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blogging on earth

Blogging on EARTH: Rarity the only reason for Venus transit fever?

If you read one or more stories leading up to yesterday’s transit of Venus across the face of the sun (or if you followed #VenusTransit on Twitter), you likely learned that the transit is akin to a solar eclipse — when the moon crosses directly between Earth and the sun, temporarily blocking part or all of the latter from our view — with the caveat that Venus only blacks out a small dot of the sun because of its distance from Earth. So what was all the fuss about? What was it about the celestial equivalent of watching a marble roll slowly across a dinner plate that brought people out in droves, from professional and amateur scientists to casual observers and families with young children?

06 Jun 2012

Venus in transit to the transit

5 June 2012 - Reader Elizabeth Talley snapped an iPhone photo of an ice ring around the sun yesterday afternoon in Port Charlotte, Fla., and unexpectedly also captured this image of Venus as it heads toward this evening’s rare celestial event — a transit of the sun. The seven-hour transit, during which the planet will appear as a small black disk moving across the solar face, will begin at 6:03 p.m.

05 Jun 2012

Policy in the field: What's next for tax policies and the American clean energy economy?

It takes green to be green. Renewable energy technology requires dedicated investments, whether public or private, to succeed. The costs are steep, but many consider the cause worthwhile. After all, politicians on both sides tout having diverse array of energy resources as important for national and economic security. Nonetheless, in this tight economic climate, very little is safe. Now, Congress is starting to look at federal tax policies as they affect renewable energy development.

16 May 2012

Blogging On EARTH: Wisconsin’s microquake mystery

On the list of earthquake-prone states, Wisconsin does not rank highly. Yes, occasionally, America’s Dairyland is subjected to light rumbles emanating from its neighbor to the south, Illinois. But Wisconsin is hardly where you’d expect to find much excitement, let alone fear, over the possibility of homegrown seismic activity. And yet, that's exactly what happened a few weeks ago, when hundreds of people in Clintonville, Wis. began dialing 911 with reports that their homes were being inexplicably shaken overnight by terrifying booms.

11 Apr 2012

Blogging on EARTH: Congress considers severe weather policy options

It doesn’t take a geoscientist to know that severe weather impacts our lives. Tornadoes, hurricanes, windstorms, solar storms, droughts … the list goes on.

04 Apr 2012

CryoScoop: Two-decade Antarctic drilling effort complete

Valery Lukin, director of the Russian Antarctic program, confirmed today that a team of Russian scientists has completed an Antarctic drilling project two decades in the making, according to the Associated Press. The team finished drilling on Feb. 5 through 3.25 kilometers of ice to reach Lake Vostok, the largest subglacial lake in the world.

07 Feb 2012

Blogging on EARTH: AGU: Japan tsunami actually made population more vulnerable?

Usually, when a major natural disaster strikes, a population becomes more alert and aware. People know what warning signs to watch for; they know what to do should such an event occur again. They increase their chances of staying alive. For example, intergenerational knowledge of tsunamis passed down by island tribes around the Indian Ocean is credited with saving lives during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

05 Dec 2011

CryoScoop: Massive rift portends Antarctic berg

Researchers flying over West Antarctica last month were at the right place at the right time, spotting an actively growing rift that they expect will spawn an iceberg about 10 times the size of Manhattan.

04 Nov 2011

CryoScoop: A must-read special issue

Arctic enthusiasts: check out the Oct. 13 issue of Nature. The special issue “After the Ice” examines a variety of hot topics in the Arctic, where global warming continues to impact the landscape, science and economics.

13 Oct 2011

CryoScoop: Sea ice synopsis and a whale tale

The extent of Arctic sea ice shrinks each year during the northern hemisphere’s spring and summer, trading a white frozen surface for dark open ocean. Reaching its lowest annual extent by September or October, the ice grows back again through the cold and dark winter months.

30 Sep 2011

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