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18
votes
2answers
2k views

What happens to global temperature when we stop all the vehicles for a year?

I know this is a very simple or naive question but am just being curious. How would the global temperature change if all vehicles stopped for a whole year?
18
votes
2answers
5k views

What are the applications of hydrostatic solvers vs non-hydrostatic solvers in numerical weather prediction?

In the atmospheric dynamics research community, many colleagues of mine happen to use atmospheric models that have non-hydrostatic equation solvers, e.g. the UK MetOffice model, and WRF-ARW: The ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

How high can a mountain possibly get?

Mount Everest is 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) above sea level and is the result of a continental plate smashing into another continental plate. Can a tectonic process build a mountain that's even higher?...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Is the magma in one volcano different from the magma in every other volcano?

First off, a confession: I'm asking this question because of The Lord of the Rings. If you're not aware already, in the story, a magical ring can only be destroyed in a specific volcano. The reason ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do Tsunamis travel slower than sound?

Tsunamis, in the deep ocean, travel at around 800 kilometers per hour. The speed of sound under water is about 5300 kilometers per hour. Both of these waves are pressure waves, operating in the ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this ice cover real - and what circumstances are required to make it?

The title says it all... I assume it requires very slow freezing sheltered from the wind. Undercooled water, maybe? A Reddit thread talks about Delaunay triangulation, but that does not explain how ...
18
votes
3answers
14k views

What is the difference between eluvium and alluvium?

I was reading about kimberlite on Wikipedia and it mentioned eluvium. I've heard of alluvium, alluvial fans, alluvial deposits, etc. However, when I looked up eluvium, it sounded exactly like alluvium....
18
votes
1answer
51k views

How long until Earth's core solidifies?

How much longer does Earth have until the core turns solid? Does global warming change these estimates at all?
18
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2answers
2k views

Why Vp/Vs and not Vs/Vp?

The relation between shear wave velocity (Vs) and pressure wave velocity (Vp) is often expressed as Vp/Vs. Wouldn't the opposite be more logic? Vs/Vp would never lead to division with zero and the ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Historically, how has the fraction of Earth covered by water changed?

Today, 70.8% of the Earth is covered in water (± a few tenths of a percent depending on how you account for lakes).1 How has this figure changed over the history of the Earth, and why? Of course, if ...
18
votes
1answer
273 views

What percent of volcanoes are glaciated?

I have not been able to find an estimate of how many known volcanoes host perennial ice masses, and it would be very useful to me. Does anyone know of any attempts to do this?
18
votes
2answers
760 views

Is this 70km crack in an ice shelf of Antarctica remarkable, or a regular occurrence?

I've just seen the LiveScience article 70-Mile-Long Crack Opens Up in Anatarctica. I'm not sure if the title is a bit sensational or not, the crack is in an ice shelf, not the continent of Antarctica. ...
18
votes
2answers
945 views

Why are minerals found in “large” quantities and not scattered throughout the earth as individual atoms?

Heavier elements are created in stars. After stars die they scatter these heavier elements throughout the universe. These elements eventually gather to form planets. But why do we find "chunks" of ...
18
votes
2answers
6k views

Why does the Hadley cell descend at 30 degrees?

George Hadley's initial model of the Hadley cell described air as being heated at the equator, ascending, and then moving aloft pole-wards where it would cool and descend. Meanwhile surface air would ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Can glaciers be less than 30m thick?

The wikipedia page on Ice-sheet dynamics claims that: Ice will not flow until it has reached a thickness of 30 meters (98 ft) And this geography website claims that To be called a glacier, a ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Is Earth getting heavier or lighter?

There is meteoric material falling on the Earth constantly, as well as some protons and other light nuclei from the solar wind as well as from cosmic rays. At the same time Earth's atmosphere looses ...
18
votes
2answers
327 views

What is the status of meteorological data exchange standards?

How do the web services exchange meteorological data? One method is transferring NetCDF and GRIB data and hooking them up to your software. I read here about the possibility of using WFS and WCS. ...
18
votes
1answer
4k views

How long does it take for the ocean conveyor to circulate?

What is the period of the thermohaline circulation in the ocean? Obviously, individual particles may take longer or shorter, but what is the average for a small water parcel to do a full loop and end ...
18
votes
1answer
382 views

How is global weather model skill measured?

The models I have in mind are the major global models such as the Global Forecast System (GFS) and the European Center for Medium range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF). These models produce numerous ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Can Venus be considered to be tectonically active?

Venus is noted for its absence of spreading ridges, transform faults, and subduction zones, which are characteristic of plate tectonics on Earth. But given that it exhibits rift zones, mountain belts ...
18
votes
1answer
154 views

Paleogene transantarctic seaway

Lawver & Gahagan (1998; 2003) hypothesized, based on sea level records and the isostatically adjusted bedrock surface of Antarctica, the existence of a Trans-Antarctic Seaway linking the Ross Sea ...
18
votes
1answer
567 views

What is the importance of mixing caused by outgassing in the ocean?

I have been asked the following question for which I have no clear answer: What is the relative importance on mixing of the vertical flow of gases (e.g., Oxygen produced by photosynthesis, CO2 ...
17
votes
3answers
9k views

If 75% of radioactive material remains, how many half-lives have elapsed?

Radioactive element A radioactively decays into material B. If 75% of A and 25% of ...
17
votes
5answers
589 views

Does vegetation contribute to long-term carbon sequestration?

So we know that vegetation sequesters carbon dioxide into its leaves. Much of this carbon sequestration is temporary, since when the plant dies, much of it is released as CO2 back into the atmosphere. ...
17
votes
3answers
11k views

Why is Earth not a sphere?

We've all learned at school that the Earth was a sphere. Actually, it is more nearly a slightly flattened sphere - an oblate ellipsoid of revolution, also called an oblate spheroid. This is an ellipse ...
17
votes
3answers
44k views

How to interpolate scattered data to a regular grid in Python?

I have three txt files for longitude, latitude and temperature (or let's say three lists lon, lat, temp) from scattered weather station in the UK. I would like firstly to interpolate these data in ...
17
votes
2answers
5k views

Does the US National Weather Service use Celsius or Fahrenheit?

This tweet from the National Weather Service in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, USA says: We have officially hit -30 here at the NWS La Crosse office as of 520 a.m. The wind chill is -54. Be sure to dress ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I explain why the Tibetan plateau is colder than lowlands at similar latitudes?

A common layman explanation for why does it get colder to higher elevations (considering only the troposphere here) qualitatively boils down to The Sun heats the Earth's surface and the Earth's ...
17
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3answers
3k views

Is 2015's record average temperature evidence that we are now experiencing runaway climate change?

2015 had the highest global temperatures on record, as discussed in this question, beating the last record ... in 2014. Are we now in a runaway climate change regime, where zero further human ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

How do long rivers exist?

I was recently on a long-haul flight over Siberia and it struck me as rather remarkable that something like the Lena River could exist. It seems very surprising that there's a route from some random ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

What causes the Earth to have magnetic poles?

A compass can tell me the directions of the Earth's North and South poles? What is it about the Earth that produces this "polarity" such that a compass can pick it up? The first thing that jumped ...
17
votes
2answers
6k views

July/August hottest months (northern hemisphere): because of continued warming or other effects?

In the northern hemisphere, July and August are the hottest months statistically1, but the days start shortening after June 21st. Is this just because the Northern Hemisphere keeps heating up after ...
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
686 views

To what extent is hydroelectric power really renewable?

One of the more widespread "renewable" ways of generating power is by harnessing hydropower, i.e. by exploiting the movement of falling or flowing water. Some of the most commonly seen implementations ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

When can taste be used to help identify rocks?

Taste can be used to distinguish halite (ordinary salt) from sylvite (which has some bitterness) and siltstone from mudstone (the latter has a creamy texture while the grains of the former can be felt)...
17
votes
2answers
377 views

What geophysical events can (temporarily) increase the Earth's rate of rotation?

My understanding is that the dominant factor behind the slowing of the Earth's rotation (i.e. the lengthening of the day) is tidal friction induced by the Moon's gravity. As seen on the graph below, ...
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does sea level correspond to boundary between oceanic and continental crust?

Is it a coincidence? the first is determined by the amount of water on the Earth and the second comes from evolution of tectonic plates. Still, oceans seem to fill exactly the oceanic crust.
17
votes
3answers
556 views

Are there any techniques for imaging the deep Earth besides seismic waves?

It is well-known that we can learn a lot about the structure of the lower crust, mantle, and core by observing the ways in which they refract different kinds of seismic waves. Do we have any other ...
17
votes
1answer
19k views

What are the differences between geology, petrology, and lithology?

What differences are there between geology, petrology, and lithology? If I were to get into any of those fields, what exactly would I be studying? Also, are petrology and lithology just branches of ...
17
votes
1answer
6k views

What is the range of possible atmospheric pressures on the surface of the Earth?

I'm developing an Android app which uses a pressure sensor. Due to storage limitations I have to normalize and scale the atmospheric pressure values. For this I need to know the extreme values of ...
17
votes
2answers
15k views

What determines a mineral's hardness?

Mohs Hardness Scale is basically a measurement of the hardness of a material, or more specific, a rock or mineral. But I have never been able to figure out why some minerals are harder than others.
17
votes
3answers
10k views

Is there a reason most mountain ranges seem to run parallel to coastlines?

Eyeballing a map of the world, it seems that most mountain ranges that don't occur along continental fault lines run parallel to coastlines. Is there a reason for this?
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does a subduction zone produce a serpentinization diapir rather than volcanism?

The classic Troodos Ophiolite in Cyprus has been uplifted by a 'serpentinization event'. Upper mantle (peridotite) has been serpentinized creating a buoyant diapir. This has uplifted the ocean crust ...
17
votes
3answers
26k views

Why does the Inter tropical Convergence Zone shift?

I am currently learning at school about the climatic conditions (mainly winds, difference in pressure, Coriolis effect, etc.) that cause and affect the monsoons received by India. One of the factors ...
17
votes
1answer
13k 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-...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

What influences tide-height the most? Can I guess the height by looking on a globe?

I hope that the question title is resonably clear: What are the most significant factors which influence the tide height? I'm aware of the following couple of them: Sun-Earth-Moon relative position (...
17
votes
1answer
999 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

Percentage of dry land surface with sea level elevation lower than 1 km

Being this my first questions on this .SE I hope that the topic is appropriate. I've been told that 99% of the living species on earth live in between -200m and 800m above sea level, this made me ...
17
votes
1answer
406 views

Can earthquakes contribute to Antarctic ice loss?

I read about the earthquake that took place in Japan in 2011, led to some small calving events in Antarctica (link). So, it makes me think if there is a big earthquake near or in Antarctica, can it ...

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