Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weather from space

This entry's title is deliberately ambiguous.  It could mean weather as viewed from space or weather that comes from space.  Fortunately, both of them apply.

First, the weather viewed from space, as NASA presents NASA's RapidScat: Watching the Winds from Space.

Explore the science behind NASA's wind-watching mission, ISS-RapidScat, launching to the International Space Station in 2014.
Now, the weather that comes from space, as Stephanie Pappas of LiveScience and reports Solar Winds Linked to Increased Lightning Strikes.
Solar winds hitting Earth may trigger an increase in lightning, a new study suggests.

The research finds an increase in the number of lightning strikes after the streams of plasma and particles known as solar wind arrive on Earth from the sun. Exactly why this correlation exists is unclear, but researchers say the interaction of solar particles might somehow prime the atmosphere to be more susceptible to lightning.

"As the sun rotates every 27 days these high-speed streams of particles wash past our planet with predictable regularity. Such information could prove useful when producing long-range weather forecasts," study researcher Chris Scott, a professor in space and atmospheric physics at the University of Reading, said in a statement.
It's not just electromagnetic effects from solar flares that humans on and above the planet have to be worried about.  It turns out that space weather can affect real weather on Earth!

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