Physics news

Electric heartbeat in the atmosphere

The size of clouds can vary under the influence of a global 'electrical heartbeat' in the atmosphere, University of Reading researchers have claimed. They looked at ten years of data fron the north and south poles, after becoming aware of the daily global ebb and flow of an electrical current in the atmosphere, the so called Carnegie Curve. The electricity came from electrified storms across the world and appears to affect the formation of clouds, or their thickness.

Ismail Bullialdus

At keeper-of-the-inverse-square-law-of-gravitation/ ... a post under the heading of geomagnetism, gravity, solar physics and solar dynamics. Lots of science history. See also HH Ricker at ... did Kepler think in terms of a magnetic force which drove planets in their own orbits, towards the Sun and around the Sun? Hans Jelbring replied, the gravitational force proportional to the inverse distance squared is only working at two moments in one orbital circuit.

Chandler Wobbles and the Moon

Every now and again Tall Bloke's Work Shop posts a piece to set the commenters tapping at their keyboards and their brains go into overdrive, and this post by astrophysicist Ian Wilson seem to fall into that bracket - see ... which began life as a long comment to an earlier post by Tall Bloke.

The mysterious nature of dark matter is in the news again

At .... is a post on the ongoing search to discover what exactly dark matter is (if it is anything) and why it is invisible. Ari Raklev of the University of Oslo thinks it is made of gravitinos, a rather out of favour particle, the hypothetical supersymmetric partner of the hypothetical particle, graviton.

New discoveries on ozone depletion

At ... scientists at the universities of York and Leeds have made a significant discovery about what might be involved in the destruction of ozone - over the oceans. It involves ozone depleting iodide oxide observed in particular regions of ocean geography and derives from hypoiodous acid, a gas released from ocean water. The presence of iodine in the atmosphere is thought to arise from emissions of organic compounds from phytoplankton - microscopic marine plants. Iodine and bromine combine to destroy large amounts of ozone.

An Ocean of Air

Quoting somebody who visualised humans as living beneath an ocean of air, the atmosphere, Gabrielle Walker has the opposite point of view - fully committed to the consensus as far as AGW is concerned. Her book, An Ocean of Air; A Natural History of the Atmosphere, Bloomsbury:2007, is an altogether nice overview of not simply the science but how the scientists themselves arrived at their positions, and what hurdles were jumped.

The Water World

At .... EM Smith is addressing his version of atmospheric science, the Water World. In doing so he expands by quoting Nur Shaviv at who says, 'global climate possesses a stabilising negative feedback. A likely candidate for such a feedback is cloud cover (quoting Lindzen 1997 and Ou 2001). If so, it could imply that the water cycle is the thermostat of climate dynamics, acting both as a positive (water vapour) and negative (clouds) feedback ...'.

Gravity in question

Erik Verlinde, professor of Theoretical Physics, and dabbler in String Theory, in a recent book, On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton, challenged the prevailing consensus opinion on gravity - see In fact, can gravity, and even the Big Bang, be an illusion, and Verlinde struggles, it seems, with dark matter, dark energy, and space within space. Likewise, he says it is illogical to think there was nothing and then it exploded, and we had lots of everything.


This post appears to use the word glitch in ways it was not intended - strangling a nuance or two. At ... 'Researchers find a glitch in pulsar glitch theory' is the headline. Again, it is the intrepid people at the University of Southampton that are pushing out the rowing boats on a fishing expedition, calling into question a 40 year old theory that purported to explain periodic speeding up or glitching of pulsars.