Welcome to Sott.net
Sun, 21 Apr 2019
The World for People who Think

Strange Skies


Severe winter weather forecast for parts of US and Europe as the polar vortex splits into 3 pieces

Polar Vortex
© GFS model via Judah Cohen/AER Verisk
Computer model projected 10 mb geopotential heights (dam; contours) across the Northern Hemisphere for Jan. 2 through Jan. 18.
Scientists are seeing signs that global weather patterns toward the latter half of January and into February may shift significantly to usher in severe winter weather for parts of the U.S. and Europe.

How it works: The possible changes are being triggered by a sudden and drastic warming of the air in the stratosphere, some 100,000 feet above the Arctic, and by a resulting disruption of the polar vortex - an area of low pressure at high altitudes near the pole that, when disrupted, can wobble like a spinning top and send cold air to the south. In this case, it could split into three pieces, and those pieces would determine who gets hit the hardest.

The big picture: Studies show that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic, and rapid Arctic warming may paradoxically be leading to more frequent cold weather outbreaks in Europe, Asia and North America, particularly later in the winter.

During the past 2 weeks, a sudden stratospheric warming event has taken place, showing up first in the Siberian Arctic, and then spreading over the North Pole.
  • Such events occur when large atmospheric waves surge beyond the troposphere and into the layer of air above it. Such a vertical transport of energy can rapidly warm the stratosphere, and set in motion a chain reaction that disrupts the stratospheric polar vortex.
  • Sudden stratospheric warming events are known to affect the weather in the U.S. and Europe on a time delay - typically on the order of a week to several weeks later, and their effects may persist for more than a month.


Sun pillars and sun dogs seen in southeastern Manitoba, Canada

Sun pillar over Manitoba, Canada
© Steinbach Online
Many people in Steinbach have noticed some unusual light phenomena in the skies over the past couple of days in the form of sun dogs and sun pillars.

Local meteorologist Scott Kehler explains that sun pillars are a vertical beam of light moving away from the sun while sun dogs are little arcs that appear on either side of the sun. Despite their difference in appearance, Kehler says these events are connected.

"They both tend to be related to ice crystals in the air, though the way they are produced is a little bit different. From my recollection, sun pillars occur when the sun is lower in the sky and the sun dogs happen when it is higher in the sky."

Kehler indicates that the conditions for either of these phenomena to occur are quite specific. "Something a lot of people don't realize is that liquid water can actually exist in the atmosphere up to minus 40." This means that ice crystals only really begin to form in significantly colder weather.


Alabama photographer captures 'upside-down rainbow'

Circumhorizontal arc over AL
© Johnny Raper
Johnny Raper was spending Wednesday afternoon at the Rockpile Recreation area near Wilson Dam in hopes of photographing bald eagles that sometimes visit there.

He got the photo of the bald eagles, but he also got a picture of something he had never seen before - a circumhorizon arc or as Raper calls it "an upside-down rainbow."

"I had been watching a juvenile eagle up in a tree waiting and watching for it to fly to get a photo," said Raper, of Florence. "I turned around to watch a pelican in the river and when I turned back to look at the eagle, there was this cloud with all these colors.

"I had never seen anything like it before, and I grabbed my camera and started trying to take photos. It was there maybe five minutes, I got three photos and it was gone," Raper said. "It was amazing. So glad I got to see it and got a photo."

According to Andy Kula, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Huntsville, a circumhorizontal arc is an "optical phenomenon" cause by ice crystals in the clouds.

Cloud Grey

Spectacular mammatus clouds form over Sydney

Dramatic backlit mammatus clouds over Sydney.
© Jemma Wlasichuck, Facebook
Dramatic backlit mammatus clouds over Sydney.
An unusual cloud formation has covered skies in parts of Sydney as NSW was again hit by wild weather.

Social media has lit up after an unusual cloud formation was seen around Sydney on Wednesday.

Known as mammatus clouds, the formation is most often associated with thunderstorms.

"Never seen anything like it," one Twitter user wrote.


Dramatic video captures multiple electrical explosions in Kenner, Louisiana - Same day as mysterious blue light lit up Queens, NYC

Electrical explosions in Kenner

A power outage filmed in Kenner by Giovanni Bommarito on 27th Dec. 2018.
A video shared to social media early Thursday showed the dramatic moment of multiple electrical explosions in Kenner.

Wind gusts in the New Orleans area reached as high as 51 MPH overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning.

At one point in the morning, more than 10,000 customers were without power.

The video captured by Giovanni Bommarito was taken at Williams Blvd and 32nd Street, not far from Esplanade Mall.

Comment: Coincidentally this event occurred on the same day as the sky lit up with mysterious blue light over Queens, NYC.

Perhaps these incidents are related 'electrically' in part to the 'grounding' of our Solar System?

See: SOTT Exclusive: Solar System 'grounding':Transformer explosions and electrical anomalies


Ice cores could solve cosmic ray mystery

An ice core from Greenland
© Eden, Janine and Jim, Flickr
An ice core from Greenland.
New evidence confirms that an influx of cosmic rays struck the entire planet around 994 CE-and it might solve the mystery of the event's origin.

Ice cores and tree rings around the world show mysterious increases in the concentrations of certain elements around 994 CE. The newest evidence originates in Antarctic ice, validating the prior observations and suggesting that the cosmic rays came from the Sun.

The Japanese scientists behind the new research analysed ice cores from Greenland as well as from two locations in Antarctica. They looked specifically at the concentration of beryllium-10, a radioactive but long-lived form of beryllium with one more neutron than the most common beryllium atoms. This element is typically produced when high-energy particles from space called cosmic rays strike certain atmospheric atoms, like oxygen. Ice cores can store a record of these atoms and their concentrations over time in layers, kind of like tree rings.

The researchers found a 50 per cent increase in the concentration of beryllium-10 in the Antarctic ice cores around 992 CE, according to the paper published recently in Geophysical Research Letters. They point out that there isn't much data elsewhere on the beryllium-10 concentrations, likely because the signal is so small that it could be hard to pick out of background noise or other terrestrial processes that could form beryllium-10.

Ornament - Blue

Stunning electric-blue noctilucent clouds blanket Antarctica

NLCs in Antarctica
© Jorgelina Alvarez
NASA's AIM spacecraft is monitoring a 3000-mile wide ring of electric-blue clouds circling high above Antarctica.

These are noctilucent clouds (NLCs), made of frosted "meteor smoke" glowing in the mesosphere 83 km above the frozen continent.

A four week time-lapse video shows their development since late November.

Solar Flares

Nemesis - Our Sun's missing death star companion

© Ancient Origins
The great issue facing the binary theory today is, well, the absence of an obvious candidate for the part. In the visible realm, we do not appear to have any stars near enough that fit the bill, according to our current understanding of physics (Newton's Laws place physical restrictions on distance calculations). Although it's a long shot, the existence of a visible companion to our Sun could still be possible under circumstances we will investigate later.

We have seen that the idea of a binary, while controversial, is not a new one. References to it in ancient writings and belief systems are there, though largely ignored by researchers and historians. With the majority of stars in the universe (all 1 % of it) being attached to binary or multiple star systems, the obvious question is, why wouldn't our own Sun have a partner star as well? Statistically, it's not at all likely that our Sun would be a loner. To many astronomers, though, the binary idea is an annoyance that just won't die. They may ignore or disagree with the theory, but at the same time can't disprove it.


Nemesis - The Sun's Evil Twin Brother

Nemesis - The Sun's long-lost twin

The Death of Nemesis: The Sun's Distant, Dark Companion

Getting WISE About Nemesis

Nemesis: Does the Sun Have a 'Companion'?

Study: Our sun probably has an evil twin called Nemesis

Sott Exclusive: Nemesis, not 'Nibiru' - Clarifying mainstream reports about 'a large ninth planet' that periodically sends comets our way


A big space crash likely made Uranus lopsided

Uranus Struck by Object
© Jacob A. Kegerreis/Durham University via AP
This image made from video provided by Durham University astronomy researcher Jacob Kegerreis shows a computer simulation generated by the open-source code SWIFT that depicts an object crashing into the planet Uranus. Kegerreis says the detailed simulations show that the collision and reshaping of Uranus 3 billion to 4 billion years ago likely caused the massive planet to tilt about 90 degrees on its side.
Washington - Uranus is a lopsided oddity, the only planet to spin on its side. Scientists now think they know how it got that way: It was pushed over by a rock at least twice as big as Earth.

Detailed computer simulations show that an enormous rock crashed into the seventh planet from the sun, said Durham University astronomy researcher Jacob Kegerreis, who presented his analysis at a large earth and space science conference this month.

Uranus is unique in the solar system. The massive planet tilts about 90 degrees on its side, as do its five largest moons. Its magnetic field is also lopsided and doesn't go out the poles like ours does, said NASA chief scientist Jim Green. It also is the only planet that doesn't have its interior heat escape from the core. It has rings like Saturn, albeit faint ones.

"It's very strange," said Carnegie Institution planetary scientist Scott Sheppard, who wasn't part of the research.

The computer simulations show that the collision and reshaping of Uranus - maybe enveloping some or all of the rock that hit it - happened in a matter of hours, Kegerreis said. He produced an animation showing the violent crash and its aftermath.


China and Russia jointly conducted ionospheric experiments

China and Russia have jointly conducted a controversial series of experiments to modify Earth's atmosphere with high-frequency radio waves.

From a Russian installation called the Sura Ionospheric Heating Facility near the town of Vasilsursk, east of Moscow, scientists emitted high-frequency radio waves to manipulate the ionosphere, while the China Seismo‐Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES) measured the effects on plasma disturbance from orbit.

It's not the first time research like this has been conducted, but news of the China-Russia developments - conveyed via a published paper on the experiments, and a recent article in the South China Morning Post - has ignited concerns over the potential military applications of this kind of science.

That's because the ionosphere, and the ionised gas (plasma) that inhabits it, is crucial to radio communication. By selectively disturbing the charged particles that make up this part of the upper atmosphere, scientists or even governments could theoretically boost or block long-range radio signals.

Even these preliminary experiments - conducted in June, and ostensibly designed as a test-case for future related ionosphere research - had extreme effects.