Atmospheric

In California, wildfires happen thousands of times per year, even in non-drought years. They happened long before climate change concerns but not factoring wildfires into simplistic parameter-based models of climate change meant we were not getting an accurate picture of the atmospheric reality.


NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite known as TRMM flew directly over the eye of powerful Hurricane Iselle and found extremely heavy rainfall rates occurring there.


Sulfur signals in the Antarctic snow have revealed the importance of overlooked atmospheric chemistry for understanding climate, past and future.

The element sulfur is everywhere and occurs in four stable forms, or isotopes, each with a slightly different mass. Ordinary reactions incorporate sulfur isotopes into molecules according to mass. But sometimes sulfur divvies up differently so that the relative ratios of the different isotopes is anomalous. The authors of a new paper measured the direction and degree of that anomaly for individual layers of snow representing a single season's snowfall.


Climate models predicted that the equatorial Pacific trade winds should weaken with increasing greenhouse gases, yet satellites and climate stations have instead revealed a rapid and unprecedented strengthening of the Pacific trade winds since the 1990s. 


It has long been known that biomass burning – burning forests to create agricultural lands, burning savannah as a ritual , slash-and-burn agriculture and wildfires – figures into both climate change and public health but the degree of that contribution had never been comprehensively quantified and when science gets political, people may not always want to discuss the complete set of issues.


One of the most promising aspects of a Science 2.0 future is not just being able to analyze trillions of data points or getting the public to help with biology, but making more accurate models using much larger data sets. Big data.


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.