Enigma Scientific News
low level pollution

Atmospheric pollution and climate change are two research areas that are unlikely to be affected by Brexit[1].

The referendum on whether the UK remains in the European Union ("Brexit") is due to take place on 23 June 2016. The debate so far has been characterised by both sides setting out extreme projections in support of their arguments. It is as if the truth is determined by who has the best lies and serves to alienate people from the political system. Regarding the effects of Brexit, several reports have emerged suggesting potential damage to UK science. The true situation, however, is more complicated. More

Pope Francis is understood to be open to the idea of a fixed date for Easter
Pope Francis is understood to be open to the idea of a fixed date for Easter.

Is a Calendar and Time Reform Overdue?

With Easter fast approaching, people worldwide are left scurrying around to find when Easter actually is this year. A fixed date for Easter every year would resolve this annual dilemma. Is it not time to reform our calendar at the same time? There have also been recent proposals to use the same time globally, scrapping the current system of time zones around the Earth. But how practical is this?Continue

Posted 22/2/2016.

Policians Celebrating Climate Agreement
Is there anything to celebrate, or is there more procrastination on the way?

Paris Climate Agreement: Can global warming be held to under 2oC?

In a landmark agreement made by almost 200 countries meeting in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015, it has just been agreed that greenhouse gas emissions will be restricted to hold global warming to much less than 2oC. However, following at least a decade of procrastination by politicians, is this now at all possible ......Continue

Posted 13/12/2015.

images of dwarf planet pluto
Composite image from 12 July, showing Pluto and Charon (in the distance) from a distance of about 2 million kilometres.

Pluto Flyby Today, 14 July 2015!

Today, 14 July 2015, at 11.50 pm UT (1 hour behind BST), the New Horizons spacecraft passes Pluto at a distance of less than 12,500 km. After its 9 year journey from Earth, the spacecraft will pass the Pluto system at 13.8 km/s, and in the short time available, it will obtain the best information yet of the dwarf planet and its moons....continue

Posted 14/7/2015.

four images of the earth from space
Resources used by the global population if everyone had US living standards

Global Resources and the Limit to Population Growth

The increasing global population is placing increased stresses on the globe in our attempt to feed ourselves and provide the standard of living we've become accustomed to.continue

Posted 20/6/2015.

images of dwarf planet pluto
Images of Dwarf Planet Pluto

New Horizons Spacecraft Produces best images yet of Dwarf Planet Pluto

The New Horizons spacecraft, after its long trip via Jupiter, has sent back the best images yet of Pluto.....continue

Posted 29/5/2015.

images of dwarf planet ceres
Images of Dwarf Planet Ceres

Dawn Spacecraft Approaches Dwarf Planet Ceres

The Dawn spacecraft has now sent back the best images yet of a dwarf planet and is due to arrive at Ceres on 6 March 2015.....continue

Posted 18/2/2015.

Cosmic Microwave Background image
The cosmic microwave background

Formation of the first stars

Measurements of the cosmic background measurements now reveal that the first stars formed later than previously thought, consistent with observations from the Hubble Space Telescope.....continue

Posted 6/2/2015.

Asteroid 2004bl86 earth near miss
The near miss between Earth and asteroid 2004BL86

Asteroid near miss

In what promises to be a bumper year for the observation of asteroids and dwarf planets, the asteroid 2004 BL86 is due for a near miss of Earth on 26 January 2015.....continue

Posted 26/1/2015.

Climate change agreement
Barack Obama and Xi Jinping at climate talks.

China-US climate change agreement

The reason why the recent climate change agreement between China and USA will have little impact on global CO2 amounts is explained here. According to the new climate change agreement, CO2 emissions by the two countries are expected to reduce from 2030. Calculations here, suggest that by the end of the century greenhouse gas emissions will likely lead to a global temperature rise of at least 2o C by 2100 with a further 1o C committed warming in the climate system.

Posted 17/11/2014.

Planting Mangrove seedlings
Planting mangrove seedlings as a classroom project in Funafala, Tuvalu.
David J. Wilson and IPCC.

Vulnerability to Climate Change

On Monday 31 March 2014, the IPCC released its second report of the 5th Assessment, as described here. One of the main conclusions was that few if any countries would emerge unscathed. The report reveals the vulnerability of our environment from the coasts to the mountains, and both urban and rural, rich and poor. The report is the first of its kind by the IPCC, which is intended to convey in careful but qualitative language the degree of risk associated with each environment and with each topic ranging from human health to economic growth.

Posted 2/4/2014.

The Lake Petworth by Turner
One of the paintings of old masters analysed by Zerefos et al.[2014].

Sunset colours reveal aerosol data

Volcanic aerosols change the appearance of sunsets to a redder colour, as explained here. In a new study by Zerefos et al., published in the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, the works of old masters were analysed to determine the ratio of reds to greens in the setting sun. This was found to be correlated with the aerosol optical depth from other sources. The new analysis, going back to the year 1500 now provides a proxy measurement of volcanic aerosol amount for use in climate studies.

Posted 26/3/2014.

Mauno Loa Observatory, Hawaii The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii where ozone measurements have been made since 1973. Taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Climate Changes Increase Hawaiian O3

The surface ozone in Hawaii has increased since 1973 in autumn but not in spring, as explained here. Recent model simulations of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab. in Princeton, NJ, USA now provide an explanation for these previously unexpected results. Essentially, the transport of pollution from Asia has increased since about 1990 in particular but only during the autumn months. The increased transport reflects decadal climate variability.

Posted 12/2/2014.

US Weather Disasters in 2013 Map showing the billion dollar weather disasters in 2013. Taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters

The number of Billion-Dollar weather disasters has increased since 1980, as explained here. In the early part of the record, just 2 or 3 major weather disasters occurred in the USA per year. By the 1990s, the number had increased to about 4 or 5, but in the last few years numbers have reached more than 10 per year, including impacts of tornadoes, flood and drought in different parts of the country. The number of incidents is consistent with NOAA's extreme weather index and reveals a possible climate change signal.

Posted 22/1/2014.

Jet stream Location The jet stream position for early January 2014 (left) and November 2013 (right). Taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Severe Winter Weather 2014

Severe winter weather on both sides of the Atlantic are connected, as explained here. Niagara falls froze for only the third time since 1911, while Western Europe was buffeted by heavy rain and gales. These weather extremes are both aspects of the movements of the jet stream which transported Arctic air to North America and steered intense storms towards the West coast of Europe. It is too early yet to know whether climate change is partly responsible, despite speculation.

Posted 14/1/2014.

Website revised by John Austin, 30/5/2016. © Enigma Scientific Publishing, 2016.