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  • richardmitnick 11:09 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Earth Observation, Extratropical cyclones,   

    From Rutgers: “Don’t Blame Hurricanes for Most Big Storm Surges in Northeast” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our once and future Great Seal.

    Rutgers University

    February 14, 2018

    Todd B. Bates
    848-932-0550
    todd.bates@rutgers.edu

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    A powerful nor’easter battered the U.S. East Coast on Jan. 4, 2018. Image: NOAA.

    Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick scientists.

    Extratropical cyclones, including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast, according to the study in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. They include a freak November 1950 storm and devastating nor’easters in March 1962 and December 1992.

    In a first, the Rutgers scientists found intriguing trends after searching for clusters of, or similarities among, storms, said study coauthor professor Anthony J. Broccoli, chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. It’s a new way of studying atmospheric circulation.

    Understanding the climatology of storm surges driven by extratropical cyclones is important for evaluating future risks, especially as sea-level rise continues, the researchers said.

    “The clusters are like rough police artist sketches of what surge-producing storms look like,” Broccoli said. “Like facial recognition software, clustering is trying to find storms that look like one another.”

    “We wanted to understand the large-scale atmospheric circulation associated with storm surges,” said Arielle J. Catalano, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Atmospheric Science at Rutgers–New Brunswick. “It’s an atmospheric approach to the surge-producing storms.”

    The study covered the 100 largest storm surges driven by extratropical cyclones at Sewells Point in Norfolk, Virginia; The Battery in southern Manhattan in New York City; and Boston, Massachusetts. It excluded hybrid systems, like Superstorm Sandy, that shifted from tropical to non-tropical or were tropical up to 18 hours before peak surges.

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    This nor’easter in early February 2013 packed hurricane-force wind gusts and dumped lots of snow. Image: NASA-NOAA GOES Project Science Team.

    NOAA GOES-16

    The Rutgers scientists examined tide gauge records from the early 20th century through 2010. They analyzed atmospheric circulation during storms to look for clusters, and studied climate variability patterns that influenced circulation in the Northeast. They also looked at the probability of surges linked to much larger-scale atmospheric patterns that cover vast areas.

    They found that the biggest surges develop when slowly moving extratropical cyclones (low pressure systems) encounter a strong anticyclone, or high pressure system. That scenario leads to a tighter pressure gradient (the contrast between low and high pressure) and longer-lasting onshore winds, the study says.

    This favorable environment for large storm surges is influenced by large-scale atmospheric patterns, including El Niño, the Arctic Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Pacific-North American pattern.

    Though Superstorm Sandy in 2012 led to the largest storm surge on record at The Battery, extratropical cyclones spawned 88 of the 100 largest surges there.

    The November 1950 “Great Appalachian Storm,” with wind gusts exceeding 140 mph in the mid-Atlantic region, generated the highest extratropical cyclone surge at The Battery: nearly 7.9 feet. That’s only 20 percent smaller than Sandy’s surge – 13 percent smaller if sea-level rise is not considered, the study says.

    The water level during the 1950 storm was lower than during Sandy because the surge peaked at close to low tide. Future extratropical cyclones could cause Sandy-like flooding and coastal damages.

    At Sewells Point, the highest surge was 5.4 feet in November 2009, while the highest surge at Boston was nearly 6.3 feet in February 2010. Of the 100 largest surges at those locations, extratropical cyclones were responsible for 71 at Sewells Point and 91 at Boston.

    “The elephant in the room is sea-level rise,” Broccoli said. “That will likely matter more than how storms may change in the future, but what happens will be a combination of the two factors.”

    See the full article here .

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    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

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  • richardmitnick 9:41 am on February 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Earth Observation,   

    From University of Washington: “University of Washington, other leading research universities form international coalition to speed local climate action” 

    U Washington

    University of Washington

    February 6, 2018
    Michelle Ma

    The University of Washington joins 12 other leading North American research universities in the new University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, a group committed to leveraging its research and resources to help communities accelerate climate action.

    The coalition, which launched Feb. 6 at the 2018 Second Nature Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit in Tempe, Arizona, includes universities from the U.S., Canada and Mexico that have committed to mobilize their resources and expertise to accelerate local and regional climate action in partnership with businesses, cities and states.

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    Researchers working at the UW Clean Energy Institute’s Washington Clean Energy Testbeds.Matt Hagen/Clean Energy Institute/University of Washington.

    For more than a decade, member schools have pursued carbon neutrality in campus operations. The schools are also creating new climate solutions through innovative research and are preparing students to solve the urgent climate challenges of the 21st century.

    “Climate change isn’t a future problem — it is affecting people’s health and well-being right now. Universities have the capability to not only help understand the effects of climate change, but to also develop the technologies and policies to reduce carbon emissions. The University of Washington is proud to be part of the University Climate Change Coalition and to renew our commitment to protecting the health of our planet,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce.

    At an operational level, the UW is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 36 percent below 2005 levels by 2035, in accordance with laws passed by the Washington state Legislature in 2009. The university also is working to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as technology developments allow.

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    Researcher David Shean uses UW’s terrestrial laser scanner to measure surface elevation at the South Cascade Glacier.Alex Headman/USGS

    The UW is also a leader in climate and clean energy research. The Clean Energy Institute supports the advancement of next-generation solar energy and battery materials and devices, as well as their integration with systems and the grid.

    At the College of the Environment, organizations such as the Climate Impacts Group and EarthLab are tackling climate resiliency and our most pressing climate challenges through continued research, analysis and community partnerships. Hundreds of UW students, faculty and staff conduct research and projects on all seven continents and all five oceans, focusing on critical issues such as ocean acidification, freshwater resources, natural hazards and the disappearance of ice in polar regions.

    “UW scientists are leaders in groundbreaking, collaborative research to advance climate science, understand impacts and build pathways to solutions. We’re excited by the new partnerships and opportunities that the University Climate Change Coalition offers. Working together will strengthen our ability to sustain the health and wellbeing of our communities and our planet,” said UW College of the Environment Dean and Mary Laird Wood Professor Lisa Graumlich.

    In addition to the UW, other coalition members are Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ohio State University, the State University of New York, University of British Columbia, University of California, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Maryland, College Park, University of New Mexico, and University of Toronto.

    Every UC3 institution will convene a climate change forum in 2018 to bring together community and business leaders, elected officials and other local stakeholders. Meetings will be tailored to meet local and regional objectives shared across sectors and will aim to speed the implementation of research-driven climate policies and solutions.

    A coalition-wide report, to be released in late 2018, will synthesize the best practices, policies and recommendations from all UC3 forums into a framework for continued progress on climate change goals across the nation and the world.

    In 2016, the U.S.-based members of the UC3 coalition together performed about one-quarter of the environmental science research conducted by all U.S. institutions, according to data collected by the National Science Foundation. From 2012 to 2017, researchers at UC3 member institutions were responsible for 48,518 publications on climate science-related topics, including environmental science, agricultural and biological sciences, energy, engineering, earth and planetary sciences and more.

    See the full article here .

    See The University of California article here.

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    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:06 am on January 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Earth Observation, Earth Went Strangely Quiet About 2 Billion Years Ago And We Don't Know Why, ,   

    From Science Alert: “Earth Went Strangely Quiet About 2 Billion Years Ago And We Don’t Know Why” 

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert

    31 JAN 2018
    MIKE MCRAE

    1
    (Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock)

    A new study has added evidence to the hypothesis that our planet experienced a lull in geology between 2.2 and 2.3 billion years ago, when not a lot went on as far as rock-forming processes go.

    The relatively dormant phase in our planet’s history signals a significant change in tectonics, one that is fuelling discussion on exactly how continents form and could possibly provide better details on exactly where we can find new deposits of various mineral resources.

    The era known as the Palaeoproterozoic covers a rather exciting time in Earth’s history, starting 2.5 billion years ago and ending around a billion years later.

    Life was literally a lot simpler then. Days were four hours shorter. Our atmosphere was yet to have a lot of oxygen. There were the first global glaciation events. And the planet’s first supercontinent – a huge chunk of land called Columbia, or Nuna – was in the process of being formed.

    As you might imagine, geologists are keen to understand how this far younger Earth behaved compared to today’s more mature globe.

    It seems as if around 2.45 billion years ago, there was something of a quiet spell beneath the surface, one that lasted around 250 million years.

    Not that everybody is convinced – other interpretations of the research suggest it was business as usual throughout the Palaeoproterozoic [Earth and Planetary Science Letters].

    With the jury still out, more evidence is needed. Which is just what a new study led by researchers from Curtin University has provided.

    A close look at the existing data as well as new rock samples collected from Western Australia, China, Northern Canada and Southern Africa has added weight to what’s described as a tectono-magmatic shutdown.

    “Our research shows a bona fide gap in the Palaeoproterozoic geologic record, with not only a slowing down of the number of volcanoes erupting during this time, but also a slow-down in sedimentation and a noticeable lull in tectonic plate movement,” says Curtin University geoscientist Christopher Spencer.

    Earth’s guts were a lot hotter a few billion years ago. For a while all that churning resulted in a whole lot of volcanic activity.

    Whether that directly led to significant cooling, or if something else happened beneath the crust, nobody is sure.

    But we can now be fairly confident that about 2.3 billion years ago, things went quiet under the lid. Volcanoes were temporarily out of fashion. Plate movements were subdued.

    Earth was taking a break.

    “This ‘dormant’ period lasted around 100 million years and signalled what we believe was a shift from ‘ancient-style’ tectonics to ‘modern-style’ tectonics more akin to those operating in the present day,” says Spencer.

    “It’s almost as if the Earth experienced a mid-life crisis.”

    After a bit of a breather, things ramped up again. Chunks of ancient crust fractured into smaller pieces called cratons, which can today be found deep inside continental plates.

    “Following this dormant period Earth’s geology started to ‘wake-up’ again around 2.2 to 2.0 billion years ago with a ‘flare-up’ of volcanic activity and a shift in the composition of the continental crust,” says Spencer.

    Why did the mantle ‘flare up’ again after a quiet spell? The researchers aren’t sure, but have speculated it might simply come down to a surge of accumulated heat.

    Understanding the geological processes that led from ‘supercratons’ to the first supercontinent could help us understand how many of the mineral resources we rely upon formed and distributed.

    More data is needed to fill in missing details on this geological ‘mid-life crisis’ model, but we can at least be grateful Earth didn’t quit its job and run off with some young moon.

    This research was published in Nature Geoscience.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 11:00 am on January 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Earth Observation, Krakatoa 1883, The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times,   

    From Nautilus: “The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times” 2016 but Very Interesting 

    Nautilus

    Nautilus

    July 14, 2016
    Aatish Bhatia

    The 1883 eruption on Krakatoa may be the loudest noise the Earth has ever made.

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    An 1888 lithograph of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. Lithograph: Parker & Coward, Britain.


    1 hour
    Krakatoa Volcanic Eruption . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_Science

    On August 27, 1883, the Earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since.

    It was 10:02 a.m. local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It was heard 1,300 miles away in the Andaman and Nicobar islands (“extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns firing”); 2,000 miles away in New Guinea and Western Australia (“a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery in a north-westerly direction”); and even 3,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, near Mauritius (“coming from the eastward, like the distant roar of heavy guns.”)1 In all, it was heard by people in over 50 different geographical locations, together spanning an area covering a thirteenth of the globe.

    Think, for a moment, just how crazy this is. If you’re in Boston and someone tells you that they heard a sound coming from New York City, you’re probably going to give them a funny look. But Boston is a mere 200 miles from New York. What we’re talking about here is like being in Boston and clearly hearing a noise coming from Dublin, Ireland. Traveling at the speed of sound (766 miles or 1,233 kilometers per hour), it takes a noise about four hours to cover that distance. This is the most distant sound that has ever been heard in recorded history.

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    Listen Up: A map showing the area in which the Krakatoa explosion could be heard.The Eruption of Krakatoa, and Subsequent Phenomena. Trübner & Company (1888).

    So what could possibly create such an earth-shatteringly loud bang? A volcano on Krakatoa had just erupted with a force so great that it tore the island apart, emitting a plume of smoke that reached 17 miles into the atmosphere, according to a geologist who witnessed it. You could use this observation to calculate that stuff spewed out of the volcano at over 1,600 miles per hour—or nearly half a mile per second. That’s more than twice the speed of sound.

    This explosion created a deadly tsunami with waves over 100 feet (30 meters) in height. One hundred sixty-five coastal villages and settlements were swept away and entirely destroyed. In all, the Dutch (the colonial rulers of Indonesia at the time) estimated the death toll at 36,417, while other estimates exceed 120,000.2,3

    The British ship Norham Castle was 40 miles from Krakatoa at the time of the explosion. The ship’s captain wrote in his log, “So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered. My last thoughts are with my dear wife. I am convinced that the Day of Judgement has come.”

    In general, sounds are caused not by the end of the world but by fluctuations in air pressure. A barometer at the Batavia gasworks (100 miles away from Krakatoa) registered the ensuing spike in pressure at over 2.5 inches of mercury. That converts to over 172 decibels of sound pressure, an unimaginably loud noise. To put that in context, if you were operating a jackhammer you’d be subject to about 100 decibels. The human threshold for pain is near 130 decibels, and if you had the misfortune of standing next to a jet engine, you’d experience a 150-decibel sound. (A 10-decibel increase is perceived by people as sounding roughly twice as loud.) The Krakatoa explosion registered 172 decibels at 100 miles from the source. This is so astonishingly loud, that it’s inching up against the limits of what we mean by “sound.”

    When you hum a note or speak a word, you’re wiggling air molecules back and forth dozens or hundreds of times per second, causing the air pressure to be low in some places and high in other places. The louder the sound, the more intense these wiggles, and the larger the fluctuations in air pressure. But there’s a limit to how loud a sound can get. At some point, the fluctuations in air pressure are so large that the low pressure regions hit zero pressure—a vacuum—and you can’t get any lower than that. This limit happens to be about 194 decibels for a sound in Earth’s atmosphere. Any louder, and the sound is no longer just passing through the air, it’s actually pushing the air along with it, creating a pressurized burst of moving air known as a shock wave.

    Closer to Krakatoa, the sound was well over this limit, producing a blast of high pressure air so powerful that it ruptured the eardrums of sailors 40 miles away. As this sound traveled thousands of miles, reaching Australia and the Indian Ocean, the wiggles in pressure started to die down, sounding more like a distant gunshot. Over 3,000 miles into its journey, the wave of pressure grew too quiet for human ears to hear, but it continued to sweep onward, reverberating for days across the globe. The atmosphere was ringing like a bell, imperceptible to us but detectable by our instruments.

    By 1883, weather stations in scores of cities across the world were using barometers to track changes in atmospheric pressure. Six hours and 47 minutes after the Krakatoa explosion, a spike of air pressure was detected in Calcutta. By 8 hours, the pulse reached Mauritius in the west and Melbourne and Sydney in the east. By 12 hours, St. Petersburg noticed the pulse, followed by Vienna, Rome, Paris, Berlin, and Munich. By 18 hours the pulse had reached New York, Washington, D.C., and Toronto. Amazingly, for as many as five days after the explosion, weather stations in 50 cities around the globe observed this unprecedented spike in pressure recurring like clockwork, approximately every 34 hours. That is roughly how long it takes sound to travel around the entire planet.

    In all, the pressure waves from Krakatoa circled the globe three to four times in each direction. (Each city felt up to seven pressure spikes because they experienced shock waves traveling in opposite directions from the volcano.) Meanwhile, tidal stations as far away as India, England, and San Francisco measured a rise in ocean waves simultaneous with this air pulse, an effect that had never been seen before. It was a sound that could no longer be heard but that continued moving around the world, a phenomenon that people nicknamed “the great air-wave.”

    Recently, an incredible home video of a volcanic eruption taken by a couple on vacation in Papua New Guinea started making the rounds on the Internet. If you watch closely, this video gives you a sense for the pressure wave created by a volcano.

    When the volcano erupts, it produces a sudden spike in air pressure; you can actually watch as it moves through the air, condensing water vapor into clouds as it travels. The people taking the video are (fortunately) far enough away that the pressure wave takes a while to reach them. When it does finally hit the boat, some 13 seconds after the explosion, you hear what sounds like a huge gunshot accompanied by a sudden blast of air. Multiplying 13 seconds by the speed of sound tells us that the boat was about 4.4 kilometers, or 2.7 miles, away from the volcano. This is somewhat akin to what happened at Krakatoa, except the “gunshot” in that case could be heard not just three but 3,000 miles, away, a mind-boggling demonstration of the immense destructive power that nature can unleash.

    References

    1. Judd, J.W., et al. The Eruption of Krakatoa, and Subsequent Phenomena Trübner & Company, (1888).

    2. Winchester, S. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded Penguin, London, United Kingdom (2004).

    3. Simkin, T. & Fiske, R.S. Krakatau, 1883, the Volcanic Eruption and Its Effects, Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington, D.C. (1983).

    Recent images
    5
    4
    Photos of Anak Krakatau, May 17, 1997. Courtesy of Mike Lyvers. http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/oldroot/volcanoes/krakatau/krakatau.html

    See the full article here .

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    Welcome to Nautilus. We are delighted you joined us. We are here to tell you about science and its endless connections to our lives. Each month we choose a single topic. And each Thursday we publish a new chapter on that topic online. Each issue combines the sciences, culture and philosophy into a single story told by the world’s leading thinkers and writers. We follow the story wherever it leads us. Read our essays, investigative reports, and blogs. Fiction, too. Take in our games, videos, and graphic stories. Stop in for a minute, or an hour. Nautilus lets science spill over its usual borders. We are science, connected.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:58 pm on January 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Earth Observation, , , ,   

    From temblor: “M=4 Southern California earthquake highlights Elsinore Fault’s destructive potential” 

    1

    temblor

    January 25, 2018
    David Jacobson

    1
    This morning’s M=4 earthquake in Southern California struck just northwest of Lake Elsinore.

    Last night, at 2:09 a.m. a M=4 earthquake struck Southern California approximately 25 km southwest of Riverside. The quake occurred at a depth of 11 km, and was felt widely across the region, registering over 11,000 felt reports on the USGS website. Based on the focal mechanism produced by the USGS, this quake was primarily compressional in nature, with some strike-slip motion, and close to the Elsinore Fault. Earthquakes with this focal mechanism are not uncommon here. However, this event did not occur on the main strand of the Elsinore Fault, but rather a small secondary fault. Because of the relatively small magnitude of this earthquake, no damage has been reported or is expected. However, it did wake tens of thousands of people in Southern California. Additionally, Dr. Craig Nicholson, Research Geophysicist at the Marine Science Institute of U.C. Santa Barbara, told Temblor, “There has been a persistent cluster of ‘off-fault’ earthquakes in this area for quite some time. The Elsinore fault is certainly multi-stranded, but here there has been sustained seismicity west of the fault zone and west of the southern end of the Whittier fault. These earthquakes could be related to low-angle blind faults similar to the Peralta Hills fault located farther north.”

    2
    This Temblor map shows the location of this morning’s earthquake southwest of San Bernardino. Also highlighted in this map are the three major faults in Southern California. This quake registered over 11,000 felt reports on the USGS website.

    Even though this earthquake did not occur on the main strand of the Elsinore Fault, because of its proximity, it does give us a chance to highlight one of Southern California’s largest faults. Just by itself, and not including its northern and southern extensions, the Elsinore Fault extends for approximately 180 km through Southern California. However, despite its size, it is one of the quietest faults in the region. Most recently, it ruptured in 1910 in a M=6 earthquake. That event was not particularly damaging though, it did topple some chimneys in nearby communities. Other than that earthquake, there are no major historic quakes along the Elsinore Fault.

    The Elsinore Fault: A sleeping giant

    Just because a large earthquake has not happened historically does not mean a damaging event could not occur. In the USGS scenario catalog, they show that should the Elsinore rupture from end to end, a M=7.8 could be generated. Such an event would be devastating for the region and could cause damage from San Diego to Los Angeles.

    While a M=7.8 earthquake may not be the most likely scenario, by using the Global Earthquake Acitivity Rate (GEAR) model, we can see what is likely in your lifetime. This model uses global strain rates and the last 40 years of seismicity to estimate the likely earthquake magnitude in your lifetime anywhere on earth. From the figure below, one can see that in the location of this morning’s event, a M=6.5+ is likely. While such an event would not have as large an impact on all of Southern California, it could be devastating to places like Riverside and Mission Viejo.

    3
    This Temblor map shows the Global Earthquake Activity Rate (GEAR) model for Southern California. This model uses global strain rates and the last 40 years of seismicity to forecast the likely earthquake magnitude in your lifetime. This figure highlights how in the location of this morning’s earthquake, a M=6.5+ is likely in your lifetime.

    References [Sorry, no links.]
    USGS
    Southern California Earthquake Data Center
    LA Times
    Hull, Alan and Nicholson, Craig, Seismotectonics of the Northern Elsinore fault zone, Southern California, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 82(2) · January 1992

    See the full article here .

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    You can help many citizen scientists in detecting earthquakes and getting the data to emergency services people in affected area.
    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    BOINCLarge

    BOINC WallPaper

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    Earthquake country is beautiful and enticing

    Almost everything we love about areas like the San Francisco bay area, the California Southland, Salt Lake City against the Wasatch range, Seattle on Puget Sound, and Portland, is brought to us by the faults. The faults have sculpted the ridges and valleys, and down-dropped the bays, and lifted the mountains which draw us to these western U.S. cities. So, we enjoy the fruits of the faults every day. That means we must learn to live with their occasional spoils: large but infrequent earthquakes. Becoming quake resilient is a small price to pay for living in such a great part of the world, and it is achievable at modest cost.

    A personal solution to a global problem

    Half of the world’s population lives near active faults, but most of us are unaware of this. You can learn if you are at risk and protect your home, land, and family.

    Temblor enables everyone in the continental United States, and many parts of the world, to learn their seismic, landslide, tsunami, and flood hazard. We help you determine the best way to reduce the risk to your home with proactive solutions.

    Earthquake maps, soil liquefaction, landslide zones, cost of earthquake damage

    In our iPhone and Android and web app, Temblor estimates the likelihood of seismic shaking and home damage. We show how the damage and its costs can be decreased by buying or renting a seismically safe home or retrofitting an older home.

    Please share Temblor with your friends and family to help them, and everyone, live well in earthquake country.

    Temblor is free and ad-free, and is a 2017 recipient of a highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (‘SBIR’) grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

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    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.

    Authorities

    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach
    rdegroot@usgs.gov
    626-583-7225

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan

     
  • richardmitnick 9:31 am on January 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Earth Observation, , Life and Physical Science Laboratory   

    From ESA: “Life and Physical Science Laboratory” 25 April 2017 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency

    25 April 2017

    Laboratory Manager Robert Lindner
    Robert.Lindner@esa.int

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    Workbench. ESA.

    What is its role?

    The Lab supports work on life and physical sciences instrumentation and experiments for microgravity research, life support and environmental control and other exploration related activities, including experimental flight payloads, life support system development or activities for planetary exploration. The Lab can investigate and test a wide variety of factors, including prolonged effects of low- or hyper-gravities.

    But the Lab is more than just a place for testing or rehearsing space mission payloads. Its facilities also support flight projects, such as ATV disinfection and microbiological control campaigns, planetary protection-related activities for ExoMars and technology development activities.

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    Large Diameter Centrifuge. ESA–A. Le Floc’h . Scientists interested in hypergravity need to create it for minutes, days or even weeks at a time. Fortunately, ESA’s Large Diameter Centrifuge does just that. Based at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the centrifuge is designed not for astronaut training but for scientific research.

    The 8 m-diameter centrifuge can create up to 20 g, with four gondolas holding up to 80 kg of experiments. Two more gondolas can be attached half way along the arm to provide different g-levels at the same time. Its operators observe the centrifuge from behind bulletproof glass, for safety.

    What services does it offer?

    Assessment and verification of experimental instrument design concepts and
    measurement principles in support of both projects and technology R&D

    Verification of the feasibility of new ideas through rapid breadboarding

    Cleaning, detection, disinfection and sterilisation activities for flight projects
    Support to scientific experiments

    Performance of science verification and flight sequence tests

    Preparation of biological samples for flight and ground-based experiments

    Long-term functional testing of flight facility ground reference models

    Analysis of payload malfunctions or hardware failures

    Gravity simulation experiments.

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    Life, Physical Sciences and Life Support Laboratory’s 35 sq. m ‘ISO Class 1’ clean room. The Life, Physical Sciences and Life Support Laboratory’s 35 sq. m ‘ISO Class 1’ clean room provides an ultra-clean environment, suitable for working on flight hardware requiring a very high level of cleanliness and sterilisation, such as instruments for Europe’s 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions.
    The clean room is fitted with a dry heat steriliser, ultra-clean gas lines, exhaust line and IT infrastructure, with all its air passing through a two-stage filtering system.
    The chamber’s cleanliness is such that it contains less than 10 smoke-sized particles per cubic metre; an equivalent sample of the outside air could well contain millions. ESA.

    How is it equipped?

    The 720 m2 facility’s state-of-the-art equipment includes high-performance analytical instrumentation for chemistry, microbiology (e.g. inverted and non-inverted microscopes, Diversilab) and water chemistry (e.g. ICP, NPS), a large volume dry-heat steriliser (ISO class 5) as well as all conventional lab items (such as glassware, -18 and 80 freezers) and consumables.

    The overall Lab incorporates four facilities: a microbiology lab, fully equipped with two ISO5 HC laminar flow benches, incubators, microscopes, support equipment etc., an analytical lab for performing microbiological and chemical analysis, including an HPLC-MS system (Agilent ion trap MS 500 coupled to an Infinity 1260 HPLC system) for analysis of organics, VITEK system for genetic identification, ventilation hoods for chemical analysis and preparation including a preparation room and chemical storage.

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    Centrifuge gondola. The Large Diameter Centrifuge gondolas are equipped to provide power and data links to the experiments fitted aside. These might include physical, biological, geological and even astrogeological tests – one team investigated how crater impacts vary under higher gravity. Experiments can be spun for up to six months at a time non-stop, at changing g-profiles if needed. After that, the Centrifuge has to stop for routine maintenance.

    Student teams from across Europe are given access to the Centrifuge through regular ‘Spin your Thesis’ campaigns, organised through ESA’s Education Office. Student teams are selected to take part by experts from ESA and the European Low Gravity Research Association. ESA.

    An ISO 1 cleanroom with 35 m2 surface area provides an ultra-clean environment for all hardware activities requiring these high cleanliness levels. The cleanroom is equipped with a Dry Heat Steriliser (ISO 5HC) ultra-clean gas lines, exhaust line and IT infrastructure. A two-stage filter concept HEPA filters and fan filter units (FFU) with ULPA filters plus AMC filters (class A, B C, D) ensure this low particulate environment and AMC-5 environment according to ISO 14644 1-8. The facility can be easily upgraded to AMC-9 or better.

    Last not least, the Gravity Simulation Lab enables testing in microgravity and hypergravity. This facility hosts a small random position machine for microgravity simulation and a large diameter (8 m) centrifuge equipped with four arms carrying up to six gondolas, accommodating payloads up to 80 kg. The maximum possible acceleration is 20 g (with four gondolas), which can be spun continuously for six months or longer.

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    Instrumentation, Life, Physical Sciences and Life Support Laboratory. ESA’s Life, Physical Sciences and Life Support Laboratory boasts state-of-the-art equipment includes high-performance analytical instrumentation for chemistry, microbiologyand water chemistry, a large volume dry-heat steriliser as well as all conventional lab items. ESA.

    Who are its customers?

    The Lab’s first large-scale use came in 2007, with more than 80 scientists and technicians preparing and testing 35 life and physical science experiments for flight on ESA’s Foton-M3 mission.

    The Lab has also contributed to other flight projects, such as developing and validating disinfection procedures for ATV. The Lab also supports MELiSSA (Micro- Ecological Life Support System Alternative) activities, developing regenerative life support technologies.

    Customers from industry and international instrument teams use the cleanroom facility to do cleaning and sterilisation process qualification and validation for qualification models and flight hardware for the ExoMars 2016 and 2018 missions.

    Its Gravity Simulation Lab is used by the European Low Gravity Research Association, with the centrifuge – jointly funded by ESA and the Dutch government – regularly accessible to student teams through the ESA Education Office’s ‘Spin Your Thesis’ campaigns.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
  • richardmitnick 2:19 pm on January 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aerosol Observing System (AOS), , Australian Antarctic Division, , BNL's Janek Uin, DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, Earth Observation, Tracking Aerosols Over Southern Ocean   

    From BNL: “Final Check as Instruments Set Sail to Track Aerosols Over Southern Ocean” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    December 7, 2017
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov

    Shipboard instruments will collect crucial climate data during a series of routine voyages between Australia and Antarctica.

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    The Aurora Australis, an icebreaker chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division to conduct research and carry supplies to Australian research bases in Antarctica. Atmospheric sampling instruments operated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility are riding along collecting data during several voyages across the Southern Ocean. (Credit: Australian Antarctic Division)

    Imagine spending several weeks aboard a ship traversing the stormiest ocean on Earth, climbing each day to the highest deck to check on scientific instruments mounted inside a windowless, 20-foot shipping container. As you steady yourself against the rolling seas by wedging your body between instrument racks, you might wonder why you’re not sitting poolside on a tropical cruise instead. But after just a four-day taste of such a grueling journey, Janek Uin, an atmospheric scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, said he loved it.

    “Some people were green in the face and didn’t like the experience, but I was fine,” he said.

    Uin was one of 12 scientists, technicians, and “instrument mentors” aboard the Aurora Australis during a test run for a DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility mission now underway to study aerosol particles, cloud properties, and other atmospheric conditions over the Southern Ocean—the frigid body of water that circles Antarctica. From late October through next April, the Australian icebreaker will carry an array of instruments to collect air samples, humidity readings, and a wide range of other atmospheric data as it travels on routine research and supply-restocking voyages back and forth from Hobart, Australia, to four different research stations on and around the Antarctic coast. This set of instrumentation is known as the second ARM Mobile Facility (AMF2).

    The data will help scientists better understand how aerosols—tiny particles suspended in the air—interact and grow and influence the formation of clouds in the relatively pristine and little-explored Antarctic environment.

    “We want to get a better understanding about the aerosols because that’s one of the largest uncertainties in global climate models right now,” Uin said.

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    The team of 12 ARM scientists, technicians, and “instrument mentors” aboard the Aurora Australis during a test run in October. Back row, left to right: Maciej Ryczek (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Steve Whiteside (Australian Antarctic Division), Pete Argay (Los Alamos), Rich Coulter (Argonne National Laboratory), Heath Powers (Los Alamos), Cory Stuart (Argonne), Steve Bormet (Argonne), Janek Uin (Brookhaven Lab). Front left to right: Jon Gero (University of Wisconsin), Juarez Viegas (Territory Broadcasting PTY Ltd), Steele Griffiths (Australia Bureau of Meteorology), Jeff Aquilina (Australia Bureau of Meteorology). (Credit: ARM.)

    Aerosols can trigger cloud formation, reflect sunlight, absorb heat, and interact in other ways that influence how much of the sun’s energy reaches and heats up Earth’s atmosphere—or bounces back to space. And the aerosol particles present over the Southern Ocean—mostly from sea salt and biogenic sources—differ from those emitted by industrial processes in more populated parts of the world.

    “We need to understand how aerosols are formed, how they behave, how they move, and how they produce clouds in different environments where different mechanisms are at work,” Uin said. “The more we know, the more we can say about what is going to happen with our climate.”

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    Brookhaven Lab atmospheric scientist Janek Uin serves as an instrument mentor for five devices housed in a 20-foot insulated SeaTainer shipping compartment known as the Aerosol Observing System—which is part of the second ARM Mobile Facility (AMF2) deployed for this mission. (Credit: Janek Uin.)

    Collecting good data

    In the short term, Uin’s job is to ensure that the sampling instruments he’s responsible for are working and collecting quality data.

    Those instruments are housed in an insulated SeaTainer shipping compartment known as the Aerosol Observing System (AOS), which was designed and built by Brookhaven scientists for the ARM Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The AOS and other similar portable sampling stations that make up the ARM Mobile Facility have been deployed at locations all over the world to generate data that’s freely available to climate researchers at universities and other labs.

    “The instruments are difficult and the deployments are difficult—and these units have been everywhere from jungles to ice fields,” Uin said. “With every transit, that container goes through a lot of vibration, changes in humidity, and other conditions. All sorts of things can happen to the instruments. It’s not that things get broken, but there’s usually something—a loose wire. You have to know where to look to make sure everything is working for the next deployment.”

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    A closeup of the Aerosol Observing System (AOS). (Credit: Janek Uin.)

    So even before the AOS set sail—or made it to Australia—Uin and the other AOS instrument mentors participated in a dry run organized by the AMF Site Management team at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    “We set everything up and the instruments were measuring like they would be, using the same kinds of power supplies that were going to be on the ship,” he said. “We practiced everything together with the technicians who were going to be on all the voyages so that once they are by themselves they know what to do.”

    Then the technicians travelled to Australia with the AOS to install everything on the ship, and Uin met them there for the four-day test journey.

    Rocky seas, sound sleep

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    ARM instrument mentor Janek Uin, an atmospheric scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, in a survival suit aboard the Aurora Australis. Even on the test voyage, everyone had to conduct safety drills, suiting up and practicing getting into lifeboats. (Credit: Steele Griffiths.)

    “We spent a few days in port configuring everything, and then we sailed out to the continental shelf to test the instruments while the ship was rocking.”

    Those tests turned out to be worthwhile.

    “I’m responsible for five instruments that measure aerosol size distribution, how aerosol particles react to humidity, how much light they scatter—very fundamental aerosol properties. For certain studies, we use a ‘Humidified Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer,’ a fancy name for a device that mixes the aerosol sample we collect with humid air and measures very precisely how much the particles grow in size. It has an internal water tank that’s automatically kept full by a simple sensor. But because the ship was rocking, that water kept sloshing all over the place and the sensor went crazy trying to refill the tank. I opened the instrument’s front door and saw water everywhere! That’s not good!”

    A few minor modifications made the device more seaworthy before the actual research mission began.

    “Everybody was really tired at the end of the test voyage because you spend your entire day steadying yourself,” Uin said. “You don’t even realize it, but your muscles are always working.”

    As a result, he said, the three nights of sleep on the ship were among the best he’s ever had. “The cabins are low, so it rocks just a bit, and there’s the hum of the engines—I wish I could have that sleep at home!”

    He also enjoyed being relatively unplugged from everyday communications.

    “At first I was like, ‘I need my entertainment, I’m going to go crazy, I’m going to get cabin fever!’ But it was actually the best thing—four days without the Internet, no Facebook, no work email, nothing! They say you can always switch your phone off, but [back home] you can never switch your phone off. On the ship, you were forced to have hard downtime. It was great! I got to read a book, think my thoughts.”

    Ready, set, research!

    In late October, Uin returned to New York, leaving the AOS instruments ready to do science and in the capable hands of a rotating crew of technicians who will sail along on the sampling voyages. Each trip from Australia to Antarctica and back will last three to six weeks, with four voyages expected over the course of seven months. Technicians will cycle in and out on each trip, with some overlap for continuity.

    “Our instruments are just going along for the ride, sampling as they go,” with the technicians keeping tabs on their operations. Uin will monitor data from his computer back at Brookhaven as it’s uploaded periodically, making note of anything that looks particularly interesting so he can follow up with more detailed analyses at a later date.

    One tricky factor the technicians will have to be aware of is which way the wind is blowing, especially when the ship is standing still in port with the engines still running.

    “When they see the ship’s exhaust coming from the stack toward the AOS, they have to switch all the sampling devices off and protect the instruments,” he said. In the best-case scenario, the heavy aerosol load coming from the stack could overwhelm the instruments, since they are designed to detect minute quantities. “Worst case, it could clog or ruin them,” Uin said.

    But the sea remains the biggest challenge.

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    The data collected by the instruments aboard the Aurora Australis will help scientists better understand how aerosols—tiny particles suspended in the air—interact and grow and influence the formation of clouds in the relatively pristine and little-explored Antarctic environment. (Credit: Australian Antarctic Division.)

    “We were just on the continental shelf, and we thought that was rough seas. The technicians on the sampling voyages will see the full power of the Southern Ocean!”

    The first sampling journey following Uin’s departure was actually delayed after the ship left Hobart. A low-pressure system off shore whipped up a storm with 55-mile-per-hour winds and 33-foot waves.

    “That’s crazy weather! You don’t see that very often—at least you don’t want to see that very often,” Uin said.

    The Aurora Australis hunkered down among the islands close to the Australian shore waiting for the weather to clear. The ship eventually made it safely to Davis Station in Antarctica, and at the time of this writing, had completed the return trip to Hobart.

    Still, Uin is worried about one of the technicians who will be on the third voyage.

    “He doesn’t do boats really well. I’m hoping for the best, but I feel sorry for that guy.”

    Brookhaven’s role in this ARM campaign is supported by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 9:06 am on January 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Earth Observation, Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane, , , ,   

    From temblor: “Volcanic eruption outside Tokyo kills one, injures a dozen” 

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    temblor

    January 23, 2018
    David Jacobson

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    Today’s eruption at Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane killed one and injured at least a dozen. (Photo from zoomingjapan.com)

    Today, a volcano approximately 150 km (93 miles) northwest of Tokyo erupted, leaving one dead and injuring at least 12. The volcano, Mt. Kusatsu-Shiranesan, is located near a popular ski resort, and the people injured were skiing on the slopes and hit by flying rocks. The one fatality was a soldier in a group of 30 that were undergoing ski training. As reported by the BBC, at least 76 people are seeking shelter in a mountaintop rest home. In addition to this eruption, an avalanche, believed to have been caused by the eruption, was triggered.


    The video above shows the time the eruption occurred. Towards the end of the video, you will see black ash on the right hand side and small volcanic bombs (rocks) fly across the screen.

    This eruption at Mt. Kusatsu-Shiranesan came without warning, which is why dozens of people were within a km of the erupting vent. So, far, volcanic debris have not been found more than about a km away. Because, of this, the impact of the eruption is primarily on the ski resort and not on the town of Kusatsu, 5 km (3 mi) away. As a result of this eruption, the Japan Meteorological Agency has advised people to stay away from the volcano, and many people have already been evacuated.

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    The eruption at Mt. Kusatsu-Shiranesan left the slopes at a popular ski resort black with ash. (Photo from: Suo Takekuma/Kyodo News)

    While this eruption was relatively small, it appears to be typical of eruptions in the last 80 years at Mt. Kusatsu-Shiranesan. Most recently, the volcano erupted in 1983 in what could be described as a mildly explosive event. Additionally, because there is a crater lake at the summit, many past eruptions have been phreatic in nature. Phreatic eruptions are steam-driven and are caused when water is heated extremely rapidly, which can cause it to flash to steam, which can generate small explosions. It is unclear if this was the cause of today’s event. Should any new information come in, we will update this post.

    References [sorry, no links.]
    Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of Natural History, Global Volcanism Program
    BBC
    Time
    Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    You can help many citizen scientists in detecting earthquakes and getting the data to emergency services people in affected area.
    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    BOINCLarge

    BOINC WallPaper

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    Earthquake country is beautiful and enticing

    Almost everything we love about areas like the San Francisco bay area, the California Southland, Salt Lake City against the Wasatch range, Seattle on Puget Sound, and Portland, is brought to us by the faults. The faults have sculpted the ridges and valleys, and down-dropped the bays, and lifted the mountains which draw us to these western U.S. cities. So, we enjoy the fruits of the faults every day. That means we must learn to live with their occasional spoils: large but infrequent earthquakes. Becoming quake resilient is a small price to pay for living in such a great part of the world, and it is achievable at modest cost.

    A personal solution to a global problem

    Half of the world’s population lives near active faults, but most of us are unaware of this. You can learn if you are at risk and protect your home, land, and family.

    Temblor enables everyone in the continental United States, and many parts of the world, to learn their seismic, landslide, tsunami, and flood hazard. We help you determine the best way to reduce the risk to your home with proactive solutions.

    Earthquake maps, soil liquefaction, landslide zones, cost of earthquake damage

    In our iPhone and Android and web app, Temblor estimates the likelihood of seismic shaking and home damage. We show how the damage and its costs can be decreased by buying or renting a seismically safe home or retrofitting an older home.

    Please share Temblor with your friends and family to help them, and everyone, live well in earthquake country.

    Temblor is free and ad-free, and is a 2017 recipient of a highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (‘SBIR’) grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

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    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.

    Authorities

    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach
    rdegroot@usgs.gov
    626-583-7225

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan

     
  • richardmitnick 10:53 am on January 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Earth Observation, , , Marine geodesy, Megathrust zone, ,   

    From Eos: “Modeling Megathrust Zones” 

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    AGU
    Eos news bloc

    Eos

    1.22.18
    Rob Govers

    A recent paper in Review of Geophysics built a unifying model to predict the surface characteristics of large earthquakes.

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    The Sendai coast of Japan approximately one year after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. The harbor moorings and the quay show significant co-seismic subsidence. The dark band along the quay wall resulted from post-seismic uplift. Credit: Rob Govers.

    The past few decades have seen a number of very large earthquakes at subduction zones. Researchers now have an array of advanced technologies that provide insights into the processes of plate movement and crustal deformation. A review article recently published in Reviews of Geophysics pulled together observations from different locations worldwide to evaluate whether similar physical processes are active at different plate margins. The editors asked one of the authors to describe advances in our understanding and where additional research is still needed.

    What are “megathrust zones” and what are the main processes that occur there?

    A megathrust zone is a thin boundary layer between a tectonic plate that sinks into the Earth’s mantle and an overriding plate. The largest earthquakes and tsunamis are produced here. High friction in the shallow part of the megathrust zone effectively locks parts of the interface during decades to centuries. Ongoing plate motion slowly brings the shallow interface closer to failure, i.e., an earthquake. Other parts of the megathrust zone are mechanically weaker. They consequently attempt to creep at a rate that is required by plate tectonics, but are limited by being connected to the locked part of the interface.

    What insights have been learned from recent megathrust earthquakes at different margins?

    High magnitude earthquakes in Indonesia (2004), Chile (2010) and Japan (2011) were recorded by new networks utilizing Global Positioning System technology, which is capable of measuring ground displacements with millimeter accuracy. This complemented seismological observations of megathrust slip during these earthquakes. The crust turned out to deform significantly during and after these earthquakes. These observations indicated that slip on weak parts of the megathrust zone may be responsible, likely in combination with the more classical stress relaxation in the Earth’s mantle. In regions where megathrust earthquakes are anticipated, crustal deformation observations allowed researchers to identify parts of the megathrust zone that are currently locked. In our review article, we integrate these perspectives into a general framework for the earthquake cycle.

    How have models been used to complement observations and better understand these processes?

    Mechanical models are needed to tie the surface observations to their causative processes that take place from a few to hundreds of kilometers deep into the Earth, which is beyond what is directly accessible by drilling. Many of the published models focus on a single earthquake along a specific megathrust zone. We wondered what deep earth processes are common to these regions globally and built a unifying model to predict its surface expressions. Our model roughly reproduced the observed surface deformation, but it also became clear that some regional diversity would be required to match the data shortly after a major earthquake.

    What have been some of the recent significant scientific advances in understanding plate boundaries?

    Creep on weak parts of the megathrust zone is a very significant contributor to the surface measurements after an earthquake. Mantle relaxation is also relevant. We demonstrate that the surface deformation of these processes may give a biased impression of low friction on the megathrust zone. Creep on the megathrust zone downdip of a major earthquake may be responsible for observations that were puzzling thus far; in an overall context of convergence and compression, tension was observed in the overriding plate shortly after recent major earthquakes.

    What are some of the unresolved questions where additional research or modeling is needed?

    Marine geodesy is an exciting new field that aims to monitor deformation of the sea floor that already yielded important constraints on the deformation of the Japan megathrust. Measurements along various margins will tell whether all megathrusts are locked all the way up to the seafloor. A longstanding question is how observations on geological time scales of mountain building and deformation of the overriding plate are linked to the observations of active deformation. We think that the multi-earthquake cycle model that we present in this review article is a first step towards that goal.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:25 am on January 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Earth Observation, Great Barrier Reef - Australia, Helping put the Great Barrier Reef on the road to recovery,   

    From CSIROscope: “Helping put the Great Barrier Reef on the road to recovery” 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIROscope

    22 January 2018
    No writer credit

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    The Great Barrier Reef.

    We often hear the same depressing story about the Great Barrier Reef: Australia’s iconic living structure is struggling to cope with a plethora of problems. Deteriorating water quality, rising water temperatures and ocean acidification, and consecutive bleaching events all have their detrimental impacts on the Reef.

    Despite these multiple large-scale and complex problems, many areas of the Great Barrier Reef still show resilience, which presents a window of opportunity to act.

    The Hon. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently announced a $60 million package of measures to address the challenges that face the Reef. The range of activities includes $6 million for the Australian Institute of Marine Science, ourselves and partners to scope and design a Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP). This program will assess and develop existing and novel technologies to assist the recovery and repair of the Reef.

    Dr Peter Mayfield, our Executive Director for Environment, Energy And Resources, said the magnitude of challenges facing the Reef means it cannot be addressed by one organisation alone.

    “The RRAP will provide a unique opportunity to harness our collective knowledge and expertise across the entire research and science sector,” Dr Mayfield said.

    “We’re delighted be working alongside our many partner institutions to help deliver material solutions for the Reef.”

    Bringing together the best

    The nature of the environmental challenge facing the Reef demands the best scientific minds across a range of Australian universities, research institutions, park managers and charities. These include the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, James Cook University, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and researchers from many other organisations.

    We have a long history of working together with AIMS and the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program takes this historical collaboration to a new level, involving many more national and international partners.

    Global solutions

    Coral reefs around the world support 25 per cent of all marine life and provide essential goods and services to an estimated one billion people. The solutions we uncover through this program could be used to help save reefs around the world.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
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