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By the time Enrico Fermi jokingly took bets among his Los Alamos colleagues on whether the July 16, 1945, Trinity test would wipe out all earthbound life, physicists already knew of the impossibility of setting the atmosphere on fire, according to a 1991 interview with Hans Bethe published by Scientific American.
Bethe, who led the T (theoretical) Division at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project, said that by 1942, J. Robert Oppenheimer, who eventually became the head of the project, had considered the "terrible possibility." This led to multiple scientists working on the relevant calculations, and finding that it would be "incredibly impossible" to set the atmosphere on fire using a nuclear weapon.
While it is correct that an enormously high temperature under the right conditions could potentially set off a chain reaction that would light the atmosphere on fire, calculations had shown that these temperatures and conditions are simply unattainable by a nuclear bomb.
Why? Well, because the data the balloon provide gives meteorologists. Take, for example, the following Stüve diagram, named after German meteorologist Georg Stüve (1888-1935) who developed the diagram to help meteorologists understand what was happening in the atmosphere. It shows pressure readings on the vertical scale (a proxy for height, as discussed below) and temperatures on the horizontal axis.
Weather is driven mainly by differences in pressure, temperature, and water content of the atmosphere. The three simple variables combine in very complex ways depending on a variety of other facts (e.g., proximity to large bodies of water, topography of the ground, and height above sea level) in ways that generate amazing complexity, even chaotic behavior. But we still need as much information as we can get about the three state variables.
A detailed knowledge of the atmosphere conditions is mandatory to increase the SRT performances at higher frequencies. For such a reason the highly variable weather-climate parameters that may affect the observation quality and the pointing capability are constantly monitored at the site. Ground-based measurements of brightness temperature, opacity, vapor and liquid content, wind speed are performed in real-time and may be easily accessed by graphic interfaces. Furthermore we are testing a state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction model. The model is able to predict (48 hours in advance or more) the radiometric conditions at the antenna site making feasible a dynamic scheduling approach for SRT. Briefly, in winter time there is a 40 - 45% probability of finding integrated water vapor lower than 10 mm. The absence of cloud cover can be found 50% of the time in winter and 80% during summer, typical liquid water values range between 0.2 and 0.7 mm. During winter time the opacity at 22 GHz is lower than 0.15 Np for 90% of the time and 40% during summer. At higher frequencies, in the 3-mm band, the winter opacity is lower than 0.15 Np for 35% of the time.
21-23 June 2022Abstract submission deadline 20 January 2023!!The 20th GEIA (Global Emissions Initiative) Conference "Towards mitigating air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions" will take place in Brussels, Belgium on June 21-23. Details and abstract submissions are available at: -conferences/2023-geia19-20 June 2022The AMIGO (Analysis of eMIssions usinG Observations) project is organizing a workshop on "Atmospheric chemistry modeling, data assimilation, inverse modeling, and model evaluation" before the GEIA conference, on June 19-20, also in Brussels. The number of attendees will be limited to about 25 early career scientists. Applications can be done through the AMIGO website at:
In 1942, Hungarian-American physicist Edward Teller, known now as "the father of the hydrogen bomb," entertained a devastating nightmare scenario: that an atomic bomb could ignite the atmosphere and the oceans. He reasoned that a nuclear fission bomb might create temperatures so extreme that it would cause the hydrogen atoms in the air and water to fuse together into helium, just like in our sun, generating a runaway reaction that would eventually engulf the globe, extinguishing all life and turning the Earth into a miniature star.
"It is shown that, whatever the temperature to which a section of the atmosphere may be heated, no self-propagating chain of nuclear reactions is likely to be started. The energy losses to radiation always overcompensate the gains due to the reactions."
Hans Bethe would later explain in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1976 that sustained nuclear fusion reactions require gargantuan pressures not present in the atmosphere or even the deep oceans. Moreover, the concentrations of deuterium, a heavy form of hydrogen useful for fusion reactions, are far too low. Fear of atmospheric and oceanic ignition is a nightmare with "no relation to reality," he wrote.
The 2022 GOES Virtual Science Fair (VSF) will accepts projects from October through April. Students can participate and submit individual projects from home or in small teams with classmates. The main requirement is using data from GOES-16 or GOES-17 to investigate weather and natural hazards. There will be three winning teams OR individuals: middle school, high school or grades 13/14 (community college or university).
Citizen science is a term that describes projects in which volunteers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions. These volunteers can work with scientists to identify research questions, collect and analyze data, interpret results, make new discoveries, develop technologies and applications, as well as solve complex problems. See a listing of opportunities within the National Marine Sanctuary System.
Educators joining NOAA Planet Stewards receive sustained professional development through an active online learning community and regional events, and support in the development and implementation of hands-on projects that conserve, restore, and protect human communities and natural resources. Eligible participants may apply for mini-grants, travel stipends, and participate in contests.
As part of the Danish NEAREX project the origin and variability of anthropogenic atmospheric CO(2) over the Northeast Atlantic Region (NEAR) has been studied. The project consisted of a combination of experimental and modelling activities. Local volunteers operated CO(2) sampling stations, built at University of Copenhagen, for (14)C analysis at four locations (East Denmark, Shetland Isles, Faroe Isles and Iceland). The samples were only collected during winter periods of south-easterly winds in an attempt to trace air enriched in fossil-fuel derived CO(2) due to combustion of fossil fuels within European countries. In order to study the transport and concentration fields over the region in detail, a three-dimensional Eulerian hemispheric air pollution model has been extended to include the main anthropogenic sources for atmospheric CO(2). During the project period (1998-2001) only a few episodes of transport from Central Europe towards NEAR arose, which makes the data set for the evaluation of the method sparse. The analysed samples indicate that the signal for fossil CO(2), as expected, is largest (up to 3.7+/-0.4% fossil CO(2)) at the Danish location closest to the European emissions areas and much weaker (up to approximately 1.5+/-0.6% fossil CO(2)) at the most remote location. As the anthropogenic signal is weak in the clean atmosphere over NEAR these numbers will, however, be very sensitive to the assumed background (14)CO(2) activity and the precision of the measurements. The model simulations include the interplay between the driving processes from the emission into the boundary layer and the following horizontal/vertical mixing and atmospheric transport and are used to analyse the meteorological conditions leading to the observed events of high fossil CO(2) over NEAR. This information about the history of the air masses is essential if an observed signal is to be utilised for identifying and quantifying sources for fossil CO(2).
Reactive organic compounds in the marine atmosphere have the potential to influence climate by changing the atmospheric oxidation capacity and by modifying the composition and size distribution of aerosol particles. These compounds are a sink for the hydroxyl radical (OH), which is the key atmospheric oxidant, responsible for regulating the lifetime of the powerful greenhouse gas methane (CH4). Formation of organic aerosol via oxidation of reactive organic species may contribute to cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) abundance in the marine atmosphere, and hence modify cloud brightness and lifetime. At the low CCN concentrations typical of the marine environment, cloud properties are highly sensitive to changes in CCN and respond non-linearly to aerosol concentrations. Due to the profound influence of marine stratocumulus clouds on global climate, and the extensive coverage of the oceans, there is high priority on improving understanding of the sources and sinks of reactive organic species in the remote marine atmosphere. 59ce067264