Dark Lightning


Dark Lightning

Dark Lightning is a fascinating tale of discovery, obscuration and rediscovery that begins in the days when photographers used Photographic Plates.

Photographic plates preceded photographic film as a capture medium in photography.

The light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts was coated on a glass plate, typically thinner than common window glass, instead of a clear plastic film.

This form of photographic material largely faded from the consumer market in the early years of the 20th century, as more convenient and less fragile films were increasingly adopted.

However, photographic plates were reportedly still being used by one photography business in London until the 1970s, and they were in wide use by the professional astronomical community as late as the 1990s.

Glass plates were far superior to film for research-quality imaging because they were extremely stable and less likely to bend or distort, especially in large-format frames for wide-field imaging.

Early plates…

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The Recent Westerly Wind Burst in the Western Equatorial Pacific Could Help to Strengthen the 2015/16 El Niño

Bob Tisdale - Climate Observations

The graphics at the NOAA GODAS website were running a few pentads (5-day periods) behind when I published the May 2015 ENSO Update.  They’re caught up now, and the Hovmoller diagram of the surface zonal wind stress along the equator, Figure 1, is showing another westerly wind burst during early May 2015 in the western equatorial Pacific.

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Atmospheric Electricity


Atmospheric Electricity

The first edition of the textbook Physics of the Air by W. J. Humphreys was published in 1920 with a second edition appearing in 1929 and the third [and final] edition appearing in 1940.

William Jackson Humphreys (February 3, 1862 – November 10, 1949) was an American physicist and atmospheric researcher.

He worked in the fields of spectroscopy, atmospheric physics and meteorology.

In the field of spectroscopy he found the shift of spectral lines under pressure.

In atmospheric physics he found a very good model for the stratosphere in 1909.

He wrote numerous books, including a textbook titled Physics of the Air, first published in 1920 and considered a standard work of the time, though it was last published in 1940.


Physics of the Air was considered “a standard work” between the 1920s and 1940s and provides a wonderful insight into Atmospheric Science before the era of

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Nutjobbery – Reading Children Bedtime Stories Disadvantages Other Children

I reblogged a JunkScience story earlier about the story WHO has new rules for avoiding offensive names. Maybe this is to prepare the medical industry for the next generation of special snowflakes to become service users:

I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,’ quips [philosopher Adam] Swift.

There’s so many more pearls of lowest common denominator where the above nugget came from –


Parents! Don’t teach your kids manners. Don’t spend time sharing your knowledge or show them understanding. Don’t teach them strength so they can handle what life throws at them. Don’t teach them not to hurt others or show kindness or lead by example…in fact don’t teach them anything (except possibly subservience to the state and the chosen philosophy of the moment?)! Stop busting your guts to feed, clothe and love you’re children – you’re disadvantaging children with deadbeat parents!


h/t Sargon of Akkad

From NASA Science: “Auroras on Mars”


NASA Science Science News

May 11, 2015
Dr. Tony Phillips

1A map of MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) auroral detections in December 2014 overlaid on Mars’ surface. The map shows that the aurora was widespread in the northern hemisphere, not tied to any geographic location. The aurora was detected in all observations during a 5-day period. Credits: University of Colorado

This isn’t the first time a spacecraft has detected auroras on Mars. Ten years ago, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express found an ultraviolet glow coming from “magnetic umbrellas” in the southern hemisphere.

ESA Mars Express Orbiter
ESA/Mars Express

Unlike Earth, Mars does not have a global magnetic field that envelops the entire planet. Instead, Mars has umbrella-shaped magnetic fields that sprout out of the ground like mushrooms, here and there, but mainly in the southern hemisphere. These umbrellas are remnants of an ancient global field that decayed billions of years ago.

“The canopies of the patchwork umbrellas…

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Empirical Evidence: Oceans Make Climate

Science Matters

You only have to compare Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) from HADSST3 with estimates of Global Mean Surface Temperatures (GMST) from Hadcrut4 and RSS.

This first graph shows how global SST has varied since 1850. There are obvious changepoints where the warming or cooling periods have occurred.

This graph shows in green Hadcrut4 estimates of global surface temperature, including ocean SST, and near surface air temperatures over land. The blue line from RSS tracks lower tropospheric air temperatures measured by satellites, not near the surface but many meters higher. Finally, the red line is again Hadsst3 global SST All lines use 30-year averages to reduce annual noise and display longer term patterns.

Strikingly, SST and GMST are almost synonymous from the beginning until about 1980. Then GMST diverges with more warming than global SST. Satellite TLT shows the same patterns but with less warming than the surface. Curious as to the post 1980s…

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Dam Bureaucrats!

Priceless 😀


By Paul Homewood


Henry P sends me this amusing piece of correspondence!

This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond on his property. It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of Pennsylvania. This guy’s response is hilarious, but read the State’s letter before you get to the response letter, you won’t stop once you start. WOW Love this man.

This is an actual letter:

State of Pennsylvania’s letter to Mr. DeVries:

SUBJECT: DEQ … File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream…

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