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Archive for the ‘climatology’ category

Mar 13, 2017

China’s New “Weather-Controlling Tech” Could Make it Rain on Demand

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

In Brief

  • China has spent $168 million on cloud seeding technology to hopefully manipulate the weather and combat drought and extreme weather due to climate change
  • Cloud seeding technology has existed for a long time, however because of early false claims and deep-rooted skepticism, there isn’t sufficient research to back up the tech

The China Meteorological Administration wants to increase rainfall and snow across 960,000 square kilometers of the country. A more effective way of making this happen that doesn’t involve a ritualistic rain dance? Spending $168 million on cloud seeding technology that they hope will allow them to manipulate the weather.

Here’s how it works. The money will be invested into four new aircrafts, upgrading eight existing planes, and launching 900 rocket systems that will allow them to sprinkle substances above the clouds that could induce the rainmaking process. These substances range from silver iodide to dry ice. Adding these chemicals into clouds might lower their temperature and speed up the condensation process.

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Mar 7, 2017

NASA Wants to Launch a Giant Magnetic Field to Make Mars Habitable

Posted by in categories: climatology, engineering, environmental, space

NASA scientists have proposed a bold plan that could give Mars its atmosphere back and make the Red Planet habitable for future generations of human colonists.

By launching a giant magnetic shield into space to protect Mars from solar winds, the space agency says we could restore the Red Planet’s atmosphere, and terraform the Martian environment so that liquid water flows on the surface once again.

Mars may seem like a cold, arid wasteland these days, but the Red Planet is thought to have once had a thick atmosphere that could have maintained deep oceans filled with liquid water, and a warmer, potentially habitable climate.

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Feb 25, 2017

Mechanical engineers leading effort to detect defects that reduce efficiency

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, government, solar power, sustainability

Gets too advanced for me, but still interesting.


As the world transitions to a low-carbon energy future, near-term, large-scale deployment of solar power will be critical to mitigating climate change by midcentury. Climate scientists estimate that the world will need 10 terawatts (TW) or more of solar power by 2030—at least 50 times the level deployed today. At the MIT Photovoltaics Research Laboratory (PVLab), teams are working both to define what’s needed to get there and to help make it happen. “Our job is to figure out how to reach a minimum of 10 TW in an economically and environmentally sustainable way through technology innovation,” says Tonio Buonassisi, associate professor of mechanical engineering and lab director.

Their analyses outline a daunting challenge. First they calculated the growth rate of solar required to achieve 10 TW by 2030 and the minimum sustainable price that would elicit that growth without help from subsidies. Current technology is clearly not up to the task. “It would take between $1 trillion and $4 trillion of additional debt to just push current technology into the marketplace to do the job, and that’d be hard,” says Buonassisi. So what needs to change?

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Feb 21, 2017

Pres. Trump Chooses Science Advisor

Posted by in categories: chemistry, climatology, military, physics, science, space

Congrats Dr. Happer.


I’ve been waiting to find out who will be Pres. Trump’s science adviser. It appears to be physicist Dr. William Happer, a physicist currently teaching at Princeont University, and former Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science from 1991–1993. He’s no slouch as a scientist. His work for the Air Force on the sodium guidestar laser platform for the military’s missile defense program provided information on the tropopause layer in the upper atmosphere, which is where atmospheric wave fronts distort both starlight and laser emissions, and where heat either begins to leak into space or does not, depending on how much and what kind of gas is blocking heat radiation.

The tropopause is the boundary between the troposphere, where we live and where weather takes place, and the stratosphere. The layers above that are the stratosphere, where stratocirrus clouds form as floating clouds of ice, the mesosphere, the thermosphere and the top, very thin layer, the exosphere. Beyond that is space.

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Feb 18, 2017

A Massive ‘Blob’ of Abnormal Conditions in the Pacific Has Increased Ozone Levels

Posted by in category: climatology

A vast patch of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean — nicknamed the blob — resulted in increased levels of ozone above the Western US, researchers have found.

The blob — which at its peak covered roughly 9 million square kilometres (3.5 million square miles) from Mexico to Alaska — was assumed to be mainly messing with conditions in the ocean, but a new study has shown that it had a lasting affect on air quality too.

“Ultimately, it all links back to the blob, which was the most unusual meteorological event we’ve had in decades,” says one of the team, Dan Jaffe from the University of Washington Bothell.

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Feb 11, 2017

Google Test Of AI’s Killer Instinct Shows We Should Be Very Careful

Posted by in categories: climatology, military, robotics/AI, sustainability

If climate change, nuclear weapons or Donald Trump don’t kill us first, there’s always artificial intelligence just waiting in the wings. It’s been a long time worry that when AI gains a certain level of autonomy it will see no use for humans or even perceive them as a threat. A new study by Google’s DeepMind lab may or may not ease those fears.

Read more

Feb 3, 2017

Quantum RAM: Modelling the big questions with the very small

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing, finance, quantum physics, singularity, sustainability

Nice write up. What is interesting is that most folks still have not fully understood the magnitude of quantum and how as well as why we will see it as the fundamental ingredient to all things and will be key in our efforts around singularity.


When it comes to studying transportation systems, stock markets and the weather, quantum mechanics is probably the last thing to come to mind. However, scientists at Australia’s Griffith University and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have just performed a ‘proof of principle’ experiment showing that when it comes to simulating such complex processes in the macroscopic world quantum mechanics can provide an unexpected advantage.

Griffith’s Professor Geoff Pryde, who led the project, says that such processes could be simulated using a “quantum hard drive”, much smaller than the required for conventional simulations.

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Jan 29, 2017

MIT’s Food Computers Set the Stage for Open Source Agriculture

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing, food, sustainability

Most of us probably don’t think too much about the foodstuffs we buy in the supermarket. But behind the scenes, today’s food production system relies on a centralized, industrial-scale supply chain that’s still dependent upon soil-based agriculture for the majority of our food crops.

In many instances, that means that food has to travel long distances from farm to table, meaning that food has lost much of its freshness and nutritional value by the time it reaches your table. There’s also a growing awareness that this model isn’t sustainable: the pressures of increasing urbanization and loss of arable land, rising populations and the increased frequency of extreme weather events like droughts and floods — brought on by climate change — means that slowly but surely, we are going to have to change the way we grow our food.

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Jan 26, 2017

Planets Around Wolf 1061 Key To Understanding ‘Venus’

Posted by in categories: climatology, space

The inner edge of the habitable zone is the dividing line between peaches and cream and all out hell. Venus has likely seen both. The study of exo-solar systems like Wolf 1061 is key to understanding our own Venus.


New observations of the nearby star Wolf 1061, some 14 light years distant in Ophiuchus — already known to harbor three super-earths — should help planetary scientists better understand what went wrong with our own Venus.

Turns out hellishly-hot Venus-like worlds are quite common and early in the history of any given planetary system, such close-in terrestrial mass planets might even sport liquid water. But as their host stars evolve, the perilous inner edge of these extrasolar planetary systems’ habitable zones move decidedly outward.

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Jan 20, 2017

A Swedish Billionaire Will Award $5 Million For Reimagining Global Governance

Posted by in categories: climatology, governance, sustainability

Yes, you read that right. The Global Challenges Foundation, founded by the Swedish billionaire László Szombatfalvy, has launched an international competition in order to find a better system for world governance. As Szombatfalvy writes in a letter published on the Foundation’s website:

The greatest threats we face today transcend national boundaries; they therefore need to be addressed jointly by all countries based on an increased realization of our mutual dependence. […] Our current international system – including but not limited to the United Nations — was set up in another era following the Second World War. It is no longer fit for purpose to deal with 21st century risks that can affect people anywhere in the world. We urgently need fresh new thinking in order to address the scale and gravity of today’s global challenges, which have outgrown the present system’s ability to handle them.

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