NASA – Is Pluto’s Atmosphere Collapsing?

Four images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this sharper global view of Pluto. (The lower right edge of Pluto in this view currently lacks high-resolution color coverage.) The images, taken when the spacecraft was 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) away from Pluto, show features as small as 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers). That’s twice the resolution of the single-image view captured on July 13 and revealed at the approximate time of New Horizons’ July 14 closest approach.

Four images from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this sharper global view of Pluto. (The lower right edge of Pluto in this view currently lacks high-resolution color coverage.) The images, taken when the spacecraft was 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) away from Pluto, show features as small as 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers). That’s twice the resolution of the single-image view captured on July 13 and revealed at the approximate time of New Horizons’ July 14 closest approach. Image – NASA

Five years ago NASA were baffled with Earth’s shrinking atmosphere

Large changes in the sun’s energy output may drive unexpectedly dramatic fluctuations in Earth’s outer atmosphere.

Results of a study published today link a recent, temporary shrinking of a high atmospheric layer with a sharp drop in the sun’s ultraviolet radiation levels.

The research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU), indicates that the sun’s magnetic cycle, which produces differing numbers of sunspots over an approximately 11-year cycle, may vary more than previously thought.

New Horizons has only taken a snapshot in time so we are unlikely to know if the current low solar activity may be linked to Pluto’s shrunken atmosphere [my emphasis].

From previous observations, scientists assumed the pressure on Pluto’s surface would be about 15 microbars, but it turned out they were wrong, by quite a bit.

This REX occultation data says that the pressure on Pluto’s surface is just 7 microbars. It could be that the atmosphere is kind of collapsing, that the atmosphere, the gases that make up that atmosphere, are freezing and falling to the surface. If this is what’s happening, it’s possible that the collapse of Pluto’s atmosphere is imminent, or at least that most of the gas in the atmosphere will freeze and fall to the surface.

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Not based in Reality – Hansen’s End Times

Hansen Camping

Hansen Camping

An interesting blog by Andrew Revkin discussing activist James Hansen’s latest Armageddon postponed direst ever warning/press release to stoke the fires of alarm ahead of Paris- because there may have been a slight gap in the wall-to-wall coverage the mainstream has missed. Of particular note is Kevin Trenberth’s comments on how much the computer models fail to model reality (my bold).

No mention is made of ENSO or Pacific decadal variations that dominate interannual and decadal variability in the real world, and which are a key to understanding the recent hiatus, and recent trends that are not representative of longer-term trends, although frequently interpreted as such. In section 4.5, the authors point out the need to simulate a number of features realistically and the model does not really do them very well, especially basic things like sea surface salinity. So the relevance of the model is not established. They use the model for a number of highly artificial experiments that are supposed to depict melting of ice at high latitudes: ”freshwater injection.” These experiments introduce a lot of very cold fresh water in various places, and then they see what happens. The question is how relevant these are to the real world and what is happening as global warming progresses? They do not seem at all realistic to me.

A key to a lot of this is how clouds change, and one needs to get clouds right in the first place to have confidence in the results. Unfortunately, this is an area where major problems exist. Huge problems occur over the southern oceans for instance and ***all models have far too much sunshine penetrating to the surface compared with observations***. No doubt the southern ocean, featured strongly by Hansen et al, plays an important role, but data there are poor, and change is not well known; in particular the recent hiatus in global warming greatly influences any observations, which can therefore be quite misleading wrt trends. I certainly do not believe the result claimed with regard to less snow over Antarctica with a warming climate. Although Hansen argues that the real world is responding even faster than in the model scenarios, this is not at all clear owing to the natural variability.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/dotearth/2015/07/23/whiplash-warning-when-climate-science-is-publicized-before-peer-review-and-publication

Follow the Water–Arctic Ocean Flywheels

Originally posted on Science Matters:

The motto of oceanography should be: “It’s not that simple.”

Dallas Murphy wrote that in a book containing his reflections from numerous voyages with ocean scientists, entitled Follow the Water: Exploring the Sea to Discover Climate. The author goes on to say:

“One reason why the ocean has been left out of the climate-change discussion is that its internal mechanisms and its interactions with the atmosphere are stunningly complex. That the ocean has been left out has helped pitch the discussion toward unproductive, distracting extremes–either global warming is bunk or sea levels are about to rise twenty feet–and to frame the issue as a matter of opinion, like the place of prayer in public schools.”

He also quotes respected Oceanographer Carl Wunsch: “One of the reasons oceanography has a flavor all it’s own lies in the brute difficulty of observing the Ocean.”

A previous post on the Climate Water…

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Starry, Starry Night

Originally posted on MalagaBay:

Starry, Starry Night

The orbital altitude of the International Space Station varies between 310 and 410 kilometres.

The ISS is maintained in a nearly circular orbit with a minimum mean altitude of 330 km (205 mi) and a maximum of 410 km (255 mi), in the centre of the thermosphere, at an inclination of 51.6 degrees to Earth’s equator, necessary to ensure that Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome may be safely launched to reach the station.

International Space Station from November 1998 until 2009

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station#Orbit

ISS Ground Track

Epoch (UTC):         10 July 2015 12:48:03
Perigee height:      401 km
Apogee height:       403 km
Revolutions per day: 15.54928627

ISS – Orbit Developed and maintained by Chris Peat, Heavens-Above GmbH.
http://www.heavens-above.com/orbit.aspx?satid=25544

At these altitudes it’s possible to take some really hot daytime photographs of the Earth and plenty of really cool night time exposures of the RGB [Red-Green-Blue] fluorescing oxygen in the upper atmosphere at altitudes between 100 and 300 kilometres.

Without…

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Zero Room For Climate Debate: Greg Laden Plays With Himself

Originally posted on The Lukewarmer's Way:

On June 25, Greg Laden posted an update to his post slamming NY Times journalist/blogger Andrew Revkin for sleeping with the enemy–giving aid and comfort to the enemy–being a Klimate Kwisling, a traitor to the cause. Yeah, Laden’s nuttier than  a fruitcake.

Laden had opined that there was zero room for debate on climate science.

Quotation-Joseph-Joubert-debate-logic-Meetville-Quotes-120395

His update was a riposte to Revkin’s reply to him. Revkin had written: ““Zero room.” That’s scientific.”

To which Laden replied

“Yes, it is. There is zero room for debate when an issue has been pretty much settled. In science debate can come up anywhere, you never know, but for all practical purposes we do not debate if the Earth is hollow or solid or flat or round, or that germs cause many diseases, or that frogs reproduce as most other tetrapods do rather then spontaneously emerging from mud.”  He later continued, “So to repeat…

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The forgotten summer of 1955

Originally posted on xmetman:

I’m just doing some work on analysing blocking and spells of weather using the Jenkinson Lamb Weather Type [LWT] data that you can download from the Climate Research Unit [CRU] of the University of East Anglia [UEA], and came across what looks like the longest anticyclonic spell of blocking weather across the British Isles in the whole data set that started in 1871. According to the results from my early beta application, the summer was anticyclonic for around 32 days from the 5th of July to the 5th of August, a truly amazing spell of summer weather. The Monthly Weather Reports for the month of July have a headline “Warm and sunny; apart from thunderstorms“. According to the report the MSLP anomaly for the month was  a massive +9.9 MB at Stornoway and +4.4 MB at Southampton. Sunshine for England and Wales were at record levels of 146%…

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Heavy Rainfall Events? Certainly Not Increasing In England

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

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One of the claims about global warming that keeps being wheeled out is that heavy rainfall events are increasing.

Science Daily brings us news of one more study:

image

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150708100619.htm

I am extremely suspicious of studies such as these because of the sparsity and unreliability of historic rainfall data. For instance, the paper claims that South East Asia is one of the areas experiencing the biggest increase in extreme rainfall events. But how can we be sure that rainfall records there were properly collected and maintained in the past? Would observers have been focussed on accurately monitoring rainfall, when they were being invaded by the Japanese, bombed by the Americans, shot by the Viet Cong or at the tender mercies of Pol Pot?

It only takes a few days of missed readings to totally transform the daily distribution of extreme events.

In any event, the whole business of…

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Exxonomics

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The British rag “The Guardian” gets astounding web traction. Here’s the headline and first part of a story that, despite only being posted yesterday, has already spawned ninety-five copies across the web:

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years

A newly unearthed missive from Lenny Bernstein, a climate expert with the oil firm for 30 years, shows concerns over high presence of carbon dioxide in enormous gas field in south-east Asia factored into decision not to tap it

exxon valdez

ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.

The email from Exxon’s in-house…

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Early July and a cold North Atlantic

Originally posted on xmetman:

This is the mean 1200 UTC surface temperature for the first 5 days of July 2015 and shows a cold North Atlantic and a warm central Europe (+10°C). It also shows a very cold northern Russia (-8°C), and cooler than average temperatures again are evident over the northern Sahara region (-3°C). I know the 5 day mean is a bit short to create anomaly charts but it does give the bigger immediate picture that is lost if you look at an entire month.

1200 Mean Air Temperature & Anomalies 01 Jul to 05 Jul 2015 1200 Mean Air Temperature & Anomalies 01 Jul to 05 Jul 2015 (courtesy of NOAA & NCEP Reanalysis)

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