Scientists have yet to fully unravel the mysteries of rainbows, but an international team of scientists have used simulations of these natural wonders to unlock the secret to a rare optical phenomenon known as the twinned rainbow. Unlike the more common double-rainbow, which consists of two separate and concentric rainbow arcs, the elusive twinned rainbow appears as two rainbows arcs that split from a single base rainbow.
The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming, says a new analysis from NASA’s James Hansen. In a departure from most climate research, which is based on modeling, the new study relies on statistics.
In science fiction novels, evil overlords and hostile aliens often threaten to vaporize the Earth. Now, scientists are not content just to talk about vaporizing the Earth. They want to understand what it would be like if it happened. Why? Because such knowledge helps them determine the atmospheric composition of exoplanets.
Scientists in Europe have recently completed a study of global pollution levels by simulating the atmosphere using the chemical atmospheric model EMAC. The research is the first include all five major air pollutants known to negatively impact human health: nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter smaller than 2.5-?m. China, India, and the Middle East are shown to be especially at risk.
In the years after Columbus’ voyage, burning of New World forests and fields diminished significantly, and some have claimed the decimation of native populations by European diseases are to blame. But a new study suggests global cooling resulted in fewer fires because both preceded Columbus in many regions worldwide. In effect, the researchers report, they have found a link between climate and fire.
Despite sharp increases in carbon dioxide emissions by humans in recent decades that are warming the planet, Earth’s vegetation and oceans continue to soak up about half of them, according to a new study which showed global carbon dioxide uptake by Earth’s sinks essentially doubled from 1960 to 2010.
Current techniques for post-combustion carbon capture filter out carbon dioxide from a power plant’s flue gases as they travel up a chimney. These methods can prevent 80 to 90% of a power plant’s carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, but researchers in the U.K. are trying to improve on that, using their nation’s synchrotron to determine the mechanism for the use of calcium oxide-based material as carbon dioxide sorbents.
Researchers at Harvard University and the University of British Columbia have provided visual evidence that atmospheric particles separate into distinct chemical compositions during their life cycle. They confirmed experimentally that changes in relative humidity can separate the organic and inorganic material in individual atmospheric particles into distinct liquid phases, much like oil separates from water.
The Southern Ocean is an important carbon sink. Around 40% of the annual global carbon dioxide emissions absorbed by the world’s oceans enter through this region. A team of British and Australian scientists has recently discovered how this carbon is drawn down from the surface of the Southern Ocean to the deep waters beneath.
A team of Harvard University scientists announced the discovery of serious and wholly unexpected ozone loss over the United States in summer. The finding is startling because the complex atmospheric chemistry that destroys ozone has previously been thought to occur only at very cold temperatures over polar regions where there is very little threat to humans.
In the days following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, methane-eating bacteria bloomed in the Gulf of Mexico, feasting on the methane that gushed, along with oil, from the damaged well. The sudden influx of microbes was a scientific curiosity: Prior to the oil spill, scientists had observed relatively few signs of methane-eating microbes in the area. Now researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a bacterial gene that may explain this sudden influx of methane-eating bacteria.
On Wednesday, Felix Baumgartner took another stratospheric leap, this time from an altitude of more than 18 miles—an estimated 96,640 feet, nearly three times higher than cruising jetliners. He landed safely near Roswell, N.M. His top speed was an estimated 536 mph, said Brian Utley, an official observer on site.
Not long after news of a major iceberg break near the massive Petermann Glacier broke, scientists with NASA say there's been a freak event in Greenland this month: Nearly every part of the massive ice sheet that blankets the island suddenly started melting. The melting area went from 40% of the ice sheet to 97%. Until now, the most extensive melt seen by satellites in the past 30 years was about 55%.
Recent volcanic eruptions have demonstrated our continued vulnerability to ash dispersal, which can disrupt the aviation industry and cause billions of dollars in economic loss. Volcanic particle size is determined by the initial fragmentation process, when bubbly magma deep in the volcano changes into gas-particle flows. Recent laboratory experiments and computer simulations of this particle breakup, known as granular disruption, sheds light on the type of fragmentation likely to produce fine-grained ash.
As sulfur cycles through Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and land, it undergoes chemical changes that are often coupled to changes in other such elements as carbon and oxygen. Although this affects the concentration of free oxygen, sulfur has traditionally been portrayed as a secondary factor in regulating atmospheric oxygen, with most of the heavy lifting done by carbon. However, new findings suggest that sulfur's role may have been underestimated.
CubeSats are fully-instrumented satellites the size of a half-gallon milk carton. Several are in orbit around the Earth, including Firefly, a CubeSat is designed to help solve the mystery of a phenomenon that's linked with lightning: terrestrial gamma rays, or TGFs. By using its small but powerful instrumentation,Its designers hope that Firefly will provide the first direct evidence for a relationship between lightning and TGFs.
In 2011, corn was planted on more than 92 million acres in the U.S. Because corn is a nitrogen-loving plant, farmers must use synthetic nitrogen fertilizer to their fields every year to achieve their crop target. However, nitrogen is hard to contain and can negatively affect the environment. Researchers have come up with a solution, however, and it’s tied to the relationship between nitrates and nitrous oxide emissions.
Until now, scientists who study air pollution using satellite imagery have been limited by weather. Clouds, in particular, provide much less information than a sunny day. A new method has been developd to help satellites "see" through the clouds and better estimate the concentration of pollutants, such as soot.
As a powerful summertime storm, known as a derecho, moved from Illinois to the Mid-Atlantic states on June 29, expanding and bringing high levels of destruction with it, NASA and other satellites provided a look at various factors involved in the event, its progression and its aftermath.
With the help of intense coherent X-ray pulses from the Linac Coherent Light Source free-electron laser, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers and international collaborators have, for the first time, peered into the makeup of complex airborne particulate matter so small that it can be transported into human lungs—usually without a trace.
About 800 extra-solar planets have been discovered so far in our galaxy, but the precise masses of the majority of them are still unknown. The only previous way to determine mass was to observe a transit, during which the planet’s host is eclipsed. Now, scientist Mercedes López-Morales has, for the first time, determined the mass of a non-transiting planet.
Researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have captured the most detailed images to date of airborne soot particles, a key contributor to global warming and a health hazard. The discovery reveals the particles' surprisingly complex nanostructures and could ultimately aid the understanding of atmospheric processes important to climate change, as well as the design of cleaner combustion sources, from car engines to power plants.
Turbulent jet streams, regions where winds blow faster than in other places, churn east and west across Saturn. Scientists have been trying to understand for years the mechanism that drives these wavy structures in Saturn's atmosphere. Recent images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed the source from which the jets derive their energy.
A groundbreaking new study led by University of California, Los Angeles climate expert Alex Hall shows that climate change will cause temperatures in the Los Angeles region to rise by an average of 4 to 5 F by the middle of this century, tripling the number of extremely hot days in the downtown area and quadrupling the number in the valleys and at high elevations.
Naval Research Laboratory scientists are leading a multiagency study which reveals that a very high-resolution Doppler radar has the unique capacity to detect individual cloud hydrometeors in the free atmosphere. This study will improve scientists' understanding of the dynamics and structure of cloud systems.