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The Arkive
 
|| Year Gamma: London: Tuesday: July 03: 2018 ||
First Published: September 24: 2015
The Humanion

 

 

The Earth

The Earth Arkive

 

Dear Γαῖα,

In days 365.256 you have travelled many a mile if I write you
A letter you won’t be able to read for you do only live in my
Imagination yet I write you a letter to say that that’s just a year
In human terms and you’ve clocked silentine 584 million miles

With a speed of 29.78 km:s or 18.50 m:s or 107,200 km:h or
66,600 mph in short that’s a year gone and you begin again
The Sun stays far away at 92.957 million miles as you would
Go following laws unfailing turning and twirling a butterfly

In the magnum darkness a butterfly of light blue and white
I call you Dhoritthree Γαῖα Terra but you remain silent as
People speak in so many a tongue marking up countries

And nations so many jackets they find but I found you as
Mine yet you do not speak nor do many speak your tongue
Of silence in which you are my poetry-iris playing my soul

The Poet

January 01:2016: Munayem Mayenin

 

Mother Earth Rise: Posted: December 19: 2015 NASA:Goddard:Arizona State University Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Background Image is Modified from a high-definition image of Earth taken by Japan’s Kaguya lunar orbiter in November 2007.Image: JAXA: NHK

The Aurora's Ark

Image: Courtesy ESA and by Dave Markel Photography

|| April 21: 2017 || ά. The ground-based imagers and ESA’s magnetic field Swarm mission has captured this purple streak of light in the night sky. Originally thought to be a ‘proton arc’, this strange feature has been called Steve. While there is still a lot to learn about Steve, the electric field instrument carried on the Swarm mission has measured it. And here, The Humanion presents it with a new name: The Aurora's Ark.

Flying through Steve, the temperature 300 km above Earth’s surface jumped by 3000°C and the data revealed a 25 km-wide ribbon of gas flowing westward at about six km:s compared to a speed of about 10 m:s either side of the ribbon. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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This is No Mars: This is the Driest Place on Mother Earth

Chile's Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth and a ready analogue for Mars' rugged, arid terrain. Image: NASA:JPL-Caltech

 

|| April 20: 2017 || ά. Few places are as hostile to life as Chile's Atacama Desert. It's the driest place on Earth and only the hardiest microbes survive there. Its rocky landscape has lain undisturbed for eons, exposed to extreme temperatures and radiation from the sun. If you can find life here, you might be able to find it in an even harsher environment like the surface of Mars. That's why a team of researchers from NASA and several universities visited the Atacama in February. They spent 10 days testing devices, that could one day be used to search for signs of life on other worlds.

That group included a team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, working on a portable chemistry lab, called, the Chemical Laptop. With just a small water sample, the Laptop can check for amino acids, the organic molecules, that are widespread in our solar system and considered the building blocks of all life, as we know it. Liquid-based analysis techniques have been shown to be orders of magnitude more sensitive than gas-based methods for the same kinds of samples. But when you scoop up a sample from Mars, the amino acids you're looking for will be trapped inside of or chemically bonded to minerals.

To break down those bonds, JPL has designed another piece of technology, a subcritical water extractor, that would act as the 'front end' for the Laptop. This extractor uses water to release the amino acids from a soil sample, leaving them ready to be analysed by the Chemical Laptop. "These two pieces of technology work together so that we can search for bio-signatures in solid samples on rocky or icy worlds." said Mr Peter Willis of JPL, the project's Principal Investigator. "The Atacama served as a proving ground to see how this technology would work on an arid planet like Mars."

Willis' team revisited an Atacama site he first went to in 2005. At that time, the extractor he used was manually operated; in February, the team used an automated extractor designed by Florian Kehl, a postdoctoral researcher at JPL. The extractor ingests soil and regolith samples and mixes them with water. Then, it subjects the samples to high pressure and temperature to get the organics out.

"At high temperatures, water has the ability to dissolve the organic compounds from the soil." Kehl said. "Think of a tea bag: in cold water, not much happens. But when you add hot water, the tea releases an entire bouquet of molecules that gives the water a particular flavour, colour and smell." To remove the amino acids from those minerals, the water has to get much hotter than your ordinary cup of tea. Kehl said that the extractor was currently able to reach temperatures as high as 392 degrees Fahrenheit, 200 degrees Celsius.

''Liquid samples would be more readily available on ocean worlds like Jupiter's moon Europa.'' Kehl said. There, the extractor might still be necessary, as amino acids could be bonded to minerals mixed into the ice. They, may be, present as part of larger molecules, which the extractor could break into smaller building blocks before analysing them with the Chemical Laptop. Once the extractor has prepared its samples, the Laptop can do its work.

The Chemical Laptop checks liquid samples for a set of 17 amino acids, what the team refers to as 'the Signature 17'. By looking at the types, amounts and geometries of these amino acids in a sample, it's possible to infer the presence of life. "All these molecules 'like' being in water." said Fernanda Mora of JPL, the Chemical Laptop's Lead Scientist. "They dissolve in water and they don't evaporate easily, so they're much easier to detect in water."

The Laptop mixes liquid samples with a fluorescent dye, which attaches to amino acids and makes it possible to detect them when illuminated by a laser. Then, the sample is injected onto a separation microchip. A voltage is applied between the two ends of the channel, causing the amino acids to move at different speeds towards the end, where the laser is shining. Amino acids can be identified by how quickly they move through the channel. As the molecules pass through the laser, they emit light that is used to quantify how much of each amino acid is present.

"The idea is to automate and miniaturise all the steps you would do manually in a chemistry lab on Earth." Mora said. "That way, we can do the same analyses on another world simply by sending commands with a computer."

The near-term goal is to integrate the extractor and Chemical Laptop into a single, automated device. It would be tested during future field campaigns to the Atacama Desert with a team of researchers led by Brian Glass of NASA's Ames Research Centre in Mountain View, California.

"These are some of the hardest samples to analyze you can get on the planet." Mora said of the team's work in the Atacama. She added that in the future, the team wanted to test this technology in icy environments like Antarctica. Those could serve as analogues to Europa and other ocean worlds, where liquid samples would be more readily plentiful.

Andrew Good: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif: 818-393-2433: andrew.c.good at jpl.nasa.gov

: Editor: Tony Greicius: NASA:
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Banned Industrial Solvent Sheds New Light on the Unexplained Rise in Methane Level

Sprouting fava beans at FAO Headquarters, Rome. Image: FAO:Claudia Nicolai

 

|| April 18: 2017: University of Bristol News || ά. Since 2007, scientists have been searching to find the cause of a sudden and unexpected global rise in atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, following almost a decade, in which concentrations had stayed relatively constant. Recent studies have explored a range of possible causes. Suggestions have included a rise in oil and natural gas extraction, increased emissions from tropical wetlands or increases in emissions from growing East Asian economies.

However, a new paper by an international team of scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences investigates an alternative possibility: a rise and fall in the concentration of the substance, that destroys methane in the atmosphere, the hydroxyl radical. Lead Author, Dr Matt Rigby, from the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry and Cabot Institute, said, "A change in the hydroxyl radical concentration would be a neat explanation for the changes in methane that we’ve seen. It would mean that emissions may not have increased suddenly in 2007, but rather, risen more gradually over the last couple of decades."

Since the global concentration of the hydroxyl radical cannot be measured directly, the team’s findings were made by studying the rate at which the solvent methyl chloroform, which is also destroyed by hydroxyl, was removed from the atmosphere. Professor Ron Prinn from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who co-authored the paper and leads the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment:AGAGE, an international project that measures greenhouse gas concentrations, said, "We have been monitoring trends in the methyl chloroform for nearly 40 years because of its role in depleting stratospheric ozone.

Because methyl chloroform is now banned under the Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Stratospheric Ozone Layer, we’ve seen its concentration drop very rapidly. We can examine how this rate of decline changes from one year to the next to infer the hydroxyl radical concentration."

Dr Steve Montzka, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:NOAA, who has co-authored the paper and who operates an independent measurement network for methylchloroform, said, "This paper re-examines some of the assumptions that had previously been made in studies of hydroxyl radical and methyl chloroform and shows how they influence our understanding of methane’s atmospheric sink.

To me, one of the main findings is that our objective analyses of two sets of observations tells essentially the same story, even as it becomes more and more difficult to measure methyl chloroform given that its concentration is approaching zero."

Dr Rigby said that there was still uncertainty remaining. He explained, "Whilst there are strong hints in our study that hydroxyl radical changes could be playing a significant role in the fluctuations in methane growth, our uncertainties are very large.

"In future, we need to think about new ways to reduce this uncertainty, if we are to truly understand changes in atmospheric methane." The study led to a more certain, but unexpected finding that is that emissions of methyl chloroform had not dropped to zero.

Dr Rigby said, "Because its production is now banned globally, we were expecting to see no emissions of this substance at all. However, we have very strong evidence that emissions are continuing."

The team is preparing a follow-up study that would determine where these emissions are originating. Meanwhile, they are continuing to monitor methane in the atmosphere, and are waiting to see whether its current rate of increase will continue.

Paper: 'The role of atmospheric oxidation in recent methane growth' by M. Rigby et al in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The Cabot Institute: The Cabot Institute carries out fundamental and responsive research on risks and uncertainties in a changing environment. We drive new research in the interconnected areas of climate change, natural hazards, water and food security, low carbon energy and future cities. Our research fuses rigorous statistical and numerical modelling with a deep understanding of social, environmental and engineered systems, past, present and future. We seek to engage wider society by listening to, exploring with, and challenging our stakeholders to develop a shared response to 21st Century challenges.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Mother Earth Day 2017: April 22

NASA JPL employees Karla Miller, Susan Bell and Pat Brennan share their adopted pieces, three of the 64,000
locations on Earth available. Which one will you get? Image: NASA:JPL:Arielle Samuelson
 


|| April 09: 2017: Ellen Grey Writing || ά. Well, it started on April 06. NASA invites people around the world to join in the celebration of the Mother Earth Day 2017, on April 22 by 'adopting' one of 64,000 individual pieces of Earth as seen from space. NASA continually looks outward to find and learn about planets in our solar system and beyond but no planet is better studied than the one we actually live on. Our fleet of 18 Earth science missions in space, supported by aircraft, ships and ground observations, measure aspects of the environment that touch the lives of every person around the world.

Beginning on April 06, you and your neighbours will be able to share in learning about the fine details, that make up our global environment by 'adopting' a small part of our home planet. You'll receive a personalised adoption certificate for your unique numbered piece of Earth, on average 55 miles wide, to print and share. The certificate features NASA Earth science data collected for that location, a view of the planet in a light you’ve never seen before. Visit go.nasa.gov/adopt to adopt your piece of the planet and explore a corner of the world.

Our goal is to have the entire planet adopted by Earth Day, April 22. Once all 64,000 pieces are adopted, we'll start again from the top, so everyone, who wants to participate will be able to do so. NASA studies our planet in many ways, from the air we breathe, to rain and snow that provide water for agriculture and communities, to natural disasters such as droughts and floods, to the oceans, which cover 70 percent of Earth’s surface and provide food for many people around the world.

NASA's view of Earth from space gives a perspective that can't be gained from the ground. Satellites circle the whole globe, seeing both where people live and those remote parts of deserts, mountains and the vast oceans that are difficult if not impossible to visit. With instruments in space, scientists can get data for the whole globe in detail that they can't get anywhere else.

Once you’ve adopted your piece, you can explore an interactive world map and print certificates from other locations like your hometown or favorite vacation spot. You can also take a deep dive into the data of any place on Earth by following a link to NASA's Worldview website.

In Worldview you will be able to view images that highlight the amount of vegetation on land or view air quality measurements. You can see how far air pollution and soot from fires or volcanoes have travelled from land to the ocean or how much sea ice is present in the Arctic and Antarctic. Most imagery is available within a few hours of satellites passing overhead. In addition, you can see how your piece of Earth has changed through time, as many data products span almost 30 years. These are the same data sets scientists use to study our changing planet.

Worldview is a web-based application for interactively browsing global, full-resolution satellite imagery and downloading the underlying data. Worldview is part of NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System, which is responsible for making our large repository of data accessible and free of cost to the public. Collectively, U.S. government agencies, including NASA, are the largest provider of civil Earth science data in the world.

To adopt your piece of Earth, visit: go.nasa.gov/adopt

: Editor: Karl Hille: NASA:
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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New Study Analyses Biggest Threats to Southeast Asian Biodiversity

Image: Bournemouth University


|| April 02: 2017: Chinese Academy of Sciences News || ά. Deforestation rates in Southeast Asia are some of the highest anywhere on Earth and the rate of mining is the highest in the tropics. The region has a number of hydropower dams under construction and consumption of species for traditional medicines is particularly pronounced. These issues are not unique to Southeast Asia, of course, as they are symptomatic of those facing tropical regions around the globe. But a new study published in the journal Ecosphere analysing all of the threats to Southeast Asia’s biodiversity concludes that the region 'may be, under some of the greatest levels of biotic threat'.

“Of all regional threats the two main drivers of biodiversity loss in the Asian tropics are hunting and trade and habitat loss.” Alice Hughes, an Associate Professor in Landscape Ecology and Conservation with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the study’s Author, said.  Hughes found that, region-wide, Southeast Asia has lost 14.5 percent of its forests in the last 15 years and may have already lost more than 50 percent of its original forest cover. Some areas, including parts of Indonesia, are projected to lose up to 98 percent of their forests by 2022 and the habitat for wildlife that it represents.

The main drivers of this forest loss is conversion for agriculture: rubber, oil palm and pulp and paper plantations have proliferated throughout Southeast Asia, which now supplies significant amounts of each of these commodities to the global market, indeed, for both palm oil and pulp and paper, Southeast Asia is the source of nearly 90 percent of the global supply. The pace of land conversion is not set to slow anytime soon, either, the total area used for rubber plantations alone is projected to expand by between 04.3 and 08.5 million hectares, 10.6 and 21 million acres, by 2024 in order to meet growing demand.

Habitat loss is, also, driven by the construction of dams, and Southeast Asian countries plan to build several in the coming years. There are currently 78 dams planned for the Mekong Delta that, if built, are projected to reduce the number of migratory fish by 20 to 70 percent while flooding terrestrial habitats and causing regional droughts.

“The drainage of Asia’s wetlands presents a further set of dangers, particularly due to their importance to more than 50 million migratory wading birds that depend on them for migration and breeding. Around 80% of Southeast Asian wetlands are threatened by conversion to agricultural land or development by drainage. Up to 45% of intertidal wetlands have already been lost. This has so far caused population reductions of up to 79% in some wading species.”

The second of the top two threats to Southeast Asian biodiversity identified by Hughes in the study is hunting and the illegal wildlife trade. Another study published last September actually found hunting to be an even bigger threat to the region’s biodiversity than deforestation. Wildlife collection in the region is driven by bushmeat hunting and the use of wild animals and their parts in traditional medicine, for ornamental purposes and for the pet trade.

“The intensity of demand has resulted in the loss of all mammals of over, two kilograms, in the majority of unprotected forests across the region, whilst many bird and herptiles are under major threat as pets, and for zoos and aquaria.” Hughes said.

Many of Southeast Asia’s most threatened ecosystems harbour exceptionally high levels of endemism. Take, for instance, karsts, landscapes underlain by limestone that have eroded, producing ridges, towers, sinkholes, and other characteristic features capable of harbouring multiple site-endemic species. Southeast Asia has an estimated 800,000 square kilometres, about 309,000 square miles, of karst and there are estimates that up to 90 percent of cave-dependent species in China have yet to be formally described by scientists.

Yet karst ecosystems are under threat, mainly due to cement production, another threat to Southeast Asia’s biodiversity that shows no sign of abating any time soon. Cement production has grown exponentially in recent years, and three of the top five global exporters of limestone are in Southeast Asia: India, Vietnam, and Malaysia, which collectively produce nearly 20 percent of global cement exports.

“As karsts are under-represented in protected areas and given the majority of karst-dwelling species are limited to a single site — there is no way of knowing how many species go extinct annually as a consequence.” Hughes notes. There are numerous other drivers of biodiversity loss in Southeast Asia, including climate change, disease, invasive species, pollution, and urbanization, but, in the short-term, none represent the same level of threat to the same number of species as habitat loss and hunting and trading of wildlife, according to Hughes.

Compounding the problem is the fact that none of these drivers of biodiversity loss occur in a vacuum. In fact, many of the threats “act in synergism,” Hughes writes in the study, “And the outlook for any species or habitat reflects the complex interaction of a number of these issues.” Which, she suggests, is all the more reason to understand each driver in its specific context when creating solutions.

In the study, Hughes makes a number of recommendations for combating these threats to biodiversity in the region. For many ecosystems and some taxa, she argues, further research is needed to develop appropriate priorities for conservation, especially in the wake of rapid habitat degradation and destruction.

Better enforcement and monitoring is also needed in order to enforce existing regulations to protect habitat and prevent the exploitation of endangered species. And while new technologies allow habitat destruction and wildlife trade to be monitored at ever-higher temporal and spatial resolutions, more effort is required to make the use of these technologies standard practice.

“Southeast Asia’s biodiversity has never been more threatened. Without urgent and immediate action to counter and ameliorate these threats we can expect to see the extinction of large numbers of species in the coming decades.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Earth One Earth: One Humanity: One Task: To Love Both and Live in Harmony

Image: MSF

 

|| March 26: 2017 || ά. Is It Possible: Absolutely; If We Imagine It, Believe in It, Choose It and Then Spend Our Entire Life Seeking and Working to Bring It About Onto Reality: One Looks at the Mother Earth and Cannot But Be Awed as to How Magnificent She is; Yet Bringing All the Agony, Suffering, Deaths and Devastations, Hunger, Illnesses and the Lack of Almost Everything That We and Our System of Public Affairs Management Have Inflicted on Ourselves Across the Globe One Cannot Fail But See the Systematic Culture of Cruelty, Ruthless Inhumanity, Grotesque Ugliness and Absolute Pointlessness of It All and See That These are Not Things That are Inevitable Should We Choose Not to Accept Them: What Can One Choose: One Can Choose to Refuse to Accept This and Seek to Change It: To Do: To Change: To Make Better: For It Takes Only One Nelson Mandela to Choose and Make a Stand So That an Entire People Find the Courage and Inspiration to Rise up and Seek to Achieve What Simply Began as One Human Being's Dream, Utopia and Vision. Otherwise Each Generation of Us Will Continue to Leave an Earth, a Great Deal Worse Than the Previous Generation, to Our Children and Grandchildren. ω. The Humanion

 

The Earth Hour 2017 Belize

Image: WWF-Belize
 

The Earth Hour 2017 Poland

Image: WWF-Poland

 

The Earth Hour 2017 Australia

Image: Quentin Jones: Australia

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Earth Hour: The Hour-Earth 2017: March 25: 20:30-21:30

Here is the Humanion Uniting in One Voice for the Mother Earth at The Earth Hour: Earth-Hour: Hour-Earth 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellie Goulding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O Human-Soul the Wonder That You Are
Will You Look and Reach Seek ee Grasp
Will You Break Out in Songs Like Homer
And Rejoice the Wonders That Life is That is
Always Dawning Eternally Emerald an Awe
 

Join in the Song of Praise, Called, The Mother Earth, Whose Children We All are Regardless of the Varying Jackets of Our Skin or the Divergent Many Accented Sonar Rainbow of Human Tongues: We are the Flowing Everyday Miracles of the Same Flowing Genome's Same Flowing Song, Called, Blood. Sing for the One Mother Earth and Sing for the One Humanity in Billions of Different Names: Yet in Agony We All Cry Out the Same Scream or the Same Tears Tear Our Soul Both in Sorrows and Joys or When in Love in All Corners of the Earth Everyone Looks for a Book of Love Poems or Go to Their Poet Friends to Ask Them to Write Them a Love Poem or Ask for Advice with the Matters of the Heart or What Poet to Read. And Despite Our Many Faiths and Not Having Any Faiths, We All Arrive on Earth as Nothing But a Human Child and We Leave the Earth Nothing But as We Arrived, as the Same Human Being. In Between We Have This Power to Be, to Do, to Ask, to Seek, to Search, to Learn, to Make, to Shape, to Create, to Connect, to Bond, to Form, to Share, to Give and to Sing and to Seek to Be and Spell Nothing But That What is the Light....What is the Light....What is the Light.....Love. The Humanion

 

 

 

Earth Hour 2017: Bulgaria: Image: WWF-Bulgaria

|| March 26: 2017 || ά. Sunday 26th March: Last night, global stars including Andy Murray, Anna Friel and Ellie Goulding united with millions of people across the country in the largest demonstration of support for action on climate change that the world has ever seen, the 10th anniversary of WWF’s Earth Hour.  The 60 minute switch off, which began in Samoa at 06.30 GMT and ended 24 hours later in the Cook Islands, saw thousands of towns and cities in 184 countries taking part. Hundreds of millions of people sent a clear message that they want to protect our planet with more action on climate change - and they want it now.

In the UK, over 270 landmarks switched off, including Buckingham Palace, Blackpool Tower, Brighton Pier, Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Sennedd Building in Cardiff and Edinburgh Castle. Around the globe iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Burj Khalifa and the Tokyo Tower also switched off. However, Earth Hour isn’t just about the big switch off, hundreds of people-powered activities kick started this year’s movement in the UK including a pedal-powered cinema night arranged by Exeter University students on Gylly beach; highland dancers on South Queensferry and a musical display at the Senedd in Wales.

Colin Butfield, Director of Campaigns at WWF, said, "Yesterday, hundreds of millions of people from across the world showed unity on climate change by switching off lights for Earth Hour. We are already seeing the problems of climate change, from the loss of sea ice in the Artic to one in six species being at risk of extinction.

The UK Government has taken some good steps in ratifying the Paris Agreement. We now need to see this international ambition matched with domestic action by pushing for a strong plan in reducing the UK carbon emission that includes switching to more renewable energy sources. Earth Hour is the biggest climate change event and yesterday it sent a clear message to governments across the world that people demand action on climate change now.”

Earth Hour 2017: Wales, United Kingdom: Image: Dan Green:WWF-Wales, UK


Over the past decade, WWF’s Earth Hour has been the force behind people-powered environmental efforts including the adoption of climate-friendly legislation in Russia, Argentina, the Galapagos Islands and Wales; creation of a 2,700-hectare Earth Hour forest in Uganda; planting of 17 million trees in Kazakhstan; providing renewable energy fuel-efficient stoves to families in Nepal and Madagascar, and lighting up homes with solar power in India and the Philippines. After ten years, the campaign has garnered a lot of support around the world with high profile personalities backing the campaign:

Ellie Goulding, Global Musician, said, “Knowing that we can do something to prevent [climate change] gives me this passion to want to do something about it and I think in the past few years I’ve realised more and more that I can reach out to people. I’m calling on everyone to support Earth Hour to show Governments around the world that we have to act now before it’s too late.”

Earth Hour 2017: Sudan: Image: Image: WWF Sudan

Ellie continues “I get asked ‘What can I do? What can one person do?’ and that’s why I think Earth Hour is so brilliant for this cause because it brings everyone together and it shows that and it will show, how many people really do care.”

Andy Murray, WWF Global Ambassador, said, “WWF’s 10th Earth Hour on March 25 is the chance for the world to unite in a simple yet powerful call to protect the planet. Last year was the hottest on record for the third year in a row - it’s just one reason why this year I joined people in over 170 countries to send out a global message that the time for strong climate action is now.”

Anna Friel, WWF Ambassador, said, “With one is six species at risk of extinction from climate change, the future of our planet as we know it has never been more under threat. WWF’s Earth Hour unites people together and allows us all to be part of something global that can affect real change and inspire more action on climate change.”

Simon Reeve, WWF Ambassador, said, “I’ve been lucky enough to see some of our planet’s most amazing natural sights. But on my journeys I’ve also witnessed first-hand the devastating impact climate change is already starting to have on our planet. From the Maasai community suffering severe drought to rising water levels eroding villages in Bangladesh. Village elders and indigenous people are telling me their world is changing, and changing rapidly. That’s why WWF’s Earth Hour is so important. We must show that we all want and need urgent action to help stop climate change.”

About WWF: WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive.

Earth Hour 2017: Finland. Image: Maarika Korhonen: WWF-Finland

About Earth Hour: Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet. This year celebrates the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour since it was first started in Sydney in 2007. Last year was the biggest event yet, with hundreds of millions of people taking part across a record 178 countries and 7,000 towns and cities, alongside world famous landmarks from the Sydney Opera House to Times Square in New York. Earth Hour continues to have a real and lasting impact beyond the hour, and this year we hope to draw global attention to climate change. In 2017 Earth Hour was held on March 25 between 20:30 and 21:30.

List of 24 global landmarks expected to switch off along with thousands others across the world as Earth Hour rolls across 24 time zones.

Earth Hour 2017: Spain: Image: WWF-Spain


01. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, UK
02. Blue Mosque, Turkey
03. Burj Khalifa, UAE
04. CCTV Tower, China
05. Colosseum, Italy
06. Eiffel Tower, France
07. Empire State Building, USA
08. Granada's Alhambra y Generalife, Spain
09. La Moneda, Chile
10. The Coca-Cola London Eye, UK
11. Milad Tower, Iran
12. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
13. Monumento a la Independencia, Mexico
14. Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, Russia
15. Palacio de los López, Paraguay
16. Pyramids of Egypt, Egypt
17. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
18. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, UAE
19. Space Needle, USA
20. Sydney Opera House, Australia
21. Taipei 101, Taiwan
22. The Acropolis, Greece
23. Tokyo Tower, Japan
24. Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

People’s Postcode Lottery: Earth Hour in the UK is funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes, while raising money for charities and good causes across Great Britain and globally. A minimum of 30% goes directly to charities and players have raised £182.7 Million for good causes across the country. People's Postcode Lottery manages multiple society lotteries promoted by different charities.
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Earth Hour 2017: India: Image: WWF-India

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Supersonic Plasma Jets Discovered: Birkeland Current Boundary Flows

Image: University of Calgary:ESA

 

|| March 24: 2017 || ά. Information from ESA’s magnetic field Swarm mission has led to the discovery of supersonic plasma jets high up in our atmosphere that can push temperatures up to almost 10,000°C. Presenting these findings at this week’s Swarm Science Meeting in Canada, scientists from the University of Calgary explained how they used measurements from the trio of Swarm satellites to build on what was known about vast sheets of electric current in the upper atmosphere.

The theory that there are huge electric currents, powered by solar wind and guided through the ionosphere by Earth’s magnetic field, was postulated more than a century ago by Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland. It wasn’t until the 1970s, after the advent of satellites, however, that these ‘Birkeland currents’ were confirmed by direct measurements in space. These currents carry up to 01TW of electric power to the upper atmosphere, about 30 times the energy consumed in New York during a heatwave.

They are, also, responsible for ‘aurora arcs’, the familiar, slow-moving green curtains of light that can extend from horizon to horizon. While much is known about these current systems, recent observations by Swarm have revealed that they are associated with large electrical fields. These fields, which are strongest in the winter, occur where upwards and downwards Birkeland currents connect through the ionosphere.

Bill Archer from the University of Calgary explained, “Using data from the Swarm satellites’ electric field instruments, we discovered that these strong electric fields drive supersonic plasma jets. The jets, which we call ‘Birkeland current boundary flows’, mark distinctly the boundary between current sheets moving in opposite direction and lead to extreme conditions in the upper atmosphere.

They can drive the ionosphere to temperatures approaching 10,000°C and change its chemical composition. They also cause the ionosphere to flow upwards to higher altitudes where additional energisation can lead to loss of atmospheric material to space.”

David Knudsen, also, from the University of Calgary, added, “These recent findings from Swarm add knowledge of electric potential, and therefore voltage, to our understanding of the Birkeland current circuit, perhaps the most widely recognised organising feature of the coupled magnetosphere, ionosphere system.”

This discovery is just one of the new findings presented at the week-long science meeting dedicated to the Swarm mission. Also presented this week and focusing on Birkeland currents, for example, Swarm was used to confirm that these currents are stronger in the northern hemisphere and vary with the season. Since they were launched in 2013, the identical Swarm satellites have been measuring and untangling the different magnetic signals that stem from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.

As well as a package of instruments to do this, each satellite has an electric field instrument positioned at the front to measure plasma density, drift and velocity. Rune Floberghagen, ESA’s Swarm mission manager, said, “The electric field instrument is the first ionospheric imager in orbit so it’s very exciting to see such fantastic results that are thanks to this new instrument.

The dedication of scientists working with data from the mission never ceases to amaze me and we are seeing some brilliant results, such as this, discussed at this week’s meeting. Swarm is really opening our eyes to the workings of the planet from deep down in Earth’s core to the highest part of our atmosphere.”
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 Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Earth's Winter Moon

Image: Claus Vogl: Courtesey ESA


|| December 22: 2016 || ά. This gorgeous image shows this month’s full Moon, also, known as a ‘Cold Moon’, seeming to hover above a set of satellite tracking dishes on the campus of the Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aerospacial:INTA, in the southern part of the Canary Islands’ Gran Canaria, at Montaña Blanca.

One of the antennas, the 15 m-diameter dish seen one the left, is ESA’s Maspalomas tracking station, which currently communicates with ESA’s Cluster, LISA Pathfinder and XMM-Newton missions. This image was captured on December 14, by amateur photographer Claus Vogl, from Fürth, Germany.

Vogl writes, I spent my vacation last week at Gran Canaria. I spotted the ESA site many years ago and always was fascinated by this big antennas facing into space. The entire shooting window for this image was just two minutes. I shot from on top of a little mountain 01.6 kilometres West of the big antenna, just outside a very little village called Montaña la Arena on a narrow dirt road. The camera equipment was a Canon EOS 5D Mark 3 with an EF 70-200/2.8 IS L lens, exposure time 1.0 sec:aperture F5.6:ISO 400.” ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The World’s Wet Regions are Getting Wetter and the Dry Regions are Getting Drier: But at 03°C Global Warming Both Wet and Dry Regions Will Likely Get More Than 10% Wetter and Drier Respectively

Image: NASA

|| December 17: 2016: University of Southampton News: England: United Kingdom || ά. Research from the University of Southampton has provided robust evidence that wet regions of the earth are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier but it is happening at a slower rate than previously thought. The study, published in Scientific Reports, analysed the saltiness of the world’s oceans. More rain and outflow from rivers in a region of an ocean means sea water gets diluted and therefore becomes less salty.

More evaporation in another region takes away fresh water and leaves salt behind making that region more saline. The researchers used measurements of salinity throughout the global and deep oceans over the last 60 years to estimate how much global rainfall is changing. The researchers found that the regions, which are relatively wet, like Northern Europe are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier both by about two per cent over the last 60 years. This process is called amplification of the water cycle. Previous research indicates that amplification of the water cycle, is happening at 07 per cent per 01°C of global warming.

The new study estimates that amplification happens at about three to four per cent per 01°C. The research team believe this is probably due to a weakening of the atmospheric circulation which transports freshwater from the dry to wet regions of the globe.

Dr Nikolaos Skliris, a Research Fellow at the University of Southampton who led the study, said, “Our findings match what has been predicted by models of a warming climate; as the world gets warmer wet regions will continue to get wetter and dry regions will continue to get drier.

Although we have found that this process is happening slower than first thought, if global warming exceeds 03°C, wet regions will likely get more than 10 per cent wetter and dry regions more than 10 per cent drier, which could have disastrous implications for river flows and agriculture.”

Dr Skliris added, “The agreement between climate models and observations over the recent past is another important finding of this study because it adds confidence to climate model projections of water cycle amplification under greenhouse gas emission scenarios.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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We Urgently Need Healthy Soils to Ensure Essential Services They Provide: Ban Ki-moon on World Soil Day

Sprouting fava beans at FAO Headquarters, Rome. Image: FAO:Claudia Nicolai

 

|| December 05: 2016 || ά. Marking World Soil Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the importance of healthy soils, adding that 'sustainable management systems and practices will unlock the full potential of soils to support food production, store and supply clean water, preserve biodiversity, sequester more carbon and increase resilience to a changing climate.” In his message on the Day, Mr. Ban encouraged the international community to optimise the use of soil now and preserve and protect it in the long-term, because the sustainable soil management can also contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals:SDGs, as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The theme of the 2016 edition of World Soil Day is Soils and pulses, a symbiosis for life. Pulses, such as dry beans, peas and lentils, can boost soil health while supporting healthier and nutritious diets, and can also fix atmospheric nitrogen in their roots. In addition, pulses combine with soil in a unique symbiosis that protects the environment, enhances productivity, contributes to adapting to climate change and provides fundamental nutrients to the soil and subsequent crops. Finally, pulses also reduce the need to apply external fertiliser.

The Secretary-General also highlighted recommendations on ways to protect and sustainably manage soils in the recently endorsed Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management developed by the Global Soil Partnership. The guidelines will contribute to improving the health of the soil and increasing its potential to support mitigation and adaptation actions in a changing climate.

“On World Soil Day, I call for greater attention to the pressing issues affecting soils, including climate change, antimicrobial resistance, soil-borne diseases, contamination, nutrition and human health.” concluded Mr. Ban, urging global efforts to build on the International Year of Soils 2015 and this year's International Year of Pulses, and all the activities supporting sustainable soil management to generate more hectares of healthy soils everywhere. ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Minna's Vlasiator: Earth, Are You Ready

Image: Finnish Meteorological Institute


|| November 28: 2016 || ά. Vlasiator was developed from scratch by Research professor Minna Palmroth's group at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, which received funding from the European Research Council and the Academy of Finland since 2008. Vlasiator is currently the most accurate model of near-Earth space at large scales. The model preserves nevertheless detailed plasma physical properties. The model describes the plasma pervading space, which is a very tenuous medium made of electrons and ions and is threaded by magnetic fields.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute is developing a six-dimensional Vlasov theory-based simulation called Vlasiator. The focus is to simulate the entire near-Earth space at a global scale using the kinetic hybrid-Vlasov approach, to study fundamental plasma processes, reconnection, particle acceleration, shocks and gain a deeper understanding of space weather. Space weather is a term used to describe the variable environmental effects within near-Earth space, caused by the Sun emitting solar wind, a stream of charged particles carrying the solar electromagnetic field.

Space weather can be caused by solar high-energy particles or by dynamic variations of the solar wind that can cause extended periods of major disturbances on ground and space, affecting technological systems, e.g., telecommunication and weather spacecraft at geostationary orbit, and ground-based power grids. In Vlasiator, ions are represented as velocity distribution functions, while electrons are magnetohydrodynamic fluid, enabling a self-consistent global plasma simulation that can describe multi-temperature plasmas to resolve non-MHD processes that currently cannot be self-consistently described by the existing global space weather simulations.

The novelty is that by modelling ions as velocity distribution functions the outcome will be numerically noiseless. Due to the multi-dimensional approach at ion scales, Vlasiator's computational challenges are immense. The Vlasiator programme uses advanced high performance computing techniques to allow massively parallel computations on tens of thousands of cores.

Yann Pfau-Kempf, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute defends his doctoral thesis about the modelling of the Earth's space environment on December 01. He has participated in the development of the pioneering Vlasiator space model, which helped in gaining new knowledge about near-Earth space. Pfau-Kempf has investigated in his thesis the physical results obtained with Vlasiator. The last article in the thesis introduces a phenomenon never observed before, where the processes in the Earth's magnetosphere influence the upstream solar wind properties. The phenomenon was first identified in Vlasiator simulations and then confirmed with ground-based and spacecraft observations.

"The unprecedented quality of the Vlasiator plasma model was vital in obtaining these new pioneering results. Vlasiator shows that in space physics everything affects everything and local-scale phenomena cannot be studied separately from their global context. The new results pave the way towards explanations to long-standing open problems and exciting scientific discoveries." says Yann Pfau-Kempf. "The research shows that Vlasiator matches excellently both established theories and observational data from spacecraft, which gives strong confidence in the Vlasiator results." Yann Pfau-Kempf adds.

The Vlasiator results are also verified and validated by comparing to previously published data. A key aspect of Yann Pfau-Kempf's thesis work resides in adapting and optimising the algorithms to make them run efficiently on top-tier supercomputers, which are required to simulate large systems. Simulations were run on some of Europe's largest supercomputers, harnessing the computing power of tens of thousands of processors in parallel. "This thesis sums up my model development work, but it will also hopefully be a reference for future generations of Vlasiator developers and users. The code has now reached maturity and promises an avalanche of great space science in the months and years to come." says Yann Pfau-Kempf.

Historically, modelling the magnetosphere, that is the space volume around Earth where our planet's magnetic field controls plasma dynamics, was done with two types of models. The simplest do not include a lot of physical detail whereas the more complex models offer a better description of plasma physics, but are marred by noise. Unlike these two model types, Vlasiator applies a very clean and detailed model, which was, however, until recently, deemed too computationally heavy to be used to describe the magnetosphere at large scales.

The young French-German researcher Yann Pfau-Kempf got a triple bachelor's degree from the Universities of Luxembourg, Saarland, Germany and Nancy, France in 2010 before he came to Finland. He is one of the youngest researchers from the Finnish Meteorological Institute to defend his thesis in space physics ever. Yann Pfau-Kempf's thesis 'Vlasiator-From local to global magnetospheric hybrid-Vlasov simulations' will be publicly examined on December 01 at 12 at the University of Helsinki in Auditorium E204 in Physicum on Kumpula campus, street address Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2. The Opponent is Dr Benoit Lavraud from the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Toulouse, France. The Custos is Professor Hannu Koskinen from the University of Helsinki Department of physics.

Further information: Researcher Yann Pfau-Kempf, phone +358 50 4147 241, yann.kempf at fmi.fi

The doctoral thesis is published in the Finnish Meteorological Institute. ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Supermoon and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: They Both Sing and Bring Light to the Dark Earth

Image: NASA:Aubrey Gemignani

|| October 31: 2016 || ά. The moon, or supermoon, is seen as it sets over the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Monday, November 14, 2016 in Washington. A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest, perigee, to Earth. And what a beautiful Supermoon this is! They both, the Moon and Martin Luther King Jr, sing and bring light to the dark earth. And they don't go away: they come back and sing on and keep on calling towards the light... towards the light... totwards the light.... towards the 'content of the character... towards the.... I have a dream.....

And here on early Monday morning, the moon was the closest it has been to Earth since 1948 and it appeared 30 percent brighter and 14 percent bigger than the average monthly full moon. A quiet Supermoon's silver silent speech and the thoughtful pause of Martin Luther King Jr's statue, equally silent and equally, we imagine, speaking in gold: less is more for the mind that speaks more has thought less whereby can say little that is worth much. Beautiful an image and we give it to you, thanks to NASA, Aubrey Gemignani and Sarah Loff.

Because I Have a Dream I Can Sing Worlds That Do Not Exist Yet But They Soon Will

 

Because I have a dream they do not understand me for their
Dreams are all nightmares and they suspect all the dreams
For I have always loved the light from the deepest depth of
The dark I have always sung clair de lune that hear they not

Their egos are far too large to fit their socks shoes or soaps
But because I have a dream I have always heard beautiful
Sky lark symphonies arise and fall away onto the widening
Deepening spread of the Universe eternally a-bloom in light

Because I have a dream I can make boats and give out means
For bridges where bridges cannot be built for love is but light
For no matter how far darkness goes light never stops going

Because I have a dream I stand up speak and sing yet they put
Me in prison or give me poison to drink but they who've drunk
Hatred are lost yet my dream lives on love's light and goes on

Munayem Mayenin

Written in Memoriam of Dr Martin Luther King Jr: August 29: 2016

 


:Editor: Sarah Loff:NASA: ω.     

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Aurora Icelandic

Image: D. Necchi
 

|| October 31: 2016 || ά.  This whirling, twisting skyscape is an arresting and somewhat intimidating sight, a perfect Halloween Space Science Image of the Week. Jagged lanes in shades of dark and pale green tangle with bright patches of white, creating a knotted spiral somewhat reminiscent of a celestial serpent writhing across the sky, looming ominously over the sleepy town below. It may look appropriately spooky and otherworldly, but this image shows something that is quite commonplace at Earth’s northern and southernmost latitudes. The flashes of green in the sky are an aurora, seen when large bursts of energetic atomic particles stream out from the Sun and hit a planet’s atmosphere.

These particles filter down through the protective layers surrounding Earth, such as the magnetosphere, the region of space dominated by the magnetic field, and interact with the air particles found below in the atmosphere. Patches of atmosphere subsequently glow brightly and eerily, filling our skies with startling ripples and flashes of colour. Auroras are often referred to as ‘the northern lights’, aurora borealis, but they also occur regularly at southern latitudes, aurora australis. They are best seen from regions including Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and parts of South America, southern, and Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia and Iceland, northern.

The effect is seen only at polar and near-polar latitudes because the charged particles travel in towards Earth along magnetic field lines that meet our planet at its poles.  Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun’s effect on Earth. Since 2000, ESA’s quartet of Cluster satellites has been investigating the complex Sun–Earth connection and has been unravelling the puzzle of how and why auroras form.

This image shows a town in southern Iceland named Selfoss, on the Ölfusá River, visible in the foreground. It was taken by photographer Davide Necchi on August 27, 2015. This particular aurora was linked to a solar storm, which caused an especially large and sudden outpouring of particles into our atmosphere. As a result, the lights were intense and unusually bright, appearing abruptly in the evening sky before it was fully dark. In fact, the aurora was so bright that Davide opted for a relatively short 3 second exposure time, conscious that any longer may cause the brightest parts of the photograph to ‘burn’ or become ‘blown-out’, thus losing detail.

Necchi used a Canon 5D Mark II camera with a 14 mm f2.8 lens. This image had an ISO of 1600, and no filter has been applied. The bright full Moon is also visible in the frame, hanging beneath a layer of cloud. ω.     

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Bamyan National Park Afghanistan

|| October 23: 2016 || ά. A view of Bamyan National Park in September 2016. Afghanistan is characterised by rugged mountains, with more than half of the land area above 2,000 metres. There are also lakes and rivers, with most new water supply coming from rain and snow melt. ω.     

 Image: UN Photo:UNAMA

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Welcome Back to Mother Earth Tim: She Has Gravity and Not the Micro-Kind
 

Image: ESA:NASA

|| June 19: 2016 || ά.  Tim Peake and his Crewmates have arrived back on Earth safe and sound. Here's what he has seen while up there. We publish this as to say: Welcome Back to Mother Earth, Tim and, same to the other Tim and Yuri. 

ESA astronaut Tim Peake took this image from the International Space Station during his six-month Principia mission. He commented: "Tonight's waxing gibbous moonset: goodnight Earth:)

Professional photographer Max Alexander has known Tim Peake from before his launch into space and gave Tim photography tips during his mission. Max comments: "The most striking aspect is how distorted and oblate the Moon appears, which is caused by the atmosphere refracting the sunlight. Then there is the exquisite transition from the deep sky blue, through to the inky black of space." ω.

Tim Peake

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Principia: I'm Coming Home for There's No Place Like Home

Image: NASA:ESA

|| June 12: 2016 || ά. Having had his mission extended for two extra weeks Tim Peake is finally getting ready to come back home to the Mother Earth on Saturday, June 18. Tim and his Crewmates Yuri Malechenko and Tim Kopra will return to Earth and touch down at 10:12 GMT on the day.

The landing will be shown on the Principia website. The coverage will begin at 09:00 GMT

The two Tims and one Yuri are returning to Earth all of whom had had almost two extra weeks in space than originally planned.

Once they touched down Mother Earth and felt at home they will begin their journey back to their 'living quarters' which is to mean their own 'countries'. Think of this apparent anomaly in the way we might perceive this situation: because they were out of the Earth people would tend to think they were coming closer to home by coming back to Earth! But actually they would have been closer to their own home countries while being at ISS than they would be from where they were to land and touch down on Earth! Their distance from Earth from ISS were a few hundred miles up there and from where they would land their distance from their home countries would be thousands of miles!

Anyhow, a safe journey back to Mother Earth where you would definitely think: There is No Place Like Home! ω.

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Look! Who ISS Back on Earth!



Image Credit: NASA:Bill Ingalls

|| May 28: 2016 || ά. Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly speaks about his historic mission aboard the International Space Station during an event at the United States Capitol Visitor Center, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in Washington.

Don't Forget the Kelikaaru: That's a Scot Kelly picture modified and named after him

Kelly and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth on March 02, 2016, after 340 days on the orbiting laboratory. During the record-setting One-Year mission, the station crew conducted almost 400 investigations to advance NASA’s mission and benefit all of humanity. Kelly and Kornienko participated in a number of studies to inform NASA’s Journey to Mars, including research into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight. They orbited Earth 5,440 times, traveling 143,846,525 statute miles. Kelly ventured outside the confines of the space station for three spacewalks and captured hundreds of images of our planet from his unique vantage point in orbit. ω.

:Editor: Sarah Loff:NASA:

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Central Africa Blanketed by Fires

Image: Jeff Schmaltz LANCE:EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC


|| May 19: 2016 || ά.  Each red dot represents an area of the earth that is hotter than the area surrounding it and is indicative of fire. Central Africa in this satellite image is teeming with red dots. That signals that agricultural season in this area is in full swing. The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire as a means of returning nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.

NASA's Suomi NPP satellite collected this natural-color image using the VIIRS:Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument on May 18, 2016. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE:EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner.
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:Editor: Lynn Jenner:NASA:

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Earth Windows

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS



|| May 14: 2016 ||  This trio of Junocam views of Earth was taken during Juno's close flyby on October 9, 2013.

The leftmost view shows the southern two-thirds of South America. As the spacecraft moved eastward during its flyby, the Chilean coast and the snowy line of the Andes Mountains recedes toward the limb at left on the planet. The third image includes a view of the Argentinean coastline with reflections, or specular highlights, off the Rio Negro north of Golfo San Matias, as well as cloud formations over Antarctica.

The leftmost view was obtained at 19:08 UT at an altitude of 3,567 miles: 5,741 kilometers; the center view was obtained at 19:11 from 2,486 miles:4,001 kilometers altitude, and the view at right was obtained at 19:12 UT at an altitude of 1,986 miles (3,197 kilometers).

The center image was taken using Junocam's narrowband methane filter, while the other two are combinations of the instrument's red, green and blue filters and approximate natural color. Each image is a mosaic of 82 individual frames taken as the spacecraft spun; these have been composited and remapped by ground processing.

:Editor: Tony Greicius: NASA:

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The Image of the Day: The Mercury Transit: May 09: 2016

Image: NASA

|| May 09: 2016 || Here is the Mercury Transit: May 09: 2016.

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Once in a Decade: Mercury Transiting on May 09

Sarah Schlieder Writing

Image created from two NASA images


|| May 08: 2016 || It happens only a little more than once a decade – and the next chance to see it is Monday, May 9. Throughout the U.S., sky watchers can watch Mercury pass between Earth and the sun in a rare astronomical event known as a planetary transit. Mercury will appear as a tiny black dot as it glides in front of the sun’s blazing disk over a period of seven and a half hours. Three NASA satellites will be providing images of the transit and one of them will have a near-live feed.

Although Mercury zooms around the sun every 88 days, Earth, the sun and Mercury rarely align. And because Mercury orbits in a plane that is tilted from Earth’s orbit, it usually moves above or below our line of sight to the sun. As a result, Mercury transits occur only about 13 times a century.

Transits provide a great opportunity to study the way planets and stars move in space – information that has been used throughout the ages to better understand the solar system and which still helps scientists today calibrate their instruments. Three of NASA's solar telescopes will watch the transit for just that reason.

The May 9 Mercury transit will occur between about 7:12 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. EDT. Mercury is too small to see without magnification, but it can be seen with a telescope or binoculars. These must be outfitted with a solar filter as you can't safely look at the sun directly.

“Astronomers get excited when any two things come close to each other in the heavens,” said Louis Mayo, program manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This is a big deal for us.”

Mercury transits have been key to helping astronomers throughout history: In 1631, astronomers first observed a Mercury transit. Those observations allowed astronomers to measure the apparent size of Mercury’s disk, as well as help them estimate the distance from Earth to the sun.

“Back in 1631, astronomers were only doing visual observations on very small telescopes by today’s standards,” said Mayo.

Since then, technological advancements have allowed us to study the sun and planetary transits in greater detail. In return, transits allow us to test our spacecraft and instruments.

Scientists for the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO (jointly operated by NASA and ESA, the European Space Agency), and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, will work in tandem to study the May 9 transit. The Hinode solar mission will also observe the event. Hinode is a collaboration between the space agencies of Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

SOHO launched in December 1995 with 12 instruments to study the sun from the deep solar core all the way out to the sun's effects on the rest of the solar system. Two of these instruments — the Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope and the Michelson Doppler Imager — will be brought back into full operation to take measurements during the transit after five years of quiescence.

For one thing, the SOHO will measure the sun’s rotation axis using images captured by the spacecraft.

“Instruments on board SDO and SOHO use different spectral lines, different wavelengths and they have slightly different optical properties to study solar oscillations,” said SOHO Project Scientist Joseph Gurman. “Transit measurements will help us better determine the solar rotation axis.”

Such data is another piece of a long line of observations, which together help us understand how the sun changes over hours, days, years and decades.

“It used to be hard to observe transits,” Gurman said. “If you were in a place that had bad weather, for example, you missed your chance and had to wait for the next one. These instruments help us make our observations, despite any earthly obstacles.”

SDO will be able to use the transit to help with instrument alignment. Because scientists know so precisely where Mercury should be in relationship to the sun, they can use it as a marker to fine tune exactly how their instruments should be pointed.

The transit can also be used to help calibrate space instruments. The utter darkness of the planet provides an opportunity to study effects on the observations of stray light within the instrument. The backside of Mercury should appear black as it moves across the face of the sun. But because instruments scatter some light, Mercury will look slightly illuminated.

“It’s like getting a cataract — you see stars or halos around bright lights as though you are looking through a misty windshield,” said SDO Project Scientist Dean Pesnell. “We have the same problem with our instruments.”

Scientists run software on the images to try and mitigate the effect and check whether it can remove all of the scattered light.

For those of us down on the ground, it is worth trying to find a local astronomy club with a solar telescope to see if you can witness this rare event.

Alternatively, a near-live feed of SDO images will be available at www.nasa.gov/transit.

Related Links

NASA activity during the May 9 transit

Mercury transit movie

How to safely view the sun

Sarah Schlieder: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

( Editor: Rob Garner: NASA)

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Expanding Tropics Pushing High Altitude Clouds Towards Poles, NASA Study Finds

Ellen Gray Writing

The Hadley cells describe how air moves through the tropics on either side of the equator. They are two of six major air circulation cells on Earth. Credits: NASA


|| May 05: 2016 || A new NASA analysis of 30-years of satellite data suggests that a previously observed trend of high altitude clouds in the mid-latitudes shifting toward the poles is caused primarily by the expansion of the tropics.

Clouds are among the most important mediators of heat reaching Earth's surface. Where clouds are absent, darker surfaces like the ocean or vegetated land absorb heat, but where clouds occur their white tops reflect incoming sunlight away, which can cause a cooling effect on Earth’s surface. Where and how the distribution of cloud patterns change strongly affects Earth's climate. Understanding the underlying causes of cloud migration will allow researchers to better predict how they may affect Earth's climate in the future.

George Tselioudis, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University in New York City, was interested in which air currents were shifting clouds at high altitude – between about three and a half and six miles high – toward the poles.

The previous suggested reason was that climate change was shifting storms and the powerful air currents known as the jet streams – including the one that traverses the United States – toward the poles, which in turn were driving the movement of the clouds.

To see if that was the case, Tselioudis and his colleagues analyzed the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project data set, which combines cloud data from operational weather satellites, including those run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to provide a 30-year record of detailed cloud observations. They combined the cloud data with a computer re-creation of Earth's air currents for the same period driven by multiple surface observations and satellite data sets.

What they discovered was that the poleward shift of the clouds, which occurs in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, connected more strongly with the expansion of the tropics, defined by the general circulation Hadley cell, than with the movement of the jets.

The Hadley cell is one of the major ways air is moved around the planet. Existing in both hemispheres, it starts when air in the tropics, which is heated at the surface by intense sunlight, warms and rises. At high altitudes it is pushed away from the equator towards the mid-latitudes to the north and south, then it begins to sink back to Earth's surface, closing the loop.

"What we find, and other people have found it as well, is that the sinking branch of the Hadley cell, as the climate warms, tends to be moving poleward," said Tselioudis. "It's like you're making the tropical region bigger." And that expansion causes the tropical air currents to blow into the high altitude clouds, pushing them toward the poles, he said. The results were published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Scientists are working to understand exactly why the tropics are expanding, which they believe is related to a warming climate.

The poleward shift of high altitude clouds affects how much sunlight reaches Earth's surface because when they move, they reveal what's below.

"It's like pulling a curtain," said Tselioudis. And what tends to be revealed depends on location – which in turn affects whether the surface below warms or not.

"Sometimes when that curtain is pulled, as in the case over the North Atlantic ocean in the winter months, this reduces the overall cloud cover" in the lower mid-latitudes, the temperate regions outside of the tropics, Tselioudis said. The high altitude clouds clear to reveal dark ocean below – which absorbs incoming sunlight and causes a warming effect.

However, in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, the high altitude clouds usually clear out of the way to reveal lower altitude clouds below – which continue to reflect sunlight from their white tops, causing little effect on the solar radiation reaching the surface.

When the results are taken together, the bottom line is that the cloud interactions with atmospheric circulation and solar radiation are complicated, and the tropical circulation appears to play a dominant role, said Tselioudis.

That information is a new insight that will likely be used by the climate modeling community, including the scientists who contribute modeling expertise to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said Lazaros Oreopoulos, a cloud and radiation budget researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was not involved in the study. Climate modelers aim for their computer simulations to correspond as closely to reality as possible in order to reliably predict Earth's future climate.

"If current behavior is not well simulated, then confidence in predicted future behavior will be lower," Oreopoulos said. "I anticipate this study to be looked at carefully and affect thinking on these matters."

Read the paper at Geophysical Research Letters

Ellen Gray: NASA's Earth Science News Team

( Editor: Karl Hille: NASA)

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Look, There's Casablanca!

Image Credit: NASA

 

|| May 03: 2016 || Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams of NASA captured this detailed photograph from the International Space Station during a daytime flyover of Morocco on May 02, 2016. Williams shared the image to social media and asked, "Reptile scales, or incredible and rugged geology in Morocco?"

( Editor: Sarah Loff: NASA)
 

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And the NASA Scientific Oskar for Lightning Bolt Goes to........ Lake Maracaibo: Venezuela

Image: NASA

|| May 02: 2016 || Earth has a new lightning capital, according to a recent study using observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensor onboard NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission.

Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela earned the top spot receiving an average rate of about 233 flashes per square kilometer per year, according to the study. Researchers had previously identified Africa's Congo Basin as the location of maximum lightning activity.

The research team constructed a very high resolution data set derived from 16 years of space-based LIS observations to identify and rank lightning hotspots. They described their research in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

"We can now observe lightning flash rate density in very fine detail on a global scale," said Richard Blakeslee, LIS project scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. "Better understanding of lightning activity around the world enables policy makers, government agencies and other stakeholders to make more informed decisions related to weather and climate."

Blakeslee joined forces with lightning researchers at the University of São Paulo, the University of Maryland, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the University of Alabama in Huntsville to understand where and when most lightning occurs. Their findings will help forecasters and researchers better understand lightning and its connections to weather and other phenomena.

“Lake Maracaibo has a unique geography and climatology that is ideal for the development of thunderstorms," said Dennis Buechler with the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Buechler noted that Lake Maracaibo is not new to lightning researchers. Located in northwest Venezuela along part of the Andes Mountains, it is the largest lake in South America. Storms commonly form there at night as mountain breezes develop and converge over the warm, moist air over the lake. These unique conditions contribute to the development of persistent deep convection resulting in an average of 297 nocturnal thunderstorms per year, peaking in September.

Africa remains the continent with the most lightning hotspots, according to the study, home to six of the world's top ten sites for lightning activity. The majority of the hotspots were by Lake Victoria and other lakes along the East African Rift Valley, which have a similar geography to Lake Maracaibo.

The study also confirmed earlier findings that concentrated lightning activity tends to happen over land and reduced lightning activity over oceans and that continental lightning peaks generally in the afternoon.

"Our research using LIS observations in new ways is a prime example of how NASA partners with scientists all over the world to better understand and appreciate our home planet," said Blakeslee.

Developed at Marshall, LIS detects the distribution and variability of total lightning – cloud-to-cloud, intracloud, and cloud to ground – that occurs in the tropical regions of the globe. LIS uses a specialized, high-speed imaging system to look for changes in the optical output caused by lightning in the tops of clouds. By analyzing a narrow wavelength band around 777 nanometers -- which is in the near-infrared region of the spectrum – the sensors can spot brief lightning flashes even under bright daytime conditions that swamp out the small lightning signal.

The team at Marshall that created LIS in the mid-1990s built a spare -- and now that second unit is stepping up to contribute, as well. The sensor is scheduled to launch on a Space Exploration Technologies rocket to the International Space Station in August 2016.

To learn more about NASA Earth science, visit http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth

By Ryan Connelly, Student Intern, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Office of Strategic Analysis & Communications

Molly Porter: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama: molly.a.porter@nasa.gov: 256-544-0034

( Editor: Lee Mohon: NASA)

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Colourful Naukluft: Namibia

Released 29/04/2016 10:00 am: Copyright Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2016], processed by ESA
 

|| May 01: 2016 || The Sentinel-2A satellite takes us over to central western Namibia, an area surrounding the Namib Naukluft Park, in this image taken on 28 January 2016.

The National Park includes part of the Namib – the world’s oldest desert – and the Naukluft Mountain range. It is the largest game park in Africa and the fourth largest in the world.

A typical west coast desert, moisture enters as fog, from the Atlantic Ocean, rather than receiving actual rainfall. A phenomenon also found along the coasts of South and North America, the surface water of Namibia’s coast is relatively cold, so that moist air moving in with westerly winds cools and falls as rain before it reaches the coast, allowing only fog to reach inland.

The fog enables life in this extremely arid region, for snakes, geckos and particular insects like the fogstand beetle, which survives by collecting water on its bumpy back from early-morning fogs, as well as hyenas, gemsboks and jackals.

The winds carrying the fog also create the imposing sand dunes, whose age is rendered by the burnt orange colour. The iron in the sand is oxidised, developing this rusty-metal colour over time. It becomes brighter as the dune ages, as is clearly visible along the middle of this natural-colour image.

Also visible along the top-left part of the image is the Kuiseb River bordered on one side by some of the tallest sand dunes in the world, and on the other by barren rock. The river blocks the movement of the dunes, which are blown northwards by the winds.

A road cuts through the top-right corner of the image. It is part of the C14 Highway, which runs for some 600 km from Walvis Bay, through Helmeringhausen and ends in Goageb.

To the right of the highway, there is a rock formation with a ridgeline, with water flowing along both sides, giving life to vegetation.

Along the bottom of the image, the Tsondab River is seen. Periodic rain falling in the Naukluft and Remhoogte Mountains causes the water to flow to the end of the ‘vlei’ – a shallow minor lake. The riverbed hits the colossal sand dunes, and appears bright white from the salt and mineral formations remaining after its water evaporates.

Despite the lack of rain, large camel-thorn and umbrella-thorn trees, and a few wild fig trees, can be detected growing along the riverbanks, benefitting from penetrating roots. Sentinel-2A has been in orbit since June 2015, providing key information on vegetation health, among other major applications.

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Tim, Yuri and Tim: Preparing to Come Back Home in June

Bridget rover in Stevenage, UK: Released 29/04/2016 4:53 pm: Copyright UK Space Agency
 

|| April 29: 2016 ||  ESA astronaut Tim Peake and his crewmates Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra will return to Earth on 18 June, giving them almost two more weeks more in space than their original mission.

Each International Space Station crew flies as a trio to the outpost and back to Earth in a Soyuz spacecraft. About every three months, a crew returns to Earth shortly before a new one arrives, often leaving a few days when only three astronauts look after the Station.

Tim, Tim and Yuri will stay longer in space because ground control aims to keep the Space Station operating at full capacity with six astronauts.

Tim Peake says: “Although I am looking forward to being back on Earth and seeing friends and family again, each day spent living in space is a huge privilege and there is much work to do on the Station.

“This extension will keep the Station at a full crew of six for several days longer, enabling us to accomplish more scientific research.

“And, of course, I get to enjoy the beautiful view of planet Earth for a little while longer!”

Research in Space

 With three supply vessels recently arrived, the astronauts will be kept busy. Tim Peake released the first Filipino satellite into space from Japan’s Kibo laboratory on Wednesday and he operated a rover in Stevenage, UK, as he flew 400 km above Earth today.

Meanwhile, the Station’s incubators are experimenting with growing blood vessels in weightlessness from cell cultures that line the interior of human blood vessels.

Tim recently became the second ESA astronaut to use the Mares muscle-measurement unit that charts his fine motor control as well as giving a detailed overview of muscle torque and speed.

Looking at muscle contraction at a specific moment gives little information but Mares provides a full picture of muscle speed and force as an elbow or knee joint bends.

In the Meanwhile Find Time to Run a Marathon

 Astronauts must exercise up to two hours a day to keep fit and healthy for their return. Mission control tries to give them a free day on Sunday – but the exercise regime continues.

Last Sunday Tim Peake ran a full marathon on the Station’s treadmill at the same time as the London Marathon was being held on Earth. Tim’s time was just over three-and-a-half hours, running 42 km while the Station flew almost 100 000 km.

Tim will land in the steppe of Kazakhstan and return straight to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, for checkups and research into how humans adapt to living in space.

Next Launch

 The next Soyuz launch is set for 21 June, now three days after Tim leaves. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, preparing for his Proxima mission in November, will be at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, as backup to the crew of Russian commander Anatoli Ivanishin, Japanese Takuya Onishi and NASA’s Kathleen Rubins.

This will be the first flight of an upgraded Soyuz spacecraft that offers increased cargo capacity.

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Ice Scours the North Caspian Sea

Kathryn Hansen Writing

Image Credit: NASA image by Norman Kuring, NASA’s Ocean Color web


|| April 26: 2016 || The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on NASA's Landsat 8 satellite acquired this large natural-color image showing a view of the Caspian Sea around the Tyuleniy Archipelago on April 16, 2016. Ocean scientist Norman Kuring of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center found a puzzling feature in the image -- lines crisscrossing the North Caspian Sea. On its own, the image was strikingly beautiful. Shallow waters surrounding the Tyuleniy Archipelago allow you to see the dark green vegetation on the sea bottom. But the question remained: what caused those lines?

The dark green areas—possibly sea grass or benthic algae—and the lines are features of the sea bottom. “You can tell this by the fact that marks laid down in January have not moved by April,” Kuring said. “If those were water features, they would not persist through one tidal cycle.”

It’s possible that some of the marks have a human origin. Similar lines show up in the world’s oceans because of trawling. But the scientific literature and a January satellite image suggest that a majority of the marks in the images were gouged by ice. In January, blocks of ice stand at the leading end of many lines, most notably in the northeast corner of the image. By April, ice has melted and only the scour marks persist.

Stanislav Ogorodov, a scientist at Lomonosov Moscow State University who has published research on the phenomenon, agrees: “Undoubtedly, most of these tracks are the result of ice gouging.” Ogorodov notes that this part of the Caspian is very shallow—about 3 meters deep. Ice that forms here in wintertime is usually about 0.5 meters thick, so most of it never touches the seafloor. But the ice tends to be “warm” and thin, which gives rise to relatively weak ice cover that is easily deformed by wind and currents. When pieces of ice are pushed together, some ice is forced upward and downward into so-called “hummocks.” The keels of hummocks, frozen into the ice fields, can reach the seafloor and scour the bed as the ice moves.

Caption: Kathryn Hansen

( Editor: Sarah Loff: NASA)

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And When the Earth Blooms You Remain Silent
 

|| April 23, 2016 || A new book released this week highlights how the view from space with Earth-orbiting sensors is being used to protect some of the world’s most interesting, changing, and threatened places. From space, Egmont National Park in New Zealand shows the benefits and limitations of protected areas. In this Landsat 8 image acquired on July 3, 2014, the park, with Mt. Taranaki at its center, was established in 1900. This isolated island of protected forest (dark green areas) is surrounded by once-forested pasturelands (light and brown green).

Image Credit: NASA/USGS

“Sanctuary: Exploring the World’s Protected Areas from Space,” published by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (Arlington, Virginia) with support from NASA, debuted at the 2014 World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia. In the book’s foreword, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden writes, “NASA and numerous other space agency partners from around the globe have used this view from space to make incredible scientific advances in our understanding of how our planet works. As a result, we can now better gauge the impact of human activity on our environment and measure how and why our atmosphere, oceans, and land are changing. As a former astronaut who has looked upon our beautiful planet from space, I hope that we can advance the use of space-based remote sensing and other geospatial tools to study, understand, and improve the management of the world’s parks and protected areas as well as the precious biodiversity that thrives within their borders.”

( Editor: Steve Fox: NASA)

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We are in a Race Against Time: Says Ban Ki-moon ||  Hurry, Hurry, Hurry Along: Says the Earth

NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University Image

|| April 22, 2016 || As world leaders gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York this morning to officially sign the Paris Agreement on climate change – the landmark accord that sets outs a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous global warming – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Member States to move quickly to join the accord at the national level so that it can enter into force as early as possible.

“Let us never forget – climate action is not a burden; indeed, it offers many benefits,” the UN chief said as he opened the High Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement in the General Assembly Hall.

 “It can help us eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women,” he added. The ceremony was opened by a brass quintet from the Juilliard School in New York, which played Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Mr. Ban then introduced Getrude Clement, 16-year-old radio reporter from Tanzania and a UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) youth climate mapper, who focused on why climate action is crucial for children. They, she said, would feel its effects most acutely. “We expect action, action on a big scale, and we expect action today, not tomorrow,” she emphasized. “The future is ours, and the future is bright.”

In his remarks, Mr. Ban also underscored that while it is good news that States are breaking records at the UN – records are also being broken outside.  “Record global temperatures. Record ice loss. Record carbon levels in the atmosphere. We are in a race against time,” Mr. Ban stressed.

Indeed, he emphasized that the window for keeping global temperate rise well below two degrees Celsius – let alone 1.5 degrees – is “rapidly closing.” “The era of consumption without consequences is over. We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies. And we must support developing countries in making this transition. The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” the Secretary-General said.

In that vein, the UN chief highlighted that climate action is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. “Today is a day that I have worked toward since day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations and declared climate change to be my top priority. Today you are signing a new covenant with the future,” he said.

The covenant must amount to “more than promises,” Mr. Ban stressed, and find expression in actions taken today on behalf of the current generation and all future generations. “It must find expression in actions we take today on behalf of this generation and all future generations – actions that reduce climate risk and protect communities, and actions that place us on a safer, smarter path,” the Secretary-General said. Mr. Ban highlighted that participants would be joined at the morning’s events by 197 children, representing the Parties that have adopted the Paris Agreement.

“Of course, they represent more than this. These young people are our future. Our covenant is with them,” he said. “Today is a day for our children and grandchildren and all generations to come. Together, let us turn the aspirations of Paris into action. As you show by the very act of signing today, the power to build a better world is in your hands,” Mr. Ban concluded.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (of Chad), representing civil society, addresses the opening segment of the signature ceremony. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Also speaking at the opening ceremony was General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, who congratulated Member States, civil society and business leaders for “keeping the pressure on” and taking initiatives to “keep the momentum going.” “This is a moment of great hope,” Mr. Lykketoft stressed.

“We must raise the level of ambition even further. We must take urgent and bold steps to make this transformation happen,” he added. Today’s event coincides with International Mother Earth Day, and in his message on the Day, Mr. Ban said that the Paris accord, in conjunction with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, holds the power to transform our world.

The Paris Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on 12 December 2015, widely known as COP 21. In the Agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

François Hollande, President of France, host of COP 21, recalled the spirit of solidarity expressed at the conference and stressed that the terrorist attacks on Paris had been the backdrop to the Agreement. World leaders had nevertheless demonstrated their ability to come together with a sense of partnership and responsibility to ensure that an agreement would be the fruit of the Paris meeting, as a symbolic act for the rest of the world.

Never in the history of the United Nations had it been possible to bring together 170 countries to sign an agreement, all together, on one day, he noted, emphasizing that there is no turning back now. The world must accelerate action to implement low-carbon policies.

Noting that some $100 billion is needed between now and 2020, he said every country must set an example, particularly developed countries, by stepping up contributions for combating climate change. “It is not just a question of States taking action, the entire world must come together,” he stressed. “Everyone must feel that they have a stake in this.”

Also addressing the ceremony, Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio said that as a UN Messenger of Peace, he had been travelling all over the world for the last two years, documenting how this crisis is changing the natural balance of our planet. He has seen cities like Beijing choked by industrial pollution; ancient boreal forests in Canada that have been clearcut; rainforests in Indonesia that have been incinerated; and unprecedented droughts in California.

 “All that I have seen and learned on this journey has terrified me […] I do not need to throw statistics at you. You know them better than I do, and more importantly, you know what will happen if this scourge is left unchecked,” he told the delegates, adding: “Now think about the shame that each of us will carry when our children and grandchildren look back and realize that we had the means of stopping this devastation, but simply lacked the political will to do so.”

Indeed, Mr. DiCaprio continued, the historic signing of the Paris Agreement is reason for hope, but evidence shows that will not be enough. “Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong. An upheaval and massive change is required now – one that leads to a new collective consciousness. A new collective evolution of the human race inspired and enabled by a sense of urgency from all of you,” he said.

So, after 21 years of debates and conferences “it is time to declare no more talk. No more excuses. No more 10-year studies. No more allowing the fossil fuel companies to manipulate and dictate the science and policies that affect our future. This is the only body that can do what is needed. You, sitting in this very hall. The world is now watching. You will either be lauded by future generations, or vilified by them.”

Among the UN officials reacting to today’s events, Oh Joon, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said: "With today's historic signing of the Paris agreement, there is no going back on our commitment to combat climate change. Now is the time for taking action to shape a sustainable future for all."

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The Mother Earth Day 2016 April 22: Trees for the Earth

||April 20, 2016|| A United Nations peacekeeper from Nepal plants a tree in El Fasher, Sudan. The signing of the Paris Agreement on 22 April 22 coincides with International Mother Earth Day. This year’s theme is Trees for the Earth. UN Photo/Albert González Farran

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Georgina River, Australia

Proba-V Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


||April 18, 2016|| The 100 m false-colour image of 16 March 2015 shows the intertwined streams of the Georgina River in red, meandering through the central Australian desert. The grey-purple area west of the river indicates salt planes resulting from lakes that temporarimy exist during the dry season (October - April)

Resolution: 100 m
Date: 16/03/2015
Lat,Lon: -23.56, 139.78

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Were You at ISS You Would Have Seen This Sunrise as Tim Peake Did

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credits: ESA/NASA

 

||April 16, 2016|| Sunrise seen from the International Space Station by ESA astronaut Tim Peake. Tim shared this image, commenting: "Rise and shine - happy Friday everyone".

Tim's six-month mission to the ISS is named Principia, after Isaac Newton’s ground-breaking Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which describes the principal laws of motion and gravity.

He is performing more than 30 scientific experiments for ESA and taking part in numerous others from ESA’s international partners.

ESA and the UK Space Agency have partnered to develop many exciting educational activities around the Principia mission, aimed at sparking the interest of young children in science and space.

More about the Principia mission

More photos from Tim on his flickr photostream
 

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Early Ice Breakup of Beaufort Sea Due to Early Warm Temperatures

Sarah Loff Writing

Image Credit: NOAA/NASA

||April 16, 2016|| This image of early ice breakup of the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, was taken by the Suomi NPP satellite's Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument infrared channel, at around 1148 UTC on April 13, 2016.

Every year, the cap of frozen seawater floating on top of the Arctic Ocean and its neighboring seas melts during the spring and summer and grows back in the fall and winter months, reaching its maximum yearly extent between February and April. On March 24, Arctic sea ice extent peaked at 5.607 million square miles (14.52 million square kilometers), a new record low winter maximum extent in the satellite record that started in 1979.

( Editor: Sarah Loff: NASA)

Ecology: 2016 Arctic Sea Ice Wintertime Extent Hits Another Record Low: Maria-Jose Viñas Writing: Posted: March 29, 2016

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The Day the Earth is Sung: The Earth Day April 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

||April 14, 2016|| This Earth Day, April 22, NASA is inviting people around the world to share on social media what they are doing to celebrate and improve our home planet, while the space agency shares aspects of a “day in the life” of NASA’s Earth science research.

The Earth Day #24Seven campaign will give the world a glimpse at the various efforts NASA undertakes to protect and understand our home planet. NASA will post time-stamped snapshot “moments” throughout the day on numerous Earth-related social media accounts to collectively paint a picture of NASA Earth science.

NASA uses the vantage point of space to improve our understanding of the most complex planet we’ve seen yet. The agency’s Earth-observing satellites, airborne research and field campaigns are designed to observe our planet’s dynamic systems – oceans, ice sheets, forests and atmosphere – and improve our ability to understand how our planet is changing and could change.

For more information on the #24Seven project, visit

Sean Potter: Headquarters, Washington: 202-358-1536: sean.potter@nasa.gov
( Editor: Karen Northon)

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Dearest Earth, Why Do You Wobble: It's Because of the Water You Do Not See

Carol Rasmussen Writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

||April 09, 2016||Using satellite data on how water moves around Earth, NASA scientists have solved two mysteries about wobbles in the planet's rotation -- one new and one more than a century old. The research may help improve our knowledge of past and future climate.

Although a desktop globe always spins smoothly around the axis running through its north and south poles, a real planet wobbles. Earth’s spin axis drifts slowly around the poles; the farthest away it has wobbled since observations began is 37 feet (12 meters). These wobbles don’t affect our daily life, but they must be taken into account to get accurate results from GPS, Earth-observing satellites and observatories on the ground.

In a paper published today in Science Advances, Surendra Adhikari and Erik Ivins of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, researched how the movement of water around the world contributes to Earth's rotational wobbles. Earlier studies have pinpointed many connections between processes on Earth's surface or interior and our planet's wandering ways. For example, Earth's mantle is still readjusting to the loss of ice on North America after the last ice age, and the reduced mass beneath that continent pulls the spin axis toward Canada at the rate of a few inches each year. But some motions are still puzzling.

A Sharp Turn to the East

Around the year 2000, Earth's spin axis took an abrupt turn toward the east and is now drifting almost twice as fast as before, at a rate of almost 7 inches (17 centimeters) a year. "It's no longer moving toward Hudson Bay, but instead toward the British Isles," said Adhikari. "That's a massive swing." Adhikari and Ivins set out to explain this unexpected change.

Scientists have suggested that the loss of mass from Greenland and Antarctica's rapidly melting ice sheet could be causing the eastward shift of the spin axis. The JPL scientists assessed this idea using observations from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, which provide a monthly record of changes in mass around Earth. Those changes are largely caused by movements of water through everyday processes such as accumulating snowpack and groundwater depletion. They calculated how much mass was involved in water cycling between Earth's land areas and its oceans from 2003 to 2015, and the extent to which the mass losses and gains pulled and pushed on the spin axis.

Adhikari and Ivins' calculations showed that the changes in Greenland alone do not generate the gigantic amount of energy needed to pull the spin axis as far as it has shifted. In the Southern Hemisphere, ice mass loss from West Antarctica is pulling, and ice mass gain in East Antarctica is pushing, Earth's spin axis in the same direction that Greenland is pulling it from the north, but the combined effect is still not enough to explain the speedup and new direction. Something east of Greenland has to be exerting an additional pull.

The researchers found the answer in Eurasia. "The bulk of the answer is a deficit of water in Eurasia: the Indian subcontinent and the Caspian Sea area," Adhikari said.

The finding was a surprise. This region has lost water mass due to depletion of aquifers and drought, but the loss is nowhere near as great as the change in the ice sheets.

So why did the smaller loss have such a strong effect? The researchers say it's because the spin axis is very sensitive to changes occurring around 45 degrees latitude, both north and south. "This is well explained in the theory of rotating objects," Adhikari explained. "That's why changes in the Indian subcontinent, for example, are so important."

New Insight on an Old Wobble

In the process of solving this recent mystery, the researchers unexpectedly came up with a promising new solution to a very old problem, as well. One particular wobble in Earth's rotation has perplexed scientists since observations began in 1899. Every six to 14 years, the spin axis wobbles about 20 to 60 inches (0.5 to 1.5 meters) either east or west of its general direction of drift. "Despite tremendous theoretical and modeling efforts, no plausible mechanism has been put forward that could explain this enigmatic oscillation," Adhikari said.

Lining up a graph of the east-west wobble during the period when GRACE data were available against a graph of changes in continental water storage for the same period, the JPL scientists spotted a startling similarity between the two. Changes in polar ice appeared to have no relationship to the wobble -- only changes in water on land. Dry years in Eurasia, for example, corresponded to eastward swings, while wet years corresponded to westward swings.

When the researchers input the GRACE observations on changes in land water mass from April 2002 to March 2015 into classic physics equations that predict pole positions, they found that the results matched the observed east-west wobble very closely. "This is much more than a simple correlation," coauthor Ivins said. "We have isolated the cause."

The discovery raises the possibility that the 115-year record of east-west wobbles in Earth's spin axis may, in fact, be a remarkably good record of changes in land water storage. "That could tell us something about past climate -- whether the intensity of drought or wetness has amplified over time, and in which locations," said Adhikari.

"Historical records of polar motion are both globally comprehensive in their sensitivity and extraordinarily accurate," said Ivins. "Our study shows that this legacy data set can be used to leverage vital information about changes in continental water storage and ice sheets over time."

GRACE is a joint NASA mission with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ), in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. For more information on the mission, visit: http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov   http://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace

NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

For more information about NASA's Earth science activities, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/earth
 
Alan Buis: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California: 818-354-0474: Alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA Earth Science News Team
( Editor: Tony Greicius: NASA)

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A NASA First: Computer Model Links Glaciers, Global Sea Level

Pat Brennan Writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "fingerprints" of sea level rise revealed by a new computer modeling method that links changes in glaciers, ice sheets, and continental water storage to relative sea levels worldwide. Bluer areas, near Greenland, reflect a loss of ice mass, counterintuitively resulting in a sea level drop. In redder areas, sea levels are rising faster than global-mean rates. This map shows the linear trend in sea-level change and covers the period from 2003 to 2015. Image courtesy Surendra Adhikari, JPL.

April 07, 2016: Even as computer models of a changing Earth grow ever more accurate, a major stumbling block remains: marrying models of ice, ocean, atmosphere, the solid Earth, and other components of the earth system to create a truly global picture.

A new modeling method takes a major step in that direction. Created by three members of NASA’s Sea Level Change team, the new method allows researchers, for the first time, to weave high-resolution models of changes in individual glaciers into global models of relative sea level and solid Earth deformation, with great numerical accuracy and computational efficiency.

And because changes in ice mass leave their marks on Earth’s gravitational and rotational fields—phenomena that generate so-called “sea level fingerprints”—the new model offers the possibility of precise, localized sea level forecasts.

One of the most fascinating and counter-intuitive features of these fingerprints is that sea level drops in the vicinity of a melting glacier, instead of rising as might be expected. The loss of ice mass reduces its gravitational attraction, and ocean water, no longer under its influence, migrates away. But far from the glacier, the water it has added to the ocean causes sea level to rise at a much greater rate.

With the new method, the loss of mass from a particular Antarctic outlet glacier, for example, could be tied directly to a sea level record at any tide gauge station around the globe.

“At Miami, in principle, we can isolate what fraction of observed sea level is due to what specific source—Jakobshavn Isbrae in Greenland, Pine Island Glacier in the West Antarctica, tidewater glaciers in Alaska, maybe others,” said Surendra Adhikari, lead author of the paper announcing the discovery that was published on March 18. “(Another) application is that we can calculate sea level not only related to ice but also related to continental hydrology”—that is, the shifting of water mass on land through the action of storms, rivers, or even groundwater pumping.

The new modeling approach, discussed by Adhikari and co authors Erik Ivins and Eric Larour in the journal “Geoscientific Model Development,” touches on much of the new technology and rapidly advancing knowledge that has transformed sea level research over the past two decades.

State-of-the-art simulation code originally dedicated to solving the ice-flow mechanics called the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM; http://issm.jpl.nasa.gov/), also developed at JPL, served as the scaffolding upon which the new modeling method was built. But the heart of the new approach lies in the intricate mathematics – particularly the so-called Green’s function formulation – of Earth’s gravitational and rotational theory.

Green’s function reveals the effects of a point of pressure on a sphere, such as a computer model of Earth, as it propagates away to its farthest point of influence—that is, 180 degrees away, on the opposite side of the sphere. The function allows modelers to trace the gradations of influence of such pressure: a strong indentation at the source, gradually weakening as it recedes.

The research team used an “unstructured mesh,” a way of dividing up Earth’s surface into manageable chunks that can be recombined by calculations to simulate changes—melting Antarctic glaciers, perhaps, or giant rainstorms that deposit large masses of water in South America.

Structured meshes have been used for years in global sea level modeling. But these have chunks of uniform size, like a huge fishing net thrown over the planet. With these traditional approaches it is virtually impossible to capture, for example, kilometer-scale glacial changes while also calculating global-scale relative sea level.

The new method keeps the larger chunks, or units, of mesh in places where deeply detailed simulations are unneeded—for instance, the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But in places where fine-grained detail is essential, such as jagged coastlines or the locations of melting glaciers, the model’s mesh units can shrink to kilometer-scale sizes.

“This not only allows the model to capture subtle changes in glaciers and other small-scale phenomena within a global context, but also keeps computing time and the amount of data that must be fed into the model to manageable proportions,” Adhikari said.

Adhikari’s novel insight was to combine the unstructured mesh with a Green’s function representation of relative sea level theory. This makes it possible to capture high-resolution glacial changes in the context of global-scale relative sea level. Larour, who leads about a dozen ISSM researchers from JPL and the University of California, Irvine, said, “the method opens up a new range of possibilities in terms of tightly coupling ice-flow and sea-level rise at a resolution compatible with regional scale projections.”

The new model allows global projections of sea level change “while at the same time allowing the grounding line of the ice sheet to be fully connected to the modeled regional and global sea level position,” Ivins said. “A natural by-product of the model is the ability to predict the full set of geodetic observables (3-D crustal motions, tilt, change in center of mass – center of figure offset, J2, and variations in earth rotation, absolute sea-level, gravity anomaly etc.) that NASA currently is heavily invested in.”

By Pat Brennan, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
 

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Water, Water, How Do You Weave Your Waves?

Mike Carlowicz and Holli Riebeek Writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

April 04, 2016: Two kinds of waves are visible in the image above, yet neither is the kind you are probably familiar with.

At 11:05 a.m. local time (03:05 Universal Time) on February 10, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image of wave patterns off the coast of Western Australia. Well offshore to the north and west, atmospheric waves are made visible by parallel bands of white clouds. Closer to the coast, the bright area of water is sunglint—the reflection of sunlight directly back toward the satellite imager. That sunglint makes it possible to see the faint ripples of internal waves; that is, large waves that propagate below the water surface, within the depths of the sea.

Waves form in the atmosphere for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the movement of an air mass over a bumpy feature—a mountain ridge, a volcano, or an island amidst a flat sea—will force air to rise or sink, creating ripples in the sky like those propagating across the surface of a pond. Other times, the collision of different air masses will cause a rippling effect.

It is unclear what caused the atmospheric waves in the image above. Off the west coast of Africa, we often see waves form when the dry air from the Sahara moves out over the much moister air over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. The dry air tends to push the moist air higher in the atmosphere, causing water vapor to form droplets and amass into clouds. The moist air rises, then gravity pulls it back down; the warm air rises again, then falls again. A series of cloud ripples mark the edges of the wave front as it propagates and dissipates.

It is also possible—though perhaps less likely because of the distance—that the wave patterns in the image above have their origin inland. Western Australia is mostly desert and relatively flat, so it is possible that an atmospheric wave pattern formed when an air mass rode up over the Hamersley Range (just outside the scene) and out toward the sea.

Internal waves are quirky phenomena that were scarcely known to science until the satellite era. They can be hundreds of meters tall and tens to hundreds of kilometers long. Enhanced by sunglint in the image above, these long wave forms moving across the sea surface are a visible manifestation of slow waves moving tens to hundreds of meters beneath the sea surface.

Internal waves form because the ocean is layered. Deep water is cold, dense, and salty, while shallower water is relatively warmer, lighter, and fresher. The differences in density and salinity cause layers of the ocean to behave like different fluids. When tides, currents, and other large-scale effects of Earth’s rotation and gravity drag water masses over some seafloor formations, it creates wave actions within the sea that are similar to those happening in the atmosphere.

If you were on a boat, you would not necessarily see or feel internal waves because they are not expressed at the surface in different wave heights. Instead, they show up as smoother and rougher water surfaces that are visible from airplanes and satellites. As internal waves move through the deep ocean, the lighter water above flows up and down the crests and troughs. Surface water bunches up over the troughs and stretches over the crests, creating alternating lines of calm water at the crests and rough water at the troughs. Calm, smooth waters reflect more light directly back to the satellite, resulting in a bright, pale stripe along the length of the internal wave. The rough waters in the trough scatter light in all directions, forming a dark line.

“There are definitely ocean internal waves in this image,” said physical oceanographer Nicole Jones of The University of Western Australia. “We have measured them off the coast of Ningaloo with instruments in the water. The different directions of the wave fronts are most likely due to the different seafloor slope directions in this region.” She notes that internal waves play an important role in global ocean circulation and mixing, which is critical to understanding the ocean’s role in climate and in the movement of nutrients and carbon from the depths to the surface and back. Jones and colleagues also study internal waves for their potential impact on drill rigs and other offshore structures.

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We Will Both Sign Paris Agreement on Earth Day: April 22: President Barack Obama and President Xi Jingping

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

''The climate pact will enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least 55 per cent of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification'': ''As the world’s two largest polluters, the United States and China account for 40% of global emissions. With their joint commitment to the Paris Agreement, the threshold for implementation is well within reach.''

Ban Ki-moon Welcomes Joint China-US Pledge to Sign Paris Climate Accord in April

April 01, 2016: Over the past three years, climate change efforts have become a pillar of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship. Both countries efforts together and at home to build green, low-carbon and climate-resilient economies have helped galvanize global actions – culminating this past December in the historic, ambitious Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement, which establishes a long term, worldwide framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, will enter into force – or begin – once 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global emissions formally commit to undertaking the low carbon measures it outlines. This is an ambitious plan and, now, the United States and China have brought us within reach of its execution.

Today, President Obama and President Xi Jinping announced that they will both sign the Paris Agreement on April 22 (Earth Day), and will formally join the agreement as soon as possible this year.

What makes this such a critical milestone?

As the world’s two largest polluters, the United States and China account for 40% of global emissions. With their joint commitment to the Paris Agreement, the threshold for implementation is well within reach.

The Paris Agreement puts in place the framework to achieve the emissions reductions we need. By coming forward today with the most significant step possible towards early entry into force, the U.S. and China are demonstrating to the international community that there is no turning back on the path towards a low carbon future.

Today’s announcement is a fitting third act in our joint effort to advance international climate action, and will accelerate the momentum that the U.S. and China have worked to sustain since our first joint action on climate change in 2014.

( Report by Cassandra Marketos: the Deputy Director of Digital Outbound, The Whitehouse) 

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The Moon-Work During the Total Solar Eclipse 2016

Mike Carlowicz Writing

 
During the Total Eclipse of the Sun in 2016 the Moon Paints Its Shadow on Earth (the Sun-facing side)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Acquired March 9, 2016: Instrument(s): DSCOVR - EPIC

April 02, 2016: The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) was built to provide a distinct perspective on our planet. Yesterday, it added another first to its collection of unique snapshots. While residents of islands and nations in the Western Pacific looked up in the early morning hours to observe a total eclipse of the Sun, DSCOVR looked down from space and captured the shadow of the Moon marching across Earth’s sunlit face.

The animation above was assembled from 13 images acquired on March 9, 2016, by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four-megapixel charge-coupled device (CCD) and Cassegrain telescope on the DSCOVR satellite. Click on the link below the animation to download the individual images from the series.

“What is unique for us is that being near the Sun-Earth line, we follow the complete passage of the lunar shadow from one edge of the Earth to the other,” said Adam Szabo, NASA’s project scientist for DSCOVR. “A geosynchronous satellite would have to be lucky to have the middle of an eclipse at noon local time for it. I am not aware of anybody ever capturing the full eclipse in one set of images or video.”

In this, the only total solar eclipse of 2016, the shadow of the new Moon starts crossing the Indian Ocean and marches past Indonesia and Australia into the open waters and islands of Oceania (Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia) and the Pacific Ocean. Note how the shadow moves in the same direction as Earth rotates. The bright spot in the center of each disk is sunglint—the reflection of sunlight directly back at the EPIC camera.

Japan’s Himawari-8 satellite also captured a series of images showing the procession of the shadow during this eclipse, which you can view here. From its position about 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) from Earth and toward the Sun, DSCOVR maintains a constant view of the sunlit face of the planet. EPIC acquires images using ten different spectral filters—from ultraviolet to near infrared—to produce a variety of science products. Natural-color images are generated by combining three separate monochrome exposures (red, green, and blue channels) taken in quick succession.

During the Total Eclipse of the Sun in 2016 the Moon Paints Its Shadow on Earth (the Sun-facing side)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Acquired March 9, 2016: Instrument(s): DSCOVR - EPIC

According to Szabo, the satellite normally collects images at all ten wavelengths about once every 108 minutes (with just one image at full resolution). For this eclipse, the EPIC team collected full-resolution images every 20 minutes on just the red, green, and blue channels. This allowed the satellite to collect 13 images spanning the entire four hours and twenty minutes of the eclipse.

In addition to the EPIC camera, DSCOVR carries the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR), an instrument that measures how much solar energy is being radiated back into space from Earth. In coming weeks, scientists will be analyzing NISTAR data to quantify how the eclipse changed the incoming and outgoing radiation for those few hours.

Situated in a stable orbit between the Sun and Earth, DSCOVR’s primary mission is to monitor the solar wind for space weather forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Its secondary mission is to provide daily color views of our planet as it rotates through the day. The satellite was built and launched through a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Air Force.

NASA image courtesy of the DSCOVR EPIC team. NASA Earth Observatory animation by Joshua Stevens. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

Instrument(s): DSCOVR - EPIC

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