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  • richardmitnick 12:23 pm on October 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Maps of the past may shed light on our climate future", Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere today is about 420 parts per million and it was about 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution., , Climate sensitivity is how much the planet warms per doubling of carbon dioxide., Maps created by blending geological data with climate model simulations using a technique called “paleoclimate data assimilation”., Paleoclimatology, Predictions are stronger monsoons and more intense winter storms and less rainfall at the edges of the tropics., Scientists can deduce temperatures from the past by chemically analyzing certain types of fossils from a given time period., The long-ago time period and our future both are characterized by faster warming at the poles than the rest of the globe – a phenomenon called arctic amplification.,   

    From The University of Arizona: “Maps of the past may shed light on our climate future” 

    From The University of Arizona


    Media contact
    Daniel Stolte
    Science Writer, University Communications

    Researcher contact(s)
    Jessica Tierney
    Department of Geosciences

    Maps of climate in the distant past could provide insight into the future as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increase.

    Reconstructed surface air temperature (left) and rainfall amount (right) during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum warming event, 56 million years ago. The maps were created by blending geological data with climate model simulations using a technique called paleoclimate data assimilation. Courtesy of Jessica Tierney.

    About 56 million years ago, volcanoes quickly dumped massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, heating the Earth rapidly.

    This time period – called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM – is often used as a historic parallel for our own future under climate change, since humans have also rapidly poured carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the last 250 years.

    A University of Arizona-led team of researchers published a study in PNAS [below] that includes temperature and rainfall maps of Earth during the PETM to help better understand what conditions were like in that time period and how sensitive the climate was to soaring levels of carbon dioxide.

    The team, led by UArizona geosciences professor Jessica Tierney, combined previously published temperature data and climate models to confirm that the PETM is, in fact, a good indicator of what might happen to the climate under future carbon dioxide level projections.

    “The PETM is not a perfect analog for our future, but we were somewhat surprised to find that yes, the climate changes we reconstructed share a lot of similarities with future predictions as outlined in the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) AR6 report,” Tierney said.

    The long-ago time period and our future both are characterized by faster warming at the poles than the rest of the globe – a phenomenon called arctic amplification – as well as stronger monsoons, more intense winter storms and less rainfall at the edges of the tropics. The researchers also found that as more carbon dioxide is pumped into the air, the climate becomes more sensitive than previous studies predicted.

    “Overall, our work helps us to understand our future under climate change better,” Tierney said. “It gives some confirmation that the basics of climate change – such as polar amplification, more intense monsoons and winter storms – are features of high greenhouse gas climates both past and future.”

    Tierney and her team built their maps of the PETM by combining what’s called proxy temperature data with climate models. Paleoclimatologists like Tierney can deduce temperatures from the past by chemically analyzing certain types of fossils from a given time period. That proxy temperature data, combined with modern climate modeling technology, allowed Tierney and her collaborators to create global temperature maps of the PETM.

    The climate models used by the researchers to create the maps of the past are typically used to make future climate predictions – including those in the IPCC assessment reports. Tierney and her team instead used them to generate simulations of what Earth looked like 56 million years ago.

    “We moved the continents around to match the PETM and then we ran some simulations at a bunch of different levels of carbon dioxide, anywhere from three to 11 times today’s levels – or from 850 parts per million to a really high value of 3,000 parts per million – because those are all possible levels of carbon dioxide that could have occurred in the PETM,” Tierney said. “For context, carbon dioxide in our atmosphere today is about 420 parts per million and it was about 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. By adding in the geological evidence, we narrowed down simulations to the ones that best matched that evidence.”

    Tierney and her team have used this method in past studies to reconstruct the climate in more recent time periods.

    The new study also more precisely estimates how much the globe warmed during the PETM. Previous studies suggested the PETM was 4 to 5 degrees Celsius warmer than the time period right before it. Tierney’s research, however, revealed that that number is 5.6 degrees Celsius, suggesting the climate is more sensitive to increases in carbon dioxide than previously thought.

    Climate sensitivity is how much the planet warms per doubling of carbon dioxide.

    “Nailing this number down really matters, because if climate sensitivity is high, then we’ll see more warming by the end of the century than if it’s lower,” Tierney said. “The IPCC AR6 predictions span 2 to 5 degrees Celsius per doubling of carbon dioxide. In this study, we quantify that sensitivity during the PETM and found that the sensitivity is between 5.7 to 7.4 degrees Celsius per doubling, which is much higher.”

    Ultimately, this means that under higher levels of carbon dioxide than we have today, the planet will get more sensitive to carbon dioxide, which, according to Tierney, “is something that’s important for thinking about longer-term climate change, beyond the end of the century.”

    Science paper:

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    As of 2019, The University of Arizona enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). The University of Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association . The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), The University of Arizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The University of Arizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved The University of Arizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university Arizona State University was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by the time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.


    The University of Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration for research. The University of Arizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea][Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    U Arizona NASA Mars Reconnaisance HiRISE Camera.

    NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, University of Arizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. The University of Arizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    NASA – GRAIL Flying in Formation (Artist’s Concept). Credit: NASA.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency Juno at Jupiter.

    NASA/Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.


    NASA Parker Solar Probe Plus named to honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wise/NEOWISE Telescope.

    The University of Arizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy , a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory just outside Tucson.

    National Science Foundation NOIRLab National Optical Astronomy Observatory Kitt Peak National Observatory on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O’odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft). annotated.

    Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope (CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s NOIRLab NOAO Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The telescope is set to be completed in 2021. GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at The University of Arizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Agency mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, The University of Arizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory , a part of The University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory , operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    University of Arizona Radio Observatory at NOAO Kitt Peak National Observatory, AZ USA, U Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory at altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft).

    Kitt Peak National Observatory in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert 88 kilometers 55 mi west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona in the Quinlan Mountains of the Tohono O’odham Nation, altitude 2,096 m (6,877 ft)

    The National Science Foundation funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why The University of Arizona is a university unlike any other.

    University of Arizona Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2.

  • richardmitnick 8:13 pm on August 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Sleeping giant could end deep ocean life", A return flow brings nutrients released from sunken organic matter back to the ocean’s surface where it fuels the growth of plankton - the basis of the food chain., , As the colder water at the surface sinks it transports oxygen pulled from Earth’s atmosphere down to the ocean floor., , , , , New findings led by researchers based at UC Riverside have found this circulation of oxygen and nutrients can end quite suddenly., , Paleoclimatology, The positions of continents helps fill Earth’s oceans with life-supporting oxygen., , This study used-for the first time-a model in which ocean currents were accounted for., When and if the ocean is primed even a seemingly tiny event could trigger the widespread death of marine life.   

    From The University of California-Riverside: “Sleeping giant could end deep ocean life” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From The University of California-Riverside

    Jules L Bernstein
    Senior Public Information Officer
    (951) 827-4580

    Deep sea medusa found in Alaska. Credit: “Hidden Ocean 2005.

    A previously overlooked factor — the position of continents — helps fill Earth’s oceans with life-supporting oxygen. Continental movement could ultimately have the opposite effect, killing most deep ocean creatures.

    “Continental drift seems so slow, like nothing drastic could come from it, but when the ocean is primed, even a seemingly tiny event could trigger the widespread death of marine life,” said Andy Ridgwell, UC Riverside geologist and co-author of a new study on forces affecting oceanic oxygen.

    Fish on a deep reef at Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, near Hawaii. (Greg McFall/NOAA)

    The water at the ocean’s surface becomes colder and denser as it approaches the north or south pole, then sinks. As the water sinks, it transports oxygen pulled from Earth’s atmosphere down to the ocean floor.

    Eventually, a return flow brings nutrients released from sunken organic matter back to the ocean’s surface where it fuels the growth of plankton. Both the uninterrupted supply of oxygen to lower depths and organic matter produced at the surface support an incredible diversity of fish and other animals in today’s ocean.

    New findings led by researchers based at UC Riverside have found this circulation of oxygen and nutrients can end quite suddenly. Using complex computer models, the researchers investigated whether the locations of continental plates affect how the ocean moves oxygen around. To their surprise, it does.

    This finding, published today, is detailed in the journal Nature [below].

    Resting balloonfish near the Florida Keys. (OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP); University of Maine)

    “Many millions of years ago, not so long after animal life in the ocean got started, the entire global ocean circulation seemed to periodically shut down,” said Ridgwell. “We were not expecting to find that the movement of continents could cause surface waters and oxygen to stop sinking, and possibly dramatically affecting the way life evolved on Earth.”

    Until now, models used to study the evolution of marine oxygen over the last 540 million years were relatively simple and did not account for ocean circulation. In these models, ocean anoxia — times when oceanic oxygen disappeared — implied a drop in atmospheric oxygen concentrations.

    “Scientists previously assumed that changing oxygen levels in the ocean mostly reflected similar fluctuations in the atmosphere,” said Alexandre Pohl, first author of the study and former UCR paleoclimate modeler, now at Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté in France.

    This study used, for the first time, a model in which the ocean was represented in three dimensions, and in which ocean currents were accounted for. Results show that collapse in global water circulation lead to a stark separation between oxygen levels in the upper and lower depths.

    Diorama of ancient Ediacaran period sealife displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. (Smithsonian)

    That separation meant the entire seafloor, except for shallow places close to the coast, entirely lost oxygen for many tens of millions of years, until about 440 million years ago at the start of the Silurian period.

    “Circulation collapse would have been a death sentence for anything that could not swim closer to the surface and the life-giving oxygen still present in the atmosphere,” Ridgwell said. Creatures of the deep include bizarre-looking fish, giant worms and crustaceans, squid, sponges and more.

    The paper does not address if or when Earth might expect a similar event in the future, and it is difficult to identify when a collapse might occur, or what triggers it. However, existing climate models confirm that increasing global warming will weaken ocean circulation, and some models predict an eventual collapse of the branch of circulation that starts in the North Atlantic.

    “We’d need a higher resolution climate model to predict a mass extinction event,” Ridgwell said. “That said, we do already have concerns about water circulation in the North Atlantic today, and there is evidence that the flow of water to depth is declining.”

    In theory, Ridgwell said an unusually warm summer or the erosion of a cliff could trigger a cascade of processes that upends life as it appears today.

    “You’d think the surface of the ocean, the bit you might surf or sail on, is where all the action is. But underneath, the ocean is tirelessly working away, providing vital oxygen to animals in the dark depths,” Ridgwell said.

    “The ocean allows life to flourish, but it can take that life away again. Nothing rules that out as continental plates continue to move.”

    Science paper:

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of California-Riverside Campus

    The University of California-Riverside is a public land-grant research university in Riverside, California. It is one of the 10 campuses of The University of California system. The main campus sits on 1,900 acres (769 ha) in a suburban district of Riverside with a branch campus of 20 acres (8 ha) in Palm Desert. In 1907, the predecessor to The University of California-Riverside was founded as the UC Citrus Experiment Station, Riverside which pioneered research in biological pest control and the use of growth regulators responsible for extending the citrus growing season in California from four to nine months. Some of the world’s most important research collections on citrus diversity and entomology, as well as science fiction and photography, are located at Riverside.

    The University of California-Riverside ‘s undergraduate College of Letters and Science opened in 1954. The Regents of the University of California declared The University of California-Riverside a general campus of the system in 1959, and graduate students were admitted in 1961. To accommodate an enrollment of 21,000 students by 2015, more than $730 million has been invested in new construction projects since 1999. Preliminary accreditation of the The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine was granted in October 2012 and the first class of 50 students was enrolled in August 2013. It is the first new research-based public medical school in 40 years.

    The University of California-Riverside is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity.” The 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings places UC-Riverside tied for 35th among top public universities and ranks 85th nationwide. Over 27 of The University of California-Riverside ‘s academic programs, including the Graduate School of Education and the Bourns College of Engineering, are highly ranked nationally based on peer assessment, student selectivity, financial resources, and other factors. Washington Monthly ranked The University of California-Riverside 2nd in the United States in terms of social mobility, research and community service, while U.S. News ranks The University of California-Riverside as the fifth most ethnically diverse and, by the number of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants (42 percent), the 15th most economically diverse student body in the nation. Over 70% of all The University of California-Riverside students graduate within six years without regard to economic disparity. The University of California-Riverside ‘s extensive outreach and retention programs have contributed to its reputation as a “university of choice” for minority students. In 2005, The University of California-Riverside became the first public university campus in the nation to offer a gender-neutral housing option. The University of California-Riverside’s sports teams are known as the Highlanders and play in the Big West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. Their nickname was inspired by the high altitude of the campus, which lies on the foothills of Box Springs Mountain. The University of California-Riverside women’s basketball team won back-to-back Big West championships in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the men’s baseball team won its first conference championship and advanced to the regionals for the second time since the university moved to Division I in 2001.


    At the turn of the 20th century, Southern California was a major producer of citrus, the region’s primary agricultural export. The industry developed from the country’s first navel orange trees, planted in Riverside in 1873. Lobbied by the citrus industry, the University of California Regents established the UC Citrus Experiment Station (CES) on February 14, 1907, on 23 acres (9 ha) of land on the east slope of Mount Rubidoux in Riverside. The station conducted experiments in fertilization, irrigation and crop improvement. In 1917, the station was moved to a larger site, 475 acres (192 ha) near Box Springs Mountain.

    The 1944 passage of the GI Bill during World War II set in motion a rise in college enrollments that necessitated an expansion of the state university system in California. A local group of citrus growers and civic leaders, including many University of California-Berkeley alumni, lobbied aggressively for a University of California -administered liberal arts college next to the CES. State Senator Nelson S. Dilworth authored Senate Bill 512 (1949) which former Assemblyman Philip L. Boyd and Assemblyman John Babbage (both of Riverside) were instrumental in shepherding through the State Legislature. Governor Earl Warren signed the bill in 1949, allocating $2 million for initial campus construction.

    Gordon S. Watkins, dean of the College of Letters and Science at The University of California-Los Angeles, became the first provost of the new college at Riverside. Initially conceived of as a small college devoted to the liberal arts, he ordered the campus built for a maximum of 1,500 students and recruited many young junior faculty to fill teaching positions. He presided at its opening with 65 faculty and 127 students on February 14, 1954, remarking, “Never have so few been taught by so many.”

    The University of California-Riverside’s enrollment exceeded 1,000 students by the time Clark Kerr became president of the University of California system in 1958. Anticipating a “tidal wave” in enrollment growth required by the baby boom generation, Kerr developed the California Master Plan for Higher Education and the Regents designated Riverside a general university campus in 1959. The University of California-Riverside’s first chancellor, Herman Theodore Spieth, oversaw the beginnings of the school’s transition to a full university and its expansion to a capacity of 5,000 students. The University of California-Riverside’s second chancellor, Ivan Hinderaker led the campus through the era of the free speech movement and kept student protests peaceful in Riverside. According to a 1998 interview with Hinderaker, the city of Riverside received negative press coverage for smog after the mayor asked Governor Ronald Reagan to declare the South Coast Air Basin a disaster area in 1971; subsequent student enrollment declined by up to 25% through 1979. Hinderaker’s development of innovative programs in business administration and biomedical sciences created incentive for enough students to enroll at University of California-Riverside to keep the campus open.

    In the 1990s, The University of California-Riverside experienced a new surge of enrollment applications, now known as “Tidal Wave II”. The Regents targeted The University of California-Riverside for an annual growth rate of 6.3%, the fastest in The University of California system, and anticipated 19,900 students at The University of California-Riverside by 2010. By 1995, African American, American Indian, and Latino student enrollments accounted for 30% of The University of California-Riverside student body, the highest proportion of any University of California campus at the time. The 1997 implementation of Proposition 209—which banned the use of affirmative action by state agencies—reduced the ethnic diversity at the more selective UC campuses but further increased it at The University of California-Riverside.

    With The University of California-Riverside scheduled for dramatic population growth, efforts have been made to increase its popular and academic recognition. The students voted for a fee increase to move The University of California-Riverside athletics into NCAA Division I standing in 1998. In the 1990s, proposals were made to establish a law school, a medical school, and a school of public policy at The University of California-Riverside, with The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine and the School of Public Policy becoming reality in 2012. In June 2006, The University of California-Riverside received its largest gift, 15.5 million from two local couples, in trust towards building its medical school. The Regents formally approved The University of California-Riverside’s medical school proposal in 2006. Upon its completion in 2013, it was the first new medical school built in California in 40 years.


    As a campus of The University of California system, The University of California-Riverside is governed by a Board of Regents and administered by a president University of California-Riverside ‘s academic policies are set by its Academic Senate, a legislative body composed of all UC-Riverside faculty members.

    The University of California-Riverside is organized into three academic colleges, two professional schools, and two graduate schools. The University of California-Riverside’s liberal arts college, the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, was founded in 1954, and began accepting graduate students in 1960. The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, founded in 1960, incorporated the CES as part of the first research-oriented institution at The University of California-Riverside; it eventually also incorporated the natural science departments formerly associated with the liberal arts college to form its present structure in 1974. The University of California-Riverside ‘s newest academic unit, the Bourns College of Engineering, was founded in 1989. Comprising the professional schools are the Graduate School of Education, founded in 1968, and The University of California-Riverside School of Business, founded in 1970. These units collectively provide 81 majors and 52 minors, 48 master’s degree programs, and 42 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. The University of California-Riverside is the only UC campus to offer undergraduate degrees in creative writing and public policy and one of three UCs (along with The University of California-Berkeley and The University of California-Irvine) to offer an undergraduate degree in business administration. Through its Division of Biomedical Sciences, founded in 1974, The University of California-Riverside offers the Thomas Haider medical degree program in collaboration with The University of California-Los Angeles. The University of California-Riverside ‘s doctoral program in the emerging field of dance theory, founded in 1992, was the first program of its kind in the United States, and The University of California-Riverside ‘s minor in lesbian, gay and bisexual studies, established in 1996, was the first undergraduate program of its kind in the University of California system. A new BA program in bagpipes was inaugurated in 2007.

    Research and economic impact

    The University of California-Riverside operated under a $727 million budget in fiscal year 2014–15. The state government provided $214 million, student fees accounted for $224 million and $100 million came from contracts and grants. Private support and other sources accounted for the remaining $189 million. Overall, monies spent at The University of California-Riverside have an economic impact of nearly $1 billion in California. The University of California-Riverside research expenditure in FY 2018 totaled $167.8 million. Total research expenditures at The University of California-Riverside are significantly concentrated in agricultural science, accounting for 53% of total research expenditures spent by the university in 2002. Top research centers by expenditure, as measured in 2002, include the Agricultural Experiment Station; the Center for Environmental Research and Technology; the Center for Bibliographical Studies; the Air Pollution Research Center; and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.

    Throughout The University of California-Riverside ‘s history, researchers have developed more than 40 new citrus varieties and invented new techniques to help the $960 million-a-year California citrus industry fight pests and diseases. In 1927, entomologists at the CES introduced two wasps from Australia as natural enemies of a major citrus pest, the citrophilus mealybug, saving growers in Orange County $1 million in annual losses. This event was pivotal in establishing biological control as a practical means of reducing pest populations. In 1963, plant physiologist Charles Coggins proved that application of gibberellic acid allows fruit to remain on citrus trees for extended periods. The ultimate result of his work, which continued through the 1980s, was the extension of the citrus-growing season in California from four to nine months. In 1980, The University of California-Riverside released the Oroblanco grapefruit, its first patented citrus variety. Since then, the citrus breeding program has released other varieties such as the Melogold grapefruit, the Gold Nugget mandarin (or tangerine), and others that have yet to be given trademark names.

    To assist entrepreneurs in developing new products, The University of California-Riverside is a primary partner in the Riverside Regional Technology Park, which includes the City of Riverside and the County of Riverside. It also administers six reserves of the University of California Natural Reserve System. UC-Riverside recently announced a partnership with China Agricultural University[中国农业大学](CN) to launch a new center in Beijing, which will study ways to respond to the country’s growing environmental issues. University of California-Riverside can also boast the birthplace of two-name reactions in organic chemistry, the Castro-Stephens coupling and the Midland Alpine Borane Reduction.

  • richardmitnick 4:19 pm on July 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Glacial Maximum", "Milankovitch cycles", "Precession Helped Drive Glacial Cycles in the Pleistocene", By studying bits of rock scooped up by ancient glaciers researchers have pinned down that recent glacial variability was driven in part by changes in the direction of Earth’s axis of rotation., , , , Energy received from the Sun at any one point on Earth varies according to two long-term cycles: precession and obliquity., , , Gradual changes in the direction of Earth’s axis of rotation—has played an important role in the breakup of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets over the past 1.7 million years., Here and Gone Again and Again, Paleoclimatology, , Solar radiation is critically important researchers have agreed.   

    From “Eos” : “Precession Helped Drive Glacial Cycles in the Pleistocene” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”



    11 July 2022
    Katherine Kornei

    By studying bits of rock scooped up by ancient glaciers researchers have pinned down that recent glacial variability was driven in part by changes in the direction of Earth’s axis of rotation.

    Ice sheets wax and wane according to changes in Earth’s orbit. Credit: iStock.com/MagicDreamer.

    Ice sheets have ebbed and flowed over Earth’s surface for eons. Now scientists have analyzed tiny bits of rock transported by glaciers and gained a better understanding of recent glacial cycles. The team found that precession—gradual changes in the direction of Earth’s axis of rotation—has played an important role in the breakup of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets over the past 1.7 million years. And during the late Pleistocene, that precession-driven collapse coincided with deglaciation.

    Here and Gone Again and Again

    Just 30,000 years ago—a blink in geologic time—significant swaths of Earth’s landmasses were covered in glacial ice. That time period was the so-called Last “Glacial Maximum”, and large ice sheets reigned supreme, said Stephen Barker, a paleoclimatologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. “Where I am here in South Wales, there would be an ice sheet right next door to me.”

    But the majority of those ice sheets have since retreated, and the planet is now in an interglacial period. That shift, from a largely ice covered world to one in which ice is sparser, represents a cycle that has repeated many times, said Barker. “Over the last million years, there have been seven or eight glacial cycles.”

    Eyes on the Sun

    The question of what has driven the planet’s glacial cycles over the past few million years has long preoccupied scientists. Solar radiation is critically important researchers have agreed. But the energy received from the Sun at any one point on Earth varies according to two long-term cycles: precession and obliquity. Precession refers to changes in the direction of Earth’s axis of rotation, and obliquity is the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis as the planet orbits the Sun.

    Orbital Forcing

    These two so-called “Milankovitch cycles” modulate the amount of solar energy received by Earth’s surface over periods of roughly 23,000 and 41,000 years, respectively. But it’s challenging to determine which of those rhythms correlates most strongly with the planet’s glacial cycles, said Barker. “People have been trying to pick one or the other.”

    To help answer that question, Barker and his colleagues analyzed more than 9,000 bits of rock larger than 0.15 millimeter in diameter. The researchers painstakingly picked that material out of a sediment core drilled several hundred kilometers off the southwestern coast of Iceland. These grains of rock reveal the timing of when ancient ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere grew and ultimately broke up, Barker and his colleagues suggested. That’s because ice moving over Earth’s surface entrains debris, and such material sinks to the seafloor after it’s carried offshore by icebergs.

    Barker and his collaborators calculated the rate at which this so-called ice-rafted debris was deposited on the seafloor. “We literally count it,” he said. “We work out how much has been delivered per unit time.” Spikes in the concentration of ice-rafted debris correspond to the breakup of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, the researchers concluded.

    A Hidden Role

    The ice-rafted debris the team studied was deposited over the past roughly 1.7 million years. That time span encompasses two important periods, said Barker. There’s the period prior to the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, when glacial cycles were roughly 41,000 years long. And there’s the more recent period, during which glacial cycles have consistently lasted about 100,000 years.

    Barker and his colleagues found that glacial cycles before and after the Mid-Pleistocene Transition were correlated with both precession and changes in obliquity. The team showed that minima in precession—meaning that summer in the Northern Hemisphere occurs when the planet is closest to the Sun—were tied to ice sheet breakup. And times of decreasing obliquity were associated with ice sheet growth.

    It was particularly surprising to uncover the role of precession prior to the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, said Barker. That’s because the shorter glacial cycles long have been assumed to have been driven solely by changes in obliquity occurring at the same cadence, without any influence from precession, he said. “I nearly fell off my chair when I saw that.”

    Furthermore, before the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, ice sheet breakup didn’t always spell the end of an ice age, Barker and his colleagues found. That’s perhaps because ice sheets at that time were limited to higher latitudes, exactly where the effects of obliquity are felt more acutely than those of precession, the researchers suggested. Conversely, after the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, such breakup was often linked to the end of an ice age. One explanation for that difference is that Northern Hemisphere ice sheets might have been larger after the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, and therefore the effects of both obliquity and precession would have been necessary to catapult the planet into a new state. “We need both to help get rid of these larger ice sheets when their time is up,” said Barker.

    These results shed light on long-term cycles that affect our planet’s climate, said Tim Naish, a paleoclimatologist at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand who was not involved in the research. “Earth’s climate system dances to the beat of these Milankovitch cycles.”

    The researchers reported in May in Science.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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 7:50 pm on May 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Palms at the Poles- Fossil Plants Reveal Lush Southern Hemisphere Forests in Ancient Hothouse Climate", Ancient plants provide clues about life on earth in a warmer and wetter climate., Arid today Australia was once covered by lush forests., In times with abundant CO2 plants were basically stuffing their faces., Morphology, , Paleoclimatology, Plant fossils indicate the environments in which those plants lived., Plant groups can be used to quantitatively reconstruct the ancient climate in which a group of plants in a fossil assemblage was growing., Scientists can compare fossils to modern floras around the world and find the closest analogy., Southern Australia seems to have been largely forested., Taxonomy,   

    From The University of Connecticut: “Palms at the Poles- Fossil Plants Reveal Lush Southern Hemisphere Forests in Ancient Hothouse Climate” 

    From The University of Connecticut

    May 31, 2022
    Elaina Hancock

    Ancient plants provide clues about life on earth in a warmer and wetter climate.

    Arid today, Australia was once covered by lush forests, according to new research (Adobe Stock).

    For decades, paleobotanist David Greenwood has collected fossil plants from Australia – some so well preserved it’s hard to believe they’re millions of years old. These fossils hold details about the ancient world in which they thrived, and Greenwood and a team of researchers including climate modeler and research David Hutchinson, from the University of New South Wales, and UConn Department of Geosciences paleobotanist Tammo Reichgelt, have begun the process of piecing together the evidence to see what more they could learn from the collection. Their findings are published in Paleoceanography & Paleoclimatology.

    The fossils date back 55 to 40 million years ago, during the Eocene epoch. At that time, the world was much warmer and wetter, and these hothouse conditions meant there were palms at the North [Global and Planetary Change] and South Pole [Nature] and predominantly arid landmasses like Australia were lush and green. Reichgelt and co-authors looked for evidence of differences in precipitation and plant productivity between then and now.

    Since different plants thrive under specific conditions, plant fossils can indicate what kinds of environments those plants lived in.

    By focusing on the morphology and taxonomic features of 12 different floras, the researchers developed a more detailed view of what the climate and productivity was like in the ancient hothouse world of the Eocene epoch.

    Reichgelt explains the morphological method relies on the fact that the leaves of angiosperms — flowering plants — in general have a strategy for responding to climate.

    “For example, if a plant has large leaves and it is left out in the sun and doesn’t get enough water, it starts to shrivel up and die because of excess evaporation,” Reichgelt says. “Plants with large leaves also lose heat to its surroundings. Finding a large fossil leaf therefore means that most likely this plant was not growing in an environment that was too dry or too cold for excess evaporation or sensible heat loss to happen. These and other morphological features can be linked to the environment that we can quantify. We can compare fossils to modern floras around the world and find the closest analogy.”

    The second approach was taxonomic. “If you travel up a mountain, the taxonomic composition of the flora changes. Low on the mountain, there may be a deciduous forest that is dominated by maples and beeches and as you go further up the mountain, you see more spruce and fir forest,” says Reichgelt. “Finding fossils of beech and maple therefore likely means a warmer climate then if we find fossils of spruce and fir.” Such climatic preferences of plant groups can be used to quantitatively reconstruct the ancient climate in which a group of plants in a fossil assemblage was growing.

    The results show that the Eocene climate would have been very different to Australia’s modern climate. To sustain a lush green landscape, the continent required a steady supply of precipitation. Warmth means more evaporation, and more rainfall was available to move into Australia’s continental interior. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the time, 1500 to 2000 parts per million, also contributed to the lushness via a process called carbon fertilization. Reichgelt explains that with the sheer abundance of CO2, plants were basically stuffing their faces.

    “Southern Australia seems to have been largely forested, with primary productivity similar to seasonal forests, not unlike those here in New England today,” Reichgelt says. “In the Northern Hemisphere summer today, there is a big change in the carbon cycle, because lots of carbon dioxide gets drawn down due to primary productivity in the enormous expanse of forests that exists in a large belt around 40 to 60 degrees north. In the Southern Hemisphere, no such landmass exists at those same latitudes today. But Australia during the Eocene occupied 40 degrees to 60 degrees south. And as a result, there would be a highly productive large landmass during the Southern Hemisphere summer, drawing down carbon, more so than what Australia is doing today since it is largely arid.”

    Hutchinson says the geological evidence suggests the climate is highly sensitive to CO2 and that this effect may be larger than what our climate models predict, “The data also suggests that polar amplification of warming was very strong, and our climate models also tend to under-represent this effect. So, if we can improve our models of the high-CO2 Eocene world, we might improve our predictions of the future.”

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Connecticut is a public land-grant research university in Storrs, Connecticut. It was founded in 1881.

    The primary 4,400-acre (17.8 km2) campus is in Storrs, Connecticut, approximately a half hour’s drive from Hartford and 90 minutes from Boston. It is a flagship university that is ranked as the best public national university in New England and is tied for 23rd in “top public schools” and tied for 63rd best national university in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report rankings. University of Connecticut has been ranked by Money Magazine and Princeton Review top 18th in value. The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The university has been recognized as a “Public Ivy”, defined as a select group of publicly funded universities considered to provide a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    University of Connecticut is one of the founding institutions of the Hartford, Connecticut/Springfield, Massachusetts regional economic and cultural partnership alliance known as “New England’s Knowledge Corridor”. University of Connecticut was the second U.S. university invited into Universitas 21, an elite international network of 24 research-intensive universities, who work together to foster global citizenship. University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (US). University of Connecticut was founded in 1881 as the Storrs Agricultural School, named after two brothers who donated the land for the school. In 1893, the school became a land grant college. In 1939, the name was changed to the University of Connecticut. Over the next decade, social work, nursing and graduate programs were established, while the schools of law and pharmacy were also absorbed into the university. During the 1960s, University of Connecticut Health was established for new medical and dental schools. John Dempsey Hospital opened in Farmington in 1975.

    Competing in the Big East Conference as the Huskies, University of Connecticut has been particularly successful in their men’s and women’s basketball programs. The Huskies have won 21 NCAA championships. The University of Connecticut Huskies are the most successful women’s basketball program in the nation, having won a record 11 NCAA Division I National Championships (tied with the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team) and a women’s record four in a row (2013–2016), plus over 40 conference regular season and tournament championships. University of Connecticut also owns the two longest winning streaks of any gender in college basketball history.

  • richardmitnick 9:44 am on April 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Changes in vegetation shaped global temperatures over last 10000 years", , Changing vegetation as a key driver of global temperatures over the last 10000 years., Paleoclimatology,   

    From Washington University in St. Louis: “Changes in vegetation shaped global temperatures over last 10000 years” 

    Wash U Bloc

    From Washington University in St. Louis

    April 15, 2022
    Talia Ogliore

    Follow the pollen. Records from past plant life tell the real story of global temperatures, according to research from a climate scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Warmer temperatures brought plants — and then came even warmer temperatures, according to new model simulations published April 15 in Science Advances.

    Credit: Shutterstock.

    Alexander Thompson, a postdoctoral research associate in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, updated simulations from an important climate model to reflect the role of changing vegetation as a key driver of global temperatures over the last 10000 years.

    Thompson had long been troubled by a problem with models of Earth’s atmospheric temperatures since the last ice age. Too many of these simulations showed temperatures warming consistently over time.

    But climate proxy records tell a different story. Many of those sources indicate a marked peak in global temperatures that occurred between 6,000 and 9,000 years ago.

    Thompson had a hunch that the models could be overlooking the role of changes in vegetation in favor of impacts from atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations or ice cover.

    “Pollen records suggest a large expansion of vegetation during that time,” Thompson said.

    “But previous models only show a limited amount of vegetation growth,” he said. “So, even though some of these other simulations have included dynamic vegetation, it wasn’t nearly enough of a vegetation shift to account for what the pollen records suggest.”

    In reality, the changes to vegetative cover were significant.

    Early in the Holocene, the current geological epoch, the Sahara Desert in Africa grew greener than today — it was more of a grassland. Other Northern Hemisphere vegetation including the coniferous and deciduous forests in the mid-latitudes and the Arctic also thrived.

    Thompson took evidence from pollen records and designed a set of experiments with a climate model known as the Community Earth System Model (CESM), one of the best-regarded models in a wide-ranging class of such models. He ran simulations to account for a range of changes in vegetation that had not been previously considered.

    “Expanded vegetation during the Holocene warmed the globe by as much as 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit,” Thompson said. “Our new simulations align closely with paleoclimate proxies. So this is exciting that we can point to Northern Hemisphere vegetation as one potential factor that allows us to resolve the controversial Holocene temperature conundrum.”

    Understanding the scale and timing of temperature change throughout the Holocene is important because it is a period of recent history, geologically speaking. The rise of human agriculture and civilization occurred during this time, so many scientists and historians from different disciplines are interested in understanding how early and mid-Holocene climate differed from the present day.

    Thompson conducted this research work as a graduate student at The University of Michigan. He is continuing his research in the laboratory of climate scientist Bronwen Konecky at Washington University.

    “Overall, our study emphasizes that accounting for vegetation change is critical,” Thompson said. “Projections for future climate change are more likely to produce more trustworthy predictions if they include changes in vegetation.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wash U campus

    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university in Greater St. Louis with its main campus (Danforth) mostly in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri, and Clayton, Missouri. It also has a West Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, and Medical Campus in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Founded in 1853 and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. Washington University is composed of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields. To prevent confusion over its location, the Board of Trustees added the phrase “in St. Louis” in 1976. Washington University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    As of 2020, 25 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington University, ten having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics ranked Washington University 7th in the world for most cited researchers. The university also received the 4th highest amount of National Institutes of Health medical research grants among medical schools in 2019.

    Washington University was conceived by 17 St. Louis business, political, and religious leaders concerned by the lack of institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. Missouri State Senator Wayman Crow and Unitarian minister William Greenleaf Eliot, grandfather of the poet T.S. Eliot, led the effort.

    The university’s first chancellor was Joseph Gibson Hoyt. Crow secured the university charter from the Missouri General Assembly in 1853, and Eliot was named President of the Board of Trustees. Early on, Eliot solicited support from members of the local business community, including John O’Fallon, but Eliot failed to secure a permanent endowment. Washington University is unusual among major American universities in not having had a prior financial endowment. The institution had no backing of a religious organization, single wealthy patron, or earmarked government support.

    During the three years following its inception, the university bore three different names. The board first approved “Eliot Seminary,” but William Eliot was uncomfortable with naming a university after himself and objected to the establishment of a seminary, which would implicitly be charged with teaching a religious faith. He favored a nonsectarian university. In 1854, the Board of Trustees changed the name to “Washington Institute” in honor of George Washington, and because the charter was coincidentally passed on Washington’s birthday, February 22. Naming the university after the nation’s first president, only seven years before the American Civil War and during a time of bitter national division, was no coincidence. During this time of conflict, Americans universally admired George Washington as the father of the United States and a symbol of national unity. The Board of Trustees believed that the university should be a force of unity in a strongly divided Missouri. In 1856, the university amended its name to “Washington University.” The university amended its name once more in 1976, when the Board of Trustees voted to add the suffix “in St. Louis” to distinguish the university from the over two dozen other universities bearing Washington’s name.

    Although chartered as a university, for many years Washington University functioned primarily as a night school located on 17th Street and Washington Avenue in the heart of downtown St. Louis. Owing to limited financial resources, Washington University initially used public buildings. Classes began on October 22, 1854, at the Benton School building. At first the university paid for the evening classes, but as their popularity grew, their funding was transferred to the St. Louis Public Schools. Eventually the board secured funds for the construction of Academic Hall and a half dozen other buildings. Later the university divided into three departments: the Manual Training School, Smith Academy, and the Mary Institute.

    In 1867, the university opened the first private nonsectarian law school west of the Mississippi River. By 1882, Washington University had expanded to numerous departments, which were housed in various buildings across St. Louis. Medical classes were first held at Washington University in 1891 after the St. Louis Medical College decided to affiliate with the university, establishing the School of Medicine. During the 1890s, Robert Sommers Brookings, the president of the Board of Trustees, undertook the tasks of reorganizing the university’s finances, putting them onto a sound foundation, and buying land for a new campus.

    In 1896, Holmes Smith, professor of Drawing and History of Art, designed what would become the basis for the modern-day university seal. The seal is made up of elements from the Washington family coat of arms, and the symbol of Louis IX, whom the city is named after.

    Washington University spent its first half century in downtown St. Louis bounded by Washington Ave., Lucas Place, and Locust Street. By the 1890s, owing to the dramatic expansion of the Medical School and a new benefactor in Robert Brookings, the university began to move west. The university board of directors began a process to find suitable ground and hired the landscape architecture firm Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot of Boston. A committee of Robert S. Brookings, Henry Ware Eliot, and William Huse found a site of 103 acres (41.7 ha) just beyond Forest Park, located west of the city limits in St. Louis County. The elevation of the land was thought to resemble the Acropolis and inspired the nickname of “Hilltop” campus, renamed the Danforth campus in 2006 to honor former chancellor William H. Danforth.

    In 1899, the university opened a national design contest for the new campus. The renowned Philadelphia firm Cope & Stewardson (same architects who designed a large part of The University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University) won unanimously with its plan for a row of Collegiate Gothic quadrangles inspired by The University of Oxford (UK) and The University of Cambridge (UK). The cornerstone of the first building, Busch Hall, was laid on October 20, 1900. The construction of Brookings Hall, Ridgley, and Cupples began shortly thereafter. The school delayed occupying these buildings until 1905 to accommodate the 1904 World’s Fair and Olympics. The delay allowed the university to construct ten buildings instead of the seven originally planned. This original cluster of buildings set a precedent for the development of the Danforth Campus; Cope & Stewardson’s original plan and its choice of building materials have, with few exceptions, guided the construction and expansion of the Danforth Campus to the present day.

    By 1915, construction of a new medical complex was completed on Kingshighway in what is now St. Louis’s Central West End. Three years later, Washington University admitted its first women medical students.

    In 1922, a young physics professor, Arthur Holly Compton, conducted a series of experiments in the basement of Eads Hall that demonstrated the “particle” concept of electromagnetic radiation. Compton’s discovery, known as the “Compton Effect,” earned him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1927.

    During World War II, as part of the Manhattan Project, a cyclotron at Washington University was used to produce small quantities of the newly discovered element plutonium via neutron bombardment of uranium nitrate hexahydrate. The plutonium produced there in 1942 was shipped to the Metallurgical Laboratory Compton had established at The University of Chicago where Glenn Seaborg’s team used it for extraction, purification, and characterization studies of the exotic substance.

    After working for many years at the University of Chicago, Arthur Holly Compton returned to St. Louis in 1946 to serve as Washington University’s ninth chancellor. Compton reestablished the Washington University football team, making the declaration that athletics were to be henceforth played on a “strictly amateur” basis with no athletic scholarships. Under Compton’s leadership, enrollment at the university grew dramatically, fueled primarily by World War II veterans’ use of their GI Bill benefits.

    In 1947, Gerty Cori, a professor at the School of Medicine, became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

    Cray Cori II supercomputer at National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center(US) at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, named after Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science.

    Professors Carl and Gerty Cori became Washington University’s fifth and sixth Nobel laureates for their discovery of how glycogen is broken down and resynthesized in the body.

    The process of desegregation at Washington University began in 1947 with the School of Medicine and the School of Social Work. During the mid and late 1940s, the university was the target of critical editorials in the local African American press, letter-writing campaigns by churches and the local Urban League, and legal briefs by the NAACP intended to strip its tax-exempt status. In spring 1949, a Washington University student group, the Student Committee for the Admission of Negroes (SCAN), began campaigning for full racial integration. In May 1952, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution desegregating the school’s undergraduate divisions.

    During the latter half of the 20th century, Washington University transitioned from a strong regional university to a national research institution. In 1957, planning began for the construction of the “South 40,” a complex of modern residential halls which primarily house Freshmen and some Sophomore students. With the additional on-campus housing, Washington University, which had been predominantly a “streetcar college” of commuter students, began to attract a more national pool of applicants. By 1964, over two-thirds of incoming students came from outside the St. Louis area.

    In 1971, the Board of Trustees appointed Chancellor William Henry Danforth, who guided the university through the social and financial crises of the 1970s and strengthened the university’s often strained relationship with the St. Louis community. During his 24-year chancellorship, Danforth significantly improved the School of Medicine, established 70 new faculty chairs, secured a $1.72 billion endowment, and tripled the amount of student scholarships.

    In 1995, Mark S. Wrighton, former Provost at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was elected the university’s 14th chancellor. During Chancellor Wrighton’s tenure undergraduate applications to Washington University more than doubled. Since 1995, the university has added more than 190 endowed professorships, revamped its Arts & Sciences curriculum, and completed more than 30 new buildings.

    The growth of Washington University’s reputation coincided with a series of record-breaking fund-raising efforts during the last three decades. From 1983 to 1987, the Alliance for Washington University campaign raised $630.5 million, which was then the most successful fund-raising effort in national history. From 1998 to 2004, the Campaign for Washington University raised $1.55 billion, which was applied to additional scholarships, professorships, and research initiatives.

    In 2002, Washington University co-founded the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’s Midtown neighborhood. Cortex is the largest innovation hub in the midwest, home to offices of Square, Microsoft, Aon, Boeing, and Centene. The innovation hub has generated more than 3,800 tech jobs in 14 years.

    In 2005, Washington University founded the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, an international network of premier research universities, with an initial endowment gift of $10 million from John F. McDonnell. The academy, which selects scholars from 35 partner universities around the world, was created with the intent to develop a cohort of future leaders, strengthen ties with top foreign universities, and promote global awareness and social responsibility.

    In 2019, Washington University unveiled a $360 million campus transformation project known as the East End Transformation. The transformation project, built on the original 1895 campus plan by Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot, encompassed 18 acres of the Danforth Campus, adding five new buildings, expanding the university’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, relocating hundreds of surface parking spaces underground, and creating an expansive new park.

    In June 2019, Andrew D. Martin, former dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at The University of Michigan, was elected the university’s 15th chancellor. On the day of his inauguration, Chancellor Martin announced the WashU Pledge, a financial aid program allowing full-time Missouri and southern Illinois students who are Pell Grant-eligible or from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less to attend the university cost-free.

    Washington University’s undergraduate program is ranked 14th in the nation in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report National Universities ranking, and 11th by The Wall Street Journal in their 2018 rankings. The university is ranked 22nd in the world for 2019 by The Academic Ranking of World Universities. Undergraduate admission to Washington University is characterized by The Carnegie Foundation and U.S. News & World Report as “most selective”. The Princeton Review, in its 2020 edition, gave the university an admissions selectivity rating of 99 out of 99. The acceptance rate for the class of 2024 (those entering in the fall of 2020) was 12.8%, with students selected from more than 27,900 applications. Of students admitted, 92 percent were in the top 10 percent of their class.

    The Princeton Review ranked Washington University 1st for Best College Dorms and 3rd for Best College Food, Best-Run Colleges, and Best Financial Aid in its 2020 edition. Niche listed the university as the best college for architecture and the second-best college campus and college dorms in the United States in 2020. The Washington University School of Medicine was ranked 6th for research by U.S. News & World Report in 2020 and has been listed among the top ten medical schools since the rankings were first published in 1987. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university’s genetics and physical therapy as tied for first place. QS World University Rankings ranked Washington University 6th in the world for anatomy and physiology in 2020. In January 2020, Olin Business School was named The Poets & Quants MBA Program of 2019. Washington University has also been recognized as the 12th best university employer in the country by Forbes.

    Washington University was named one of the “25 New Ivies” by Newsweek in 2006 and has also been called a “Hidden Ivy”.

    A 2014 study ranked Washington University #1 in the country for income inequality, when measured as the ratio of number of students from the top 1% of the income scale to number of students from the bottom 60% of the income scale. About 22% of Washington University’s students came from the top 1%, while only about 6% came from the bottom 60%. In 2015, university administration announced plans to increase the number of Pell-eligible recipients on campus from 6% to 13% by 2020, and in 2019 15% of the university’s student body was eligible for Pell Grants. In October 2019, then newly inaugurated Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announced the WashU Pledge, a financial aid program that provides a free undergraduate education to all full-time Missouri and Southern Illinois students who are Pell Grant-eligible or from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less. The university’s refusal to divest from the fossil fuel industry has drawn controversy in recent years.


    Virtually all faculty members at Washington University engage in academic research, offering opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university’s seven schools. Known for its interdisciplinary and departmental collaboration, many of Washington University’s research centers and institutes are collaborative efforts between many areas on campus. More than 60% of undergraduates are involved in faculty research across all areas; it is an institutional priority for undergraduates to be allowed to participate in advanced research. According to the Center for Measuring University Performance, it is considered to be one of the top 10 private research universities in the nation. A dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research is located on the Danforth Campus and serves as a resource to post research opportunities, advise students in finding appropriate positions matching their interests, publish undergraduate research journals, and award research grants to make it financially possible to perform research.

    According to the National Science Foundation, Washington University spent $816 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 27th in the nation. The university has over 150 National Institutes of Health funded inventions, with many of them licensed to private companies. Governmental agencies and non-profit foundations such as the NIH, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics Space Agency provide the majority of research grant funding, with Washington University being one of the top recipients in NIH grants from year-to-year. Nearly 80% of NIH grants to institutions in the state of Missouri went to Washington University alone in 2007. Washington University and its Medical School play a large part in the Human Genome Project, where it contributes approximately 25% of the finished sequence. The Genome Sequencing Center has decoded the genome of many animals, plants, and cellular organisms, including the platypus, chimpanzee, cat, and corn.

    NASA hosts its Planetary Data System Geosciences Node on the campus of Washington University. Professors, students, and researchers have been heavily involved with many unmanned missions to Mars. Professor Raymond Arvidson has been deputy principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission and co-investigator of the Phoenix lander robotic arm.

    Washington University professor Joseph Lowenstein, with the assistance of several undergraduate students, has been involved in editing, annotating, making a digital archive of the first publication of poet Edmund Spenser’s collective works in 100 years. A large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities has been given to support this ambitious project centralized at Washington University with support from other colleges in the United States.

    In 2019, Folding@Home, a distributed computing project for performing molecular dynamics simulations of protein dynamics, was moved to Washington University School of Medicine from Stanford University. The project, currently led by Dr. Greg Bowman, uses the idle CPU time of personal computers owned by volunteers to conduct protein folding research. Folding@home’s research is primarily focused on biomedical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Coronavirus disease 2019, and Ebola virus disease. In April 2020, Folding@home became the world’s first exaFLOP computing system with a peak performance of 1.5 exaflops, making it more than seven times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, and more powerful than the top 100 supercomputers in the world, combined.

    ORNL OLCF IBM AC922 SUMMIT supercomputer, was No.1 on the TOP500..

  • richardmitnick 9:57 am on February 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Young Earth Under the Cool Sun", Astronomers look for clusters of stars in the galaxy whose members were all born at the same time-a circumstance that allows researchers to calculate the stars’ age., , , , , Evidence in zircons that are 4.4 billion years old., , , , Our knowledge of the Sun’s rotation speed; XUV radiation; activity level and solar wind history remains incomplete., Paleoclimatology, , Sometimes solar analogues behave differently from each other and offer a range of possibilities for our Sun’s history., There is no way to look at the Sun today and know how bright it was or how intense its XUV radiation was during the Hadean or how it evolved to its present state., Venus and Mars might yield further constraints on the young Sun’s XUV radiation and solar wind.   

    From Eos: “The Young Earth Under the Cool Sun” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    22 February 2022
    Kimberly M. S. Cartier

    How did our planet avoid being frozen solid during the early days of our solar system?

    Credit: Mihail Ulianikovi/Stock.com.

    When Earth was still in its infancy more than 4 billion years ago, it was surrounded by chaos. The planet had nearly been shattered by a giant collision whose debris would go on to form the Moon.

    The detritus of planet formation was still regularly colliding with the newly reformed Earth. Elsewhere in the solar system, the gas giants were amassing their own satellites and clearing out chunks of rocks that refused to fall in line. And for those first few hundred million years, the Sun was still waking up, with fusion by-products slowly building and causing its core to contract and glow brighter. By the end of the Hadean, when Earth was a meager half a billion years old, the Sun shone at about 75% of its current brightness.

    That poses a problem. Not much is known about what was happening on Earth at that time, but what little we do know suggests that there was some amount of liquid water present at or near the surface starting in the Hadean, and there is evidence that life itself began in the Archean (4.0–2.5 billion years ago). If modern Earth were suddenly to receive 25% less sunlight today, it would quickly freeze over, so how did early Earth manage to avoid it for 2 billion years?

    For decades this question, dubbed the “faint young Sun paradox” by Carl Sagan and George Mullen in 1972 [Science], has been an intriguing research topic for geochronologists, deep-time paleoclimatologists, and astronomers, although the scientists currently working to answer the question prefer to call it not a paradox but just a “regular ol’ problem.”

    “It isn’t really a paradox in the way that we would normally understand it,” said Colin Johnstone, an astrophysicist at the University of Vienna in Austria. A paradox describes a contradictory statement or phenomenon, and because it is somewhat naive to assume that early Earth was anything at all like modern Earth, he said, an explanation for the faint young Sun problem might not contradict settled science or the geological record at all. “It’s more just something we don’t quite understand,” Johnstone explained, “and so the problem is, How is it that the Earth was not frozen given that the Sun was less bright in the past?”

    Finding a noncontradictory answer “gets more and more difficult with every million years you go back,” said Georg Feulner, a deep-time paleoclimatologist at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “The further back you go in time, all the uncertainties add up, and you just have to live with that. But still, I’m an optimist. By using an interdisciplinary approach, by understanding models better, by getting better isotope data, by understanding the space environment better, and by looking at the evolution of three of the four terrestrial planets in concert, I’m optimistic that we can narrow things down.”

    Solving this problem will help determine the conditions that led to life springing up on Earth and could help identify other planetary harbors of life.

    “Early Earth basically was an exoplanet,” said Claire Guimond, an exoplanet geoscientist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “It could have been just as alien as a rocky exoplanet might be to Earth today—different atmospheric composition, different kinds of surface conditions, everything. A faint young star is always going to be something that a planet experiences. If you’re interested in a planet being temperate enough to harbor conditions for the origin of life, then you’re probably going to be interested in how likely it is that planets can overcome the lower luminosity.”

    Fire: The Young Sun

    At more than 4.5 billion years old, the Sun is just bright enough to maintain (current) Earth’s globally connected liquid ocean, and the Sun’s X-ray and ultraviolet (XUV) radiation and flares are weak enough not to strip away Earth’s protective atmosphere. But there is no way to look at the Sun today and know how bright it was or how intense its XUV radiation was during the Hadean or how it evolved to its present state. So where does that knowledge come from?

    To understand the young Sun, astronomers look for clusters of stars in the galaxy whose members were all born at the same time, a circumstance that allows researchers to calculate the stars’ age. If the cluster has stars that are of the same mass as the Sun, those stars can serve as snapshots of the Sun’s history. From this approach we know that newborn Sun-like stars shine at about 70% of the Sun’s current brightness and gradually get brighter throughout their lives. At 500 million years old (equivalent to the end of the Hadean), they reach roughly the 75% mark. With enough solar analogues of different ages to anchor solar evolution models, stellar astronomers have put together a fairly thorough timeline tracking the evolution of the Sun’s brightness, size, and mass.

    However, sometimes solar analogues behave differently from each other and offer a range of possibilities for our Sun’s history. Our knowledge of the Sun’s rotation speed; XUV radiation; activity level and solar wind history remains incomplete. “When we look at a really young cluster where all the stars are just born, so about a million years of age, there’s a big spread in the rotation rates for all the stars, and over time this spread goes away,” Johnstone said. “By the age of the current Sun, all of these stars [rotate] the same, but they weren’t the same for the first few million years. And this has a really big effect on how much [XUV] radiation the stars were emitting.” Stars that rotate faster tend to emit more XUV radiation and also have a stronger stellar wind. “Since we only see the Sun now, when this spread in the rotation rates has already disappeared, we have no way to extrapolate backward,” he said.

    Heliophysical computer models, including some that Johnstone has worked on [Earth and Planetary Science Letters], estimate these properties under different solar evolution scenarios and evaluate their potential impact on early Earth’s upper atmosphere. Geologic records rule out some possibilities, he said, like Earth having entirely lost its atmosphere at any point after the Moon-forming impact. “Any model that tells you that the atmosphere was rapidly lost in a million years, or something like that, can be discarded,” he said. (That eliminates a higher fraction of solar evolution models than you’d think.)

    Venus and Mars might yield further constraints on the young Sun’s XUV radiation and solar wind. Just like Earth, both rocky planets have likely had atmospheres for their entire histories. However harsh the early Sun’s radiation was, it spared those atmospheres, too. But because modern Venus and Mars lack plate tectonics, more evidence from 4 billion years ago might survive on their surfaces.

    Water: Hadean Zircons

    Astrophysicists reached a consensus on the probable evolution of the Sun’s brightness in the 1950s and immediately started realizing the chilly implications [Reviews of Geophysics] for Hadean Earth. “The faint young Sun problem comes when astrophysicists and deep-time geologists collide,” said Sanjoy Som, an astrobiologist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Seattle. But still very little is known about the processes that were occurring on Earth’s surface during the first tenth of its life. “We want that story, but the further back you go in time, the rarer the rocks, and the more they have been modified by post-original processes. So we have to be careful. We don’t want to be fooled by what later changes have done to them,” Som said.

    For a long time, explained Mark Harrison, geologists assumed that no Hadean rocks could possibly have survived the continuous churning of crust into mantle and back. Harrison is a geochemist at the University of California-Los Angeles.

    This piece of Archean quartz pebble metaconglomerate from the Jack Hills in Western Australia contains Hadean zircons that are 4.4 billion years old. Credit: James St. John, CC BY 2.0.

    As its name suggests, Hadean Earth was initially assumed to be rather hellish, covered in a roiling magma ocean and subject to continuous impacts. During the past 2 decades, however, more evidence has cropped up suggesting that not only did Earth have a solid crust during that time but also liquid water was present.

    “The reason we don’t have very many rocks from the Archean, and none from the Hadean, is because they just got subducted by plate tectonics,” Guimond said. “There are a few places like in South Africa, Australia, and Canada where you do actually have these ancient continental cores made up of really old rocks, which just got preserved on the surface. The evidence for there being liquid water comes from zircons, which are very hard minerals that are difficult to erode.”

    Zircon grains are deep time’s record keeper, and rare examples have been discovered that have survived since the Hadean. Nearly all of the Hadean zircons analyzed thus far have come from the Jack Hills region of Western Australia (as well as a few from western Greenland and northern Canada), although 14 other locations across the world contain Hadean zircons.

    Lead isotope analyses show that the oldest Jack Hills zircons range between 4.1 billion and 4.4 billion years old, and inclusions within the crystals provide unique insight into the geochemistry of Hadean Earth.
    A few of these Hadean zircon grains can tell geologists that continent-like crust existed but not the extent of it and that liquid water was present but not how large the reservoir was. “Most everything else we see is consistent with the planet being basically frozen,” Harrison said. “It’s very likely that even in a snowball Earth scenario 4.2 billion years ago, there was still liquid water at the ice-rock interface. You don’t need an ocean of liquid water.… The whole thing could be happening under 3 kilometers of ice.”

    Hadean zircons are very rare: About 2% of all Jack Hills zircons discovered so far date from the Hadean, and the percentage is 10 or 100 times lower in other locations. Terrestrial Hadean zircons can also be found on the Moon, however, whisked away to relative safety during the impacts that formed the Moon and spared the tectonic fate of their earthly counterparts, said Harrison. Two Hadean zircons have already been found there, hidden in a rock sample brought back by Apollo 14 astronauts.

    Earth: Crust and Mantle

    Although some evidence exists that Hadean Earth had a crust and that some of it has survived to the present, how much of the surface it covered compared with the paleo-ocean is still unclear. “Continental coverage is important, because the ocean is much darker than land, by far,” Som explained. “Land reflects light back into space more than ocean does—that’s the albedo effect. If the planet Earth was much darker because it had much more extensive ocean coverage than today, that could also be a way for the planet to absorb more heat from sunlight” and remain unfrozen.

    Earth’s atmospheric composition has changed dramatically over its history. During the Archean, a vertical column of air contained a high concentration (grams per square centimeter, g/cm2) of carbon dioxide (dark green) and methane (red) and small amounts of oxygen (light green) and water vapor (blue). Only within the past billion years did the atmosphere gain ozone (yellow). Here a thicker line represents more uncertainty in the measured value. Credit: Roberge et al., 2019, https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2530475 .

    We also don’t know how long it was before that crust was destroyed by plate tectonics. “In the Archean,” said Guimond, “we really can’t say for sure if we had plate tectonics happening.” It’s possible that for some time in the Hadean and the Archean, Earth had no plate tectonics at all and existed with a one-piece crust like that of present-day Mars or Venus. “When you do geodynamic modeling, the theory shows that stagnant lids might be a natural state for rocky planets,” she said.

    Whether early Earth had a stagnant-lid-type crust or today’s churning plate tectonics is key to understanding whether greenhouse gases were released from the mantle into the atmosphere in sufficient quantities to keep the planet temperate. Hadean and Archean Earth likely had a much greater quantity of carbon dioxide (CO2) in its atmosphere than modern Earth, and many deep-time paleoclimate models attempt to figure out how much CO2 or another greenhouse gas would have been needed to sufficiently warm Earth.

    All that greenhouse gas has to have come from somewhere. Although some small amount could have been deposited by the still-regular meteor strikes on early Earth, most of it would have come from magma outgassing. Scientists have extensively studied volcanic outgassing of CO2 under today’s tectonic paradigm, Guimond said, but there is no guarantee that early Earth operated under the same rules. Under a stagnant-lid regime, for example, “we found that CO2 outgassing could be about an order of magnitude lower than we have today.” That would put sharp limits on the amount of atmospheric CO2 paleoclimate models can claim existed in the Hadean and Archean.

    Air: Greenhouse Warming

    However, the solution to the faint young Sun problem is not as simple as adding more greenhouse gases to your favorite paleoclimate model: There are an incalculable number of mixtures of greenhouse gases that might provide enough warming to Hadean Earth. Luckily, there are some constraints on what atmospheric mixtures are plausible. For one, rocks provide some limits on the temperature and pressure [Nature Geoscience] of the Archean atmosphere that can translate to a limit to how much greenhouse gas our atmosphere could have physically held, Som said, “but those measurements are spotty and are unknown for the Hadean.” Earth’s atmosphere in the Hadean could have been thicker than it is today.

    Here, too, the unknown properties of the early Sun come into play. If the early Sun’s XUV radiation and solar wind were near the upper limit of what has been measured for other Sun-like stars, much of Earth’s early atmosphere would have been blasted away, necessitating an even higher output of greenhouse gases to compensate. Even in a lower-radiation scenario, such as one that Johnstone explored recently [Earth and Planetary Science Letters] , Earth’s atmosphere would need to have been at least 40% CO2 (compared with today’s 0.04% and rising).

    Moreover, there is the unknown factor of sea ice. After all, Feulner advised, the Hadean zircons can show only that liquid water was present, not whether it coexisted with ice. Surface ice, on sea or land, is a critical component of how much heat Earth absorbs or reflects: More ice reflects more sunlight away, which further cools the planet and freezes more ice. In some studies [Climate of the Past] in which paleoclimatologists modeled periods of glaciation more recent than the Hadean, the inclusion of sea ice dynamics radically altered the quantity of CO2 needed to thaw the planet.

    “When they switched off sea ice dynamics—just the fact that the sea ice gets pushed around by ocean currents and the wind—they could lower the CO2 concentration by a factor of 100…before the planet fell into a snowball regime,” Feulner said. If 3D paleoclimate models fail to include the movement of sea ice, he said, they could significantly underrepresent the amount of greenhouse gas needed to warm Hadean Earth.

    Finding the Messy Solution

    Are scientists close to answering why Earth was temperate under the faint young Sun? As more and more simulations are run—with different atmospheric greenhouse models, solar evolution scenarios, and mantle outgassing rates—many of them find at least one viable answer. So how will scientists narrow down the options?

    Ultimately, Harrison said, we need more lithic evidence from the Hadean to put better geophysical constraints on the potential solutions. And that means more zircons, especially those that don’t come from Jack Hills. “There is clear evidence that there was water at or near one location on the planet 4.3 billion years ago.… We have this one clear result from Jack Hills. There are 14 other locations that could allow us to address the question, How globally representative is Jack Hills?” he said. By analyzing Hadean zircons from across the globe in as much detail as those from Jack Hills, geochemists will start to pin down the extent of Earth’s early oceans, which will further constrain the behavior of the crust, mantle, and atmosphere.

    Beyond a boost in geophysical data, there is an almost unanimous call for better and faster 3D models of the interconnected Earth system: mantle and crust, sea ice and lower atmosphere, solar radiation and upper atmosphere. Each component of the system plays a key role in solving this early Earth puzzle. Arriving at a consensus solution will require a holistic and interdisciplinary approach that leverages the strengths of each field—paleoclimatology, geochronology, astronomy.

    “Whenever there is a paradox or a problem of this type, people look for that one glorious solution which does it all,” Feulner mused. “But there’s probably no silver bullet. [The solution] is probably a mixture of many factors contributing to the warming…just a mix of more CO2, less clouds, you name it. It’s probably messier than many people think.”

    See the full article here .


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    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 1:17 pm on January 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Understanding Rare Rain Events in the Driest Desert on Earth", Additional research is needed to confidently show that the Amazon is the source of the moisture brought by some of the conveyor belts., , , , , It’s like a decade worth of rain within one single event within a couple hours., , Moisture conveyor belts, Moisture conveyor belts occur throughout the nearby Andes region about 4 times per year., Most of the moisture originates in the Amazon basin-a surprising result given the high Andes that divide the rain forest from the desert., Paleoclimatology,   

    From Eos: “Understanding Rare Rain Events in the Driest Desert on Earth” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    18 January 2022
    Emily Cerf

    A new study reveals the atmospheric paths of storm events that can deliver a decade’s worth of rain in a few hours to the Atacama Desert.

    Parts of the Atacama Desert receive fewer than 5 millimeters of rainfall a year. Credit: Wescottm, CC BY 4.0.

    In the enduring dryness of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile where the average rainfall is as low as 5 millimeters per year, rare rain events can come swiftly and intensely. They shape the landscape and provide precious moisture to plants and other species that otherwise adapted to extended dry spells or harvesting coastal fog. Intense rain events like those seen in the Atacama are known to be associated with so-called ‘moisture conveyor belts”, which are high-altitude atmospheric phenomena known for transporting large volumes of water vapor. However, whether or not “moisture conveyor belts” are responsible for the Atacama’s intense rain events has yet to be shown.

    In a new study, Böhm et al.[Geophysical Research Letters] explain the atmospheric mechanisms behind the wettest of these precipitation events and propose that the water travels from the tropical Amazon across oceans and mountains to reach the desert. The research shows that 40%–80% of the total precipitation that occurs between the coast and the Andean foothills is associated with “moisture conveyor belts”.

    Rain events related to “moisture conveyor belts” can be devastating for local microbial species adapted to dry conditions, the authors say, but they could play a role in the germination of the blooming desert—an explosion of colorful wildflowers that occurs in the Atacama every 5 to 7 years. The authors’ understanding of the processes behind these rare events could change how scientists understand past and future climates in the region.

    Cataloging Conveyor Belts

    Böhm and colleagues cataloged the role of the conveyor belts in the Atacama for the first time. To figure out the role of “moisture conveyor belts” and track air masses, the researchers examined a 2017 precipitation event that brought more than 50 millimeters of rain to some regions of the Atacama. Modeling that tracked the paths of the air masses suggested that most of the moisture originated in the Amazon basin, a surprising result given the high Andes that divide the rain forest from the desert. The authors also discovered that “moisture conveyor belts” occur throughout the nearby Andes region about 4 times per year—some don’t bring much precipitation at all, but the wettest of them can be extreme.

    “It’s like a decade worth of rain within one single event within a couple hours,” said Christoph Böhm, lead author of the study from the Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology at The University of Cologne [Universität zu Köln](DE). Ten times the annual precipitation can be rained down by these conveyor belts in the midsection of Earth’s lowest atmospheric layer, the troposphere.

    In tracing how water moves in moisture conveyor belts across the continent, the researchers suggest that in the most humid of these extreme events, the moisture originates in the tropical Amazon basin rather than over the Pacific Ocean that lies west of the desert.

    However, additional research is needed to confidently show that the Amazon is the source of the moisture brought by some of the conveyor belts. An examination of isotopic data—the atomic chemical information of the water—from the rain events is necessary to support this idea, according to Cornell University (US) geologist Teresa Eileen Jordan, who studies the Atacama and was not involved in the research. The hypothetical path of the water from the Amazon over the Andes would fundamentally change the chemical composition of the water, she says.

    New ideas about how water is transported to these regions can shape how paleoclimatologists understand past eras in this region, affecting understandings of past civilizations that may also have depended on these processes, and can inform water resource management and predictions of future climate change in the Atacama Desert.

    See the full article here .


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    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 10:13 am on January 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Tipping point in Humboldt Current off Peru leads to species shift", , Paleoclimatology, Researchers reconstruct link between ocean warming and shift to smaller fish species using sediment samples from the Humboldt Current System., , The sea off the west coast of South America is one of the most vital and productive fishing grounds on earth.   

    From The Kiel University [Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (DE): “Tipping point in Humboldt Current off Peru leads to species shift” 

    From The Kiel University [Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel] (DE)


    Scientific contacts:
    Dr. Renato Salvatteci
    Kiel University
    Center for Ocean and Society
    0431/880 6598

    Prof. Dr. Ralph Schneider
    Kiel University,
    Institute of Geosciences

    Fishing vessel off the coast of Peru in the Humboldt upwelling system, one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. © Martin Visbeck, GEOMAR [Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel](DE).

    Researchers reconstruct link between ocean warming and shift to smaller fish species using sediment samples from the Humboldt Current System.

    Fundamental changes in the ocean, such as warming, acidification or oxygen depletion, may have significant consequences for the composition of fish stocks, including the displacement of individual species. Researchers at Kiel University (CAU), together with colleagues from Germany, Canada, the USA, and France, have reconstructed environmental conditions of the warm period 125,000 years ago (Eemian interglacial) using sediment samples from the Humboldt Current System off Peru. They were able to show that, at warmer temperatures, mainly smaller, goby-like fish species became dominant and pushed back important food fish such as the anchovy (Engraulis ringens). The trend is independent of fishing pressure and fisheries management. According to the study, the greater warming of the Humboldt Current System as result of climate change has more far-reaching implications for the ecosystem and the global fishing industry than previously thought. The findings appeared in the journal Science, January 7.

    The sea off the west coast of South America is one of the most vital and productive fishing grounds on earth. Around eight percent of the global catch of marine species comes from the areas off the coasts of Peru, where the near-surface Humboldt Current provides a high nutrient supply and thus sufficient food for commercially exploited fish species such as the anchovy. Ten percent of the total global catch of anchovies alone comes from the region. Much of it is processed into fish meal and oil and used primarily for aquacultures in China and Norway. However, catches of anchovy in the Humboldt upwelling system are currently declining. The causes of species shifts are mainly due to climate change according to the results of the new study.

    Researchers from the Institute of Geosciences at Kiel University, together with colleagues from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research and international partners, have for the first time investigated the relationships between temperature, oxygen, nutrient supply and the occurrence of individual fish species using paleo-oceanographic data from the Humboldt Current region. The scientists focused on the warm period about 125,000 years ago (Eemian interglacial). During this time, conditions were similar to those predicted by climate projections (e.g., the IPCC report) for the end of the 21st century at the latest: comparable primary production but water temperatures two degrees Celsius higher than today and increased oxygen deficiency in mid-depth water masses.

    First author of the study Renato Salvatteci taking samples on the research vessel Meteor during a cruise off Peru. © Martin Visbeck, GEOMAR.

    For their paleo-oceanographic studies, the researchers at Kiel University primarily analyzed small fish vertebrae that they were able to isolate from the sediment cores. According to the results, smaller, goby-like fish predominated in coastal waters during the ancient warm period, while anchovies made up only a small proportion. Fish with smaller body sizes can adapt better to warmer temperatures. They retain their high activity even in less oxygenated waters thanks to their larger gill surface area relative to their body volume.

    “The conditions of this past warm period that we were able to reconstruct from our samples can definitely be compared to the current development and put in context with future scenarios”, says first author of the study, Dr. Renato Salvatteci, who is currently working at the Center for Ocean and Society of the Kiel Marine Science (KMS) priority research area at Kiel University and in the BMBF-funded Humboldt-Tipping project. “According to this, there is a clear regime shift towards smaller fish that feel more comfortable in the warm, lower-oxygen conditions. We conclude from our results that the effects of human-induced climate change may have a stronger influence on the evolution of stocks in the region than previously thought”, Salvatteci added. Smaller fish are harder to catch and less palatable. According to the report, the impact on the Peru region, local fisheries income and global trade in anchovies could be far-reaching – potentially affecting global food security.

    “Our studies using sediment cores can give us fairly accurate information about the changes and their dynamics in highly productive coastal waters around the world that have occurred in the wake of different climate states and over different time scales”, explains Professor Ralph Schneider, a paleoclimate researcher at the Institute of Geosciences at Kiel University and co-author of the study.

    Sediment cores provide decisive information about past conditions and species composition. © Renato Salvatteci, Kiel University.

    The results indicate that due to increasing warming in the Humboldt Current upwelling area, the ecosystem is heading towards a tipping point beyond which anchovy will begin to retreat and not continue to dominate nearshore fishing grounds. “Despite a flexible, sustainable and adaptive management strategy, anchovy biomass and landings have declined, suggesting that we are closer to the ecological tipping point than suspected”, summarizes lead author Renato Salvatteci.

    The results of the study help to better assess the extent to which a warming ocean can provide sufficient food for the world’s population and what changes should be expected for the development of important fish species such as the anchovy.

    The study was funded by the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 754 “Climate-Biogeochemical Interactions in the Tropical Ocean”, a collaborative project of Kiel University (CAU) and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Additional support came from the BMBF project Humboldt-Tipping, coordinated at the Center for Ocean and Society, as well as funding from the Emmy-Noether Junior Research Group ICONOX at GEOMAR. First author Renato Salvatteci was further supported by a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

    See the full article here .


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    The Kiel University [ Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel(DE) was founded back in 1665. It is Schleswig-Holstein’s oldest, largest and best-known university, with over 26,000 students and around 3,000 members of staff. It is also the only fully-fledged university in the state. Seven Nobel prize winners have worked here. The CAU has been successfully taking part in the Excellence Initiative since 2006. The Cluster of Excellence The Future Ocean, which was established in cooperation with the GEOMAR [Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel](DE) in 2006, is internationally recognized. The second Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation at Interfaces” deals with chronic inflammatory diseases. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy is also affiliated with Kiel University. The university has a great reputation for its focus on public international law. The oldest public international law institution in Germany and Europe – the Walther Schuecking Institute for International Law – is based in Kiel.


    The University of Kiel was founded under the name Christiana Albertina on 5 October 1665 by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. The citizens of the city of Kiel were initially quite sceptical about the upcoming influx of students, thinking that these could be “quite a pest with their gluttony, heavy drinking and their questionable character” (German: mit Fressen, Sauffen und allerley leichtfertigem Wesen sehr ärgerlich seyn). But those in the city who envisioned economic advantages of a university in the city won, and Kiel thus became the northernmost university in the German Holy Roman Empire.

    After 1773, when Kiel had come under Danish rule, the university began to thrive, and when Kiel became part of Prussia in the year 1867, the university grew rapidly in size. The university opened one of the first botanical gardens in Germany (now the Alter Botanischer Garten Kiel), and Martin Gropius designed many of the new buildings needed to teach the growing number of students.

    The Christiana Albertina was one of the first German universities to obey the Gleichschaltung in 1933 and agreed to remove many professors and students from the school, for instance Ferdinand Tönnies or Felix Jacoby. During World War II, the University of Kiel suffered heavy damage, therefore it was later rebuilt at a different location with only a few of the older buildings housing the medical school.

    In 2019, it was announced it has banned full-face coverings in classrooms, citing the need for open communication that includes facial expressions and gestures.


    Faculty of Theology
    Faculty of Law
    Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences
    Faculty of Medicine
    Faculty of Arts and Humanities
    Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
    Faculty of Agricultural Science and Nutrition
    Faculty of Engineering

  • richardmitnick 11:31 am on July 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Huge Volcanic Eruption Disrupted Climate but Not Human Evolution", , , , , Paleoclimatology, , , The Toba volcano was the largest volcanic eruption in the past two million years.   

    From Rutgers University (US) : “Huge Volcanic Eruption Disrupted Climate but Not Human Evolution” 

    Rutgers smaller
    Our Great Seal.

    From Rutgers University (US)

    July 9, 2021
    John Cramer

    A modern volcanic eruption pales in comparison to the Toba eruption, which was the largest volcanic eruption of the past 2 million years, dispersing ash as far as southern Africa 9,000 km away. The total volume of erupted deposits may exceed 5,000 cubic kilometers. Credit: Steve Self, University of California-Berkeley (US).

    A massive volcanic eruption in Indonesia about 74,000 years ago likely caused severe climate disruption in many areas of the globe, but early human populations were sheltered from the worst effects, according to a Rutgers-led study.

    The findings appear in the journal PNAS.

    The eruption of the Toba volcano was the largest volcanic eruption in the past two million years, but its impacts on climate and human evolution have been unclear. Resolving this debate is important for understanding environmental changes during a key interval in human evolution.

    “We were able to use a large number of climate model simulations to resolve what seemed like a paradox,” said lead author Benjamin Black, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “We know this eruption happened and that past climate modeling has suggested the climate consequences could have been severe, but archaeological and paleoclimate records from Africa don’t show such a dramatic response.

    “Our results suggest that we might not have been looking in the right place to see the climate response. Africa and India are relatively sheltered, whereas North America, Europe and Asia bear the brunt of the cooling,” Black said. “One intriguing aspect of this is that Neanderthals and Denisovans were living in Europe and Asia at this time, so our paper suggests evaluating the effects of the Toba eruption on those populations could merit future investigation.”

    The researchers examined explosive ash deposits that are tens of meters thick about 35 km north of the Toba caldera in Indonesia. Credit Steve Self, University of California-Berkeley.

    The researchers analyzed 42 global climate model simulations in which they varied magnitude of sulfur emissions, time of year of the eruption, background climate state and sulfur injection altitude to make a probabilistic assessment of the range of climate disruptions the Toba eruption may have caused. This approach let the team account for some of the unknowns related to the eruption.

    “By using a probabilistic approach, we aim at understanding the likelihood that some regions were less impacted by Toba, considering the wide range of estimates of its size and timing, in addition to our lack of knowledge of the underlying climate state,” said Black.

    The results suggest there was likely significant regional variation in climate impacts. The simulations predict cooling in the Northern Hemisphere of at least 4°C, with regional cooling as high as 10°C depending on the model parameters. In contrast, even under the most severe eruption conditions, cooling in the Southern Hemisphere — including regions populated by early humans — was unlikely to exceed 4°C, although regions in southern Africa and India may have seen decreases in precipitation at the highest sulfur emission level.

    The results explain independent archaeological evidence suggesting the Toba eruption had modest effects on the development of hominid species in Africa. According to the authors, their ensemble simulation approach could be used to better understand other past and future explosive eruptions.

    “Our results reconcile the simulated distribution of climate impacts from the eruption with paleoclimate and archaeological records,” according to the study. “This probabilistic view of climate disruption from Earth’s most recent super-eruption underscores the uneven expected distribution of societal and environmental impacts from future very large explosive eruptions.”

    The study included researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, University of Leeds and University of Cambridge, and was supported by the NSF National Center for Atmospheric Research (US) and the National Science Foundation (US).

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (US), 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.

    Rutgers University (US) is a public land-grant research university based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Chartered in 1766, Rutgers was originally called Queen’s College, and today it is the eighth-oldest college in the United States, the second-oldest in New Jersey (after Princeton University (US)), and one of the nine U.S. colonial colleges that were chartered before the American War of Independence. In 1825, Queen’s College was renamed Rutgers College in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, whose substantial gift to the school had stabilized its finances during a period of uncertainty. For most of its existence, Rutgers was a private liberal arts college but it has evolved into a coeducational public research university after being designated The State University of New Jersey by the New Jersey Legislature via laws enacted in 1945 and 1956.

    Rutgers today has three distinct campuses, located in New Brunswick (including grounds in adjacent Piscataway), Newark, and Camden. The university has additional facilities elsewhere in the state, including oceanographic research facilities at the New Jersey shore. Rutgers is also a land-grant university, a sea-grant university, and the largest university in the state. Instruction is offered by 9,000 faculty members in 175 academic departments to over 45,000 undergraduate students and more than 20,000 graduate and professional students. The university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the Association of American Universities (US) and the Universities Research Association (US). Over the years, Rutgers has been considered a Public Ivy.


    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science, also known as RUCCS. This research center hosts researchers in psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, electrical engineering, and anthropology.

    It was at Rutgers that Selman Waksman (1888–1973) discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, candidin, and others. Waksman, along with graduate student Albert Schatz (1920–2005), discovered streptomycin—a versatile antibiotic that was to be the first applied to cure tuberculosis. For this discovery, Waksman received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1952.

    Rutgers developed water-soluble sustained release polymers, tetraploids, robotic hands, artificial bovine insemination, and the ceramic tiles for the heat shield on the Space Shuttle. In health related field, Rutgers has the Environmental & Occupational Health Science Institute (EOHSI).

    Rutgers is also home to the RCSB Protein Data bank, “…an information portal to Biological Macromolecular Structures’ cohosted with the San Diego Supercomputer Center (US). This database is the authoritative research tool for bioinformaticists using protein primary, secondary and tertiary structures worldwide….”

    Rutgers is home to the Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension office, which is run by the Agricultural and Experiment Station with the support of local government. The institution provides research & education to the local farming and agro industrial community in 19 of the 21 counties of the state and educational outreach programs offered through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Office of Continuing Professional Education.

    Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) is the largest university based repository in the world and has received awards worth more than $57.8 million from the National Institutes of Health (US). One will fund genetic studies of mental disorders and the other will support investigations into the causes of digestive, liver and kidney diseases, and diabetes. RUCDR activities will enable gene discovery leading to diagnoses, treatments and, eventually, cures for these diseases. RUCDR assists researchers throughout the world by providing the highest quality biomaterials, technical consultation, and logistical support.

    Rutgers–Camden is home to the nation’s PhD granting Department of Childhood Studies. This department, in conjunction with the Center for Children and Childhood Studies, also on the Camden campus, conducts interdisciplinary research which combines methodologies and research practices of sociology, psychology, literature, anthropology and other disciplines into the study of childhoods internationally.

    Rutgers is home to several National Science Foundation (US) IGERT fellowships that support interdisciplinary scientific research at the graduate-level. Highly selective fellowships are available in the following areas: Perceptual Science, Stem Cell Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology for Clean Energy, Renewable and Sustainable Fuels Solutions, and Nanopharmaceutical Engineering.

    Rutgers also maintains the Office of Research Alliances that focuses on working with companies to increase engagement with the university’s faculty members, staff and extensive resources on the four campuses.

    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.

  • richardmitnick 8:38 pm on June 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Imagining the distant past — and finding keys to the future", , EAPS: MIT’s Department of Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, , , , , , MIT Terrascope, Paleoclimatology, Terrascope is one of four learning communities offered to first-year MIT students., Working with cores of sediment drilled from the Earth that hold clues to our planet’s climate long before there were records created by humans., You’re able to go basically from mud to a coherent picture of what the atmosphere was doing in the past-what the ocean was doing in the past.   

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) : “Imagining the distant past — and finding keys to the future” 

    MIT News

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    June 16, 2021
    Michaela Jarvis

    MIT earth science professor David McGee studies the atmosphere’s response to paleoclimate changes. “A really basic message that comes from the study of paleoclimate is the sensitivity of the Earth’s system,” he says. “A few degrees of warming or cooling is a really big deal.” Credit: Adam Glanzman.

    The most dramatic moments of David McGee’s research occur when he is working with cores of sediment drilled from the Earth that hold clues to our planet’s climate long before there were records created by humans.

    “Some of the biggest excitement I have,” says McGee, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), “is when we’re working with sediments that have been taken from 2,000 meters down in the Atlantic Ocean, for example. You’re performing various geochemical measurements on the sediments, you’re using radiocarbon dating to figure how old a core is, and you’re developing records of how the climate has changed over the past thousands of years. You’re able to go basically from mud to a coherent picture of what the atmosphere was doing in the past-what the ocean was doing in the past.”

    Imagining the natural world as it was in the distant past, when no people were around to directly observe or write about it, always fascinated McGee. As a child, before it even occurred to him that there was such a thing as an Earth scientist, he was “constantly wondering about what mountains and beaches would have looked like millions of years ago and what they might look like a million years from now.” Recently, while going through the artifacts of his childhood, he found a rock collection and a creative writing project focused on time travel back to the Precambrian Era. He recalls that once when he was set loose in the school library to find a science project topic, he chose a book on ice ages and tried to develop related hypotheses that he could test.

    Later, stumbling into a geology class in college, as he describes it, McGee was completely taken in by the idea that Earth science involved a sort of detective work to uncover history out in the natural world, using the tools of modern science, such as geochemistry, computation, and close observation.

    “I really fell for it,” he says.

    McGee’s focus on studying paleoclimate and the atmosphere’s response to past climate changes satisfies his lifelong curiosity — and it yields important insights into the climate change the planet is currently undergoing.

    “A really basic message that comes from the study of paleoclimate is the sensitivity of the Earth’s system,” says McGee. “A few degrees of warming or cooling is a really big deal.”

    From the start of his career, McGee has been dedicated to sharing his love of exploration with students. He earned a master’s degree in teaching and spent seven years as a teacher in middle school and high school classrooms before earning his PhD in Earth and environmental sciences from Columbia University. He joined the MIT faculty in 2012 and in 2018 received the Excellence in Mentoring Award from MIT’s Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming office. In 2019, he was granted tenure.

    In 2016, McGee became the director of MIT’s Terrascope first-year learning community, where he says he has been able to continue to pursue his interest in how students learn.

    MIT Terrascope

    “Part of why Terrascope has been so important to me is it’s a place where there is a lot of great thinking about what makes a meaningful educational experience,” he says.

    Terrascope is one of four learning communities offered to first-year MIT students, allows them to address real-world sustainability issues in interdisciplinary, student-led teams. The projects the students undertake connect them to related experts and professionals, in part so the students can figure out what blend of areas of expertise — such as technology, policy, economics, and human behaviors — will serve them as they head toward their life’s work.

    “Students are often asking themselves, ‘How do I connect what I really like to do, what I’m good at, and what the world actually needs?’” McGee says. “In Terrascope, we try to provide a space for that exploration.”

    McGee’s work with Terrascope was, in part, the basis for his September 2020 appointment to the role of associate department head for diversity, equity, and inclusion within EAPS. On the occasion of McGee’s appointment, EAPS department head Rob van der Hilst said, “David has proven he is a dedicated and compassionate leader, able to build a robust community around collaboration, shared purpose, and deep respect for the strengths each member brings.”

    McGee says Earth science is often unwelcoming to women, members of racial or ethnic minoritized groups, and people who are LGBTQ+. Improved recruitment and retention policies are needed to diversify the field, he says.

    “Earth science is a very white science,” McGee says. “And yet we’re working on problems that affect everyone and disproportionately affect communities of color — things like climate change and natural disasters. It’s really important that the future of Earth science look different than the present in terms of the demographics.”

    One of the things McGee takes from his research experience as he approaches students is his observation that being an Earth scientist represents many different approaches and avenues of study — inherently, the field can extend itself to a wide diversity of talent.

    “The thing I try to make clear to students is there’s no way to be the expert in every aspect of even one Earth science study,” he says. “With the study of paleoclimate, for instance, there’s field geology, careful analytical chemistry, data analysis, computation, the physics of climate systems. You’re constantly on the edge of your learning and working with people who know more than you about a certain aspect of a study. Students are not coming to Earth science to become a carbon copy of any of us.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes.

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with MIT. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. MIT is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia (US), wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after MIT was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    MIT was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, MIT faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the MIT administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, MIT catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at MIT that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    MIT’s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at MIT’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, MIT became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected MIT profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of MIT between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, MIT no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and MIT’s defense research. In this period MIT’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. MIT ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) Lincoln Laboratoryfacility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six MIT students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at MIT over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, MIT’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    MIT has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 MIT classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    MIT was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, MIT launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, MIT announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the MIT faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    MIT has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the MIT community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, MIT announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the MIT community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology, MIT, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    MIT/Caltech Advanced aLigo .

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and MIT physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an MIT graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

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