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Research Over Tibet Gives Climate Insight 106

An anonymous reader writes "NASA is reporting that researchers have discovered thunderstorms above Tibet offer a direct path for water vapor and chemicals to move from the lower atmosphere to the stratosphere. From the article: ' Learning how water vapor reaches the stratosphere can help improve climate prediction models. Similarly, understanding the pathways that ozone-depleting chemicals can take to reach the stratosphere is essential for understanding future threats to the ozone layer, which shields Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.'"
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Research Over Tibet Gives Climate Insight

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  • by HoneyBeeSpace ( 724189 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @07:52PM (#15305055) Homepage
    If you'd like to run your own NASA Global Climate Model (GCM) on your own computer, the EdGCM [] project has ported a GCM to Mac & Windows and wrapped it in a GUI so you can point-and-click your way around. Turn the sun down or add some nitrogen, whatever you want...

    Note that the resolution is pretty coarse (8x10 degrees) so that it still runs at a decent clip on your Mac/PC, and therefore Tibet gets 1 or 2 grid cells, that is about it.

    We just had a request about removing the Tibetian plateau [] and the resulting effect on Earth climate.

    Disclaimer: I'm a developer on the project.
  • by HoneyBeeSpace ( 724189 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @08:19PM (#15305174) Homepage
    The current model is only 8x10. This does resolve waves, but only large scale waves (wave order 1 (planetary) through 4 or so (continental) perhaps?).

    Vertically we have 12 layers and I'm not sure what type of structures appear there... You can see hadley cells, ferrel cells (slightly), etc.

    Higher res models ported to the GUI are in progress. If you'd like to run them without the GUI there are many out there... both at GISS/Columbia and other climate labs.
  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @08:42PM (#15305272)
    eh, I'm pretty sure she was being sarcastic. we keep hearing about how the computer models are accurate, and Carbon Dioxide is causing massive heating. meanwhile there's been for quite a while pretty good evidence to suggest that the majority of the greenhouse effect is due largely to water vapour + clouds. it's just that all "real environmentalists" have been dismissing the effects of water vapour while proclaming doomsday scenarios based on carbon output increases. hopefuly this project in Tibet is a step towards countering some of the global-warming hysteria.
  • by windows ( 452268 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @08:53PM (#15305354)
    There's a LOT more that goes into the development of a hurricane than warm water. Did you even read my post?

    I encourage you to read NOAA's summary of recent research on the topic: []

    If you still doubt it, there's a long list of articles published by scientists in reputable peer-reviewed journals in the meteorological community.
  • by BluedemonX ( 198949 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:02PM (#15305914)
    Butanol, actually.

    No need to buy a new engine, new car, or new anything. Simply grow a 100% compatible with gasoline fuel, right now.
  • by ankhank ( 756164 ) * on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:22PM (#15305972) Journal
    I'm pretty sure you're just being sarcastic, but lest anyone believe you, the effects of water vapor transport have long been one of the major areas of research. You can look this stuff up. /11/busy-week-for-water-vapor/ []

    People might think you to be confused or fooled by the propaganda that the effect of water vapor swamps that of the anthropogenic greenhouse gases, but again you can look that up.

    Basic technique for looking anything up == find sites with footnotes and check them. Trolls and PR industry flacks just make things up, and don't have cites that can be checked. It's the simple way to tell science from bullshit. Kind of a smell test.

    Science is hard, you know. No other civilization in the ten to hundred thousand years people lived on Earth managed to invent science. It's worth the effort.
  • by FhnuZoag ( 875558 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:40PM (#15306036)
    Erm, water vapour is an amplifier, not a forcing. Such studies do not undermine Carbon effects, but tell us more about how locally AGW will lead to implications in the complex weather system. The models are accurate enough to show the massive heating. This new study tells us how massive, and where.
  • Re:Not random (Score:3, Informative)

    by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @08:54AM (#15307310)
    They could, however, cause the planet to boil or freeze the moment the system strays too far. (If you don't know which Strange Attractor the climate would switch to, you cannot make any useful prediction from past trends.)

    This is a bit extreme; The climate has been perturbed a LOT in the past - such by phenomenal heating through asteroid strikes, and substantial cooling after 'supervolcano' eruptions (most recently, only a matter of tens of thousands of years ago), but has not boiled or frozen. The attractors for those states can be that near....

Loose bits sink chips.