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Askja: a very large volcanic landslide in Iceland

4 hours 41 min ago
This week a very large landslide occurred on the flanks of the Askja stratovolcano in Iceland. Initial estimates are that is over 25 million cubic metres. and that it generated tsunami waves in the lake at the toe that were over 50 m high.

Nature’s roadblock to hurricane prediction

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 10:13am
The quiet Atlantic hurricane season of 2013 came as a surprise to many, as seasonal forecasts had consistently predicted an unusually large crop of named storms. A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds that internal variability—processes that unfold without being dictated by larger-scale features—can make one season twice as active as another, even when El Niño and other large-scale hurricane-shaping elements are unchanged. The results suggest that seasonal hurricane forecasts could be improved by conveying the amount of unavoidable uncertainty in the outlook.

Updating how we teach the process of science

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 10:02am
This week, I’m with a group of in-service middle school teachers for a week-long workshop on climate science.  It is always inspiring to connect with K-12 teachers to see and hear about their passion for their classrooms and for teaching – and always frustrating to hear that they have to do so with so few resources that include outdated textbooks.  And in those outdated textbooks we will find the “scientific …

Oso landslide: the last set of remains been recovered and a new report has been released

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 5:51am
Two key events happened yesterday in relation to the Oso landslide in Washington State - the remains of the last victim were recovered and a new report analysing the landslide was released.

The Great Facebook Blizzard of 2014

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:55am
At the AMS Broadcast Meteorology conference last month in Lake Tahoe, I presented a talk about widespread rumors on Facebook last January that a paralyzing snowstorm was coming. This is just one example of the love/hate relationship that meteorologists have with Facebook, and I was quoted in an article on TV News Check about this as well a couple of weeks ago. As I told the reporter for TV News …

Benchmarking Time: DC is all about boundaries

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 2:13pm
Washington DC is an interesting city. When the original plans were being made in the 1780s and 1790s, they called for a 100-square-mile area to be allocated for the city, and George Washington (who was President at the time) wanted to include the City of Alexandria in Virginia. But the Residence Act, passed in 1791, specified that all the federal buildings had to be on the Maryland side of the river (mostly because someone realized that the law allowed the President to choose the location and some members of Congress didn't want him taking advantage of that and including his own property to the south of Alexandria). So we ended up with a diamond-shaped District 10 miles on a side, overlapping both Virginia and Maryland, with the actual city in Maryland.

Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 12:55pm
The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the "remobilization" of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes.

Erzurum: a landslide destroys an almost new ski jump facility in Turkey

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 4:54am
Last Tuesday a landslide destroyed a 20 million Euro ski jumping facility in Erzurum, Turkey. The collapse was in part caught on a video

NOAA: Earth Had Its Hottest June On Record

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 6:26pm
From NOAA: “The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for June 2014 was the highest for June since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 38th consecutive June and 352nd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average global temperature for June was in 1976 and the last below-average global temperature for any month was February 1985. “ FYI May …

Monday Geology Picture(s): Rocks Flanking the Entrance to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 2:50pm
My apologies for the light blogging recently. I was traveling in the US for three weeks, and now I am traveling for work for 6 weeks. I will do my best to blog when I can, but blogging may continue to be light for a little while longer since I’m currently working 12 hour shifts in the field. However, when I return in September I will be taking some time …

Maoxian County landslide: a dramatic video of a fatal rockslide

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 5:57am
On Thursday a rockslide occurred in Maoxian County in Sichuan Province, China. The terrifying moments of the landslide were captured on a dashboard camera

The Only Thing More Amazing Than The Moonwalk 45 years Ago Tonight

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 10:38pm
Exactly 45 years ago tonight, everyone who could see a TV, was in front of one. The clip below is the actual coverage from CBS News that evening. You can actually watch all of the Moonwalk online, and if you were not born yet, I highly recommend you do so. A lot of folks do not realize that when the camera came on (and a lot of folks doubted it …

State Of The Climate 2013

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 9:04pm
Tom Karl NOAA NCDC Director: “The climate is changing more rapidly in today’s world than at any time in modern civilization.”  (to CBS News ) Entire report here. The ABSTRACT: and this one sidebar is particularly interesting:  

Canada Wildfire Smoke Edging Southward

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 5:45pm
  In the Boreal forests of Canada there have been huge wildfires this month and the smoke is covering much of Canada. Late images this afternoon show the smoke is moving across the Great Lakes states as well, and it may move into the northeast U.S. soon. This part of the world has warmed more than any other over the past 60 years, and Climate Central has a nice write-up …

Come One Come All

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:11pm
The Public Affairs team at AGU is hosting a webinar 17 July 2014 titled ‘How to Have a Successful District Visit’ from 1:00-2:00 EDT today! Join us for an interactive lesson on science communication.

El Nino May Take The Stage, but His Opening Act is Not Rocking The House

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 9:16pm
Just looking at the latest on El Nino from the CPC, and I must say I’m not yet impressed. Most of the atmosphere/ocean coupled models are still forecasting an El Nino to develop, but temps in the Pacific have cooled some in the past two weeks. Perhaps more importantly, the atmosphere has not started to respond, with greater than normal rainfall continuing in the West Pacific. In an El Nino, …

Adventures in the (other) field: Mass Media Fellow Julia Rosen reports from the Los Angeles Times

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 11:30am
“Buzz! Buzz! We want you to have time to speak with the Los Angeles Times,” a woman named Christina interjected. I was standing, clutching my notepad and recorder, in Buzz Aldrin’s office in West Los Angeles on probably the most challenging assignment of my summer (so far) as a scientist-turned-reporter for the LA Times.

Summer reading on teaching – and Teaching Naked

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 7:56am
“I firmly believe that if every teaching faculty member could carve out the time to read one or two great books on teaching and learning every year, we would collectively serve our students much better than we do already.”  –  James Lang (Top 10 Books on Teaching, June 11, 2014) I think it is safe to say that each of us are challenged to find time to read a book …

Dysfunction Junction (Part 1)

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 9:46am
When Fiscal Year 2014 comes to a close on 30 September, the clocks should roll over to 1 October without another catastrophic government shutdown. But, here we are, in the middle of a hot and steamy July, and while things aren’t as bad as they were last year, they most certainly are not where they should be.

Lofoten Islands: images of landslides and rockfalls

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 6:44am
Over the weekend I visited the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway. This a selection of images of landslides and rockfalls that I saw along the way.