-km on the southern sector of the volcano and 7-km on the northern sector should be free from human activity.  Areas just outside of this EDZ should prepare for evacuation in the event hazardous eruptions intensify.  Active river channels and those perennially identified as lahar prone in the southern sector should also be avoided especially during bad weather conditions or when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall. In addition, Civil Aviation Authorities must advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejected ash and volcanic fragments from sudden explosions may pose hazards to aircrafts. PHIVOLCS–DOST is closely monitoring Mayon Volcano’s activity and any new significant development will be immediately posted to all concerned.

For previous entries, additional information, photos and links to Mayon Volcano see links below:

Related Links:

Posted in Mayon activity, Mayon SO2, Mayon Volcano, Mt Mayon, Philippines volcanoes | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »