Category Archives: Earth

A Mysterious Seismic ‘Blip’ From Deep Inside Earth Pulsates Every 26 Seconds

A Mysterious Seismic ‘Blip’ From Deep Inside Earth Pulsates Every 26 Seconds

themindunleashed.com

Every 26 seconds for the last 60 years seismologists have detected a ubiquitous pulse emanating from deep inside the Earth.

Every 26 seconds for the last 60 years seismologists have detected a ubiquitous pulse emanating from deep inside the Earth. The debate over the cause of this mysterious “microseism” has gone on for decades and produced several cogent hypotheses, but scientists still don’t know decisively what’s behind the phenomenon.

First observed and recorded by geologist Jack Oliver in the early 1960s, then studied more extensively in the following decades, the pulse is known to be stronger during storms. But storms don’t turn off and on every 26 seconds, nor do volcanos, which have also been proposed as the source.

In 2005, a graduate student named Greg Bensen tracked the origin of the pulse to a more narrow location, a single source in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western coast of Africa; six years later, another team honed in even closer, pinpointing the origin in an area of the Gulf of Guinea called the Bight of Bonny.

This team believed the waves crashing on that coast were responsible for the seismic blip. Others, however, weren’t convinced. Some believed it was caused by the sun itself. While tectonic activity, earthquakes, and volcanos regularly trigger solid seismic sounds, a more mellow soundscape of seismic static runs in near perpetuity.

Mike Ritzwoller, a seismologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who has studied the pulse for decades, says that while the pulse is a mystery, seismic activity, in general, is not.

“Seismic noise basically exists because of the sun,” whose energy hits the equator and the poles unevenly, creating wind, storms, ocean currents, and waves, all of which work to displace and buffet energy onto the coastline.

“It’s like if you were tapping on your desk. It deforms the area near your knuckle, but then it’s being transmitted across the whole table,” Ritzwoller explains. “So someone sitting at the other side of the table, if they put their hand, or maybe their cheek, on the table, they can feel the vibration.” 

With the advent more advanced tools and technologies, scientists have been able to study the pulse more closely and most generally agree that the Bight of Bonny is ground zero for whatever is happening. Currently, many researchers are beginning to think the cause may be that this specific place on the edge of the enormous North American continental shelf (far below the ocean floor) is basically the other end of the desk Ritzwoller used as a metaphor. In other words, a drum the size of a continent is somehow consolidating its reverberations into a single spot.

Some researchers still believe volcanism is the answer and point to an active volcano on the island of São Tomé in the Bight of Bonny as evidence.

Why any of these physical phenomena would produce such a strange clockwork pulse every 26 seconds remains a mystery.

“We’re still waiting for the fundamental explanation of the cause of this phenomenon,” Ritzwoller says with a beat of optimism about the next decades of seismology. “I think the point [of all this] is there are very interesting, fundamental phenomena in the earth that are known to exist out there and remain secret.”

Carbon pollution fell 17 percent during coronavirus lockdown peak

I say let’s keep the lockdown on permanently, as the planet and its inhabitants seem to be enjoying life without the human virus!

Source

http://www.aljazeera.com

May 20, 2020

Study reveals such low levels not recorded since 2006, but temporary reduction could be just ‘a drop in the ocean’.

The skyline of Milan is seen at sunset following a pollution reduction caused by the lockdown across the country [Daniele Mascolo/Reuters]
The skyline of Milan is seen at sunset following a pollution reduction caused by the lockdown across the country [Daniele Mascolo/Reuters]
 

The world cut its daily carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown last month, a new study has found.

But with life and heat-trapping gas levels inching back towards normal, the brief pollution break will likely be “a drop in the ocean” when it comes to climate change, scientists said in the study released on Tuesday in the Nature Climate Change journal.

In their study of carbon dioxide emissions during the pandemic, an international team of scientists calculated that pollution levels were heading back up and, for the year, would end up between four and seven percent lower than 2019 levels.

The figure will be seven percent if the strictest lockdown rules remain all year long across much of the globe, and four percent if they are lifted soon.

That is still the biggest annual drop in carbon emissions since World War II.

For a week in April, the US cut its carbon dioxide levels by about a third.

China, the world’s biggest emitter of heat-trapping gases, sliced its carbon pollution by nearly a quarter in February. India and Europe cut emissions by 26 percent and 27 percent respectively.

The biggest global drop was from April 4 through 9 when the world was spewing 18.7 million fewer tonnes of carbon pollution a day than on New Year’s Day.

Such low global emission levels have not been recorded since 2006.

But by April 30, the world’s carbon pollution levels had grown by 3.3 million tonnes a day from its low point earlier in the month.

Carbon dioxide stays in the air for about a century.

Air pollution in Iran drops due to coronavirus outbreak
Clear sky covers Iran’s capital Tehran as air pollution levels drop due to the coronavirus outbreak [File: Muhammet Kursun/Anadolu]

Outside experts praised the study as the most comprehensive yet, saying it shows how much effort was needed to prevent dangerous levels of further global warming.

“That underscores a simple truth: Individual behaviour alone … won’t get us there,” Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, who was not part of the study, said in an email. “We need fundamental structural change.”

If the world could keep up annual emission cuts like this without a pandemic for a couple of decades, there was a decent chance Earth could avoid warming another 1C (1.8F) of warming from now, authors of the study said.

But getting the type of yearly cuts to reach that international goal is unlikely, they said.

The study, carried out by Global Carbon Project, looked at 450 databases showing daily energy use and introduced a measurement scale for pandemic-related societal “confinement” in its estimates.

Nearly half the emission reductions came from less transportation pollution, mostly involving cars and trucks, the authors said.

By contrast, the study found that drastic reductions in air travel only accounted for 10 percent of the overall pollution drop.

Pricing pollution

SOURCE: AP NEWS AGENCY