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13
votes
2answers
375 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
50k 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 ...
26
votes
4answers
12k views

What is the origin of the dominant atmospheric nitrogen content in Earth's atmosphere?

Comparing the atmospheric compositions of Earth with our nearest neighbours: As the table shows, the Earth's atmospheric nitrogen concentration is 78%, compared to 3.8% for Venus and 2.7% for Mars ...
26
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does glacier ice look blue?

The color of the ice observed in glaciers, icebergs and crevasses is often blue. However, ice cubes and industrial ice blocks are perfectly transparent or white if not. So. Why does glacier ice look ...
24
votes
1answer
3k 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
5answers
25k 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
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
349 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
4k 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
18k 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
44k 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
2answers
6k 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 ...
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 ...
17
votes
1answer
956 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
14k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
6k views

Is the Earth's hot inner core necessary for life?

The inner core of the Earth has an enormous temperature of around 4300 degrees Celsius. Is this large inner core temperature an important factor contributing to the ideal temperature that is ...
15
votes
1answer
364 views

How will climate change affect the 3D distribution of lapse rate in the atmosphere?

The lapse rate is the rate at which temperature decreases with height. By "3D" distribution, I mean distribution across all latitudes, longitudes, and heights. Would climate change change the lapse ...
15
votes
5answers
31k views

(Why) Is there more landmass on Earth's Northern hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere?

This Question on Worldbuilding is based on the presumption that there is a greater amount of landmass on the Earth's Northern Hemisphere than there is on the Southern Hemisphere. While researching ...
14
votes
1answer
328 views

What is likely to have happened with these newly discovered antarctic volcanos below the ice?

The Guardian article Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet highlights a recently published University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences discovery and cataloging of over ninety ...
14
votes
1answer
898 views

How is carbon distributed among the atmosphere, the oceans, the biomass and the unburnt fossil fuels?

In relation to my other question about carbon cycle and climate change, i would like to know some estimates of the carbon distribution among the atmosphere, the oceans, the biomass and the unburnt ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How to interpret hourly precipitation forecast?

How should I interpret the hourly precipitation forecasts? Most of the time, when there is rain in the forecast, the maximum Probability of Precipitation (PoP) in the hourly forecast is about the ...
5
votes
1answer
155 views

How to predict when contrails are likely to form over a specific location using public data?

I saw the image below used as a click-attractor to an unrelated story about tourism, but found a larger version here. Contrails, or water condensation trails happen when planes pass through the ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Convert OMI NO2 Vertical Column Density (molecules/cm^2) into Mixing Ratio (ppm)

I want to convert OMI AURA data on NO2 column amounts in molecules/cm2 into ppm for comparison purposes with other literature. Can it be done? Is there a standard way of doing it? I looked into the ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

Academic but accessible defense of the scientific understanding of anthropogenic climate change?

I'm an intelligent and well-educated guy, but all of my schooling has been in economics, statistics, and public policy. I'm interested in reading a thorough explanation/defense of the scientific ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

How did Earth's plate tectonics start?

Plate tectonics is a theory which describes Earth's lithosphere as being composed of distinct plates which are able to move atop of the underlying asthenosphere. At plate boundaries, this movement ...
17
votes
1answer
174 views

What is the appropriate vertical datum to use globally?

When studying sea level changes, it is normal to analyze water level with respect to a common vertical datum. The most used datum is Mean Sea Level (MSL), which NOAA defines as "The arithmetic mean of ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Simple Climate Models that Predict Climate Change

I have a physics/maths background, and to me the most convincing evidence of a scientific fact is often a very simple model that gives reasonable results. A simplified model, which you can fully ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Impact craters under water

What would be the resulting impact crater of a meteorite hitting bodies of water on Earth? Let's take for example the impactor that resulted in Meteor Crater, Arizona. What would the impact look like ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

Why are weather service atmospheric pressures systematically different from those I measure in Johannesburg?

I live in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg in South Africa. I have noticed while working with synoptic weather charts in geography class that the isobars indicate that Johannesburg should have ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Characterizing earthquakes using accelerometer data

Is there a way to use accelerometer data to characterize earthquake intensity, e.g., on Richter scale?
14
votes
1answer
422 views

Is this a former volcano in the Hamad Plateau, in the Syrian desert?

On my random explorations of google maps, I came across this interesting terrain: (link to map here) Apparently, this is part of the so-called Hamad Plateau, in the Syrian desert. If so, the rock ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

Can we really travel through earth's core?

Inspired by the movie, "The Core". Can we really travel through earth's core? I will provide 2 sub questions: Is there any substance that can resist the heat of earth's core? Between the crust and ...
13
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the tallest fully underwater seamount in the world?

I am wondering what is the tallest fully underwater seamount in the world ? When I say the tallest, I mean the one that is the nearest of the sea level. EDIT : The highest that I found would be at ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

How to make Martian soil

My son wants to replicate some experiments and try to grow plants in Martian soil for his A-level science project. I know NASA have managed to produce soil that mimics Martian soil, however I also ...
13
votes
2answers
551 views

Why would volcano eruption cause cardiac arrest?

Following recent eruption of Mt Ontake and the sad news of over 30 people found in 'cardiac arrest', why would the eruption cause it? My initial thought would be that the cause of death would ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does the “Ring of Fire” pretty much define “Pacific Rim”

The Pacific Rim is pretty much defined by the so-called "Ring of Fire." It consists of the "stomping ground" for a disproportionate number of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the affected territory ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the formula used for atmospheric visibility?

I am working on NCEP GFS data to plot various maps. One such plot I would like to have is visibility. I have seen some of the sites showing visibility charts and the source of the data was shown as ...
10
votes
3answers
409 views

Did climate cool down when underground hydrocarbons stocks formed?

As far as I understand, the dominant theory of modern climate change says that recent warming is mainly caused by the massive burning of hydrocarbons that used to be stored in solid form mostly ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Source of water for the Great Artesian Basin in Australia

The Great Artesian Basin in Australia covers 23% of the continent and contains 64,900 cubic kilometres of water. Many years ago it was claimed on a TV science show I saw that some of the water in the ...
9
votes
1answer
350 views

What is the current equilibrium surface temperature of Earth, i.e. without the sun?

Without the sun to keep the Earth's temperature topped up to something comfortable, what would be the equilibrium surface temperature range. It would obviously be a balance between outgoing radiation ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How do Rossby Waves in the ocean form?

So on land, I believe that one factor in their formation is due to inhomogeneities in surface heating between land and ocean (and also inhomogeneities in surface heating due to terrain effects like ...
8
votes
1answer
213 views

Prompt gravity signal induced by the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake - could this really be useful for warnings?

Edit: Two new items may shed more light on this question: BBC: Gravity signals rapidly show true size of giant quakes links to: Science: Observations and modeling of the elastogravity signals ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Can we reduce the scale of volcanic eruptions by drilling some canals or bombing some holes in the crater?

As we know, when large scale volcanic eruptions occurs, large amounts of ashes and lava rushed out at short time, is it possible to drill some canels or bomb some holes in the crater so that the gas ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Was the filling of the Three Gorges Dam's impact on the Earth's rotation rate detectable?

I'm a big fan of Vsauce and the video How Earth Moves is just one example of science related to the Earth available there (there's plenty more). But the statement in this video starting at ...
8
votes
1answer
816 views

Are coral cays and coral atolls just volcanic islands?

Are coral cays and coral atolls just a different type of volcanic island? When I hear: "volcanic island" I think at places like Moorea or Hawaii, but ultimately, coral cays and coral atolls lay their ...
8
votes
3answers
672 views

What exactly is a model grid?

I have just begun reading some notes about modelling and can't seem to understand what a 1°x1° grid or a 2.5° grid or 1/4° grid is. I know it is something related to the resolution of the area over ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What causes a rainbow, its colours and its shape?

What is the cause of rainbows? Do they appear due to rainfall or any other natural phenomenon. What makes it form a semi-circle in the atmosphere and its colours?
6
votes
2answers
14k views

What are the differences between Climatology, Meteorology and Atmospheric Science?

Please explain the main differences between Climatology, Meteorology and Atmospheric Science. Thank you
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Axial Obliquity and Climate Change

The Wikipedia page for Earth's Axial tilt says: Earth's obliquity oscillates between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees on a 41,000-year cycle. It is currently 23.44 degrees and decreasing. My Questions are: ...

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