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8
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does air subside in the Eye - the lowest pressure area of a tropical cyclone?

A low pressure area is associated with rising air while a high pressure area is associated with subsiding air. The best explanation I could come up with is either the cyclone is an exception or the ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How to read a NetCDF4 file in Matlab?

I have downloaded the sea surface temperature data from the Ocean Color website, the file is in NetCDF format and contains no of geophysical_data variables like sst,...
-6
votes
2answers
505 views

Why cannot people burn all the atmospheric oxygen? [closed]

We are told that photosynthesis, developed a couple of billion years ago has produced all the atmospheric oxygen. I wonder, why did the process stop? Why do modern plants prefer to recover the entropy ...
23
votes
3answers
10k views

Why is there a seasonal cycle to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere?

I'm doing some homework on the increase of $\mathrm{CO}_2$ in the atmosphere. On one of the graphs it shows the amount of $\mathrm{CO}_2$ peaks in May and has a low in November. Why is this? Shouldn't ...
16
votes
1answer
479 views

How will cloud feedback effects on the climate change as the result of global warming?

So global warming will increase the tropospheric temperatures, which, in turn, would make the clouds higher than they otherwise would be. And higher clouds (especially cirrus clouds) tend to trap in ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How is the equilibrium of 21% oxygen in Earth's atmosphere established?

The atmosphere is 21% oxygen. I assume that there must be an equilibrium between processes that produce oxygen (e.g. photosynthesis) and those that consume oxygen (e.g. aerobic respiration). Moreover,...
16
votes
2answers
14k views

What caused the bend in the Emperor/Hawaii chain of islands, 45 million years ago?

What caused the bend in the Emperor/Hawaii chain of islands, 45 million years ago? Has there been any updates to this mystery I am unaware of? Are there any new theories that could potentially ...
15
votes
2answers
46k views

Are the processes of the rock cycle currently in dynamic equilibrium?

The standard representation of the rock cycle usually looks like this: Does each stage of the rock cycle currently balance? That is, are the various processes in dynamic equilibrium, so that the ...
13
votes
2answers
445 views

What causes the beautiful Auroras on the north and south magnetic poles?

What is the scientific reason for the majestic sights of the northern and southern lights, otherwise known as Auroras near the magnetic poles, and why do the northern lights differ from the southern ...
12
votes
5answers
18k views

Why do gold deposits form only in certain areas of the earth?

In the map above you can find that most elements are spread evenly throughout Earth's crust and that they are available all around the Earth. However, gold can only be found in certain areas of the ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How could this pyramidal Mountain have been formed?

How could this pyramidal peak have been formed in Antarctica? Little is known about it as far as I know but what is known is that its miles away from any existing plate boundary and its shape is also ...
9
votes
1answer
145 views

How would weather change on a tidally-locked terrestrial planet?

On Earth, weather is very much affected by the Earth's rotation around its axis and around the Sun. Even locations that are almost on the equator do have strong annual variations in precipitation and ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Deciphering NCDC data

I need US monthly climate data for the years 1992-2012. It would be great to get down to a county level, but by state would be just fine. Every site that I go to inevitably kicks me to the NCDC, but I ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How often do king tides (perigean spring tides) occur?

Recently, there has been a lot of information about "King Tides" (i.e, perigean spring tides) on the news with a number of groups relating the peak king tide to future normal conditions (2050) under ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

Relationship between tides and earthquakes

Ide et al. (2016) suggest that earthquakes (especially those of high magnitudes) are more probable during periods of high tidal stress (during full and new moons). While they show a comprehensive ...
4
votes
1answer
632 views

Causes of fluctuations in atmospheric oxygen in past 300 Mya

I have two questions based on the history of atmospheric oxygen levels depicted below. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sauerstoffgehalt-1000mj2.png. The notes below the chart explain ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

If the earth is a globe, what causes temperature differences across lines of latitude?

If the earth is a globe and the sun is 93 million miles away, why is the equator the hottest place on earth? In terms of distances to the sun, the distance to the equator is almost equal to that as ...
58
votes
5answers
367k views

Why does lightning strike from the ground-up?

The enlightening image below is of a lightning strike slowed down at 10,000 frames per second. It can be seen that the most intense flash produced from the lightening occurs in the direction from ...
29
votes
4answers
4k views

How do weather models work?

We use different weather models all the time, such as the ECMWF and the GFS. These models are simply amazing to me. How do these models work? I know they have to take in various data points - what ...
43
votes
3answers
10k views

How do 'greenhouse gases' let heat in, but not let it out?

That honestly doesn't make any sense to me. How could heat pass through a gas one way but not the other? Its not like our upper atmostphere has a bunch of doors that can only open one way. To me, that ...
35
votes
5answers
13k views

How is the mass of the Earth determined?

According to textbook knowledge, the mass of the Earth is about $6 × 10^{24}\,\mathrm{kg}$. How is this number determined when one cannot just weight the Earth using regular scales?
28
votes
6answers
96k views

How high must one be for the curvature of the earth to be visible to the eye?

I would like to ask that at what distance from the Earth's surface the curvature of the Earth is visible. What layer of the atmosphere is this? I've noticed that at the height of 9-12 Km (the view ...
28
votes
8answers
3k views

Is earthquake prediction possible?

After the Tohoku and East Coast quakes, I skimmed over several books discussing the validity of earthquake prediction as a discipline, yet found no significant breakthroughs. What should change in our ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

How to get cell indices from latitude and longitude in WRF model grids?

I am using Weather Research and Forecasting model WRF and the WRF Preprocessing System WPS and could not get a satisfying answer from wrfhelp. Can anyone guide me in transforming latitude and ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is WRF most often configured at 3:1 nesting ratio?

In WRF application, nested domain has always been used for weather/air quality modeling for the place of interest in a better resolution. The figure below illustrates this: I have noticed that the ...
37
votes
3answers
36k views

What would be the temperature of earth if there was no atmosphere?

I do know that the atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect),and reducing temperature extremes between ...
29
votes
2answers
5k views

Is this XKCD comic an accurate timeline of the earth's average temperature?

Apologies for the length of the image, which I found at http://xkcd.com/1732/. I'm mostly interested in the temperature line itself, both the historical data and the forward projections. The reason ...
20
votes
1answer
253 views

What can we learn by studying lunar atmospheric tides?

Lunar atmospheric tides are likely insignificant for weather, although Guoqing (2005) asserts that The lunar revolution around the earth strongly influences the atmospheric circulation. They don't ...
17
votes
1answer
9k views

What are the differences between an LES-SGS model and a RANS based turbulence model?

I'm kind of new to the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) modeling world and I wondered what is the difference between an LES subgrid scale model like the Smagorinsky–Lilly model and a one-equation Reynolds-...
13
votes
2answers
50k views

Are clouds a gas, liquid, and/or solid?

Are clouds a solid, liquid, or gas? I have been looking online and they are often described ambiguously as a "mass". For instance, from NASA: A cloud is a mass of water drops or ice crystals ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

What sort of climate zones would be present if Earth was tilted like Uranus?

The three main climate zones on Earth are tropics, temperate and polar. Due to Earth's axial tilt, the three zones experience different seasonal patterns: The tropics experience 2 or 4 wet/dry ...
22
votes
2answers
14k views

Why do crystals, like quartz and diamonds, form in different colors?

Some crystals, like quartz and diamonds, form in a variety of different colors. For example, quartz can be clear, 'foggy', pink, yellow, and even blue. What happens during the crystal's formation to ...
19
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the origin of the ocean's salt?

We know we cannot live without salt, but an investigation into the origins of ocean's salt leads one to believe that this issue is not fully resolved yet. What geological phenomenon caused the earth ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Why don't scientists use fire entry suits to study volcanoes?

It seems like the only personal protective equipment (PPE) that volcanologists use are aluminized suits that don't provide any protection from direct contact with lava, making an unexpected splash ...
17
votes
4answers
14k views

What was the first rock in the rock cycle?

I am an undergraduate student but I am a tutor at a High School, and one student asked me. Attempting to explain the rock cycle "if one rock turns into the other then which came first" my gut is ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

What causes waves to form the characteristic “breaking” shape as they approach the shoreline?

We all know that as waves approach the shallow shores, the waves begin to form a characteristic shape. The upper portion of these breaking waves appears to curl forward and downwards over the bottom ...
12
votes
2answers
315 views

How to tell if fog is made out of water droplets or ice crystals?

I understand that clouds can be made out of water droplets and/or ice crystals. And that fog is nothing else than low-lying clouds. However, I've experienced fog in a wide ranges of temperatures. I ...
30
votes
2answers
44k views

At what humidity does it start to rain?

As far as I understand it is perfectly valid for air to have 100% humidity. At that point, all water can still exist in form of vapor, non-condensed. Does it immediately start to rain if humidity is >...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

Could the extraction of energy by wind turbines be harmful to the environment?

Wind turbines work by converting some of the energy from wind to electrical energy. Is it possible to have too many turbines, leading to them removing too much energy from the wind? I'm not an ...
23
votes
5answers
21k views

Is the color of the sky the same everywhere on earth?

Is the color of the sky at noon (local time) in, say, NY, Buenos Aires, London, Nairobi, Sydney, New Delhi and Tokyo the same? I choose the specific time of noon to exclude the twilight colors of the ...
23
votes
1answer
2k views

What were the tallest mountain ranges in Earth's geological past?

There have been numerous episodes of mountain building in Earth's geological history, particularly through the super-continent cycle. Many mountains and mountain ranges have been eroded, as mentioned ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

Does the strength of Earth's magnetic field influence its climate?

The strength and orientation of Earth's magnetic field varies with time. Does this variation of the magnetic field have any influence upon climate? For example, is there any correlation between ice ...
22
votes
2answers
344 views

What properties must a rocky body possess in order to exhibit plate tectonics?

The Earth exhibits plate tectonics, but the other terrestrial planets do not (though Mars and Venus may have exhibited plate tectonics in the past). What is "special" about Earth that allows it to ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a database of global rainfall time series?

Is there any institute out there collecting time series data of precipitation, and making them accessible online? I need data for a few different locations, but: Low spatial resolution is fine. For ...
20
votes
6answers
15k views

Why doesn't the sun reach its highest point overhead at exactly 12:00 noon?

Many sources state that 12:00 noon is the high-point or mid-point of the sun's path across the sky. However, for where I am, this is obviously wrong. In my own town the high point of the sun occurs ...
19
votes
2answers
43k views

How do seismologists locate the epicenter and focus of an earthquake?

I know the focus of an earthquake is where the earthquake originated from, but what I could never figure out is, how to scientists find out where exactly the focus (and epicenter) are located?
18
votes
3answers
5k views

Do fossil fuels insulate the crust from the Earth's interior?

I was doing a project for my English class, and I came upon the article Energy conservation in the earth's crust and climate change. I can't view the full text of the article, but the abstract piqued ...
18
votes
2answers
5k views

Where is the calmest place on Earth?

I have done some research online, and I've found out that Antarctica has the calmest winds (lowest maximum wind speed) recorded on Earth. However, it is uninhabitable for human life. Other very calm ...
17
votes
1answer
828 views

Why do tropical cyclones not tear themselves apart?

A tropical cyclone is the generic term for a hurricane, typhoon, or tropical storm. Tropical cyclones derive their energy from evaporation of water at the ocean surface which ultimately recondenses ...
16
votes
2answers
13k views

Coriolis effect and Cyclones

The Coriolis force predicts that winds in the northern hemisphere should be deflected in a clockwise pattern and winds in the southern hemisphere should be deflected in an anti-clockwise pattern. Why ...

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