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Posts Tagged ‘space weather research’

…And Now For The Weather On Mars


Credits: NASA

Credits: NASA

Snowstorms lashing down at the northern hemisphere of Mars during the icy cold winters may be predicted several weeks in advance, say researchers from the Tohoku University in Sendai (Japan) and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Katlenburg-Lindau (Germany) in their newest publication. For the first time, the scientists’ calculations show a connection between these snowfalls and a special Martian weather phenomenon: fluctuations of pressure, temperature, wind speeds, and directions that in the northern hemisphere propagate in a wave-like manner and occur very regularly. For missions to the red planet exploring this region with rovers, such weather forecasts would offer the possibility of choosing a route that avoids heavy snow storms.

“Mars’ seasonal ice has two different origins”, says Dr. Paul Hartogh from the MPS. “A part of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere condensates directly on the surface – similar to the way a layer of frost forms on Earth in cold, clear weather. Another part freezes in the atmosphere”, he adds. The tiny ice crystals accumulate into clouds and fall to the ground as snow. In the new study, the researchers were now for the first time able to establish a connection between the occurrence of such ice clouds and a wave-like weather phenomenon characterized by a periodic change of pressure, temperature, wind speed, and -direction.

Full Story: http://www.mpg.de/7241305/Mars-weather
Also: https://www.mps.mpg.de/en/aktuelles/pressenotizen/pressenotiz_20130508.html

NASA Telescopes See Weather Patterns In Brown Dwarf

January 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Artist's illustration. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s illustration. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have probed the stormy atmosphere of a brown dwarf, creating the most detailed “weather map” yet for this class of cool, star-like orbs. The forecast shows wind-driven, planet-sized clouds enshrouding these strange worlds.

Brown dwarfs form out of condensing gas, as stars do, but lack the mass to fuse hydrogen atoms and produce energy. Instead, these objects, which some call failed stars, are more similar to gas planets with their complex, varied atmospheres. The new research is a stepping-stone toward a better understanding not only of brown dwarfs, but also of the atmospheres of planets beyond our solar system.

“With Hubble and Spitzer, we were able to look at different atmospheric layers of a brown dwarf, similar to the way doctors use medical imaging techniques to study the different tissues in your body,” said Daniel Apai, the principal investigator of the research at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who presented the results at the American Astronomical Society meeting Tuesday in Long Beach, Calif.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-013

Space Weather Warnings for Earth & Forecasts for Exoplanets

March 29, 2012 Leave a comment

The UK Met Office’s weather and climate model is being adapted to help understand space weather at Earth and the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars. Two teams of scientists will present their work at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester.

The Met Office plans to expand its services to provide operational space weather forecasts for the UK. It is pooling skills with the UK’s space weather research community to extend its ‘Unified Model’ upwards to include the Earth’s thermosphere, a region about 90-600km above the Earth surface. The impact of space weather events is very commonly seen in this region.

“Space weather can affect the aviation and power industries, as well as a whole range of activities that rely on GPS timing and positioning, radio communication or satellite-based observations,” said the Met Office’s Dr David Jackson, who will present the project on Friday 30th March.

“To develop a more accurate and useful advanced-warning system for space weather, we need to develop a system of interconnected models that describe the whole domain – the conditions on the Sun, interplanetary space, the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, all the way down to the Earth’s surface. The more accurate we can be in representing interactions between the lower atmosphere and thermosphere, the more we can enhance thermospheric forecasts, and thus improve space weather forecast products for users,” Jackson continued.

Full Story: http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/meetings/nam2012/pressreleases/nam13.html