Atmospheric

Tropical Storm Simon, once a hurricane, is expected to bring heavy rain to portions of the central Plains and Midwest on today and tomorrow. Since it is not hitting New York City during presidential election season, it won't be called a SuperStorm and get much national media attention.


Tropical Cyclone Hudhud formed on Oct. 8th and began moving from east to west across the Bay of Bengal in the Northern Indian Ocean. 

NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Hudhud today and took a picture of the storm that showed it was still somewhat elongated, but more organized than the previous day. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite provided the hint of a developing eye.

Warnings for winds, rain and surf are already in effect for the northern Andhra Pradesh coast and south Odisha coastline of eastern India as Hudhud approaches.


The NASA satellites, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and Terra, have provided data on clouds, rainfall and the diameter of the eye of Super Typhoon Vongfong as it turned north in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Typhoon Vongfong formed on October 2nd, 2014 in the southeast of Guam. Typhoon Phanfone, that recently pummeled Japan, formed near the same area in the western Pacific Ocean.


Image: Genetic Literacy Project

By Tabitha M. Powledge, Genetic Literacy Project

Almost 20 percent of the Earth's atmosphere is oxygen. Green plants produce it as a byproduct of photosynthesis and it, in turn, is used by most living things on the planet to keep our metabolisms running.

Yet before those photosynthesizing organisms appeared about 2.4 billion years ago, the atmosphere was mostly carbon dioxide, a lot like Mars and Venus.

The common hypothesis is that there must have been a small amount of oxygen in the early atmosphere. Where did this abiotic ("non-life") oxygen come from? Oxygen reacts quite aggressively with other compounds, so it would not persist for long without some continuous source.


Though the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has asked climate scientists not to attribute weather conditions to climate change, a new paper is doing just that. 

A team writing in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society says that the atmospheric conditions associated with the unprecedented drought currently afflicting California are "very likely" linked to human-caused climate change.


NASA's Aqua satellite captured strong thunderstorms with colder cloud tops that have grown within Tropical Storm Rachel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Aqua passed over the large Tropical Storm Rachel on Sept. 25 at 4:41 p.m. EDT and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument, saw that the extent of colder cloud tops had increased, indicating thunderstorm heights were increasing and it was strengthening. The expansion of those stronger thunderstorms also suggests that the northeasterly wind shear may be relaxing a little. The strongest thunderstorms remain limited to the southwest of the low-level center, 


While it is well-known that Americans conserve electricity more than, for example, Canadians, and that CO2 emissions from energy productions have plummeted to 20 year lows without raising prices, an environmental group and scholars from UC Irvine and Stanford University are saying that won't last - they believe that unless people can't afford electricity generated by fossil fuels, expansion of cleaner energy sources, such as wind and solar, will be harmed.

Bereft of expensive subsidies and mandates, solar is not ready and wind never will be. Solar clearly needs more basic research and natural gas, long touted by environmental groups, seems to be the ideal bridge for Americans, since lobbyists for environmental groups make sure nuclear is kept out of circulation. 


Carbon dioxide emissions, the greenhouse gas that has been most strongly implicated in global warming, will reach a record high of 40 billion tons.



Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel and cement production. Source: CDIAC, Friedlingstein et al. 2014, Global Carbon Project 2014

By Pep Canadell, CSIRO and Michael Raupach, Australian National University