Saturday, December 03, 2016

Rare 'fog dome' forms above north Wales as temperatures plummet to -4C on the coldest weekend of the season

Hannah Blandford was with her pet in the village of Tremeirchion when she came across the spectacle which has been dubbed an 'alien pod'. 
The 33-year-old who works as a teacher told The Sun: 'I couldn't believe how perfectly dome shaped it was, it looked amazing, so I had to take a photo. I'd never seen anything like it before, it was really quite special.
'I watched it for about 10 minutes and then the dome started to flatten and it looked like very thick low lying cloud. It spread out across 12 fields and covered a huge area.' 
Forecasters think the fog dome was caused by heat rising up from the ground. Read More

Monday, November 21, 2016

More Ring of Fire Earthquakes

New Zealand Hit by Another Earthquake: An earthquake has struck central New Zealand, little more than a week after a powerful tremor centred in the upper South Island rocked the country and killed two people.Reporting of the magnitude of the quake varied; US Geological Survey reported it as magnitude 6.3, while Geonet reported it as magnitude 5.4. Read More

Japan Lifts Tsunami Warning: Japan has lifted a tsunami warning for its northeastern coast nearly four hours after a powerful offshore earthquake. A tsunami advisory for waves of up to 1 meter (3 feet) remains in place for much of the Pacific coast. The earlier warning was for waves of up to 3 meters (10 feet). The Japan Meteorological Agency had urged residents to flee quickly to higher ground. The largest wave recorded was 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) at Sendai Bay.
A utility official says he believes that a cooling water pump that stopped working at a Japanese nuclear power plant after a strong earthquake was shut off automatically by a safety system as the water in the pool shook. The utility says that a backup pump was launched to restore cooling water to spent fuel storage pool at the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima Dai-ni plant. The plant is close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant that went into meltdown in 2011 after a tsunami swamped the plant, knocking out power to the cooling systems. Both plants are operated by Tokyo-based TEPCO. A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck off Fukushima prefecture on Tuesday morning, sending tsunami waves toward the Japanese coast. So far, no major damage has been reported. Read More

Climate change doing strange things to volcanoes

SCIENTISTS have detailed the consequences Earth could face as a result of climate change wreaking havoc on our planet’s volcanoes.
Published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, the new researchexplores how climate change is hindering the cooling properties volcanoes have on Earth.
While the concept of a mountain that spews molten lava helping to cool Earth might sound strange, it all has to do with column of ash and gas released during an eruption.
Following an eruption, sulphur gasses are sent out into the stratosphere — about 10 to 15 kilometres above Earth’s surface — where they form aerosol particles after reacting to water.
These particles then reflect the heat from the Sun’s rays away from Earth and back into space, which helps cool the planet.
Research author Thomas Aubry said climate change is making this process much harder as it causes lower layers of the atmosphere to expand, which prevents the gasses from reaching the stratosphere.
“Volcanic eruptions tend to counteract global warming but as the planet heats up and our atmosphere changes, we’ve found that fewer eruptions will be able to reflect the Sun’s radiation,” he told Science Daily.
“It will be harder for the volcanic gasses to reach high enough into atmosphere to help cool the planet.” Read More

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why is Earth’s axis shifting?

[Cosmos Magazine] We are only a little way into the 21st century, but signs of a warming planet are already evident around the globe: More frequent droughts in East Africa; stranded polar bears in the Arctic; bleached coral reefs in the tropics; and retreating glaciers in the high latitudes. Along the coasts, sea levels are rising.
Even so, a new study really surprised me. By burning huge quantities of fossil fuels, we humans have tipped the Earth off its axis by a tiny amount. Let me emphasise how tiny the tipping is. Each year since 2005, we have shifted the spin axis from its previous path by centimetres – not kilometres.
The north-south spin axis of the Earth runs through the North Geographical Pole in the Arctic Ocean, and the South Geographical Pole in the Antarctic. (I’m not talking about the North and South Magnetic Poles, just the Geographical Poles.)
But as the Earth spins on its own axis, the position of the North Pole is not dead true – it wobbles a little, for several reasons.
For one, the Earth is not perfectly spherical. Instead, it’s a bit flattened at the poles, and a bit bulging at the equator. And the surface is not smooth – it’s pretty bumpy. Mountains poke up towards space, while oceans dip down into the solid crust.
Our planet is not perfectly rigid, either – it’s somewhat elastic. Yes, it does have a solid crust at the surface – but it’s very thin. Earth is made mostly of molten rock and then liquid iron, with a core of solid iron.
So even today, parts of the crust that carried heavy ice sheets 20,000 years ago are still slowly rising (an effect known as the “isostatic rebound” or “post‑glacial rebound”). As a result of these (and other) factors, when Earth rotates on its own axis over the course of a day, that spin axis wobbles a little. Read More