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Archive for the ‘climatology’ category: Page 15

Jan 10, 2019

Laser triggers electrical activity in thunderstorm for the first time

Posted by in category: climatology

A team of European scientists has deliberately triggered electrical activity in thunderclouds for the first time, according to a new paper in the latest issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal. They did this by aiming high-power pulses of laser light into a thunderstorm.

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Jan 8, 2019

DARPA wants to build an AI to find the patterns hidden in global chaos

Posted by in categories: climatology, habitats, robotics/AI

That most famous characterization of the complexity causality, a butterfly beating its wings and causing a hurricane on the other side of the world, is thought-provoking but ultimately not helpful. What we really need is to look at a hurricane and figure out which butterfly caused it — or perhaps stop it before it takes flight in the first place. DARPA thinks AI should be able to do just that.

A new program at the research agency is aimed at creating a machine learning system that can sift through the innumerable events and pieces of media generated every day and identify any threads of connection or narrative in them. It’s called KAIROS: Knowledge-directed Artificial Intelligence Reasoning Over Schemas.

“Schema” in this case has a very specific meaning. It’s the idea of a basic process humans use to understand the world around them by creating little stories of interlinked events. For instance when you buy something at a store, you know that you generally walk into the store, select an item, bring it to the cashier, who scans it, then you pay in some way, and then leave the store. This “buying something” process is a schema we all recognize, and could of course have schemas within it (selecting a product; payment process) or be part of another schema (gift giving; home cooking).

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Jan 4, 2019

Researchers find bottom of Pacific getting colder, possibly due to Little Ice Age

Posted by in category: climatology

A pair of researchers, one with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the other Harvard University, has found evidence of deep ocean cooling that is likely due to the Little Ice Age. In their paper published in the journal Science, Jake Gebbie and Peter Huybers describe their study of Pacific Ocean temperatures over the past 150 years and what they found.

Prior research has suggested that it takes a very long time for water in the Pacific Ocean to circulate down to its lowest depths. This is because it is replenished only from the south, which means it takes a very long time for water on the surface to make its way to the bottom—perhaps as long as several hundred years. That is what Gebbie and Huber found back in 2012. That got them to thinking that water temperature at the bottom of the Pacific could offer a hint of what surface temperatures were like hundreds of years ago. To find out if that truly was the case, the researchers obtained data from an international consortium called the Argo Program—a group of people who together have been taking ocean measurements down to depths of approximately two kilometers. As a comparative reference, the researchers also obtained data gathered by the crew of the HMS Challenger—they had taken Pacific Ocean temperatures down to a depth of two kilometers during the years 1872 to 1876.

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Dec 28, 2018

The Milestones of Human Progress We Reached in 2018

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

But in the grander context of human history, 2018 was an extraordinarily positive year. In fact, every year has been getting progressively better.

Before we dive into some of the highlights of human progress from 2018, let’s make one thing clear. There is no doubt that there are many overwhelming global challenges facing our species. From climate change to growing wealth inequality, we are far from living in a utopia.

Yet it’s important to recognize that both our news outlets and audiences have been disproportionately fixated on negative news. This emphasis on bad news is detrimental to our sense of empowerment as a species.

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Dec 19, 2018

How a weird fire vortex sparked a meteorological mystery

Posted by in category: climatology

A spinning inferno with 143-mile-an-hour winds sent scientists scrambling to understand the cause of this deadly phenomenon.

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Dec 19, 2018

Two Stalagmites Found in Chinese Cave Are a ‘Holy Grail’ for Accurate Radiocarbon Dating

Posted by in category: climatology

Since its inception in the 1950s, radiocarbon dating has proven indispensable to archaeologists and climate scientists, who rely on the technique to accurately date organic compounds. But a good thing just got better, owing to the discovery of two stalagmites in a Chinese cave containing a seamless chronological atmospheric record dating back to the last Ice Age.

An unbroken, high-resolution record of atmospheric carbon-12 and carbon-14 was found in a pair of stalagmites located within Hulu Cave near Nanjing, China, according to new research published today in Science. Because this record extends back to the last glacial period, to around 54,000 years ago, scientists are now equipped with a more accurate standard for use in radiocarbon calibration.

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Dec 17, 2018

New research shows that tornadoes don’t form the way everyone thought

Posted by in category: climatology

Tornadoes are some of the most destructive weather events on the planet, so understanding how they form is vital in forming early warning systems that give people plenty of time to take cover. It’s long been thought that rotation in storm clouds is the very first sign that a twister is taking shape, but new research suggests that the cloud rotation might actually be the last piece of the tornado puzzle.

While monitoring a large tornado-producing storm in central Oklahoma, meteorologist Jana Houser of Ohio University gathered readings using a mobile Doppler radar that logged wind speeds twice per minute. This painted a detailed picture of the exact moment the clouds began to rotate, but it wasn’t until afterward that Houser and her fellow researchers noticed an anomaly.

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Dec 12, 2018

Humans may be reversing the climate clock

Posted by in categories: climatology, futurism

Our future on Earth may also be our past. In a study published Monday (Dec. 10, 2018) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that humans are reversing a long-term cooling trend tracing back at least 50 million years. And it’s taken just two centuries.

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Dec 7, 2018

Massive Cave Discovered in Canada, Named After ‘Star Wars’ Beast

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

A massive, previously unexplored cave discovered by accident in Canada has been named “Sarlacc’s Pit,” after the multi-tentacled alien beast that first made an appearance in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Officials from Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change first came across the huge cavern in Wells Gray Provincial Park in British Columbia while conducting a caribou count by helicopter in March.

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Dec 2, 2018

Harvard Scientists to Release Sun-Dimming Sky Chemical in 2019

Posted by in categories: climatology, engineering, military, sustainability

Critics say that geoengineering efforts are Band-Aid solutions that treat the symptoms of climate change instead of the cause: global carbon emissions. Jim Thomas, the co-executive director of an environmental advocacy organization called the ETC Group, told Nature that he fears the Harvard project could push the concept of geoengineering into the mainstream.

But advocates say that anything that could buy some extra time in the face of looming climate catastrophe is worth exploring.

“I’m studying a chemical substance,” Harvard researcher Zhen Dai told Nature. “It’s not like it’s a nuclear bomb.”

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