Friday Headlines: September 7, 2018

Friday Headlines, September 7, 2018

THE LATEST IN THE GEOSCIENCES

This week in geology

  • Loss of a major museum collection
  • Boulder rolling – Not your grand-dad’s sport.

This week in the environment

  • Weather is not climate

The Brazil Museum Fire: What Was Lost. Some items in the collection are irreplaceable to science, as well as the country’s national memory.

You may have noticed a series of blog posts that I have made about the firey loss of the Museu Nacional, the National Museum of Brazil.

The National Museum building burning behind the statue of Emperor Pedro II, on 2 September 2018. [Fire at the National Museum of Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, on 2 September 2018.] CREDIT: Felipe Milanez – Sent by the photographer — OTRS-sent. CC BY-SA 4.0

Though there was no loss of human life, many many (perhaps millions) of valuable artifacts were likely lost. The scientific community mourns the loss. It’s as though a million invisible bits of scientific knowledge all cried out at once, and then were silent.

Boulder roll – a surprising video

We often see giant boulders in the bottoms of valleys, and we know that they must have fallen from high up, but how often do we actually get to see the rock actually fall?

Don’t Be Fooled: Weather Is Not Climate. But climate affects weather

Weather is what determines what you wear on a given day. Climate determines what’s in your closet.

Winter is coming. It’s getting colder. There will be some anomalously cold days in the coming months. This does not mean that global warming is not happening. It simply means that it’s winter.

But if you look in your closet, you might notice that you don’t use that extra-fluffy coat as much as you used to (though you’re still glad that you have it).

On average, Earth’s temperature (like, averaging the entire globe) is rising. Below is a map showing the departure from average temperature (red means hotter than average; blue means colder than average) for ocean and land in March of 2018. Notice all of the dark red. There is also blue, particularly in the eastern United States and in Europe.

Land & Ocean Temperature Departure from Average Mar 2018 (with respect to averages over the 1981-2010 base period). CREDIT: National Centers for Environmental Information

From the National Centers for Environmental Information (part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) global climate report for March of 2018

"Overall, the combined global land and ocean temperature for 
March 2018 was 0.83°C (1.49°F) above the 20th century average 
of 12.7°C (54.9°F) and the fifth highest March temperature 
departure from average in the 139-year record."

This average temperature change is affecting the weather. Blizzards and hurricanes have always happened, so a single storm is neither proof nor refutation of the hypothesis of a warming Earth. It’s averages that matter. Global averages. And we’re getting warmer.

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About Penny

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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