Archive by category | American Geophysical Union

AGU: And the winner is … Wind!

This according to Stanford University researcher Mark Jacobson, who has compared various energy technologies in terms of not only greenhouse gas emissions but also conventional pollutants, land use, water resources and more. Speaking after a news conference here, Jacobson said he is trying to provide a more holistic analysis of the various energy options. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” he said.  Read more

AGU – Youngest poster presenter?

You won’t find his name in the program, but his teacher and colleagues think Andy Olander – a 13-year-old student from Albuquerque, New Mexico – may be the youngest poster presenter at an American Geophysical Union meeting. Olander and five “colleagues” at the James Monroe Middle School developed a project on comparing the length of the sun’s shadow in summer and winter at different locations globally. Over time, “the shadow team” grew as they tapped the knowledge of professional scientists at the US Geological Survey and the Raytheon Polar Service in Colorado. Then their science teacher, Turtle Haste, and Mary McGann of the USGS office in Menlo Park, California, struggled with how to credit the abstract for the AGU autumn meeting poster.  Read more

AGU: ‘Is the planet really just doomed?’

Roughly a thousand people squeezed into a hall to see James Hansen talk this afternoon. They occupied all of the seats, then lined up along exterior walls. The aisles filled up with squatters, and dozens stood on tippy-toes outside trying to get a peak. At one point Mascone Center organizers forced dozens of people out, threatening to call the fire marshal and shut down the talk altogether. Then they gave up, allowing this intrepid reporter to sneak in.  Read more

AGU – Record of extreme weather events globally

With the many concerns over climate change, scientists are submitting a growing number of reports on extreme weather events – cyclones, droughts, or gales of 100 mph winds. These abstracts provide access to details not easily available to researchers, historians or journalists; particularly, if the events occur in countries that sometimes control the media. Consider reports of a devastating ice storm in south China early this year. A team at the Research Institute of Subtropical Forestry in Zhejiang presented reports at the American Geophysical Union meeting on the widespread damage. The extent of the economic impact of the harsh and unexpected freeze is just now being tabulated by researchers like the Institute’s Benzhi Zhou; Zhou and colleagues were assisted in San Francisco by Lianghong Gu of the Oakridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.  Read more

AGU: The earth breathing

It may be a bit of poetic fancy, but aeronomers (those who study the upper atmosphere) are talking these days about watching the earth breath. More specifically, a few researchers think they have discovered a “breathing mode” of the upper atmosphere—during which the planet’s gaseous blanket expands and contracts regularly about once every 9 days in a previously unrecognized cycle.  Read more

AGU: A new way to cool the earth

On Thursday and Friday there will be some sessions on “geoengineering” — intervening in the climate deliberately in an attempt to counteract greenhouse warming. One of the presentations, previewed at a press conference today, was an idea for a way of cooling the earth I hadn’t come across before: stripping off some of the high cloud.  Read more