During the week of May 13th, the CO2 level at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii topped 400 ppm repeatedly. Daily levels of CO2 can vary due to weather, and there are seasonal trends as well. The level of atmospheric greenhouse gases continues to increase, now over 120 ppm since the Industrial Revolution began. For more on the Keeling Curve, see http://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/. Find out more about greenhouse gases and warming.
The week of May 19 brings dozens of tornadoes to Tornado Alley in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. On May 20th, a massive tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, devastating communities - destroying over 100 homes and hitting two elementary schools and a hospital - with many casualties and deaths. Our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues suffering from these storms. For more on the May 20th storms, see the NOAA Storm Prediction Center Storm Report.
Protons and electrons can't move across magnetic field lines very easily. So sometimes these particles are are forced to spiral around them. Electrons cirle the field line in one direction, protons in...more
Some particles do move along the field lines of the Earth. The crowded magnetic field lines near the poles cause particles to "reflect" and move back the same direction the from which they came. They bounce...more
The magnetic field of the sun (the IMF) is distorted in passing over the comet, taking a long time to slip around the sizeable ion cloud which forms the comet coma. The stretched magnetic field lines form...more
Dangerous particles don't hit the Earth's surface because they are forced by the magnetic field to move around the Earth. Particles do enter at the funnels over the poles or they gain entry far downstream...more
A magnetosphere has many parts, such as the bow shock, magnetosheath, magnetotail, plasmasheet, lobes, plasmasphere, radiation belts and many electric currents. It is composed of charged particles and...more
Motions within Earth's metallic core generate the planet's global magnetic field. This magnetic field extends beyond Earth's surface and atmosphere into the space surrounding our home planet. The interaction...more
AU stands for Astronomical Units. It is a useful way to measure the distances in interplanetary space. It is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. For reference,...more