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What Causes A Blood Moon?
April 20, 2014 | National Science Foundation

A short post on the National Science Foundation website explains what causes the red color of a blood moon and why the color varies from eclipse to eclipse.

California Snow Pack is Low and Why That’s a Problem
April 13, 2014 |

California already has drought problems, but mountain snowpacks in the state are really low this spring and that will prevent reservoirs from filling. Since melting snowpack is a major contributor to California’s water there will likely be more water shortages this summer unless more rail falls.

Harvesting Water from Fog
March 25, 2014 | MIT News

“Fog harvesting, as the technique is known, is not a new idea: Systems to make use of this airborne potable water already exist in at least 17 nations. But the new research shows that their efficiency in a mild fog condition can be improved by at least five-fold, making them far more feasible and practical than existing versions.” Quoted from the MIT press release.

Pyroclastic Flows and Tornadoes at Sinabung?
March 6, 2014 | Photovolcanica

“The pyroclastic flow deposits red-hot material on the slope of the volcano. After a few minutes, air heated by the deposit establishes a convective regime and due to the speed of the rising air a series of small tornadoes are formed.” Quoted from the Photovolcanica video release.

IRIS Spots Its Largest Solar Flare
February 27, 2014 | NASA

“On Jan. 28, 2014, NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, witnessed its strongest solar flare since it launched in the summer of 2013. Solar flares are bursts of x-rays and light that stream out into space, but scientists don’t yet know the fine details of what sets them off.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Volcanic Lightning
February 25, 2014 | MagmaCumLaude

Jessica Ball has a post titled: “Volcanic lightning in the lab and in the ‘wild’“. The “in the lab” part of the post explains how the lightning might be formed.

Related: Brentwood Higman describes volcanic lightning at Redoubt

Popular for January 2013
February 2, 2014 |

The Polar Vortex

Hot Rock Under the Atlas Mountains

Big Rare Earth Find in North Korea?

Horizontal Well Density in the Utica Shale of Ohio

Big Blue Diamond Found in South Africa

Ice Quake in Wisconsin?

Wow! The Best Snowflake Photos

Why Was It So Cold Last Week?

Snow-Covered Trees?
January 30, 2014 | Weather Channel

The Weather Channel has some interesting photos of some snow covered trees from in northern Finland, near the Arctic Circle. If you didn’t know the scale you might think that they are clouds from an atomic or volcanic blast.

Wow! The Best Snowflake Photos
January 19, 2014 | has a gallery of photographs of individual snowflakes. The are great photographs of a variety of excellent and interesting flakes. Check them out.

Related: How Do Snowflakes Form?

Why Was It So Cold Last Week?
January 12, 2014 |

An article on explains why a large mass of dense, extremely cold air flowed over much of the United States last week.

From the article… “Meteorologists have known for years that the pattern of the polar vortex determines how much cold air escapes from the Arctic and makes its way to the U.S. during the winter.”

Steam Fog Streaming from the Great Lakes
January 9, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

“A swirling mass of Arctic air moved south into the continental United States in early January 2014. On January 3, the air mass began breaking off from the polar vortex, a semi-permanent low-pressure system with a center around Canada’s Baffin Island. The frigid air was pushed south into the Great Lakes region by the jet stream, bringing abnormally cold temperatures to many parts of Canada and the central and eastern United States.

When the cold air passed over the relatively warm waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, the contrast in temperatures created a visual spectacle. As cold, dry air moved over the lakes, it mixed with warmer, moister air rising off the lake surfaces, transforming the water vapor into fog—a phenomenon known as steam fog.” Quoted from NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Heat Waves in the Southern Hemisphere
January 9, 2014 | NASA

NASA’s Earth Observatory has published maps showing how Australia and Argentina/Chile have suffered from heat waves during 2013.

IRD Image
Global Chimney in the Pacific
January 9, 2014 | National Science Foundation

“Although few people live in the Western tropical Pacific Ocean region, the remote waters there affect billions of people by shaping climate and air chemistry worldwide.

Next week, scientists will head to the region to better understand its influence on the atmosphere–including how that influence may change in coming decades if storms over the Pacific become more powerful with rising global temperatures.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

Wind Globe
January 9, 2014 | Cameron Beccario

Cameron Beccario has created a rotatable, zoomable, tiltable globe that has a “visualization of global weather conditions as forecasted by supercomputers and updated every three hours”. It can help you understand your weather.

Check it out. To rotate or tilt you can grab the globe by clicking your mouse on a point, holding the button, and dragging in the direction that you want to tilt or rotate. To zoom, just double click on the point that you want to see closer.

The Polar Vortex
January 7, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

A moving mass of dense, cold, Arctic air known as a “polar vortex” is bringing severe temperatures and strong winds to much of the United States and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.

What Causes Earthquake Lights?
January 7, 2014 |

“A new catalogue of earthquake lights — mysterious glows sometimes reported before or during seismic shaking — finds that they happen most often in geological rift environments, where the ground is pulling apart.” Quoted from the Nature article.

Aurorae Over Alaska
December 19, 2013 |

The blog has a number of photos of aurorae over Alaska from the Bureau of Land Management.

The Temperature Mystery of Planetary Atmospheres
December 19, 2013 | University of Washington

An atmospheric peculiarity the Earth shares with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is likely common to billions of planets, and knowing that may help in the search for potentially habitable worlds.

Volcanic Lightning in a Lab?
December 19, 2013 | National Geographic

National Geographic has a video that shows a laboratory simulation of volcanic lightning in a lab. See volcanic lightning in Alaska here.

Snow in the Middle East?
December 17, 2013 | NASA's Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has a satellite image showing snow on the ground from a recent storm in the Middle East. Jerusalem had over one foot of snow, knocking out power for thousands of households. Amman, Jordan received about eighteen inches.

Green Lightning?
December 12, 2013 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article on “green lightning, which is more common than most people realize.

A Record Temperature of Minus 93C
December 10, 2013 | BBC

Using satellite thermal sensors, researchers have determined that a record low temperature of approximately minus 93.2C occurred on August 10, 2010 at a location in the center of Antarctica.

Above the Clouds
December 5, 2013 |

“This photo shows what’s known as a cloud inversion at Mather Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.” Quoted from the blog.

NPS Photo by Erin Whittaker. Get a better view.

Iceland Aurora
November 26, 2013 | NASA via

“On the left, bright green auroras appear to emanate from the largest glacier in Iceland as if it’s a volcano. On the right, clouds appear tinged with the green light reflecting from the auroras.” Quoted from the NASA image release.

Midwest Tornadoes
November 17, 2013 | CNN

Tornadoes have severely damaged several communities in Illinois and Indiana, and continue moving east. Several people have been killed and neighborhoods have been completely destroyed.

Haiyan Windspeed Map
November 12, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has a map showing a snapshot of wind direction and speed as Typhoon Haiyan approached the Philippines.

Why Does it Rain More in the Northern Hemisphere?
October 30, 2013 | University of Washington

“It rains more in the Northern Hemisphere because it’s warmer,” said corresponding author Dargan Frierson, a UW associate professor of atmospheric sciences. “The question is: What makes the Northern Hemisphere warmer? And we’ve found that it’s the ocean circulation.” Quoted from the University of Washington press release.

The Magnetic Storm of Halloween 2003
October 29, 2013 | USGS

“Ten years ago during the Halloween of 2003, while children in costumes paraded door-to-door for treats, the Sun was playing its own tricks with planet Earth.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

How Sandy Changed Storm Warnings
October 24, 2013 |

Earth Magazine recently published an article titled: “A hurricane by any other name: How Sandy changed the way we issue storm warnings”.

Pacific Ocean Temperatures Influence Tornado Activity
October 19, 2013 | University of Missouri

“Meteorologists often use information about warm and cold fronts to determine whether a tornado will occur in a particular area. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that the temperature of the Pacific Ocean could help scientists predict the type and location of tornado activity in the U.S.” Quoted from the University of Missouri press release.

Making Martian Clouds on Earth
October 9, 2013 | MIT

MIT researchers have recreated Mars-like conditions within a three-story-tall cloud chamber in Germany, adjusting the chamber’s temperature and relative humidity to match conditions on Mars — essentially forming Martian clouds on Earth. Quoted from the MIT press release.

Climate Change and Extreme Weather
September 9, 2013 | National Geographic

A National Geographic article titled: Scientists Weigh Climate Change Role in 2012 Weather explores the possibility that human-induced climate change might have contributed to Hurricane Sandy, drought in the Midwest or melting arctic ice.

Tornadoes Moving Uphill Cause More Damage?
September 4, 2013 | Arkansas Newswire

While studying tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri researchers at the University of Arkansas discovered a few things that probably apply to all tornadoes…

* Tornadoes cause greater damage when they travel uphill.

* Tornadoes tend to climb toward higher elevations rather than going downhill.

* When a region is surrounded by hills, tornadoes skip or hop over valleys beneath and between these hills.

Most Popular: July 1 to July 15
July 17, 2013 |


Caves Discovered by Construction Projects

100 Million Barrel Discovery in the Gulf?

Six Planets – Three in Habitable Zone

Oil Industry Job Profiles

Monsoon Rains and Debris Flows in Arizona

Sky Islands

Yosemite Falls

Modeling Human Reaction to Hurricanes?
July 2, 2013 | National Science Foundation

StormView™ is a software program that gauges how residents of hurricane-prone regions might react in the event of an imminent storm.

Military Helicopters Hammered by Hail in Afghanistan
June 30, 2013 | The Guardian

A heavy hailstorm in Afghanistan damaged helicopters at a NATO airbase. Hail the size of golf balls broke rotors and windows, pierced helicopter bodies and damaged parts.

Lunar Rainbows??
June 26, 2013 | Yosemite on YouTube

During the full moon of the the spring and early summer, lunar rainbows, also known as moonbows, can be seen on many park waterfalls.

NOAA Hurricane Season Outlook
May 26, 2013 | NOAA

“NOAA’s 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook indicates that an above-normal season is most likely, with the possibility that the season could be very active. The outlook calls for a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season.

Based on the current and expected conditions, combined with model forecasts, we estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity during 2013:

– 13-20 Named Storms
– 7-11 Hurricanes
– 3-6 Major Hurricanes

Quoted from the NOAA Hurricane Season Outlook.

Spring 2012 Earliest on Record
May 22, 2013 | USGS

“March 2012 set records for warm temperatures that promoted early leafing and flowering across large areas of the United States.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

Warm Spring Temperatures and Western Water Supplies
May 17, 2013 | USGS

“Warmer spring temperatures since 1980 are causing an estimated 20 percent loss of snow cover across the Rocky Mountains of western North America. [...] Runoff from Rocky Mountain winter snowpack accounts for 60 to 80 percent of the annual water supply for more than 70 million people living in the western U.S.

May 1 to May 15 Most Popular
May 16, 2013 |

Why Natural Gas Cars are Selling Slowly

What is Sunstone?

Natural Gas Could Kill Fuel Diversity

Large Hurricane on Saturn

Who Becomes Dominant After a Mass Extinction?

Diamond Dust over Saskatoon

The Bone Worm

Have You Tried
May 12, 2013 |

The National Weather Service has a weather site that has a variety of maps, lots of data, serves quickly and is easy to understand. Check it out and explore the site a little to discover a lot.

How Cirrus Clouds Form
May 9, 2013 | Oregon State University

“Researchers studying the origin of cirrus clouds have found that these thin, wispy trails of ice crystals are formed primarily on dust particles and some unusual combinations of metal particles – both of which may be influenced by human activities.” Quoted from the Oregon State University press release.

Diamond Dust over Saskatoon
May 3, 2013 |

The Earth Science Picture of the Day for April 29th was “diamond dust” glowing from reflected natural light and city lights outside of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Hurricane Sandy (NOAA image)
Above-Average Probability for Major Hurricanes
April 15, 2013 | Colorado State University

“We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean. Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much or how little activity is predicted.” Quoted from the Colorado State University press release.

Low Arctic Clouds and Ice Sheet Melting
April 8, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“Clouds over the central Greenland Ice Sheet last July were “just right” for driving surface temperatures there above the melting point, according to a new study by scientists funded by the National Science Foundation and at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

Tropical Storm Tim
March 19, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

Tropical Storm Tim formed over the Coral Sea on March 13, 2013, and remained off the coast of northeastern Australia for the next four days. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of Tim on March 17. Although lacking a distinct eye, Tim still had the spiral shape characteristic of strong storms.” Quoted from NASA’s Earth Observatory image release.

Clouds and the Arctic Climate System
March 13, 2013 | CIRES @ University of Colorado at Boulder

“Clouds are a critical element of the climate system, especially in the Arctic where surface energy budgets and precipitation can have dramatic impacts on the fate of sea ice and ice sheets.” Quoted from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences press release.

Volcanic Lightning Wow!
March 12, 2013 | NASA

The Astronomy Picture of the Day is a photograph of volcanic lightning at Sakurajima Volcano.

Black Carbon in Snow and Climate Change
March 5, 2013 | Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science

“Black carbon particles in snow are larger than expected [...] this finding suggests that the warming produced by black carbon in snow could be currently overestimated by as much as 30 percent.” Quoted from the CIRES press release.

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