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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Will the Pacific Northwest be a Climate Refuge Under Global Warming?

Monday, July 28, 2014
Cliff Mass Weather Blog

As global warming takes hold later in the century, where will be the best place in the lower 48 states to escape its worst effects?

A compelling case can be made that the Pacific Northwest will be one of the best places to live as the earth warms.   A potential climate refuge.

Let's analyze this important question.

The anticipated issues, including sea level rise, water availability, hurricanes and tropical storms, heat waves and most other issues should not be problematic for the this area.

So what conclusion does one inevitably reach by studying the U.S. Climate Assessment, and the climate literature?

The Northwest is the place to be during global warming.   
  • Temperatures will rise more slowly than most of the nation due to the Pacific Ocean (see below)  
  • We will have plenty of precipitation, although the amount falling as snow will decline (will fall as rain instead).  But we can deal with that by building more reservoir and dam capacity (and some folks on the eastern slopes of the Cascades have proposed to do exactly that).
  • The Pacific Ocean will keep heat waves in check and we don't get hurricanes.
  • Sea level rise is less of a problem for us due to our substantial terrain and the general elevation rise of our shorelines.  Furthermore, some of our land is actually RISING relatively to the sea level because we are still recovering from the last ice age (the heavy ice sheets pushed the land down and now it is still rebounding).
  • There is no indication that our major storms...cyclone-based winds (like the Columbus Day Storm)... will increase under global warming.  
  • Increased precipitation may produce more flooding, but that will be limited to river valleys and can be planned for with better river management and zoning.




Saturday, July 26, 2014

Space Weather: Coronal Hole

A coronal hole, almost square in its shape, is one of the most noticeable features on the sun on May 5-7, 2014. A coronal hole is an area where high-speed solar wind streams into space. It appears dark in extreme ultraviolet light as there is less material to emit in these wavelengths. Inside the coronal hole you can see bright loops where the hot plasma outlines little pieces of the solar magnetic field sticking above the surface. Because it is positioned so far south on the sun, there is less chance that the solar wind stream will impact us here on Earth.


A coronal hole, almost square in its shape, is one of the most noticeable features on the sun on May 5-7, 2014. A coronal hole is an area where high-speed solar wind streams into space. It appears dark in extreme ultraviolet light as there is less material to emit in these wavelengths. Inside the coronal hole you can see bright loops where the hot plasma outlines little pieces of the solar magnetic field sticking above the surface. Because it is positioned so far south on the sun, there is less chance that the solar wind stream will impact us here on Earth.

Spectacular solar flares

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which observes the sun 24 hours a day, captured this image of a solar flare on June 10.http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/15/tech/innovation/space-weather-solar-flares/
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which observes the sun 24 hours a day, captured this image of a solar flare on June 10.

NASA captured this second flare, which appears as a bright flash on the left side of the sun, June 10.

NASA captured this second flare, which appears as a bright flash on the left side of the sun, June 10.

Space Weather: The sun is at "Solar Maximum", but activity labeled modest

The sun is currently at its "solar maximum" -- the point in its cycle where it is at peak activity -- but the SWPC says that activity is modest compared to recent cycles.

Nonetheless, last week the center reported that the sun had produced a "moderate-level" solar flare, which had "short-lived impacts to high frequency radio communications on the sunlit side of Earth."SDO's view of X1.4 class solar flare in the 304 wavelength.
Solar flares can send blasts of radiation through space that can interfere with satellites and even harm astronauts during spacewalks.
"So when an eruption happens -- when we have that flash of light, those radio waves -- that takes eight minutes to get from the sun to the Earth. So as soon as we start the measurement, it's already affecting the sunlit side of the Earth," explains Rutledge.
Innovations in spacecraft by NASA are showing us some of the best images of the sun we've ever seen -- giving us a clearer picture and hopefully a better understanding of space weather.


This close-up view of a prominence reveals magnetic forces at work as they pull plasma strands this way and that before it gradually breaks away from the sun over a one-day period November 14-15, 2011
This close-up view of a prominence reveals magnetic forces at work as they pull plasma strands this way and that before it gradually breaks away from the sun over a one-day period November 14-15, 2011.But there is still much mystery to the 4.5 billion-year-old star and the emissions that are blasted through space, so scientists and forecasters will continue to watch every movement.
Two areas of dark plasma that were close together danced and entwined with each other over a one-day period March 27-28, 2012. The dark plasma, seen in profile, was somewhat cooler and therefore darker than the material around it.


Two areas of dark plasma that were close together danced and entwined with each other over a one-day period March 27-28, 2012. The dark plasma, seen in profile, was somewhat cooler and therefore darker than the material around it.

Space weather: Fine, with a chance of solar flares

A mid-level flare erupted on the left side of the sun on July 8, 2014. This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory highlights the high-temperature solar material in a flare, which is typically colorized in teal.A mid-level flare erupted on the left side of the sun on July 8, 2014. This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory highlights the high-temperature solar material in a flare, which is typically colorized in teal.
The Art of Movement is a monthly show that highlights the most significant innovations in science and technology that are helping shape our modern world. Go inside "The Space Race" Thursday night on CNN's Original Series, "The Sixties."

Space Weather: Sun Watchers


A large active region is giving off warning signs that this could be the source of powerful solar storms. It has already shot off two smaller flares (Jan. 2, 2014) as shown here in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.

A large active region is giving off warning signs that this could be the source of powerful solar storms. It has already shot off two smaller flares (Jan. 2, 2014) as shown here in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.

  • Space Weather Prediction Center watches skies for solar activity

Boulder, Colorado (CNN) -- From Earth, the sun appears as a constant circle of light, but when viewed in space a brilliant display of motion is revealed.
Flares that light up the galaxy and eruptions that can be as large as 30 times the Earth's surface occur regularly. During the peak of the 11-year solar cycle, these events can happen several times a day.
The flares and eruptions are collectively known as space weather and although they create dazzling visuals in space, it isn't just a harmless fireworks show for the galaxy. Each burst of energy can have a disrupting effect on systems we rely on every day.
With their headquarters next to the Rocky Mountains in the state of Colorado, a team of forecasters aims to minimize that impact.
"The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) essentially watches the sun, watches for activity on the sun originating from sun spots," explains Bob Rutledge, Forecast Office lead.
"That's really where the magnetic fields of the sun poke through the surface and kind of hold that part of the surface in place allowing it to cool -- that's why it appears dark."
This image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sun on July 12, 2012 during an X1.4 class flare. The image is captured in the 304 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in red.This image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sun on July 12, 2012 during an X1.4 class flare. The image is captured in the 304 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in red.

This image combines two sets of observations of the sun on July 12, 2012 from the SDO to give an impression of what the sun looked like shortly before it unleashed an X-class flare.This image combines two sets of observations of the sun on July 12, 2012 from the SDO to give an impression of what the sun looked like shortly before it unleashed an X-class flare.

Gas rolls up and down the sun's outer layer, similar to the bubbles in boiling water. When the magnetic field around a sun spot breaks, magnetic energy explodes in the solar atmosphere like a pot boiling over.
The size and position of sun spots can give forecasters a clue as to when or where a solar flare may bubble up. They produce daily forecasts that are important to the industries most vulnerable.
"Space weather can have a variety of impacts across many different customer bases -- commercial aviation, precision GPS use, power grid operations -- all these are really critical," says Rutled
Active Region 1514 just could not contain itself as it popped off over a dozen flashes, minor eruptions, and flares over almost two days June 27-29, 2012.
Active Region 1514 just could not contain itself as it popped off over a dozen flashes, minor eruptions, and flares over almost two days June 27-29, 2012.
Two areas of dark plasma that were close together danced and entwined with each other over a one-day period March 27-28, 2012. The dark plasma, seen in profile, was somewhat cooler and therefore darker than the material around it.
Two areas of dark plasma that were close together danced and entwined with each other over a one-day period March 27-28, 2012. The dark plasma, seen in profile, was somewhat cooler and therefore darker than the material around it.




Clearwater River Log Drives


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJKDp58qDqI


Watch this great video of the crews and equipment used on the Clearwater River log drives
from 1928 to 1971


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