I mentioned the North Atlantic Oscillation in a recent blog post. The Arctic Oscillation is closely related to the NAO and many meteorologists often use the two interchangeably. The AO and NAO have been in a deeply negative phase for several weeks and this has brought unseasonably cold weather to Eastern North America and Western Europe
When the Arctic Oscillation (AO) index is in its “positive” phase, air pressure over the Arctic is low, pressure over the mid-latitudes is high, and prevailing winds confine extremely cold air to the Arctic. But when the AO is in its ”negative“ phase, the pressure gradient weakens. The pressure over the Arctic is not as low and pressure at mid-latitudes is not as high. In this negative phase, the AO enables Arctic air to flow to the south and warm air to move north.
Originally posted by happykat39
reply to post by Rezlooper
Don't worry Rez old pal, things will be popping soon enough to keep all of us busy irritating Phage. My current concern is the increasing number of fireballs (meteorites?) being seen all around the world. I think one possible explanation is that we are entering an area of space where we will be running into increasing numbers of space rocks and we don't know when it will peak or how heavily loaded that peak will be.
In fact, one possible cause is disturbances to the asteroid belt and other asteroid heavy places in the solar system being caused by the recent and soon to come spate of comets. They are known to "stir the pot" as they pass through. What if one of the ones still headed our way is gravitationally dragging some of the space debris with it and right into earth's orbit???
There could easily be one or more asteroids capable of doing major damage still headed in with our name on it.
One surprising feature of this recent growth is that it occurred almost simultaneously at all measurement locations across the globe. However, the majority of methane emissions are in the Northern Hemisphere, and it takes more than one year for gases to be mixed from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere. Hence, theoretical analysis of the measurements shows that if an increase in emissions is solely responsible, these emissions must have risen by a similar amount in both hemispheres at the same time. A rise in Northern Hemispheric emissions may be due to the very warm conditions that were observed over Siberia throughout 2007, potentially leading to increased bacterial emissions from wetland areas. However, a potential cause for an increase in Southern Hemispheric emissions is less clear.
the next step will be to study this using a very high-resolution atmospheric circulation model and additional measurements from other networks." But doing that could take another year, he said, and because the detection of increased methane has important consequences for global warming the team wanted to get these initial results out as quickly as possible.
Once the refinery’s leak reached the threshold that would require it to be reported, ExxonMobil announced that it had released 100 pounds of hydrogen sulfide and 10 pounds of benzene, a volatile compound known to cause cancer.
According to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center, however, the oil company is now unsure of the quantities and of which chemicals may have contaminated the area. According to readings at the spill site, the refinery measured 160 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide and 2 parts per million of benzene in the air. Meanwhile, an online version of the report filed by the company simply stated that an unknown amount of wastewater had leaked from its Number 1 flare drum.
“My name is Earl, I live at phillip neighborhood. I felt bad all yesterday because yesterday I smelled some of that oil. I haven't seen a doctor yet. Thanks,” posted one user.
According to Bucket Brigade director Anne Rolfes, the process for both measuring and reporting such a spill in the area is severely lacking.
“It is surprising that we don’t know the source over 12 hours after the first reports were filed," Rolfes told the Times-Picayune. "We need an overhaul and an upgrade of the state’s skimpy and inadequate air monitoring network. A decent air monitoring network would help officials to locate the source of the odor automatically, rather than having to drive around looking for it."
Residents throughout Terrebonne and Lafourche say they heard a boom Monday morning and felt the ground shake. But officials with the U.S. Geological Survey said their computers hadn’t detected any seismic activity. A spokesman speculated that might be the case because the movement was too slight to be immediately apparent. Andrea Dupree of Houma said she heard the noise about 10 a.m. and saw items on her desk shaking.
Dozens more confirmed the tremble via the newspaper’s Facebook page in communities from ranging from Pointe-aux-Chenes to Thibodaux. “I felt it in Chauvin,” said Kathleen Scott, 57. “It was really noticeable with my trailer shaking and my windows rattling.”
The problem, he says, is that right now those emissions aren’t directly regulated by the EPA. In President Obama’s first term, the EPA set new requirements for capturing other types of pollutants that escape from fracked wells, using technology that also, incidentally, limits methane. But without a cap on methane itself, WRI finds, the potent gas is free to escape at incredible rates, principally from leaky pipelines. The scale of the problem is hard to overstate: The Energy Department found that leaking methane could ultimately make natural gas — which purports to be a “clean” fossil fuel — even more damaging than coal,
So what’s the holdup? For one thing, Bradbury says, that $1.5 billion in savings wouldn’t necessarily go to the companies making investments in fixing pipes: Gas inside a pipeline is owned by the producer, but the pipeline itself is owned by an independent operator who might not see any advantage in preventing methane leaks. The other issue is detection: Methane is colorless and can be odorless, so there’s no way to know when it’s escaping, where, and how fast, without special equipment. Gear to simplify the detection process is beginning to crop up on the market, but without a government mandate there’s less incentive for companies to invest in it. And without hard data on how much methane they’re losing, companies are disinclined to address the problem — especially across all of the nation’s 300,000 miles [PDF] of natural gas pipelines.
A release like that of Deepwater Horizon contains a rich mix of carbon-containing molecules - alkanes, methane and what are called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), each presenting its own risks to the environment.
The new finding is about methanotrophs, which feed on methane - among the last compounds to be degraded. Prof Hazen said that the sudden release of methane, rather than slow seeps, created a lucky effect.
"All of a sudden the [methanotroph populations] go up to really high densities and they're fat and happy - and then [the methane is] gone." he told BBC News. "At that point, they degrade anything else that's there fortuitously, and they'll degrade it down below what would be usable as a carbon and energy source - so it's really sort of a 'deep-cleaning' effect.
The jury is still out on the long-term effects "That's why I think the Gulf of Mexico is cleaner than you would expect, not only from the oil but from everything else that goes into it."
Peak levels of over 2000 ppb over Antarctica have been recorded repeatedly over the past few months, which is extraordinary, the more so since the photochemical sink for methane is typically strongest during summer, while average levels of methane over Antarctica have historically been the lowest on Earth
Note that such high levels of methane occur in the Arctic during the northern winter, when lack of sunshine in the Arctic and low water temperatures make it unlikely that the methane was generated by biological processes. This indicates that the methane instead originated from hydrates and free gas in sediments underneath the sea.
Image 4., from the Arctic-news blog, shows that methane emissions in the Arctic line up very closely with the contours of sea ice and land, which makes it unlikely that the methane originated from leaking natural gas pipes or industrial activity on land.
In conclusion, at both poles methane levels can be very high, i.e. higher than elsewhere on Earth, and this methane likely originated from hydrates that have become destabilized by temperature rises.
An estimated 21,000 petagrams (1Pg equals 1015g) of organic carbon are buried beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet, estimates a research team led by Jemma Wadham. The potential amount of methane hydrate and free methane gas beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet could be up to 400 billion tonnes (that is, 400 Pg of carbon, or 400 Gt, see table below). Image 5. on the right shows the ice margin of an Antarctic glacier, depicting frozen lake sediments in the foreground. When ice sheets form, they overrun organic matter such as that found in lakes, tundra and ocean sediments, which is then cycled to methane under the anoxic conditions beneath the ice sheet. The methane could be released to the atmosphere if the ice sheet shrinks and exposes these old sedimentary basins.
Figures in above table are for the current methane burden, i.e. about 5 Gt. IPCC figures for methane's lifetime (12 years) reflect the time it takes for a perturbation of methane to be reduced to 37% of its initial amount. The IPCC gives a figure of 8.4 years as the time it takes for half a perturbation to be broken down.
Methane's global warming potential (GWP) will rise in case of large releases, since methane's lifetime will be extended as the burden rises, due to hydroxyl depletion. This is a feedback effect that the IPCC estimates will amplify the climate forcing of an addition of methane to the current atmosphere by lengthening the perturbation lifetime relative to the global atmospheric lifetime of methane by a factor of 1.4.
As the birds fell from great heights, some burst open, while others were able to glide weakly to the ground. Liquid could also be seen dripping out of the beaks of the sick birds. And, while some of them were too weak to move, others fed on their dead.
“We have been working in the area doing investigations. The EMA’s main purpose was to determine whether any environmental factors, such as toxic gases or chemicals released in the area, were involved in the deaths. However none were identified,” stated Singh.
Instead, Singh said they were working with the theory that the birds fed off an animal that had been laced with poison. The organisations were continuing the investigation as there was no confirmation on the cause of death.