daniel stoupin, a doctoral candidate in marine biology at the university of queensland, has photographed a variety of coral species using full spectrum light to reveal fluorescent pigments that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. each piece (click pic for name) is from the great barrier reef. given the complexity of the techniques used, which involve time-lapse and stereoscopic and focus stacked photography, the images take up to ten hours to produce in the lab.
A warmer Arctic could permanently affect the pattern of the high-altitude polar jet stream, resulting in longer and colder winters over North America and northern Europe, US scientists say. The jet stream, a ribbon of high altitude, high-speed wind in northern latitudes that blows from west to east, is formed when the cold Arctic air clashes with warmer air from further south. The greater the difference in temperature, the faster the jet stream moves. According to Jennifer Francis, a climate expert at Rutgers University, the Arctic air has warmed in recent years as a result of melting polar ice caps, meaning there is now less of a difference in temperatures when it hits air from lower latitudes. “The jet stream is a very fast moving river of air over our head, but over the past two decades the jet stream has weakened. This is something we can measure,” she said Saturday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As a result, instead of circling the earth in the far north, the jet stream has begun to meander, like a river heading off course. This has brought chilly Arctic weather further south than normal, and warmer temperatures up north. Perhaps most disturbingly, it remains in place for longer periods of time.
Image Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio [x]
A major winter storm imaged by NOAA’s GOES-East satellite on February 11, 2014. This storm is the second in two weeks to cause snow and freezing rain to regions of the United States that rarely experience it, including Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina. The unexpected cold weather has caused significant disruptions to transportation, resulting in hundreds of accidents and trapping thousands of motorists in gridlock.
Land surface temperature anomaly for Alaska, January 23rd to 30th, 2014, compared with the 2001 - 2010 average for the same week. This image is based on data collected by the MODIS sensor on NASA’s Terra satellite. A persistent ridge of high pressure off the Pacific Coast fueled this warm spell, directing warm air and rainstorms to Alaska instead of California. The last half of January was one of the warmest winter periods in Alaska’s history, with temperatures as much as 22°C above normal on some days in the central and western portions of the state. The all-time warmest January temperature ever observed in Alaska was tied on January 27 when the temperature peaked at 62°F (16.7°C) at Port Alsworth. Numerous other locations all set January records.
Images of California taken on January 18th, 2013, and January 18th, 2014, by NASA’s Terra satellite. California is experiencing a record drought, possibly the driest year on record. Snowpack is 10-30% of normal and vegetation cover is greatly reduced. Water shortages are expected to have a severe effect on agriculture and the environment, prompting a state of emergency.
An extratropical cyclone over the United Kingdom, imaged by NASA’s Terra Satellite on February 12th, 2014. This storm caused heavy rains, flooding, winds in excess of 160 kilometers per hour, and power outages for more than 700,000 people. January was recently declared the wettest month on record by the UK Met Office.
A helical TALE protein molecule wrapped around a double helix of DNA. TALE stands for “Transcription Activator-Like Effectors”, they are produced by Xanthomonas bacteria when entering a plant cell. They manipulate the host cell by switching on certain genes that make the plant cell more susceptible to infection. TALE subunits bind to the nucleotides of DNA in a 1:1 ratio, and each subunit has a pair of amino acids that is specific to a single DNA base. This enables the TALEs to recognize and activate specific sequences of DNA.
Coccolithophores are single celled eukaryotic phytoplankton that synthesize intricate exoskeletons from crystals of calcium carbonate. The functions of these coccoliths are unknown, and may include buoyancy, osmotic regulation, protection from UV light, predation, or mechanical shock. When nutrient and light conditions are optimal, coccolithophores can form massive plankton blooms that are visible from space. Large numbers of these organisms can accumulate on the ocean floor forming chalk deposits such as the White Cliffs of Dover.