Holy schist! That’s a lot of Earth science
Sitting alone, headphones blocking out the world in a booth at my local coffee shop, the above popped into my head. Representing far more than a desire to sneak lightly-masked political incorrectness into my daily affairs, the title of this post is a testament to one unwavering truth–my descent into geophysics dorkitude is reaching critical levels.
In the few months since I last updated this site, through my daily routine of drinking more coffee than can possibly be healthy and reading scientific research off a screen far too small, I have been repeatedly struck by one unassailable conclusion: the world is complicated, my ability to understand it declines daily, and I relish every moment of this descent into uncertainty.
obviously hopefully not the case that I’m actually getting dumber with time (the effects of caffeine on memory are mixed.) Rather, the more I read about the nuances of the physical world, the more I realize my superficial grasp ain’t worth schist.
So what is it that has led me to be so self-degrading? The following stories (along with a video, magazine article, and an interview with a textbook author) represent the most important geophysical science research as selected by the editors of a handful of American Geophysical Union journals (where I am now a staff writer, yay!). The links lead to short journal summaries which, though brief, hopefully give the gist of the research.
Scientific research covered by the popular media usually falls into one of two camps, either: “This might kill you!” or, “This isn’t really that important, but it certainly is cool!” There is plenty of that below, but it’s also sprinkled with a dose of, “This is scientifically important!” You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Fires, floods, and other things that might kill you:
The changing Earth–past and future:
Carbon Sequestration and Its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle – An interview with Brian J. McPherson – “…[C]arbon capture and storage is something we can do now. We can tackle individual sources of CO2 emissions in a tangible way. While ocean and land uptake is something that happens naturally and continuously over relatively long time scales, carbon capture and subsurface storage can tackle massive quantities of CO2 quickly. Of course, that can only happen if a way to pay for it is realized. Unfortunately, the only country in the world right now that has an effective commercial carbon capture and storage program is Norway, which is facilitated through a carbon tax. In other countries where cap-and-trade systems are in place, commercial carbon capture and storage is still nonexistent. Nonetheless, the technology exists”
H2Whoa, that’s a lot of hydrology:
Bang. Zoom. Straight to the Moon! (and beyond):
Amino Acids from Interstellar Space
Space Weather Model Moves Into Prime Time – “[T]he model could bring quantitative analysis to a field dominated by history- and experience-based predictions. “Our forecasters would just watch pictures of the Sun,” said Pizzo. If they saw what appeared to be a [coronal mass ejection] heading toward the Earth, they would “make a wild guess, basically, about when it’s going to get here and how bad it’s going to be.”
How science happens. Or, the stuff that doesn’t really fit anywhere else, and no one wants a category with only one thing in it: