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High water tables can be a boon to crop yields

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 12:56pm
High water tables can be a bane to crop yields, compelling many farmers to drain their fields so their crops don’t drown when it rains. But a high water table may not always be a bad thing. A new study shows it is actually a boon for some fields and during certain times of the growing season, casting light on opportunities for improving yield efficiency to meet global food demands.

Mount Caubvick Glacier Retreat, Labrador

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 9:18am
Mount Caubvick is in the Torngat Mountains of Labrador 35 km inland of the Atlantic Ocean and south of Nachvak Fjord. Way et al (2014) identified 105 active glaciers that had flow indicators in these mountains.  The mean elevation of these glaciers is quite low at 776 meters above sea level. The radiational shading and higher accumulation from protected cirque locations and proximity to the ocean are key to the low …

NASA landslide video visualizing rainfall-induced mass movements between 2007 and 2015

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 1:30am
The new NASA landslide video visualizes global rainfall-induced landslides between 2007 and 2015.

When Comedians Are Doing The Job Reporters SHOULD be Doing

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 12:50am
It’s not just John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, now you can add  Bill Maher who called out Rick Santorum, when he made a ridiculously false claim about climate science. Santorum “claimed” that a study showed 57% of scientist had doubts about whether CO2 controls our climate, and Maher responded with (quoting here) “I don’t know what ass you’re pulling that out of..” A little research online leads to the answer …

Sols 1089-1090: Stimson is Stunning

Sun, 08/30/2015 - 3:00am
Curiosity is currently making her way through some beautiful exposures of the Stimson unit.  The 6 m drive on Sol 1087 went well, and Curiosity is in a good position for possible contact science early next week. Today we’re planning 2-sols for the weekend (Sunday is a “soliday” to allow Earth and Mars schedules to sync back up).  One of the main activities on Sol 1089 is dropping off part …

Sitka landslide in Alaska – the potential power of simple geomorphic mapping

Sun, 08/30/2015 - 2:30am
A landslide a couple of weeks ago at Sitka in Alaska killed 3 men. Google Earth imagery of the site suggests that it may have an active geomorpic history

Mystery structure: please help identify / interpret

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 7:54am
I have a mystery for you today: These are samples of Tonoloway Formation carbonate (not sure if it’s limestone or dolostone in retrospect), with bedding more or less horizontal in these images, and a few petite stylolites running orthogonal to that. The top sample has a gentle fold 2/5ths of the way across. All of the samples are from the same site in West Virginia, along Corridor H. I’m wondering …

A large rockfall on the Tour Ronde, Mont Blanc

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 2:00am
On Thursday a significant rockfall occurred on the Tour Ronde in the Mont Blanc region. It was captured in a dramatic video by Gianluca Marra, a local climbing guide

North is Not Up, Nor is South Down

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 9:57pm
I can’t count the number times I’ve heard a TV weather person make a statement akin to “this line of thunderstorms will pass below New York by Thursday afternoon.” Yes, and while it’ll be sunny up top on the street, if you’re working all day in the subway, or on underground utilities, you’ll need an umbrella. Be prepared to seek safety in daylight as those storms may produce lightning and …

Sols 1087-1088: Bright features

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 1:00pm
The complex, nearly 39-meter Sol 1085 drive completed successfully, leaving the rover in another target-rich area.  Again, I helped pick targets for ChemCam observations–our favorites were on the brighter parts of the outcrop just south of the rover. The targets for ChemCam and Mastcam observations were named “Fitzpatrick,” “Keith,” and “Fred and George Creek.”  Mastcam will also acquire 2 mosaics before the rover drives away on Sol 1087.  Planning is …

3-D maps illustrate formation of the Hangai Dome in central Mongolia

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 11:58am
Researchers at Rice University, the University of Toronto, and Princeton University generated 3-D maps of the Earth under the Hangai Dome in central Mongolia from seismic data. The 3-D image below shows the earth under the dome. Colored yellow, warm rock rises up from the deep mantle toward the Earth’s surface. The pressure on the rock drops as it rises. When the rock reaches 150 kilometers (93 miles) below the surface, it starts to melt and form magma, illustrated in red. Heat released by the magma modifies the rigid outer layer of the Earth that becomes lighter and rises up, creating the Hangai Dome.

There is A Watershed of Reality Coming

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 3:19am
For those who work in TV newsrooms, today was a nightmare come true. You may not realize it, but TV News is a rather small business. At least two people in our newsroom know someone who works at WDBJ TV in Roanoke, (I am one of the two) and what happened today has long been a real fear among reporters and anchors. Almost all of us know of folks who …

Terraced craters: Windows into Mars’ icy past

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 2:47pm
Scientists studied terraced craters on Mars and found an underground chunk of ice the size of California and Texas combined.

AGU #VirtualPoster Showcase – a conference option for students

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 7:47am
AGU has a new option for students that cannot attend a conference in person. Learn about two opportunities for students to present online in a virtual poster showcase.

Barskoon Mountain Glacier Widespread Retreat, Tien Shan Range, Kyrgyzstan

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 6:47am
Farinotti et al. (2015) used three approaches to assess glacier change in the Tien Shan from 1961 to 2012.  The results converge on an overall loss of glacier area of 19-27%,a spatial extent of 2960 square kilometers of glacier area.  They further observe that it is primarily summer melting that has driven the change.  Here we examine the change of several glaciers in a small sub-range in the Barskoon Mountain …

Four Physics Videos Everyone Should Watch

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 2:47am
I really love the fact that physicists are sharing physics so widely online. There are some fabulous videos that will blow your mind, and teachers, you really consider spending some time in class watching them. So, with that in mind, here are some of my fave videos. Being a geek, I even knew the one about tides, but I can tell you that many meteorologists do not! I still remember …

Artvin, Turkey: an excellent video of a landslide in action

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 2:00am
Landslides in the Artvin area of NE Turkey have killed eight people and left two missing. One of the slides was captured in a dramatic video

Smoke From Western Fires Spreads Across the U.S.

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 6:04pm
The image above shows the smoke from the wildfires burning across Washington, Oregon and Northern California. It is possible this smoke will reach the Eastern Seaboard, behind a late summer cool front that is exiting the coast today. The visible image below clearly shows the smoke plumes from the Washington fires this afternoon. A patch of dense smoke is also visible today courtesy the NASA Terra satellite over Newfoundland.

New Trouble Brewing in the Atlantic

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 9:44pm
Wind shear has pretty much put an end to what was Hurricane Danny but we may have new trouble on the way. A strong tropical wave in the Atlantic is showing signs of becoming a depression and numerical guidance is indicating that it will likely become a tropical storm. Since winds are already gusting to near tropical storm force, once a closed circulation appears, the storm will likely be upgraded …

Sols 1085-1086: Rough road ahead

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 1:00pm
MSL had a good weekend, and returned lots of data including nice MAHLI images of Ravalli. The nearly 22-meter Sol 1083 drive completed as planned, and placed the rover near some nice rock outcrops.  I helped the planning team select targets for ChemCam observations; we settled on two that were named “Tinder Box” and “Gordon.”  Mastcam will acquire mosaics of these targets as well as “Centennial Range” and “Willow Ridge.”  …