World Climate & Light Pollution | SciByte 42

World Climate & Light Pollution | SciByte 42

We take a look at how the Bering strait could affect the world climate, dinosaur eggs, exo planetary systems, a possible alzheimer’s test, light pollution, viewer feedback, and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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The Bering Strait and climate



Credits: NASA

  • The low down
  • There have been debates on whether variations in solar activity on a larger scale then normal or unstable climate processes have driven large climate swings in the past
  • New climate simulations show that the cause could actually be the presence or absence of the land bridge between Asia and North America
  • Significance
  • Core ice samples from Greenland show that temperatures there varied as much as 10*C over just a few years during part of the last ice age
  • The researchers theorized that a disturbance in the oceans flow might have caused the large temperature swings, to determine the validity of their theory they went to a global computer simulation
  • They started at the start of the last ice age, approximately 100,000 years ago Earth climate was somewhat stable
  • After 20,000 years ice sheets in northern Eurasia and North America held more and more of the Earth’s oceans
  • So much of the ocean was held in ice that sea levels dropped about 160 ft [50 m]
  • When the ocean receded that much it exposed the broad strip of last connecting modern day Alaska and Siberia, the Bering Strait
  • Should the Bering Strait be blocked then the Glacial freshwater meltoff would instead back up and flow into the Atlantic
  • If that happened then all that fresh water would instead be introduced to the North Atlantic, where cold water generally sinks and flows south
  • Salt water is heavier than cold water and therefore sinks, however, should the water drop in salinity enough it could never get dense enough to sink below the salt water below
  • The process would also stop warmer equatorial waters from flowing up to the North Atlantic
  • * Of Note*
  • The two climate simulations analyzed what would happen if the oceans currents stop and they showed that surface temperatures would drop over the land around the North Atlantic
  • Core ice samples from Greenland have actually shown that during the last ice age, when the bering strait was closed, temperatures dropped by about the same magnitude that the simulations predict
  • The simulations also showed that ocean currents generally took less that 400 years to recuperate should the Bering Strait be open, while closing the straight caused them to take as long as 1,400 years.
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Bering Strait may be global temperature stabilizer | phys.org
  • Land Bridge Caused Wild Temperature Swings | sciencemag.org

*— NEWS BYTE — *

Dinosaur eggs


Credit: Gabriel Lio | Credit: Fernando Novas

A busy planetary system



Credit: ESO/L. Calcada

*— TWO-BYTE NEWS — *

Alzheimer’s test approved by FDA

Light Pollution



Credit: GLOBE at Night/NOAO

  • The low down
  • Light pollution is defined as Any adverse effect of artificial light including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste
  • GLOBE at Night is a science project to raise awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to make naked-eye observations
  • The observations can be made where ever you are and requires only five steps
  • Find your latitude and longitude
  • Find Orion, Leo or Crux by going outside more than an hour after sunset (about 8–10pm local time).
  • Match your nighttime sky to one of the provided magnitude charts.
  • Report your observation.
  • Compare your observation to thousands around the world
  • You can also use the new web application data submission process
  • * Of Note*
  • In the last six years, people in 115 different countries have already contributed 75,000 measurements
  • Social Media
  • GLOBE at Night @GLOBEatNight
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Help Track the Effects of Light Pollution with GLOBE at Night | UniverseToday.com
  • GLOBEatNight
  • GLOBEatNight WebApp

*— VIEWER FEEDBACK — *

Launching my own satellite

Credit: Bjorn Pedersen, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway | Credit: Svobodat

  • Drayloc
  • Is there anyway to build and launch your own satellite.
  • CubeSat
  • CubeSat is a type of small satellite for space, generally with a 1 L volume. [Wiki](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CubeSat
  • 3.9 in [10cm] cube, that weight less than 2.9lb [1.3 kg]
  • The program started in 1999, and was developed to help universities from across the globe to perform space science
  • Some have been built by companies, and with amateur radio satellite builders
  • Multimedia
  • MEDIA GALLERY: @CubeSat.org
  • Social Media
  • Cube Sat @cubesat
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • CubeSat

SCIENCE CALENDAR

Looking back

  • April 20, 1964 : 48 years ago : Picturephone : In 1964, the first picturephone transcontinental call was made between New York City and Anaheim, California. The device consisted of a telephone handset and a small, matching TV. It allowed telephone users to see each other in fuzzy video images as they carried on a conversation.When Picturephone debuted in 1964, at the World’s Fair, prices ranged from $16 to $27 for a three-minute call between special booths AT&T set up in New York, Washington and Chicago. It never became popular after it was briefly offered commercially in Chicago. AT&T Picturephone
  • April 21, 1962 : 50 years ago : Revolving restaurant : In 1962, the Seattle World’s Fair on a 74-acre site, Seattle, Washington, was opened by remote control by President John F. Kennedy from Palm Beach, Florida. The Space Needle – a 600-ft steel and glass tower – was erected as its dominant central structure. When built in 1962, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The first revolving restaurant in the mainland U.S., the “Eye of the Needle,” was located at the 500-ft level. A 14-foot ring next to the windows carrying 260 seats rotates 360 degrees in one hour on a track and wheel system driven by a 1 horsepower motor. The restaurant is now named SkyCity.

Looking up this week


+ You may have seen …
+ On the NE limb of the sun Magnetic fields erupted producing one of the most visually-spectacular explosions in years
+ The CME that erupted was not Earth-directed, it is however on a trajectory that will hit STEREO-B, the Spitzer space telescope and Curiosity rover
+ Venus and Mars will likely be hit by the edge of the CME


+ Keep an eye out for …
+ Thurs, April 19 : Four planets will arc through the sky starting at twilight. Venus and Jupiter will be in the West, with Venus higher in the West. Mars will be in the SE with Saturn climbing in the E
+ Sat, April 21 : New Moon. The weak Lyrid meteor shower will have the best visibility in the hours before dawn on Sunday with up to a dozen meteors an hours.
+ Sun, April 22 : Jupiter is low in the West at sunset, it’s starting to disappear.
+ The southern hemisphere should, Keep an eye out for …
+ April 19 : Thin crescent Moon will be to the east just before sunrise, above and to its right is Mercury
+ Further Reading and Resources

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