The first study that combines different scales — cloud-sized and earth-sized — into one model to simulate the effects of Asian pollution on the Pacific storm track has shown that the pollution can influence weather over much of the world. These results show that using multiple scales in one model greatly improves the accuracy of climate simulations.
The adage, “Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it,” may one day be obsolete if researchers at the Univ. of Central Florida’s College of Optics & Photonics and the Univ. of Arizona further develop a new technique to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning.
The solution? Surround the beam with a second beam to act as an energy reservoir, sustaining the central beam to greater distances than previously possible. The secondary “dress” beam refuels and helps prevent the dissipation of the high-intensity primary beam, which on its own would break down quickly.
Areas where landscape shifts from urban to rural or forest to farmland may have a higher likelihood of severe weather and tornado touchdowns, a Purdue Univ. study says.
An examination of more than 60 years of Indiana tornado climatology data from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center showed that a majority of tornado touchdowns occurred near areas where dramatically different landscapes meet — for example, where a city fades into farmland or a forest meets a plain.
A new analysis of satellite data reveals a link between dust in North Africa and West Asia and stronger monsoons in India. The study shows that dust in the air absorbs sunlight west of India, warming the air and strengthening the winds carrying moisture eastward. This results in more monsoon rainfall about a week later in India. The results explain one way that dust can affect the climate, filling in previously unknown details about the Earth system.
The study also shows that natural airborne particles can influence rainfall in unexpected ways, with changes in one location rapidly affecting weather thousands of miles away. The researchers analyzed satellite data and performed computer modeling of the region to tease out the role of dust on the Indian monsoon, they report in Nature Geoscience.
The jet stream is the primary driver for most weather patterns and this winter its departure from the normal lateral (west to east) movement and variations seen over the past few decades appears to have effected longer lasting stable flows with stronger and deeper north to south changes. The jet stream’s northerly flows along the U.S. Pacific coast have resulted in less rainfall in California and a significantly warmer southern Alaska region. As the jet stream reversed its flow over central northern Canada, it brought with it the Polar Vortex, resulting in long-lasting cold spells into the deep south and then strong winter storms along the eastern seaboard as it reversed once again.
Federal forecasters predict a warming of the central Pacific Ocean this year that will change weather worldwide. And that’s good news for a weather-weary U.S.
The warming, called an El Nino, is expected to lead to fewer Atlantic hurricanes and more rain next winter for drought-stricken California and southern states, and even a milder winter for the nation’s frigid northern tier next year, meteorologists say.
Study Makes Area Around Train Tracks Safer in Winter
Results of an EPFL study on ballast projections in exceptional winter conditions have enabled Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) to set-up measures to improve safety around the tracks.
SBB transports close to one million passengers per day, by any weather even in tough winter conditions. In 2012, striving to better safety, SBB mandated the EPFL Transportation Center to study the phenomenon of ballast projection by very cold weather. The results from this study have enabled SBB to undertake measures of improvement.
A section of wall around an ancient shop in Pompeii is the latest casualty of rain in one of Italy’s most popular archaeological sites.
Pompeii’s archaeological office said today, Monday, March 3, a section of the recently restored wall had collapsed. The damage is in an area long closed to the public, at the edge of the excavations of the ancient Roman city.
NASA, Japan Launch Satellite to Measure Rain, Snow
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), thundered into space at 1:37 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 27 (3:37 a.m. JST Friday, Feb. 28) from Japan.
The four-ton spacecraft launched aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in southern Japan. The GPM spacecraft separated from the rocket 16 minutes after launch, at an altitude of 247 miles (398 kilometers). The solar arrays deployed 10 minutes after spacecraft separation, to power the spacecraft.
The globe cozied up to the fourth warmest January on record this year, essentially leaving just the eastern half of the U.S. out in the cold. And the northern and eastern United States can expect another blast of cold weather next week.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that Earth was 1.17 degrees warmer in January than the 20th century average. Since records began in 1880, only 2002, 2003 and 2007 started off warmer than this year.
As Santa Ana winds made moisture plunge, plant life wither and wildfire danger soar, Southern California firefighters pounced on several small blazes before they could surge, though another day of dryness awaited.
The Santa Anas, generated by strong surface pressure anchored over the West, remained at advisory levels until noon Wednesday. Red-flag warnings for fire danger are expected to remain in effect until Wednesday evening.
We’ve become weather wimps. As the world warms, the United States is getting fewer bitter cold spells like the one that gripped much of the nation this week. So when a deep freeze strikes, scientists say, it seems more unprecedented than it really is. An Associated Press analysis of the daily national winter temperature shows that cold extremes have happened about once every four years since 1900.
Until recently. When computer models estimated that the national average daily temperature for the Lower 48 states dropped to 17.9 degrees on Monday, it was the first deep freeze of that magnitude in 17 years, according to Greg Carbin, warning meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The weather forecast for this winter is mostly a shrug of the shoulders.
For most of the nation, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicts equal chances for unusual warmth, cold, snow, rain and even average weather. That’s because of an absence of certain global weather factors, like El Nino — a warming of the central Pacific that affects temperatures and rainfall worldwide.
Firefly Mission to Study Lightning, Gamma Ray Flashes
Somewhere on Earth, there’s always a lightning flash. The globe experiences lightning some 50 times a second, yet the details of what initiates this common occurrence and what effects it has on the atmosphere – lightning may be linked to incredibly powerful and energetic bursts called terrestrial gamma ray flashes, or TGFs- remains a mystery. In mid-November, a football-sized mission called Firefly, funded by the National Science Foundation, will launch into space to study lightning and these gamma ray flashes from above.
The Firefly instrument is what’s known as a cubesat, a very small satellite that offers the chance for quality space science with a relatively inexpensive price tag.