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blogging on earth

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

CryoScoop: Woolly rhino traveled with an ice scraper

The discovery of a woolly rhino fossil in Tibet that predates the last glacial maximum shows how these and possibly other creatures were already adapted for the cold climate to come. 

09 Sep 2011

CryoScoop: Green Light to McMurdo

Polar scientists breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as the good news reached inboxes: Icebreaking capability was restored to McMurdo Station, preventing the deferment of some Antarctic field work this year.

Each year, an icebreaker heads to McMurdo Sound where it cuts and maintains a path to McMurdo Station, a large U.S. Antarctic research base and the stage for logistical operations, located on the southern tip of Ross Island. The ice-free channel allows for the passage of tankers and cargo ships bringing supplies and fuel to the remote establishment.

26 Aug 2011

CryoScoop: Ice islands and a new Antarctic map

EARTH magazine bloggers already delve into natural hazards, paleontology, water and everything in between. Now each week I’ll be adding to EARTH’s blogosphere with weekly posts called CryoScoop, highlighting cool science related to Earth’s cryosphere.

19 Aug 2011

Blogging on EARTH: Webb Space Telescope ensnared in political drama

Perhaps you have heard of the psychological principle of entrapment. In college, a friend of mine once described it to me while we stood in a seemingly endless line in one of the dining halls. As I recall, the essence of it is that the more money, time or effort you invest in some venture waiting for a return — a sandwich in my case — the harder it is to simply let it go or give up hope, regardless of how unfavorable the potential cost-benefit ratio is.

13 Jul 2011

Hazardous Living: Atlantis' final countdown

As the space shuttle Atlantis prepared for liftoff for the final time this morning, I was humming Europe’s 1986 hit “Final Countdown” in my office. As the countdown proceeded, I got chills. When Atlantis lifted off, I got a little teary-eyed. Watching NASA TV for the next hour, I couldn’t help but wonder what will become of all the people involved in the space shuttle program — mission control, the engineers, the astronauts. It’s hard not to think of this as the end of the U.S. space program. But as we’re assured by NASA, it most certainly is not.

08 Jul 2011

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