Climate

Study tracks memory of soil moisture
January 16, 2017 01:31 PM - MIT

The top 2 inches of topsoil on all of Earth’s landmasses contains an infinitesimal fraction of the planet’s water — less than one-thousandth of a percent. Yet because of its position at the interface between the land and the atmosphere, that tiny amount plays a crucial role in everything from agriculture to weather and climate, and even the spread of disease.

The behavior and dynamics of this reservoir of moisture have been very hard to quantify and analyze, however, because measurements have been slow and laborious to make.

Halley Research Station Antarctica to close for winter
January 16, 2017 01:23 PM - British Antarctic Survey (BAS) - Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has decided not to winter at Halley VI Research Station for safety reasons. The station, which is located on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica, will shut down between March and November 2017.  Changes to the ice, particularly the growth of a new crack, presents a complex glaciological picture that means that BAS scientists are unable to predict with certainty what will happen to the ice shelf during the forthcoming Antarctic winter. As a precautionary measure BAS will remove its people before the Antarctic winter begins.

Halley Research Station Antarctica to close for winter
January 16, 2017 01:23 PM - British Antarctic Survey (BAS) - Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has decided not to winter at Halley VI Research Station for safety reasons. The station, which is located on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica, will shut down between March and November 2017.  Changes to the ice, particularly the growth of a new crack, presents a complex glaciological picture that means that BAS scientists are unable to predict with certainty what will happen to the ice shelf during the forthcoming Antarctic winter. As a precautionary measure BAS will remove its people before the Antarctic winter begins.

Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict
January 16, 2017 10:16 AM - Matt Soniak via Princeton University

In August 2015, a dust storm blanketed large areas of seven Middle East nations in a haze of dust and sand thick enough to obscure them from satellite view. The storm led to several deaths, thousands of cases of respiratory ailments and injuries, and canceled airline flights and closed ports. 

At the time, the storm's unusual severity was attributed to the ongoing civil war in Syria by media outlets in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Reports blamed the conflict for changes in land use and cover — and for activities like increased military traffic over unpaved surfaces and farmers reducing irrigation or abandoning agricultural land — that created extreme amounts of dust to fuel the storm.

NASA Analyzes Heavy Rainfall Over Southern Thailand
January 13, 2017 03:43 PM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Widespread flooding has recently caused the deaths of dozens of people in southern Thailand. Frequent and persistent downpours have resulted in record rainfall totals and NASA calculated rainfall over the region from January 5 to January 12, 2017.

The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite is part of a constellation of satellites that can measure rainfall from space. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the data is input into NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) data product.

NASA Spots Short-Lived Tropical Depression 01W
January 13, 2017 03:33 PM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

In just 24 hours after Tropical Depression 01W formed in the Philippine Sea it was already falling apart. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the depression and saw the large, weakening depression being affected by wind shear.

Tropical depression 01W, known in the Philippines as Tropical Depression Auring, formed near Mindanao on Jan. 8, 2017 and triggered warnings. On January 9, TD01W continued to move west through Mindanao toward the South China Sea.

Northeast US temperatures are decades ahead of global average
January 13, 2017 03:16 PM - University of Massachusetts Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – Results of a new study by researchers at the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggest that temperatures across the northeastern United States will increase much faster than the global average, so that the 2-degrees Celsius warming target adopted in the recent Paris Agreement on climate change will be reached about 20 years earlier for this part of the U.S. compared to the world as a whole.

'Shrew'-d advice: Study of Arctic shrews, parasites indicates how climate change may affect ecosystems and communities
January 12, 2017 04:43 PM - Kansas State University

MANHATTAN — The shrew and its parasites — even 40-year-old preserved ones — are the new indicators of environmental change, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

 

Climate Model Suggests Collapse of Atlantic Circulation Is Possible
January 12, 2017 01:39 PM - Robert Monroe via University of California - San Diego

The idea of climate change causing a major ocean circulation pattern in the Atlantic Ocean to collapse with catastrophic effects has been the subject of doomsday thrillers in the movies, but in climate forecasts, it is mostly regarded as an extreme longshot.

Now a new paper based on analysis done at a group of research centers including Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego shows that climate models may be drastically underestimating that possibility. A bias in most climate models exaggerates the stability of the pattern, called the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), relative to modern climate observations. When researchers removed the bias, and re-ran simulations, the result prompted them to predict a collapse of the circulation at some point in the future, setting off large-scale cooling in the north Atlantic. The collapse would stop the AMOC, which delivers warm surface water toward Greenland then sinks as it cools and flows back toward the equator closer to the seafloor.

Why It's Impossible to Predict When That Giant Antarctic Ice Sheet Will Split
January 12, 2017 11:26 AM - Nick Stockton via Wired

OVER THE PAST several months, scientists working in Antarctica have been watching—with a mixture of professional fascination and personal horror—a fissure growing in the continent’s fourth-largest ice shelf. Since last November, the crack has lengthened by some 90 miles. It has 13 miles more before it rends completely, and a chunk of ice the size of Delaware goes bobbing into the Weddell Sea. The calving chunk could be a sign that the entire Larsen C ice shelf—nearly twice the size of Massachusetts—is breaking apart.

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