Posts Tagged ‘NASA’
Antarctic’s Pine Island glacier produces giant iceberg
Pine Island Glacier (PIG), the longest and fastest flowing glacier in the Antarctic, has spawned a huge iceberg.
The block measures about 720 sq km in area – roughly eight times the size of Manhattan Island in New York.
Scientists have been waiting for the PIG to calve since October 2011 when they first noticed a spectacular crack spreading across its surface.
Confirmation that the fissure had extended the full width of the glacier was obtained on Monday.
It was seen by the German TerraSAR-X satellite.
This carries a radar instrument that can detect the surface of the ice stream even though the Antarctic is currently in the grip of winter darkness.
The berg that broke away was part of the PIG’s ice shelf – the front segment of the glacier that lifts up and floats as it pushes out into the ocean. The shelf will reach tens of km beyond the grounding line.
German researchers have been receiving images from TerraSAR-X every three days or so, hoping to understand better the processes that drive the glacier forward and prompt it to fracture.
This will help them improve the computer models that are used to forecast future changes in the Antarctic.
“We were very keen to see how the crack propagated,” said Prof Angelika Humbert, a glaciologist with the Alfred Wegener Institute.
“We need proper calving laws, to be able to describe the evolution of ice sheets over centuries,” she told BBC News.
Very big tabular bergs will come off the end of the ice shelf every 6-10 years. Previous notable events occurred in 2007 and 2001.
It is a very natural process and scientists say it should not be tied directly to the very real climate changes that are also affecting this part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Satellite and airborne measurements have recorded a marked thinning and a surge in velocity of the PIG in recent decades.
This has been attributed in part to warmer waters getting under, and melting, the ice shelf. The PIG’s grounding line has pulled back further and further towards the land.
The glacier’s behaviour means it is now under close scrutiny, not least because it drains something like 10% of all the ice flowing off the west of the continent.
“The PIG is the most rapidly shrinking glacier on the planet,” explained Prof David Vaughan from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
“It’s losing more ice than any other glacier on the planet, and it’s contributing to sea level rise faster than any other glacier on the planet. That makes it worthy of study.”
BAS has recently deployed a series of instrumented “javelins”along the PIG to monitor its movement.
When the big crack propagating across the 30km width of the PIG was first photographed in 2011 by a Nasa airborne expedition, many assumed the moment of final calving would come quite quickly.
That it took almost two years for the tabular berg to break away is something of a surprise, concedes Prof Humbert.
What should not be a surprise, she says, is that it has occurred in deep winter when the ocean is covered in sea-ice. This relatively thin covering would always be overwhelmed by the internal stresses in the massive ice shelf.
What will be interesting now, she adds, is to see how long it takes for the berg to move out of the bay in front of it. It could take several months. TerraSAR-X will provide the tell-tale data.
The world’s largest recorded iceberg was the tabular block that became known as B-15.
When it broke off the Ross Ice Shelf in 2001, it had a surface area of about 11,000 sq km. It took years to melt away as it moved out into the Southern Ocean.
- credit, BBC
M3.2 Solar Flare
M3.2 Solar Flare
A moderate solar flare reaching M3.2 was detected around Sunspot 1748 at 08:57 UTC Friday morning. The latest solar flare event was associated with a 10cm Radio Burst (TenFlare) measuring 450sfu, along with Type II and IV Radio Emissions (Sweep Frequency Events). The active region is now in a geoeffective position for Earth directed Coronal Mass Ejecitons. I will provide further updates should a CME be associated. Stay Tuned for more information. Image below by SDO.
Major Ed Dames – Japan/North Korea/Solar Killshot (Dramatic Predictions)
The world’s foremost remote viewing teacher, Edward A. Dames, Major, U.S. Army (ret.) is a decorated military intelligence officer and an original member of the U.S. Army prototype remote viewing training program. He served as the training and operations officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency’s psychic intelligence (PSIINT) collection unit, and currently serves as executive director for the Matrix Intelligence Agency, a private consulting group.
He served as both training and operations officer for the U.S. government’s TOP SECRET psychic espionage unit.
M6.5 Solar Flare + CME / Proton Levels
M6.5 Solar Flare + CME / Proton Levels
The strongest solar flare in quite some time took place within the past couple of hours around Sunspot 1719. The moderately strong event measuring M6.5 took place at 07:16 UTC. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is now visible in the latest STEREO Ahead and STEREO Behind COR2 imagery. Because 1719 is now squarely facing Earth, the plasma should be directed this way. This will raise the chances of geomagnetic storming by this weekend. Stay Tuned to SolarHam.com for the latest information.
Click HERE for video capturing the Solar Flare and CME.
ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2013 Apr 11 0702 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 1370 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.
ALERT: Type IV Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2013 Apr 11 0702 UTC
Description: Type IV emissions occur in association with major eruptions on the sun and are typically associated with strong coronal mass ejections and solar radiation storms.
CME Update: A bright Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is visible within the new Lasco imagery. It appears in this image that a bulk of the plasma is directed towards the east, however although hard to see in the image below, there is an earthward component that should impact Earth. Stay Tuned for updates.
Proton Levels: Energetic Proton levels streaming past Earth are now on the rise following the solar flare from earlier. A radiation storm will soon be possible.
Credit – http://www.solarham.net/
Solar Flares: Scientists Change 2013 Predictions …
Solar flare predictions for 2013 are once again fluctuating. Space weather experts at NOAA and NASA agree that we are nearing the peak of the Sun’s 11-year cycle, but that is about the only fact that has garnered a consensus lately.
Coronal mass ejections (CME) are formed from sun spots. Scientists only learned how solar flares were formed during the past two decades. Since then, attempts to track and predict both CME direction and intensity have been ongoing. Solar Cycle 24 was expected to hit its peak in 2013, but then the experts thought the peak might be on the two-hump variety. Recent solar flare reports largely indicated that the solar peak would likely occur in May. Now the solar storm experts think Sun Cycle 24 might not peak until later in 2013 or possibly even 2014.
Basically, when or if a massive Earth-directed solar flare will hit is unknown. Solar flare activity has relatively quiet as of late. The lack of CMEs has some scientists believing Sun Cycle 24 will have a weak peak, yet others think this could be the calm before the storm.
NASA solar physicist C. Alex Young said, “If you look back in history, many of the previous solar cycles don’t have one ump, one maximum, but in fact have two.” The physicist was a featured speakers on NASA’s “Solar MAX Storm Warning: Effects on the Solar System webcast.
Concerns about a Carrington Event strength solar flare have some scientists prodding Congress to do more to protect our aging and overly-taxed power grid. Stores which sell prepping and survival products are booming. Fears about the possible life-changing impact a massive Earth-directed solar flare could bring are not the only reasons survival gear retailers have experienced a recent surge in sales. EMP attack threats by North Korea and the ongoing gun control debate also likely play a role in purchase habits of survival-focused Americans.
Solar activity, while relatively calm, remains ongoing. The most recent large coronal mass ejections happened on March 15. The CMA prompted a “glancing blow” at Earth two days after it was spotted. The solar flare prompted a mild geomagnetic storm which did not boast any significant effects on the planet.
A strong Earth-directed solar flare has the potential to render the power grid inoperable for various amounts of times, and end radio and GPS signals. The duration of a downed power grid would depend on both the power of the CME and the ability to garner replacement transformers and other necessary repair equipment.
How concerned about you about the power grid if Earth is hit by a maximum solar flare?