Atmospheric

Members of the public generally have a negative view of climate engineering, the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the environment to counteract climate change, according to a new paper. This makes some sense. If we can't predict the weather a week from now, it's very difficult to say we can predict the far more complicated climate after physical changes are made to the inputs.


We hear a lot about carbon storage and the impact on the atmosphere if CO2 is release during warming, but how does that work?

Carbon is not evenly distributed in soil, instead the kinds of carbon hot spots that matter are found on about 20 percent of mineral surfaces, according to a new paper. Studies have established that carbon binds to tiny mineral particles and in a new paper researchers show that the surface of the minerals plays just as important a role as their size.

"The carbon binds to minerals that are just a few thousandths of a millimeter in size – and it accumulates there almost exclusively on rough and angular surfaces," explains Prof. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner,
Technische Universitaet Muenchen

A new paper in Nature estimates that global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions worldwide are not reduced -  due to a reestimate of the great unknowns of climate sensitivity, the role of cloud formation and whether this will have a positive or negative effect on global warming.

This new higher estimate was created using real world observations of water vapor in cloud formation. 




Extraction using hydraulic fracturing - fracking - has made North America the world's largest producer of oil and gas, while US CO2 emissions from energy have dropped back to early 1990s levels and the most offensive producer, coal, has been pushed back to 1980s levels. Despite those benefits, there have endless protests from environmentalists that fracking is worse for pollution. 

Does drilling for natural gas really cause pollution levels to skyrocket, the way activists claim? 



More pollution causes thunderstorms to leave behind larger, deeper, longer lasting clouds, according to a new paper which can help provide a gauge for the accuracy of weather and climate models.

Researchers had thought that pollution causes larger and longer-lasting storm clouds by making thunderheads draftier through a process known as convection. But atmospheric scientist Jiwen Fan and her colleagues show that pollution instead makes clouds linger by decreasing the size and increasing the lifespan of cloud and ice particles. The difference affects how scientists represent clouds in climate models.


Rain as acidic as undiluted lemon juice may have played a part in killing off plants and organisms around the world about 252 million years ago during the most severe mass extinction in Earth's history, known as the Great Dying.

The cause of such a massive extinction is an ongoing scientific debate, centering on several potential causes, including an asteroid collision similar to what likely killed off the dinosaurs 186 million years later; a gradual, global loss of oxygen in the oceans; and a cascade of environmental events triggered by massive volcanic eruptions in a region known today as the Siberian Traps.


Global warming was set in motion around 1600 AD, it seems. 

Because carbon dioxide emissions persist for a long time, even a sudden halt today means the carbon dioxide already in Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, according to a numerical model which suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe.


Acid rain and ozone depletion may seem like modern problems but it has been connected to the Permian extinction 250 million years ago, a mass die-off so severe
in Earth's history
that even Mother Jones hasn't used it as a corollary of modern climate issues.

Contemporaneous volcanic eruptions in Siberia and the atmospheric effects of those eruptions long ago would have caused the devastation rather than leaving an outside light on. New results from a team including show that the atmospheric effects of these eruptions could have been devastating. Their work is published in Geology.


Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a massive storm big enough to engulf the Earth two times over, is one of the solar system's most enigmatic landmarks and a mystery of fluid dynamics  – because it  should have disappeared centuries ago. 


Some new work will be presented by Pedram Hassanzadeh, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard and Philip Marcus, a professor of fluid dynamics at Berkeley at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Pittsburgh on November 25th. They think they can explain why Jupiter's Great Red Spot persists

"Based on current theories, the Great Red Spot should have disappeared after several decades. Instead, it has been there for hundreds of years," said Hassanzadeh.