Atmospheric

We can use lightning rods to increase the probability of it striking at a specific location but its exact path remains unpredictable.

Perhaps not for long. At a smaller scale, discharges between two electrodes behave in the same manner, streaking through space to create electric arcs where only the start and end points are fixed. Knowing that, it may be possible to control the current so that it follows a predetermined path, say Professor Roberto Morandotti and colleagues from
INRS Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research centre
who have discovered a way to guide electric discharges - and even steer them around obstacles - using lasers at the Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS) facility. 


High in the sky where the cirrus ice crystal clouds form, jet contrails draw their crisscross patterns. Now researchers have found that these elevated ice cloud trails can influence temperatures on the ground and affect local climate.  

For contrails to form, the atmosphere at the level the jet is flying must be cold enough that the moisture from the jet exhaust freezes into ice crystals. There also must be enough moisture in the air that the clouds that form remain in the sky for at least a few hours as persisting contrails.


With warming summer temperatures across Alaska, white spruce tree growth in Interior Alaska has declined to record low levels, while the same species in Western Alaska is growing better than ever measured before.

The findings are the result of a study led by University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Extension researcher Glenn Juday, Claire Alix of the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, and Tom Grant, formerly an adjunct faculty member at UAF. Their findings were recently published online by the journal Forest Ecology and Management.


 If you want to blame something for an overcast day, it's safe to go with the tropics. Water vapor originating from the Earth's tropics is transported to mid-latitudes on long filaments of flowing air that intermittently travel across the world's oceans.

When these airy tendrils make landfall, they can cause severe floods and other extreme weather events. Yet despite the importance of these "atmospheric rivers" for the global water and heat cycles, the mechanism behind their formation is still a mystery.


In the fickle, unpredictable system that is our climate, it looks like El Niño, which was already said to have came and gone with a whimper months ago by climate scientists, may finally be arriving.

When it happens, we may know by bunny breeding.

At times during the past 10,000 years, cottontails and hares surged when the El Niño weather pattern drenched the Pacific Coast with rain, according to an analysis of 3,463 bunny bones. The number of El Niños per century "correlates very strongly with the total rabbit population in Baja California, as well as relative abundance of the moisture-loving species of rabbits," says University of Utah anthropology doctoral student Isaac Hart.


Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated large portions of the Philippines in November 2013, killed at least 6,300 people. It set records for the strongest storm ever at landfall and for the highest sustained wind speed over one minute ever, hitting 194 miles per hour when it reached the province of Eastern Samar.

It could become more common, according to a new model which factored in what controls the peak intensity of typhoons. The model finds that under climate change this century, storms like Haiyan could get even stronger and more common - as much as 14 percent, nearly equivalent to an increase of one category.
According to a new global-scale projection, terrestrial vegetation emits several million tons of extremely low-volatility organic compounds (ELVOCs) per year to the atmosphere, which affect cloud seeds via formation of low-volatility vapors. These oxidation products of compounds such as monoterpenes results in an increase of condensing vapors that can further form cloud condensation nuclei over the continents and have an influence on the formation of clouds.

The results show how a number of natural compounds, which together account for around 70 percent of the biological hydrocarbon emissions, produce low-volatility products and how they can possibly effect the climate via aerosol particles. 

 Karin Heineman, Inside Science –  Predicting and analyzing weather is a highly sophisticated scientific endeavor these days. But, it is also peppered with a good deal of lore.

We're here to debunk some popular weather myths.

Myth #1: Heat lightning, or the distant flashes of lightning you see in the sky (without hearing the clap of thunder) during the hot summer months, only occur because it is hot out.

Wrong. The truth is you're actually seeing lightning from a storm that's really far away. Since most severe thunderstorms often happen during hot summer months – the name "heat" lightning stuck.

Myth #2: The Earth is farthest from the sun in January.

Researchers have confirmed strong warming in the upper troposphere, known colloquially as the tropospheric hotspot, long expected as part of the global warming hypothesis. 

Though the tropospheric hotspot appears in many global climate models, the inability to detect it has been used to suggest climate change is not occurring as a result of increasing carbon dioxide emissions. 


A previously unknown dual mechanism slows peat decay and may help reduce carbon dioxide emissions from peatlands during times of drought, according to a new study. The naturally occurring mechanism was discovered in 5,000-year-old pocosin bogs in coastal North Carolina. Preliminary field experiments suggest it may occur in, or be exportable to, peatlands in other regions as well.