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Wed, 28 Jul 2021
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Cloud Lightning

Models play important role in understanding extreme weather

Weather is a hot topic here in Interior Alaska and a quick way to get anyone talking. Not a day goes by in winter months without some observations of temperatures, air inversions, or even a mention that the sun budged another degree above the horizon.

When it comes to predicting weather events, however, particularly the extreme events - such as harsh winds, impact from massive wildfires or ash resulting from volcanic eruptions - those who work in the field face many challenges in creating models specific for Alaska's unique environment.

Cloud Lightning

Scientists find that lightning is good indicator of volcanic activity

Although it's been more than a year since Mount Augustine had its memorable eruption, work continues for University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers. The work of Alaska Volcano Observatory employees from UAF's Geophysical Institute will be appearing in the upcoming issue of the journal Science.

The article, which came out on Feb. 23, documents electrical activity that occurred during the January 2006 eruption of Mount Augustine. While it has long been known that volcanic eruptions can produce vigorous lightning, there are few direct observations of the phenomena, states the article. Following the initial eruptions of Jan. 11 and 13, 2006, two of which produced lightning, two electromagnetic lightning detectors were set up in Homer about 60 miles from Augustine. A couple of days later, the volcano erupted again, with the first of four eruptions producing a "spectacular lightning sequence."

Cloud Lightning

Two volcanoes emitting lava and gas in Russian Far East

Mount Klyuchevskaya has started emitting lava on the Kamchatka Peninsula and another volcano in Russia's Far East, Shiveluch, spewed out gas and ash, a local geophysics service said Thursday.

Klyuchevskaya, one of the world's highest active volcanoes, rising to a height of 4,750 meters (15,584 feet), is emitting lava at an altitude of 4,200-4,300 meters (about 14,000 feet), the service said.

"The authorities should warn people about a possible danger and take proper security measures," said Alexei Ozerov, a senior seismology researcher, adding that the lava flow would grow more powerful.

Streams of lava with a temperature of about 1,100 C( (2,012 F() are encountering ice caps, producing powerful explosions of vapor. Experts are warning of devastating mudflows that can reach 500 meters (1,640 feet) in width and can descend the volcano's eastern slopes.

Cloud Lightning

Rare mammatus clouds over Melbourne

It was a rare sight over Melbourne, with eye-catching mammatus clouds drifting in from the west.

The clouds were bluish-grey with a distinctive cellular pattern of pouches.

They were hanging under another cloud base -- a sure sign of rain to come.

©Mark Smith
Menacing sky: mammatus clouds herald an approaching cold front.

Magnify

Himalayan glacier melting observed from space

The Himalaya, the "Roof of the World", source of the seven largest rivers of Asia are, like other mountain chains, suffering the effects of global warming. To assess the extent of melting of its 33 000 km2 of glaciers, scientists have been using a process they have been pioneering for some years. Satellite-imagery derived glacier surface topographies obtained at intervals of a few years were adjusted and compared. Calculations indicated that 915 km2 of Himalayan glaciers of the test region, Spiti/Lahaul (Himachal Pradesh, India) thinned by an annual average of 0.85 m between 1999 and 2004. The technique is still experimental, but it has been validated in the Alps and could prove highly effective for watching over all the Himalayan glacier systems. However, the procedure for achieving a reliable estimate must overcome a number of sources of error and approximation inherent in satellite-based observations.

The researchers started by retrieving satellite data for two periods, 2000 and 2004. A digital field model was extracted for each of them, representing the topography of a ground reference point in digital form and therefore usable in computerized processing. The earliest topography of the area studied was provided by NASA which observed 80% of the Earth's surface during the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission of February 2000. Then, in November 2004, two 2.5 m resolution images of the same area taken at two different angles were acquired especially by the French satellite Spot5 in the framework of an ISIS (CNES) project.

Cloud Lightning

New modeling study forecasts disappearance of existing climate zones

Tropics and subtropics may develop new climates.

A new climate modeling study forecasts the complete disappearance of several existing climates in tropical highlands and regions near the poles, while large swaths of the tropics and subtropics may develop new climates unlike any seen today.

In general, the models show that existing climate zones will shift toward higher latitudes and higher elevations, squeezing out the climates at the extremes--tropical mountaintops and the poles--and leaving room for unfamiliar climes and new ecological niches around the equator.

The work, by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wyoming, appears online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) during the week of March 26. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the research.

The most severely affected parts of the world span both heavily populated regions, including the southeastern United States, southeastern Asia, and parts of Africa, and known hotspots of biodiversity, such as the Amazonian rainforest and African and South American mountain ranges.

Cloud Lightning

Wild Weather in Southern California

LOS ANGELES - Volatile weather swept through Southern California on Tuesday, delivering downpours, hail, snow, and fierce winds that capsized boats and toppled power lines and trees. Nearly 160,000 customers lost power.


Better Earth

St. Helens may be tapping lava reservoir

Mount St. Helens may be following the example of Kilauea in Hawaii with magma being replaced from a reservoir beneath the volcano as fast as it emerges as lava at the surface, scientists say.

While the two volcanoes are different in many respects, St. Helens appears to have become an "open system" as its dome building eruption that began in the fall of 2004 continues at a pace that has been unchanged for the past year, said Daniel Dzurisin, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Cascades Volcano Observatory.

Bad Guys

Climate change will increase extinction risk, study finds

Unique climates and the species that inhabit them may disappear from the Earth entirely due to global warming, computer models suggest.

Changes in regions such as the Peruvian Andes, portions of the Himalayas and southern Australia could have a profound impact on indigenous plants and animals, said John W. Williams, assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The findings are being published in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Comment: Climate change is real, and it is a threat, it is just that the reasons behind it are not the ones given by Al Gore and others. To know more check out the article "Climate Change Swindlers and the Political Agenda".


Question

Mystery solved? Algae bloom behind Florida animal deaths

A team of nearly 50 researchers has determined that an algae bloom known as red tide was responsible for the earlier deaths of animals off the Florida coast.

The research team found that the mysterious deaths of scores of turtles, bottlenose dolphins and manatees back in 2005 off the southwest coast of Florida was likely caused a neurotoxin that was emitted from the red tide, The Washington Post said.

The Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events study determined that brevetoxin was the likely culprit in the deaths after examining 130 stranded dolphins.