I. Atmospheric Sciences
Scientists Find Dead Lightning Branches That Come Back to Life
The detached bursts of brilliance might explain why the lowest point of a lightning bolt will sometimes suddenly brighten by up to 50% and double its speed as it hurtles to Earth.
Evaluating the Impact of Maryland's Healthy Air Act
Reducing emissions of short-lived gaseous sulfur pollutants from power plants had an immediate, local benefit, but controlling longer-lasting harmful particulate matter will require regional action.
II. Geology & Geophysics
Understanding Volcanic Eruptions Where Plates Meet
A new project elucidates the relationships between tectonics and volcanic systems and how they influence hazards on Italy's Mount Etna and Vulcano and Lipari islands.
Creating Career Paths for African-American Students in Geosciences
A new initiative teaches marketable skills, engages students in research projects at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and fosters professional career tracks of underrepresented minorities.
IV. Ocean Sciences
New Approaches for Air-Sea Fluxes in the Southern Ocean
Air-Sea Fluxes for the Southern Ocean: Strategies and Requirements for Detecting Physical and Biogeochemical Exchanges; Frascati, Italy, 21–23 September 2015
Was the Recent Slowdown in Surface Warming Predictable?
The temporary deceleration in warming across the Northern Hemisphere earlier this century could not have been foreseen by statistical forecasting methods, a new study concludes.
Reconstructing the Ocean's Murky Past
Scientists test whether sparse, indirect data can reveal ancient ocean chemistry and circulation patterns.
V. Climate Change
Nations’ Pledges to Reduce Emissions and the 2°C Objective
Preparatory workshop for the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Paris, France, 3 November 2015
VI. Planetary Sciences
Aging Stars Make New Habitable Zones
Scientists searching for life in the universe now have a new target: the once-icy worlds orbiting red giants.
Largest Haul of Newly Verified Exoplanets Announced
About 550 of the planets could be rocky like the Earth, and nine of the planets orbit within their star's habitable zone.
Robert L. "Bob" Carovillano (1932–2015)
As a theoretical physicist, he contributed strongly to magnetospheric and space physics since the 1960s, both in research and as a program leader at Boston College and NASA.
VII.Earth and Space Science
New study maps rate of New Orleans sinking
New Orleans and surrounding areas continue to sink at highly variable rates due to a combination of natural geologic and human-induced processes, a new study finds.The observed rates of sinking, known as subsidence, were generally consistent with, but somewhat higher than, previous studies conducted using different data.
New research estimates probability of mega-earthquake in the Aleutians
A new study estimates the probability of a Magnitude 9+ earthquake in the Aleutian Islands—an event with sufficient power to create a mega-tsunami especially threatening to Hawai‘i. In the next 50 years, there is a 9 percent chance of such an event, according to researchers from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. An earlier State of Hawai‘i report has estimated the damage from such an event would be nearly $40 billion, with more than 300,000 people affected.
Cruise Fantasy Plan
Long before heading out for a major multidisciplinary research cruise like this one, most ships’ captains, funding agencies, and participants expect to have a detailed Cruise Plan in their hands. I’ve been chief scientist on 38 research cruises over the years and now know these documents are actually Fantasy Plans. When you work in the deep sea, with new and cutting edge technology, in environments that often change between visits, and in areas where the weather is unpredictable, cruises almost never go the way they were planned. Our Fantasy Plan changed before we left the dock in Suva for the first leg, because we were delayed due to weather. The weather stayed marginal or worse for the entire cruise, so that we ended up regularly losing “planned” dives right up until we arrived back to port in Suva a day early (with the four meter seas that chased us off our dive sites following us all the way back).
North Dakota’s Bakken oil and gas field leaking 275,000 tons of methane per year
The Bakken oil and gas field is leaking a lot of methane, but less than some satellites report, and less than the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inventory for petroleum systems, according to researchers’ calculations. That’s the finding of the first field study measuring emissions of this potent greenhouse gas from the Bakken, which spans parts of North Dakota and Montana. The new study was published today in theJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.
Climate change could cause more concentrated storms
Rising temperatures are causing heavy rain storms to become concentrated over smaller areas, a scenario that could potentially cause extreme flooding in urban locations, according to new research.
VIII. Geophysical Research Letters
1. Premature mortality in India due to PM2.5 and ozone exposure
This bottom-up modeling study, supported by new population census 2011 data, simulates ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure on local to regional scales. It quantifies, present-day premature mortalities associated with the exposure to near-surface PM2.5 and O3 concentrations in India using a regional chemistry model. We estimate that PM2.5exposure leads to about 570,000 (CI95: 320,000–730,000) premature mortalities in 2011. On a national scale, our estimate of mortality by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to O3 exposure is about 12,000 people. The Indo-Gangetic region accounts for a large part (~42%) of the estimated mortalities. The associated lost life expectancy is calculated as 3.4?±?1.1?years for all of India with highest values found for Delhi (6.3?±?2.2?years). The economic cost of estimated premature mortalities associated with PM2.5 and O3 exposure is about 640 (350–800) billion USD in 2011, which is a factor of 10 higher than total expenditure on health by public and private expenditure.
2. Statistical features of the global polarity reversal of the Venusian induced magnetosphere in response to the polarity change in interplanetary magnetic field
In this study we present the first statistical analysis on the effects of heliospheric current sheet crossings on the induced magnetosphere of Venus. These events are of particular interest because they lead to the reconfiguration of the induced magnetosphere with opposite polarity. We use a statistical approach based on 117 orbit pairs, and we study the spatial distribution of the heavy ion flux measurements in the plasma environment of Venus. The average and median heavy ion flux measurements are compared before and after the polarity reversal events. The results show that after the events the average and median heavy ion fluxes in the magnetotail are reduced by the factors of 0.75?±?0.09 and 0.52, respectively. We find that even if a passage of a current sheet is a short time scale event lasting about 10?min, its effect on the near-Venus plasma environment lasts for a few hours. We conclude that the observations show similarities to the previous comet studies and the polarity reversal of the induced magnetosphere might be accompanied with dayside reconnection and magnetic disconnection of the plasma tail from the planetary ionosphere.