I. Climate Change
1. Southern Greenland Wildfire Extinguished
Scientists are still investigating the cause, fuel source, and overall impact of the weeks-long blaze.
II. Hazards & Disasters
1. Detecting Gas Leaks with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
A Norwegian team develops an improved, cost-effective method to detect chemical discharges under the sea.
2. In Pursuit of Flash Flood Data
How remote sensing of streams provides valuable data for the characterization, prediction, and warning of impending flash floods.
III. Science Policy
1. White House R&D Priorities Differ from Its Budget Requests
The administration’s top R&D priority areas are American military superiority, security, prosperity, energy dominance, and health.
2. Grant Will Advance Standards Promoting Open, High-Quality Data
Ensuring that data in the Earth and space sciences are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) lies at the heart of a new project funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
IV. Hydrology, Cryosphere & Earth Surface
1. What Controls the Shape of Steep Mountain Streams?
The shape of steep river streams changes systematically with channel slope, but field data and theoretical analysis reveal that slope is not the sole factor in setting a channel’s form.
2. A New Platform for Managing Soil Carbon and Soil Health
International Soil Carbon Network Workshop; Stanford, California, 27 February to 3 March 2017
V. Space Science & Space Physics
1. New Findings from Old Data
Recalibrated and reanalyzed data from the Voyager flybys of Jupiter 40 years ago, presented in a series of papers in JGR: Space Physics, shows the value of archival data.
VI. Geophysical Research Letters
1. Emerging European winter precipitation pattern linked to atmospheric circulation changes over the North Atlantic region in recent decades
Dominant European winter precipitation patterns over the past century, along with their associated extratropical North Atlantic circulation changes, are evaluated using cluster analysis. Contrary to the four regimes traditionally identified based on daily wintertime atmospheric circulation patterns, five distinct seasonal precipitation regimes are detected here. Recurrent precipitation patterns in each regime are linked to changes in atmospheric blocking, storm track, and sea surface temperatures across the North Atlantic region. Multidecadal variability in the frequency of the precipitation patterns reveals more (fewer) winters with wet conditions in northern (southern) Europe in recent decades and an emerging distinct pattern of enhanced wintertime precipitation over the northern British Isles. This pattern has become unusually common since the 1980s and is associated with changes in moisture transport and more frequent atmospheric river events. The observed precipitation changes post-1950 coincide with changes in storm track activity over the central/eastern North Atlantic toward the northern British Isles.
2. Toward an ice-free Barents Sea
Arctic winter sea ice loss is most pronounced in the Barents Sea. Here we combine observations since 1850 with climate model simulations to examine the recent record low winter Barents Sea ice extent. We find that the present observed winter Barents Sea ice extent has been reduced to less than one third of the pre-satellite mean and is lower than the minimum sea ice extent in all multicentury climate model control simulations assessed here. The current observed sea ice loss is furthermore unprecedented in the observational record and appears as an uncommon trend in the long control simulations. In a warming climate, projections from the large ensemble simulation with the Community Earth System Model show a winter ice-free Barents Sea for the first time within the time period 2061–2088. The large spread in projections of ice-free conditions highlights the importance of internal variability in driving recent and future sea ice loss.
3. The role of ocean fluxes and radiative forcings in determining tropical rainfall shifts in RCP8.5 simulations
We use Coupled Model Intercomparison Project global climate models forced with the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario to attribute tropical precipitation shifts under global warming scenarios and changes in cross-equatorial atmosphere heat transport (c-eq AHT) to changes in ocean and radiative fluxes. We find that the models tend to agree on the sign of c-eq AHT and change in precipitation asymmetry induced by each forcing, but not the magnitude. The ice-albedo feedback and aerosol emission reduction lead to the Northern Hemisphere warming, but this is countered by a reduction to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation northward heat transport and increased longwave leading to the multimodel mean change in precipitation asymmetry being approximately zero. None of the forcings considered, including aerosol cleanup, can account for more than 20% of the multimodel mean change in c-eq AHT alone.
VII. AGU Blogs
1. Biodegradable microbeads may clean sunblock chemical from seawater
Beach-goers around the world who slather on sunblock before an ocean swim can unwittingly contribute to coral-reef bleaching. Oxybenzone, a chemical in many types of sunblock and some hair products, can cause coral bleaching and death by damaging the coral’s genetic material, according to researchers.
2. Read These Two Essays to Really Understand What Happened In Houston Last Night
When you work as a meteorologist or a reporter, you accept that there will be times when your sleep, hunger, and comfort come far behind the importance of serving the public. Last night was one of those moments for those at the NWS in Houston, and the reporters/meteorologists at Houston TV stations. At one point the NWS office had 4 tornado warnings and at least as many Flash Flood Emergency warnings posted simultaneously. A Flash Flood Emergency is pretty much the top warning the NWS can issue. It means thousands of people are in imminent danger.
3. Astounding Model Output Leads to Forecasts We Meteorologists Never Thought We Would Make
I’ve forecasted the weather for 37 years and I’ve never seen consistent model output forecasting rainfall amounts of over 30 inches before. Astounding and astonishing are the only words I can use to describe what I’ve been seeing from the numerical models. Not only that, but it’s the same with nearly every usually reliable model. Could all of the models be wrong?
VIII. AGU News
1. AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION COALITION RECEIVES GRANT TO ADVANCE OPEN AND FAIR DATA STANDARDS IN THE EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCES
Washington, DC— Open, accessible, and high-quality data and related data products and software are critical to the integrity of published research. They ensure transparency and support reproducibility and are necessary for accelerating the advancement of science. In many cases, the data are one-time observations that cannot be repeated. Unfortunately, not all key data are saved and even when they are, their curation is uneven and discovery is difficult, thus making it difficult for other researchers to understand and use the data sets.