Image Credit: JPL/Caltech, AirMSPI Team
Changes in rainfall affect more than just land-based ecosystems. New research shows that increased rainfall in Maine led to the decline of ocean dwelling plant-like organisms called phytoplankton, which make up the base of the oceanic food web.
I think you want to side-step that question and talk about whatpeople are doing to study this problem. Who are these people who aregoing out and measuring ocean temperatures? Who are these people who aretracking the year-on-year retreat of the Arctic sea ice? Who are thesepeople who are going out and measuring the small processes involved incloud formation, in soil moisture retention, in ocean eddies, inevaporation? It’s these things that we then put together to build thenumerical simulations that I work on, these climate models, that we’reusing to help us piece together what’s happened in the past, what’shappening now, and what’s likely to happen in the future. I think it’s far more important that people get a sense of thescience as a work in progress, rather than one particular message orpiece of content knowledge getting hammered home.
Click on the gallery to view captions. Read more about this research here.
I’ve written previously about research conducted by Thomas Bell, a scientist based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, that shows lightning storms tend to occur during the middle of the week when air pollution levels are the highest. An update: Bell has recently published more research showing the effect extends to hail storms and tornadoes as well. Here’s how Bell summarizes his latest work in a short write-up posted on a page from Goddard’s atmospheric science branch. For a more detailed explanation of how air pollution can fuel hail and tornadoes, you can read the full scientific paper (pdf) published by the Journal of Geophysical Research.
Between March 19th and 21st, an unusually strong storm in the Gobi Desert sent a large cloud of dust and pollution toward the Pacific Ocean. Most of it went east toward Japan, but plumes of particles also made their way south toward Taiwan and the South China Sea. NASA satellites orbiting overhead observed the dust moving south, and for a period of eight hours on March 21 a mobile laboratory managed by scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on the Dongsha Islands observed the dust storm and recorded a dramatic spike (top graph below) in particle mass, as well as counts.