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Can layers of the atmosphere collapse?

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posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 04:58 PM
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The idea for this thread comes from an unlikely place. The idea comes from a very bad movie Category 7 where they talk about chunks of the mesosphere collapsing. The movie is/was horrible so I won't being it up again in this thread.

Is it possible for layers of the atmosphere to collapse under their own weight? We all know that hot air rises and cold air sinks. Yet warm air is trapped at the surface and cold air is trapped aloft. What keeps the cold air aloft from getting disrupted enough to sink to the surface or at least attempt to mix with the warmer air below resulting in catastrophic storms? I could find very limited information on this kind of mixing online. The one example I could find had to do with the arctic.

"sudden collapse of the 'polar night westerly jet' in the stratosphere accompanied by a sudden temperature rise in the north polar region. This phenomenon takes place in the mid-winter occasionally (not every year). The temperature rise amounts 40~50°C in a week or so and often exceeds the summertime maximum temperature."

Source: www.jamstec.go.jp...

Could a collapse of the atmosphere thousands of years ago have triggered the kind of superstorm that is speculated to have started the last ice age? Are such events the triggers for things such as the famous Noah flood?

If someone here has the knowlege about the workings of the atmosphere and what keeps it relatively stable I'd love to hear from you.




posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 05:02 PM
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When they talk about the collapse of the jet stream, I think that they mean that it is no longer an orderly motion, not that the atmosphere "collapses."

It is my understanding that the ice ages began with cooler summers, not colder winters.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 05:05 PM
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Don't know that much about this, but as I understand there is an inversion layer where the temperature stops falling and starts rising with higher altitude. Below that, I think there is significant mixing, but particles trapped above, like from a volcanic eruption, take a long time to settle out since there's little mixing between these layers.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 05:30 PM
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I wonder what impact a significant temperature inversion in the atmosphere would have on the climate. The smaller scale event that we see in the winter here results in a low/thin layer of clouds that block the sun for days and keep daily high temps down and low temps up. Makes for some miserable days.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 05:56 PM
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More info: At the tropopause that separates the troposphere from the stratosphere, temperatures begin to rise due to heat generated from the release of energy from ozone soaking up UV radiation. So if air from this level somehow collapsed into the troposphere, I could see temperatures rising in a place like the arctic during the winter, but have no idea how that could happen.


[edit on 11/8/2005 by djohnsto77]



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 06:35 PM
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If the earth tilted on its axis to where it was straight up and down, there would not be any cold arctic areas. The temperatures would then even out. Right now, the earth is tilted to where the north and south poles do not see sunlight for 6 months. This is what allows it to be so cold at the poles. This is also what helps to create the hole in the ozone at the south pole. It is kind of hapening now actually. Slowly, but the signs are there. If you look up info on Canada and Alaska, you will find that miles and miles of ice has melted. To the point that it has affected the migration of animals. The permafrost is melting which is causing towns to sink and lakes to empty out. This in turn is making it warmer in say, Missouri. The cold fronts are not strong enough to sink down to us any more.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 06:37 PM
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Originally posted by mrsdudara
If the earth tilted on its axis to where it was straight up and down, there would not be any cold arctic areas. The temperatures would then even out.


That's not really true, the poles would still be cold, but there'd be no seasons.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 06:46 PM
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Well, yea they would be cold by normal standards. They would not be-180 anymore though. Your right there would be no seasons.......hay, didnt I read about that somewhere?



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 06:48 PM
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Perhaps you didn't mean it this way, but I thought you meant temperatures would even out worldwide. It'd still be hot at the equator and cold at the poles, but temperatures would be relatively constant at a particular location.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 06:53 PM
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sorry, I know I can be confusing. Yes that is exactly what I ment. Personally I think that is how it is supposed to be. I think we are living the abnormal right now.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:09 PM
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Originally posted by Indy
The idea for this thread comes from an unlikely place. The idea comes from a very bad movie Category 7 where they talk about chunks of the mesosphere collapsing. The movie is/was horrible so I won't being it up again in this thread.

I think there needs to be a motion picture academy of scientists who stand up and slap labels on movies/tv programs saying "THIS IS BUNK SCIENCE!!"

[QUOTE]Is it possible for layers of the atmosphere to collapse under their own weight? [/QUOTE]
Nope. The higher up you go, the thinner the atmosphere. So the layers of atmosphere above any given layer are lighter. In fact, the TOTAL "weight" of the atmosphere above any given layer weighs less than that layer.


We all know that hot air rises and cold air sinks. Yet warm air is trapped at the surface and cold air is trapped aloft. What keeps the cold air aloft from getting disrupted enough to sink to the surface or at least attempt to mix with the warmer air below resulting in catastrophic storms?

It happens all the time. Cold air is heavier and sinks.



Could a collapse of the atmosphere thousands of years ago have triggered the kind of superstorm that is speculated to have started the last ice age?

I hadn't heard anything about a superstorm starting any of the last ice ages (I think there have been about 20 of them), but in any case, one storm could not have turned the Earth into an iceball. The minute it was over, things would return back to normal and the earth would thaw out.

Best evidence says the ice ages were caused by a synchronicity of orbital wobbles and polar wobbles (that are measurable and haven't changed in millions of years) along with changes in the ocean currents.



Are such events the triggers for things such as the famous Noah flood?

Noah's flood never happened -- at least, not on a global scale.

[edit on 8-11-2005 by Byrd]



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:24 PM
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What about an atmospheric "turnover"?
SImilar to what happens in lakes, when the segragated layers become disturbed.
This is what happened in Cameroon, when a landslide caused lower layers to
punch through the upper layers..releasing dissolved CO2..and killing many villagers nearby..It was like shaking up, and opening a bottle of soda..

It also happens to a lake near my home, every season...(no dissolved CO2 though)

I suppose the only way to disturb the atmosphere in a similar manner would be a
massive Volacanic eruption like the 1815 eruption of Tambora...



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:37 PM
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Originally posted by spacedoubt
What about an atmospheric "turnover"?
SImilar to what happens in lakes, when the layers become disturbed.

This is happening constantly. It's called atmospheric circulation. That's why we have pollutants very high in the atmosphere... they got there from warm air rising and cool air sinking.


This is what happened in Cameroon, when a landslide caused lower layers to punch through the upper layers..releasing dissolved CO2..and killing many villagers nearby..It was like shaking up, and opening a bottle of soda.

Not exactly. CO2 is heavier than air. It's lighter than water, though. The CO2 was trapped inside the earth (volcano caused) and the landslide broke the barrier and allowed it to come to the surface, where it dispaced the oxygen (because it's heavier) and suffocated everything.


It also happens to a lake near my home, every season...(no dissolved CO2 though)

Here's what causes "lake turnover"
www.purwater.com...


I suppose the only way to disturb the atmosphere in a similar manner would be amassive Volacanic eruption like the 1815 eruption of Tambora...

Not even that. Nor did the supervolcanos of the Cretaceous (about a thousand times larger/longer/louder than Krakatoa) cause the atmosphere to turn over.

It simply can't.



posted on Nov, 9 2005 @ 01:44 AM
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Byrd, I beg to differ on the Cameroon disaster.

The Cameroon event was caused by a soda pop efffect. Dissolved CO2
Erupting, due to a turbulent disturbance. Probably a landslide, maybe something else. Pressure was relieved, and the Co2 came out of solution.
Lake Nyos
This was not a direct volcanic outgassing.

On atmospheric circulation..I understand the basics..
I'm thinking of something analgous to the above, where one layer rapidly injects itself into another. In a way even more turbulent than standard circulation.



posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 11:42 AM
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A couple of comments, if I may.

1) The Cameroon disaster was caused by dissolved gas in the water releasing suddenly.
2) Cold air is denser than warm air at the same pressure. The ideal gas law applies: PV=NRT The cold air in the upper atmosphere is much less dense then the warmer air below it.
3) The onset of the ice ages is linked to a combination of various astronomical cycles. In general, the glaciers started to form when the summers were no longer warm enough to melt off the winter’s accumulation of snow. The snow on the ground reflected more heat back into space in a positive feedback role, thus lowering the temps further.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 02:26 AM
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Howard... in reference to #3 that is accurate and inaccurate. It is accurate in the sense that an ice age can start like that. It is inaccurate in the sense that its probably not the way most ice ages start. I think ice ages start because the precipitation in the winter months becomes so excessive that it extends out the winter season so long that the summer months no matter how warm are unable to melt the snow and ice. Also remember what happens as the weather starts to warm up and snow starts to melt? You end up with colder air trapped at the surface. The result is a thin layer of clouds that blocks the sun and keeps temperatures cooler. I have seen far too often cases where the days were supposed to warm up but they remained relatively cool because of temperature inversion. If you receive significant snowfall during the winter you are likely to extend this problem out a great deal longer. This will rapidly shorten the summer season. Of course the shorter the season the quicker snow can start falling again. The problem begins to compound itself. Eventually the summers aren't warm enough to melt the snow that has fallen during the winter. However I think you need incredible snowfall totals in the winter to get this going. I think ice ages depend more on precipitation patterns and less on temperature (granted freezing is required :-) )



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 04:48 PM
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sorry but i think that superstorms do occur. The mesosphere could "sink" due to its coldness. The reason it doesnt is actually because the strasophere below it acts as a "lid" since the temperature increases with hieght in this layer (a temperature inversion is the technical name) and this stops the troposhere from "mixing" with the other layers. It holds the heat in and the cold out. If however the strasophere became COLDER than the troposhere below it, this inversion would no longer apply and the lid would be "removed" allowing the layers to mix. Although the air would warm on its way down, it would arrive still much colder than normal and this would cause earth to cool rapidly (by perhaps up to 50c in a few hours!) and this could "trigger" the superstorm and an ice age sicne it would snow even though it is already cold at the surface (usually cold air at the surface prevents snow from falling since the air sinks), but the air would rise because it would still be warmer than the mesosphere above it so it would snow heavily.
This accounts for ice ages far better than the orbital cycle (although clearly this works too) since the orbital cycle is too slwo and the temperature changes to small to nitiate glacier formation. What probably happens is the orbital cycle makes Earth vulnerable and then the superstorm becomes the "triger" that sets off the ice age and the snow reflects heat from the sun, cooling earth into a glacial.



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