Archive for the ‘Meteorology’ Category

Bizarre Ice Formation

December 25, 2014

Seen here is wind-blown rime ice.


They look like ice shelves, but that’s not what’s happening in this photo. A wire fence stretches along the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland, UK. The wind blew straight at the fence from the right. Ice particles gradually built up along the wire.

There has to be a strong wind, temperatures have to be between plus one Celsius and minus one Celsius and there has to be plenty of moisture. This can either be from water vapour in the air, from snowfall or from freezing rain. The wind blows the moisture over the object, in this case the fence, and it freezes, building up a thick layer of ice on the windward side. Learn more here.

What Causes The Smell After It Rains?

December 2, 2014

There are three primary sources of smells that commonly occur after rain.

Heavy Rain

The first, the “clean” smell, in particular after a heavy thunderstorm, is caused by ozone. Ozone (scientifically known as trioxygen due to the fact that it is comprised of three oxygen atoms) is notably pungent and has a very sharp smell that is often described as similar to that of chlorine.

Another generally pleasant smell caused by rain is the deep, earthy smell, which is strongest after a dry spell or particularly heavy rainfall. This smell is the result of a bacteria commonly found in the soil.

Certain microbes, particularly streptomyces, produce spores during overly dry periods. The longer the soil goes without rain, the more spores that are usually present. The smell isn’t actually caused by the spores themselves, though. Rather it’s caused by a chemical excreted during the production of the spores known as “geosmin.”

The third cause of after-rain-smell is largely due to oils secreted by various plants. These oils collect in the environment and, when it rains, certain chemicals that make up the oils get released into the atmosphere (usually along with geosmin) causing a familiar and inviting scent. Learn more here.

Climate changing more rapidly than at any point on record

July 19, 2014

A new look at the “vital signs” of Earth’s climate reveals a stark picture of declining health. As global temperatures rise, so do sea level and the amount of heat trapped in the ocean’s upper layers. Meanwhile, mountain glaciers and Arctic sea ice are melting away beneath an atmosphere where concentrations of three key planet-warming greenhouse gases continue to rise.

Data shows that the climate is changing more rapidly now than it has at any time in the historical record!!! Learn more here.

As a whole, the world’s glaciers—such as Italy’s Careser Glacier, seen here in August 1933 (top) and August 2012 (bottom)—have lost ice for the last 23 years in a row.

As a whole, the world’s glaciers—such as Italy’s Careser Glacier, seen here in August 1933 (top) and August 2012 (bottom)—have lost ice for the last 23 years in a row.

Strange that Australia’s carbon tax, one of the world’s landmark attempts to stop climate change, is officially no more. More here.

Coldest place on Earth

December 11, 2013

Small dips in the snow atop the Antarctic plateau have set new records for the coldest ever surface temperature on Earth, a distinctly chilly -93.2 °C.

Coldest place on Earth

The record was set on 10 August, 2010, when the surface temperature plummeted to -93.2 °C. Another pocket dropped to -93 °C on 31 July, 2013. These record lows occurred in small dips in the ice along a 1000-kilometre section of the ridge that stretches between Dome Fuji and Dome Argus, two of the summits on the East Antarctic ice sheet.

The temperatures are a few degrees colder than the previous lowest measured air temperature of -89.2 °C, set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station. Learn more here.

Record Heat Puts New Colors on the Australian Map

January 10, 2013

Australia’s “dome of heat” has become so intense that the temperatures are rising off the charts – literally.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s interactive weather forecasting chart has added new colours – deep purple and pink – to extend its previous temperature range that had been capped at 50 degrees.

New BOM map with purple

The range now extends to 54 degrees (that is 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit) – well above the all-time record temperature of 50.7 degrees reached on January 2, 1960 at Oodnadatta Airport in South Australia – and, perhaps worringly, the forecast outlook is starting to deploy the new colours. Learn more here.

October Was 332nd Consecutive Globally Warm Month

November 21, 2012

Twenty-seven or younger? Then you’ve never experienced a month in which the global temperature has been colder than average, according to the latest data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C. This is 0.63°C above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature.

This is global data, of course, and the pattern is rather more complex at a local level. In fact, the average monthly temperature in Britain in October was 1.3 degrees Celsius below average, making it the coldest October since 2003. Scotland had its coldest October since records began in 1910.

But this was outweighed by the rest of the world, including central and southeastern Europe. Croatia was 1.1 to 1.6 degrees Celsius above the 1961-to-1990 average, and Moldova was even hotter: 2.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius above average.

You can find full information about the state of the climate in October 2012 over on NOAA’s website.

Mega-Storm Sandy From Space

October 31, 2012

Though downgraded to a post-tropical storm, Sandy continues to pummel the East Coast of the United States. The massive storm has drowned neighborhoods, knocked out power to millions and ignited fires that have burned down tens of homes.

This spectacular image was taken by NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite today at 6:02 a.m. EDT. According to the National Hurricane Center, at 11 a.m. EDT, Sandy was centered halfway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, moving west at 10 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour. Learn more here.

Every hurricane in recorded history

October 30, 2012

You might be surprised to learn that this delicate, iridescent image represents one of the most destructive forces in nature.

The map shows the location and intensity of every hurricane and tropical storm recorded since 1851. Using a database accumulated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Learn more here.

70 lightning strikes in one image

October 28, 2012

When water in the atmosphere falls back down to Earth it is called precipitation. There are many different types of precipitation including rainfreezing raindrizzlesnowsleethail and even virga. Precipitation plays a major role in the water cycle – which can be grossly simplified as: water evaporates from earth and goes up into the atmosphere, then falls back to earth as precipitation.

When water particles in the atmosphere rub against each other an electric charge can build up. This electric charge build up can then strike earth as lightning.

This is a photo sequence containing 70 lightning bolts.

In order to make the sequence, the photographer set the camera to a tripod taking 20 second shots continuously. After 83 minutes he ended up with approximately 90 lightning shots. He then had to exclude around 20 because the photo condensed so much that didn’t look nice.

Dust Devil on Mars

April 7, 2012

A towering dust devil casts a serpentine shadow over the Martian surface in this stunning, late springtime image of Amazonis Planitia.

The length of the shadow indicates that the dust plume reaches more than 800 meters, or half a mile, in height. The tail of the plume does not trace the path of the dust devil, which had been following a steady course towards the southeast and left a bright track behind it.

The delicate arc in the plume was produced by a westerly breeze at about a 250-meter height that blew the top of the plume towards the east. The westerly winds and the draw of warmth to the south combine to guide dust devils along southeast trending paths, as indicated by the tracks of many previous dust-devils. The dust plume itself is about 30 meters in diameter. Learn more here or here.


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