Atmospheric

Though many people believe that CO2 is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, that honor actually goes to water vapor. NASA has been saying for years that water vapor is the biggest amplifier in global warming, perhaps double the effect of CO2,  and a new study from scientists at the University of Miami confirms rising levels of water vapor in the upper troposphere will intensify climate change impacts over the next decades.


The South Pole is the spot in Antarctica at 90 degrees S, where the surface of the earth intersects the axis of rotation. Except for inside the United States Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, there is no plant or animal life.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen arrived in 1911 but evidence of man had already beat him there - in the form of industrial air pollution that arrived long before any human.


When Typhoon Matmo crossed over the island nation of Taiwan it left tremendous amounts of rainfall in its wake. 


The planet's soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels.

This soil respiration and the enormous release of carbon is balanced by carbon coming into the soil system from falling leaves and other plant matter, as well as by the underground activities of plant roots. 

Short-term warming studies have documented that rising temperatures increase the rate of soil respiration. As a result, scientists have worried that global warming would accelerate the decomposition of carbon in the soil, and decrease the amount of carbon stored there. If true, this would release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it would accelerate global warming.


Statistical analysis of average global temperatures between 1998 and 2013 shows that the slowdown in global warming during this period is consistent with natural variations in temperature, according to research by McGill University physics professor Shaun Lovejoy.

In a new paper, Lovejoy concludes that a natural cooling fluctuation during this period largely masked the warming effects of a continued increase in man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.  


A new climate model says that southwestern Australia's long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall is caused by increases in man-made greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion.


250 miles above Earth, in the  International Space Station, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has recently shared some incredible views - some is the usual stuff, Hurricane Arthur on the US East coast, beautiful auroras.

And then there was Super Typohoon Neoguri. This was not Superstorm Sandy, a hyped up tropical storm that benefited from dumping rain on media companies in midtown Manhattan, this was a true super typhoon, with winds of 150 miles per hour and an eye, the center of the typhoon, that was 40 miles wide. One third of Okinawa was evacuated. Nago, Okinawa had over 17 inches of rain in the last 24 hours. 

It's the strongest storm of the season so far and it hasn't even hit mainland Japan yet.

Researchers have measured the highest level of ultraviolet radiation ever recorded on the Earth's surface.

These extraordinary UV fluxes, observed in the Bolivian Andes only 1,500 miles from the equator, are far above those normally considered to be harmful to both terrestrial and aquatic life, though that has to be calibrated. A beach in Brazil also has radiation levels far above safe levels, yet people visit it for that reason. And plane flights provide even more radiation than that. 


Soot and methane were little-considered factors in climate change models a decade ago but with the drop of CO2 in Western nations, activists have begun to worry about those. 

It would have been smart to factor them in all along. Every year, wildfires clear millions of hectares of land and emit around 34 percent of global soot mass into the atmosphere. In remote parts of Southeast Asia and Russia, these fires can contribute as much as 63 percent of regional soot mass. 


The dose makes the poison, it is often said, and it is true. Lots of medicines and chemicals are harmless or beneficial in reasonable quantities but dangerous in high quantities. What about CO2 in plants? Plants need it for food but they also recognize too much is a bad thing. 

Biologists have been studying a long-standing mystery concerning the way plants reduce the numbers of their breathing pores in response to rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

The authors report the discovery of a new genetic pathway in plants, made up of four genes from three different gene families that control the density of breathing pores—or "stomata"—in plant leaves in response to elevated CO2 levels.