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Saturday Lecture Series: Sprites

by coldwarrior ( 151 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Climate, meteorology, Open thread, saturday lecture series, Science at June 28th, 2014 - 7:00 am

Good morning all, and welcome to The Blogmocracy Observatory and BBQ joint. Today’s Topic is Sprites. Sprites are electrical discharges above large thunderstorms.

Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorm clouds, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes flickering in the night sky. They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between an underlying thundercloud and the ground.

Sprites appear as luminous reddish-orange flashes. They often occur in clusters within the altitude range 50–90 km (31–56 mi) above the Earth‘s surface. Sporadic visual reports of sprites go back at least to 1886, but they were first photographed on July 6, 1989 by scientists from the University of Minnesota and have subsequently been captured in video recordings many thousands of times.

Sprites are sometimes inaccurately called upper-atmospheric lightning. However, sprites are cold plasma phenomena that lack the hot channel temperatures of tropospheric lightning, so they are more akin to fluorescent tube discharges than to lightning discharges.

Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorm clouds, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes flickering in the night sky. They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between an underlying thundercloud and the ground.

Sprites appear as luminous reddish-orange flashes. They often occur in clusters within the altitude range 50–90 km (31–56 mi) above the Earth‘s surface. Sporadic visual reports of sprites go back at least to 1886, but they were first photographed on July 6, 1989 by scientists from the University of Minnesota and have subsequently been captured in video recordings many thousands of times.

Sprites are sometimes inaccurately called upper-atmospheric lightning. However, sprites are cold plasma phenomena that lack the hot channel temperatures of tropospheric lightning, so they are more akin to fluorescent tube discharges than to lightning discharges.

Spaceweather.com has the lecture today:

 

GIGANTIC SPRITES OVER THE USA: With the arrival of summer, thunderstorm activity is underway across the USA. We all know what comes out of the bottom of thunderstorms: lightning. Lesser known is what comes out of the top: sprites. “Lately there has been a bumper crop of sprites,” reports Thomas Ashcraft, a longtime observer of the phenomenon. “Here is one of the largest’ ‘jellyfish’ sprites I have captured in the last four years.” The cluster shot up from western Oklahoma on June 23, so large that it was visible from Ashcraft’s observatory in New Mexico 289 miles away:

“According to my measurements, it was 40 miles tall and 46 miles wide. This sprite would dwarf Mt. Everest!” he exclaims.

Also in New Mexico, Jan Curtis saw a cluster of red sprites just one night later, June 24. “I’ve always wanted to capture these elusive atmospheric phenomena and last night I was finally successful.”

Although sprites have been seen for at least a century, most scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now “sprite chasers” regularly photograph the upward bolts from their own homes.

Ashcraft explains how he does it: “My method for photographing sprites is fairly simple.  First I check for strong thunderstorms within 500 miles using regional radar maps accessible on the Internet. There must be a locally clear sky to image above the distant storm clouds. Then I aim my cameras out over the direction of the thunderstorms (which will be hot red or purple on the radar maps) and shoot continuous DSLR exposures. I usually shoot continuous 2 second exposures but if there is no moon then I will shoot up to 4 second exposures. Then I run through all the photographs and if I am lucky some sprites will be there. It might take hundreds to usually  thousands of exposures so be prepared for many shutter clicks. I use a modified near infrared DLSR but any DLSR will capture sprites. Note that it does require persistence and a little bit of luck.”

Inhabiting the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere alongside meteors, noctilucent clouds and some auroras, sprites are a true space weather phenomenon. Now is a good time to see them.

Meteorological Banshees

by coldwarrior ( 94 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, meteorology, Open thread, Science at April 30th, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Check this out!

 

ANVIL SCREAMER: In a remote area of New Mexico, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft operates a shortwave radio observatory. He routinely records bursts of radio energy from the sun and Jupiter, as well as echoes from passing meteors. On April 20th, a more hair-raising sound emerged from the loudspeaker. “It was the banshee howl of an ‘anvil screamer.’” Click on the image for a sample of what he heard:

An “anvil screamer” is a burst of static caused by a thunderstorm passing directly over a radio telescope, raising strong electric fields around the antenna. “Small corona discharges occurred off of pointy objects (grasses and cactus spines) in the vicinity of the antennas due to a charge differential between the ground and the air,” says Ashcraft. “I did not look outside because I was busy disconnecting sensitive electronics, but it is possible my antennas might have been glowing violet blue in this moment with St. Elmo’s Fire.”

“I was able to capture a one minute forty second radio recording, which builds in intensity and frequency and then stops abruptly as I got my system unplugged,” he says. “I thought a lightning bolt would surely strike as the charged anvil of the thunderhead passed by, but a strike did not occur.” Listen again. “It was a close call in any case.”

You can now add Dr Michio Kaku to the imbecile list.

by Guest Post ( 79 Comments › )
Filed under Climate, meteorology, Science at February 14th, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Guest Blogger: Doriangrey


Today, on a personal note, is a day of intense sadness for me. Dr Michio Kaku, professor of Physic’s at New York City College, exposed himself to be a High Priest of the Cargo Science Cult, rather than an actual Physicist. I have for many years enjoyed watching Dr Kaku deliver talks designed to bring the more complex concepts of Physics down to a level understandable by regular everyday people who just happen to be lacking a degree in Physics. One of the Gold standards of truth in Physics is, that while the math behind the laws of physics might be complex and difficult to understand, what the math describes in physical terms really isn’t incomprehensible to most people. In fact, unless you are talking about quantum physics, it’s mostly common sense.

Dr Michio Kaku has committed a genuinely grievous transgression in purely scientific terms. This transgression is why I am now tragically forced to move Dr Kaku into the column of High Priest of the Cargo Science Cult. What is the transgression you ask? Dr. Kaku has stepped significantly outside his field of expertise while at the same time employing his position as an expert in his field to provide a position of authority to make assertions for which he is unqualified to make. This is commonly known as an appeal to authority logic fallacy. It is a fundamental logic flaw that no genuinely serious scientist should ever fall for, nor allow themselves to be placed in by other seeking to advance their ideological position.

CBS Blames Global Warming for Bad Winter

During the February 13 broadcast of CBS This Morning, host Charlie Rose and his guest turned to the topic of this year’s harsh winter, calling the extreme cold an example of global warming.

Guest Michio Kaku, a physics professor from New York City College–not a climatologist, but a physicist–claimed that the “wacky weather” could get “even wackier” and its all because of global warming. “What we’re seeing is that the jet stream and the polar vortex are becoming unstable. Instability of historic proportions. We think it’s because of the gradual heating up of the North Pole. The North Pole is melting,” professor Kaku said.

“That excess heat generated by all this warm water is destabilizing this gigantic bucket of cold air… So that’s the irony, that heating could cause gigantic storms of historic proportions,” the prof explained.

This was all because of global warming, Rose insisted.

Kaku went on to say that the weather “instabilities” we are seeing are because of the “erratic nature of the jet stream” and the “polar vortex.”

Kaku also said that it is too late to change any of this:

Well, the bad news is that the north polar region continues to rise in temperature, it seems to be irreversible at a certain point, so we may have to get used to a new normal. That is, a north polar region that is melting, causing more instability in this bucket, causing more things to spill out, which means more extremes. Some winters could be very mild, other winters could be horrendous.

According to The Weather Channel, the Polar Vortex is not the sort of weather system that directly affects the surface. In fact, the polar vortex is an upper atmosphere system, not one that impacts directly on the surface of the earth.

Further, the idea that the polar vortex has become “unstable” is not necessarily true.The Weather Channel notes that the upper atmosphere system sometimes shifts, helping to sweep weather systems in the lower atmosphere to drift far afield from more common patterns.

CBS Host Norah O’Donnell also took the occasion of the discussion to claim that 2014 will be the hottest summer ever.

In making the assertions that he made for CBS, Dr Kaku firmly placed himself on the pedestal right next to the disgraced scientist and Nobel Prize wining physist, Dr William Bradford Shockley Jr. Like Dr Kaku, Dr Shockley stepped outside of his area of expertise while employing his position of authority as a Nobel wining Physicist to justify his assertions for which he had no scientific credentials. In Dr Shockley’s case, Dr Shockley attempted to make the assertion that intellectual capacity was an entirely a function of genetic ethnicity.

While it is heart breaking to see Dr Kaku parroting the Marxist Ponzi scheme of Global Warming, one must always keep in mind, that scientists are human beings they are not infallible, nor are they God’s. What is painfully obvious here is that Dr, Kaku has fallen to for Marxist/Socialist propaganda. He has drunk the kool-aid as it were, and in so doing, cast so much of his previous work into doubt.

One of if not the primary reason that actual genuine scientists are so careful not to do what Dr. Shockley and now Dr Kaku have done, is that once you step outside your field of expertise and start making pronouncement while clinging to the mantle of your expertise, is that now having proven that you lack a fundamental grasp of the most basic of logic, it cast doubts upon any work that you might have accomplished in your field of expertise. In other words, if this individuals can make this significant and profound of an error in logic how can the veracity of any of his work be considered valid, without it being examined in excruciatingly detail.

Everything Dr Kaku has ever done in the field of physics has basically been cast into doubt. If he lacks the fundamental grasp of logic that should have prevented him from falling into the appeal to authority logic fallacy, then where else has his failure in logic led to his making unfounded and egregious assertions based on similar failures in basic logic.

(Cross Posted @ The Wilderness of Mirrors)

Oklahoma City Tornado Open thread

by Rodan ( 119 Comments › )
Filed under meteorology, Open thread at May 20th, 2013 - 5:12 pm

Here is an open thread to discuss the massive Oklahoma City tornado.

OklahomaTornado

(Hat Tip: Weather.com)

Saturday Lecture Series: Radar Bloom

by coldwarrior ( 85 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, meteorology, Open thread, saturday lecture series, Science at April 20th, 2013 - 8:30 am

Good Morning, lets take a look at the phenomenon of Radar Blooms this morning for the Saturday Lecture Series:

Please Click the Below link for the entire article:

Anomalies: Radar Bloom, Ducting Explained

There are a lot of interesting anomalies that you may see on displays that show NEXRAD (or any kind of) weather radar data. Some are caused by software, some are caused by the radar misinterpreting what it sees. None are worth some of the conspiracy theories that non-scientists have come up with.

Last month, blog reader Mike asked what is responsible for the radar “bloom” (or “radar blobs”) that occurs nationwide, but especially in the Southeast U.S. in Spring and Fall. What he is referring to is the gradual growth of non-precipitation objects on radar after sunset (and the data fades after sunrise). During the night, this causes a large blob around each radar site. I have uploaded some examples from that night.

EXAMPLES OF RADAR BLOOM: In the Huge AccuWeather Raw U.S. Loop and the Huge NWS Raw U.S. Loop, you are seeing the raw data from each NEXRAD radar plotted on a U.S. map. But in the Small AccuWeather Processed Northeast Loop, AccuWeather’s computer algorithms and meteorologists have attempted to “clean up” the radar by taking out areas of data that they thought were invalid. This caused the “cookie cutter” hole around Indianapolis and the lack of clutter in the Southeast. The “C”-shaped object over the Great Lakes is rain from a low pressure system, though you can still see the “blooms” around and inside it. There are also a couple things of note in the Indianapolis Radar Site Raw Loop – the “spike” in the first frame is a “sunset spike” and is caused by the radar being temporarily “bllinded” by the setting sun. The blobs of blue and brown in the Northeast quadrant are areas of rain moving south from the aforementioned low pressure system.

I knew what Mike was referring to was a type of “Ground Clutter” – also known as false echoes – a wide-ranging problem with weather radars, I just didn’t know what specifically was causing it. So, I set out to do some research on Google, but I couldn’t come up with an explanation, and apparently neither could anyone else who writes blogs or web pages. In the late 1990′s, I wrote several articles on radar anomalies and Ground Clutter for AccuWeather.com properties — but I never was able to explain this one.

NOAA [JessePedia], who owns and operates the radars in the national network, has an excellent page explaining how radar beams work. It included the illustrations below about Superrefraction and Ducting (the radar beam is shown in comparison to a faded “normal” radar beam at the top of the illustrations). In both cases, the radar beam curves quicker than the curve of the Earth. I suspected this was to blame for the Radar Bloom.

In the case of “Ducting” the radar beam bends so much that it hits the earth, causing extremely dBZ returns (because the ground is much thicker than your average raindrop when the beam runs into it). dBZ, or “decibels of Z” is the way radar data (hopefully precipitation) is measured. The colors you see on radars correspond to dBZ levels, higher meaning more intense. When the radar beam hits the Earth, this phenomenon is called “high dBZ anomalous propagation” and is a real problem because, to the untrained eye, it looks just like thunderstorms.

EXAMPLES OF HIGH-DBZ AP: Notice on this example, a Northeast Still Image, how the high dBZ AP in Canada and New York looks a lot like the thunderstorms off the coast of the Carolinas. If you Download* This Northeast Loop then you can see that, while the thunderstorms move, the AP stays still. On the
Binghamton Radar Site Raw Loop, notice how the AP mimicks the mountain tops, because the beam won’t make it to the valleys once it hits the mountains. Notice also in the northwest part of the image how there are no echoes over the lake, because the surface is too flat to reflect back to the radar.

Other websites confirmed this explaination of Ducting, but while this is great, it doesn’t explain radar “bloom” which is much lower on the dBZ scale* (see below), nor does it explain why it grows and shrinks with time.

Since I couldn’t get an answer online, I wrote in to the NOAA radar experts. After a couple of returned emails due to a bad form on their site, I finally got in contact with Joe Chrisman from the ROC (Radar Operations Center) Engineering Branch, who explained:

When the sun goes down and the surface begins to cool, the change in refractive index in the lowest few (to several) hundred feet of the atmosphere tend to bend the radar beam toward the surface. This bending holds the radar beam near the surface for extended distances, where it encounters scatterers that would not normally be available above the boundary layer. These scatterers include insects, bats, aerosols, particulate matter, etc., and account for the increased radar return referred to as “radar bloom.”

To decode that answer a little, what he’s saying is that it is, in fact, superrefraction that causes radar bloom.

In the case of superrefraction, the beam bends low to the ground but, unlike Ducting, it doesn’t run into the ground (until it gets out of range anyway). With the beam so close to the ground, it keeps running into multiple insects/dust/other particulates as it moves outward from the radar. As the superrefraction becomes worse, the radar beam travels farther than it had previously, and encounters even more of these particles, causing the amount of clutter on the screen to “grow.” As the superrefraction decreases in the morning, it shrinks.

Why does refraction itself (be it Super, Sub or Ducting) occur? That’s a more complicated question and I’ll let you read the NOAA page for a lengthy explanation. Basically, where the beam travels with respect to the Earth’s curvature is determined by a complex equation of pressure, temperature and humidity that can vary greatly in small distances, and it’s possible you might have more than one type of refraction occurring at the same time.

P.S. “Trophospheric Ducting” is a similar phenomenon by which radio waves propagate thousands of miles further than they normally would due to atmospheric conditions, causing, in one documented case, an FM radio in Hawaii to pick up a radio station from Mexico (if you have an FM radio in your car and have trouble picking up FM stations in your own town then you understand why that would be quite unusual).

 

bloom radar

 

 

Atomic Snow!

by coldwarrior ( 164 Comments › )
Filed under meteorology, Open thread at January 23rd, 2013 - 6:00 pm

I drove through this on way home from work last night.

NOW I HAVE SUPER POWERS!!!!

 

Atomic Snow!

Sometimes, you don’t need a lake to get lake-effect snow. A complex of power plants will do the job just as well.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service’s office in Moon Township noticed something Tuesday night they apparently don’t see too often — a snow band, stretching for miles from western Beaver County across northern Allegheny County.

The band, which dropped a quick inch of snow in some places, didn’t originate at Lake Erie.

It came from the power plants at Shippingport.

OK, before you start with the jokes about nuclear winter, NWS meteorologist Lee Hendricks says there’s nothing sinister going on here. Rather, it’s just a matter of what happens when cold air meets steam.

“You had plumes of warm, moist air coming from the cooling towers of the power plants, and that was meeting the cold air we’ve had in place this week,” Hendricks said. “When the warm, moist air comes in contact with the cold air, it condenses and (Tuesday), it fell as snow.”

Actually, it fell as a lot of snow, in a very limited area. The screen cap shows the snow band stretching from a narrow ribbon at Shippingport and then spreading out as it stretched across Marshall, Pine and Richland townships. In those townships — and especially in the Wexford area, Hendricks said — the cooling tower-powered snow dumped an inch of snow or more very quickly.

“It’s the same process as lake-effect snow,” he said. “We just saw it on a very limited scale here.”

FirstEnergy, which operates both the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station and the coal-fired Bruce Mansfield Power Plant, pumps out a lot of warm, wet air from the cooling towers at both plants, spokeswoman Jennifer Young said. The 90-degree water from a single Beaver Valley stack evaporates at a rate of about 10,000 gallons a minute, and output from the Bruce Mansfield plant is about the same.

And when the two Beaver Valley towers and the three Bruce Mansfield towers are all running at the same time — as they were on Tuesday — that’s more then enough steam to power a mini lake-effect event.

Or, perhaps, a more apt comparison would be the snow guns that coat ski areas with man-made snow when Mother Nature isn’t feeling cooperative. Anna Weltz, spokeswoman for Seven Springs Mountain Resort, said the principle is the same.

“We pump very cold water from our storage lakes down to the guns and that water is met with compressed air,” Weltz said. “When that spray meets the cold air — the colder, the better — it turns into snow.”

Weltz said Seven Springs can make snow when the temperatures reach 28 degrees, but colder and drier is better.

“Twenty-six seems to be the magic number for light, dry snow,” she said. “Anything warmer than that can mean you get something wet and sloppy, something closer to rain.”

Hendricks, who lives in Hookstown, said that happens around Shippingport as well, especially in the spring and fall.

“Those plants can actually generate a drizzle when the conditions are right,” he said. “Shippingport has its own micro-climate, thanks to the power plants.”

 

I pledge to use my new powers only for good!

Open Letter to U.N. Secretary General: Science Does Not Substantiate Your Global Warming Statements

by huckfunn ( 69 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Climate, Communism, Corruption, Democratic Party, Economy, Energy, Environmentalism, government, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Marxism, meteorology, Multiculturalism, Political Correctness, Politics, Regulation, Socialism, taxation, Weather, World at December 2nd, 2012 - 10:02 am

 

World leaders and high government officials  around the world have gotten into the habit of making public pronouncements that every extreme weather event is the result of man made “global warming” or “climate change” despite the scientific facts to the contrary. Recently, U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-Moon made the following statements before the U.N. General Assembly:

 “Extreme weather due to climate change is the new normal … Our challenge remains, clear and urgent: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthen adaptation to … even larger climate shocks … and to reach a legally binding climate agreement by 2015 … This should be one of the main lessons of Hurricane Sandy.”

There’s been very little public push back against the Global Warming Hoax (GWH) as the compliant press has joined the GWH conspiracy to seize Western wealth by implementing confiscatory  carbon taxes and regulations. However, on November 29, 129 scientists (over half with PhD’s) published an open letter to the Secretary General challenging his unsubstantiated blatherings.

Mr. Secretary-General:

On November 9 this year you told the General Assembly: “Extreme weather due to climate change is the new normal … Our challenge remains, clear and urgent: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthen adaptation to … even larger climate shocks … and to reach a legally binding climate agreement by 2015 … This should be one of the main lessons of Hurricane Sandy.”

On November 13 you said at Yale: “The science is clear; we should waste no more time on that debate.”

The following day, in Al Gore’s “Dirty Weather” Webcast, you spoke of “more severe storms, harsher droughts, greater floods”, concluding: “Two weeks ago, Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard of the United States. A nation saw the reality of climate change. The recovery will cost tens of billions of dollars. The cost of inaction will be even higher. We must reduce our dependence on carbon emissions.”

We the undersigned, qualified in climate-related matters, wish to state that current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions.

The U.K. Met Office recently released data showing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years. During this period, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations rose by nearly 9% to now constitute 0.039% of the atmosphere. Global warming that has not occurred cannot have caused the extreme weather of the past few years. Whether, when and how atmospheric warming will resume is unknown. The science is unclear. Some scientists point out that near-term natural cooling, linked to variations in solar output, is also a distinct possibility.

The “even larger climate shocks” you have mentioned would be worse if the world cooled than if it warmed. Climate changes naturally all the time, sometimes dramatically. The hypothesis that our emissions of CO2 have caused, or will cause, dangerous warming is not supported by the evidence.

Read the entire article here. Hat tip – Climate Depot.

 

 

Bill Clinton and Al Gore blames Hurricane Sandy on Global Warming

by Rodan ( 207 Comments › )
Filed under Democratic Party, meteorology, Progressives at October 31st, 2012 - 7:00 am

The 1990′s was probably the best time of my life. I made good money, travel and had fun in life. One thing I don’t miss is Bill Clinton and Al Gore, not that I liked what came after also. Unlike the 1990′s Bill Clinton and Al Gore never went away. Clinton is campaigning for Obama. Gore is like a diseases that refuses to go away. He made a movie based on the AG hysteria and made millions in speeches. He is held up by the media as some prophet who must be heeded. Both of these clowns have weighed in on Hurricane Sandy.
Bill Clinton while campaigning for Obama, blamed Global Warming for Hurricane Sandy and attacks Mitt Romney.

Bill Clinton should ask his new buddy Obama why he hasn’t stopped sea rise. Not to be undone, Al Gore joins his old boss in blaming Global Warming for Hurricane Sandy.

While it did not take long it was expected. Former vice president Al Gore put out a statement on his blog on Tuesday and blamed the intensity of Hurricane Sandy on “global warming pollution.”

The images of Sandy’s flooding brought back memories of a similar–albeit smaller scale– event in Nashville just two years ago. There, unprecedented rainfall caused widespread flooding, wreaking havoc and submerging sections of my hometown. For me, the Nashville flood was a milestone. For many, Hurricane Sandy may prove to be a similar event: a time when the climate crisis—which is often sequestered to the far reaches of our everyday awareness became a reality.

[...]

Gore concluded at the end of his blog that “dirty energy makes dirty weather.”:

Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore should have stayed in the 90′s. These 2 clowns need to go away and just disappear.

Meghan McCain blames Hurricane Sandy on Global Warming

by Rodan ( 272 Comments › )
Filed under Climate, meteorology, Progressives, Republican Party at October 30th, 2012 - 2:00 pm

Many on the Left are blaming global warming for Hurricane Sandy. They act as if Hurricanes have never hit the Northeast. Yes it is rare, but it has nothing to do with Global Warming. Following in the footsteps of her senile and Islamic terrorist loving  father, Meghan McCain agrees with the Progressive narrative. She blames Sandy on Global Warming and chides Republicans for not agreeing with this lie.

 

 

Meghan is known more for her boobs than her brain. She’s really an idiot but then again apples don’t fall far from the tree! Expect her to run for her father’s Senate seat in 2016!

Spaghetti Plots Open

by coldwarrior ( 72 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, meteorology, Open thread, saturday lecture series, Science at June 30th, 2012 - 8:00 pm

Spaghetti Plots Open

 

Here is the reason it is so damned hot. These are essentially  jet stream maps. South of the jet stream its hot, north, not so much. This is caused by back to back la Nina years.

 

Enjoy this animated .gif

 

And here are the maps

NCEP Ensemble Spaghetti Maps
Initial Time: Jun 30, 2012  00Z
Valid Times: 72h – 336h, Days 3 – 14