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2020 Events Thread

Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
I was tired of posting weird apocalyptic 2020 phenomena in separate threads bc it never seems to end. Maybe we can start compiling them here.

Now we can discuss the twin hurricanes and the asteroid in the same place.
 

lavaflow99

In search of the next vacation
So there may be life on Venus? 2020.... the gift that keeps on giving :lol:


Possible sign of life on Venus stirs up heated debate

“Something weird is happening” in the clouds of the planet next door—but some experts are raising doubts about the quality of the data.
Something deadly might be wafting through the clouds shrouding Venus—a smelly, flammable gas called phosphine that annihilates life-forms reliant on oxygen for survival. Ironically, though, the scientists who today announced sightings of this noxious gas in the Venusian atmosphere say it could be tantalizing—if controversial—evidence of life on the planet next door.
As far as we know, on rocky planets such as Venus and Earth, phosphine can only be made by life—whether human or microbe. Used as a chemical weapon during World War I, phosphine is still manufactured as an agricultural fumigant, is used in the semiconductor industry, and is a nasty byproduct of meth labs. But phosphine is also made naturally by some species of anaerobic bacteria—organisms that live in the oxygen-starved environments of landfills, marshlands, and even animal guts.
Earlier this year, researchers surmised that finding the chemical on other terrestrial planets could indicate the presence of alien metabolisms, and they suggested aiming the sharpest telescopes of the future at faraway exoplanets to probe their atmospheres for signs of the gas.
Now, we may have found signs of phosphine on the planet next door, astronomers report in the journal Nature Astronomy.
“I immediately freaked out, of course. I presumed it was a mistake, but I very much wanted it to not be a mistake,” says study co-author Clara Sousa-Silva, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who initially identified phosphine as a potential biosignature.
Put simply, phosphine shouldn’t be in the Venusian atmosphere. It’s extremely hard to make, and the chemistry in the clouds should destroy the molecule before it can accumulate to the observed amounts. But it’s too early to conclude that life exists beyond Earth’s shores. Scientists caution that the detection itself needs to be verified, as the phosphine fingerprint described in the study could be a false signal introduced by the telescopes or by data processing.
“It’s tremendously exciting, and we have a sort of obligatory response of first questioning whether the result is real,” says David Grinspoon of the Planetary Science Institute. “When somebody comes up with an extraordinary observation that hasn’t been made before, you wonder if they could have done something wrong.”
But if phosphine really is floating through the Venusian cloud deck, its presence suggests one of two intriguing possibilities: that alien life-forms are deftly linking together phosphorus and hydrogen atoms, or that some completely unanticipated chemistry is crafting phosphine in the absence of life.
LIFE ON A “BLASTED HELLHOLE”
Venus, the second world from the sun, has long been considered Earth’s twin. It’s about the same size as our home planet, with similar gravity and composition. For centuries, hopeful humans thought its surface might be covered in oceans, lush vegetation, and verdant ecosystems, providing a second oasis for life in the solar system.
Then reality intruded.
Early science observations of the planet next door revealed that it is a menace of a world that could kill Earthlings in multiple ways. Its surface can reach a sweltering 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Tucked beneath as many as 65 miles of cloud and haze, those roasted rocks are smothered by a bone-crushing amount of pressure, more than 90 times what’s felt on Earth’s surface. Plus, the planet’s atmosphere is primarily suffocating carbon dioxide populated by sulfuric acid clouds.
Even so, scientists have considered the possibility that life might exist in the Venusian cloud deck for nearly 60 years, perhaps thriving where conditions are a bit friendlier.
“While the surface conditions of Venus make the hypothesis of life there implausible, the clouds of Venus are a different story altogether,” Carl Sagan and Harold Morowitz wrote in the journal Nature back in 1967.
Despite the acid, the clouds carry the basic ingredients for life as we know it: sunlight, water, and organic molecules. And near the middle of the cloud layer, temperatures and pressures are rather Earthlike. “It’s shirt-sleeve weather, with all these tasty things to eat,” says Martha Gilmore, a Wesleyan University planetary scientist and leader of a proposed mission to Venus, referring to molecules in the planet’s air that microbes could metabolize.
Early observations of the planet revealed that parts of its atmosphere absorb more ultraviolet light than expected, an anomaly that scientists hypothesized could be the work of aerial microbes. While the phenomenon is more likely due to the presence of sulfur-containing compounds, a handful of scientists have since elaborated on the possibility of airborne Venusians, laying out scenarios in which microbes might metabolize sulfur compounds, stay afloat among the ever-present clouds, and even develop life cycles enabled by periods of dormancy at varying altitudes.
“When I first started talking about it, there was a lot of resistance, mostly because it’s such a harshly acidic environment,” says Grinspoon, who has pushed the idea of cloud-borne life on Venus since the mid-1990s.
But everything we’ve learned about life on Earth suggests that it will move into every available nook and cranny. Here, we find microbes thriving in hostile, corrosive environments such as hot springs and volcanic fields. We also know that microbes regularly hitch a ride on cloud particles, and scientists have found organisms flying more than six miles above the Caribbean. Clouds are ephemeral on Earth, so it’s unlikely that they support permanent ecosystems, but on Venus, cloudy days are in the forecast for millions or even billions of years.
“On Venus, that puddle never dries up,” Grinspoon says. “The clouds are continuous and thick and globe-spanning.”
Although Venus is a roasting world today, observations suggest that it once had a liquid water ocean. For most of its history, Venus could have been as habitable as Earth—until sometime in the last billion years, when ballooning greenhouse gases transformed the planet from an oasis into a death trap. Perhaps, as the scorched surface became less hospitable, life-forms migrated into the clouds to avoid certain extinction.
Any life there now is “much more likely to be a relic of a more dominating early biosphere,” says Penelope Boston, a NASA astrobiologist who specializes in studying microbes in weird places on Earth. She’s skeptical, though. “I think it’s a blasted hellhole now, so how much of that ancient signal could have held up?”
THE DEADLY GAS OF LIFE
In June 2017, Cardiff University’s Jane Greaves and colleagues took a look at Venus using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, which scans the sky in radio wavelengths from its perch atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. They were looking for rare gases or molecules that might be biological in origin. Among the signatures they spotted was that of phosphine gas, a pyramidal molecule comprising three hydrogen atoms joined to a single phosphorus atom.
Not long after, Greaves got in touch with Sousa-Silva, who spent her years in graduate school working out whether phosphine could be a viable extraterrestrial biosignature. She had concluded that phosphine could be one of life’s beacons, even though paradoxically, it’s lethal to everything on Earth that requires oxygen to survive.
“I was really fascinated by the macabre nature of phosphine on Earth,” she says. “It’s a killing machine ... and almost a romantic biosignature because it was a sign of death.”
In 2019, Greaves, Sousa-Silva, and their colleagues followed up on the initial phosphine observation using ALMA, an array of telescopes on a high Chilean plateau. More sensitive than the Hawaii-based telescope, ALMA also observes the sky at radio frequencies, and it can detect the energy emitted and absorbed by any phosphine molecules spinning in the Venusian atmosphere.
Again, the team detected phosphine. This time, scientists could narrow down the molecule’s signal to equatorial latitudes and an altitude between 32 and 37 miles, where temperatures and pressures aren’t too harsh for life as we know it. Based on the signal’s strength, the team calculated that phosphine’s abundance is roughly 20 parts per billion, or at least a thousand times more than we find on Earth.
In the outer solar system, phosphine is made deep in the interiors of Jupiter and Saturn. Near the giant planets’ cores, the temperatures and pressures are extreme enough to craft the molecule, which then rises through the atmosphere. But on rocky planets, where conditions are significantly less extreme, there’s no known way to make phosphine in the absence of life—it’s just too energetically demanding. In other words, if the observation of phosphine on Venus is right, something must be continually replenishing the molecule in the planet’s atmosphere.
“Life is the only thing that will put energy into making molecules,” Sousa-Silva says. “Otherwise, in the universe, chemistry only happens when it’s energetically favorable.”
Astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Technical University Berlin, who has considered cloud-based Venusian life, agrees a biological explanation for the phosphine is possible, but he thinks other unknown geologic or light-induced chemical reactions might yet account for the signal. “Venus is basically still an alien planet,” he says. “There are a lot of things we don’t understand.”
The study team set out to determine whether phosphine could be made on Venus in the absence of biology. Among the scenarios the scientists investigated were volcanic outgassing, intense lightning strikes, tectonic plates rubbing together, bismuth rain, and cosmic dust. Based on the team’s calculations, none of those events could produce the molecule in such abundance.
“Whether it’s life or not, it has to be a really exotic mechanism,” Sousa-Silva says. “Something weird is happening.”
GETTING BACK TO VENUS
Still, John Carpenter, an ALMA observatory scientist, is skeptical that the phosphine observations themselves are real. The signal is faint, and the team needed to perform an extensive amount of processing to pull it from the data returned by the telescopes. That processing, he says, may have returned an artificial signal at the same frequency as phosphine. He also notes that the standard for remote molecular identification involves detecting multiple fingerprints for the same molecule, which show up at different frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum. That’s something that the team has not yet done with phosphine.
“They took the right steps to verify the signal, but I’m still not convinced that this is real,” Carpenter says. “If it’s real, it’s a very cool result, but it needs follow-up to make it really convincing.”
Sousa-Silva agrees that the team needs to confirm the phosphine detection by finding additional fingerprints at other wavelengths. She and her colleagues had planned such observations using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a plane-mounted telescope, and with NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii. But COVID-19 got in the way, and the team’s attempts have been put on hold.
“It’s disappointing that we don’t have this proof,” Sousa-Silva says.
Even so, Sanjay Limaye, a planetary scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says the discovery is exciting enough to continue searching, and preferably from a much closer vantage point. “It is intriguing that it may point to something strange going on in the atmosphere of Venus, but is it exotic chemistry, or is it life?” he says. “We need to go explore and find out.”
The tentative detection of phosphine is likely to fuel calls for a return to Venus—a trip that some say is long overdue, given that the last time NASA sent a probe to the planet was in 1989. Schulze-Makuch says it’s completely within the realm of possibility to do an atmospheric sample-return mission, sending a spacecraft to swoop through the clouds and gather gas and particles to bring back to Earth.
Several proposed missions are moving through NASA’s competitive selection process, including an elaborate, multi-spacecraft concept led by Gilmore of Wesleyan University, which will be evaluated by the planetary science community as it sets its priorities for the next decade of solar system exploration. Gilmore’s concept includes several orbiters and a balloon that would closely study the Venusian atmosphere and look for signs of life.
On the more immediate horizon, a smaller mission to study the deep atmosphere of Venus, named DAVINCI+, is one of the four finalists in NASA’s Discovery program competition. The next mission selection is scheduled to take place in 2021.
“Venus is such a complex, amazing system, and we don’t understand it. And it’s another Earth. It probably had an ocean for billions of years, and it’s right there. It’s just a matter of going,” Gilmore says. “We have the technology right now to go into the atmosphere of Venus. It can be done.”
_
 

awhyley

Well-Known Member
And why not?

'Medicane,' a rare, hurricane-like storm in the Mediterranean, to hit Greece


(CNN)As the Atlantic hurricane season continues to shatter records for the number of storms, it appears parts of Europe will be seeing some tropical activity of their own this week. This type of storm, often called a "medicane" (Mediterranean + hurricane), has features similar to hurricanes and typhoons. Medicanes can form over cooler waters and usually move from west to east, whereas hurricanes move from east to west.

Named Ianos, the medicane is set to impact Western Greece on Friday and could end up being one of the strongest medicanes on record.
The storm is showing signs of strengthening and organizing on satellite imagery as it takes on an appearance that resembles a hurricane you'd expect to find in the Caribbean.

Ianos currently has winds of 90 kph (60 mph), but winds are expected to increase before landfall, and could reach hurricane-force (winds of 120 kph-75 mph or greater) on Friday when it reaches southern and western Greece. Sea surface temperatures are also currently running warmer in that part of the Mediterranean, making it easier for the storm to gain strength.
According to European Storm Forecasters "a cyclone of hurricane strength will affect western Greece on Friday. This will cause extremely high rainfall amounts of up to around 400 mm (1.3 inches) in some areas."

Winds will also be a concern, especially if the systems maintains strength, while slowing down, as some of the models suggest. Some models are forecasting the storm to have sustained winds of at least 125 kph (77 mph) with gusts of 180 kph (112 mph). Strong winds for a longer duration will result in more widespread hazards and damage.

In fact, Greece's national meteorological service has issued a top level Red Alert for winds, rain and storm conditions due to the medicane.

Climate change to make medicanes worse
According to a study published in 2011, only one or two medicanes occur per year. These powerful storms usually happen during the months of September and October, when sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean are still quite warm, although they can occur at any time of year.
Warmer sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean can allow the storms to take on more tropical appearances and characteristics, increasing the wind speeds and making the storms more intense. Studies have shown that medicanes are likely to become a bigger problem as the planet warms thanks to human-caused climate change -- with stronger winds and heavier rainfall.

Similar storms in 2018 and 2019 struck Greece and Egypt respectively, each dumping many months' worth of rain and resulting in deadly flooding.

Link: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/17/weather/medicane-ianos-mediterranean-hurricane-greece/index.html?utm_source=fbCNN&utm_content=2020-09-18T03:15:09&utm_term=link&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR3VF_W1sNkHMZfou5ufUA_Mefm8YvMgw0sDZwwXj2dOHBwzE8lNC73_LTk
 

kimpaur

Well-Known Member
And why not?

'Medicane,' a rare, hurricane-like storm in the Mediterranean, to hit Greece


(CNN)As the Atlantic hurricane season continues to shatter records for the number of storms, it appears parts of Europe will be seeing some tropical activity of their own this week. This type of storm, often called a "medicane" (Mediterranean + hurricane), has features similar to hurricanes and typhoons. Medicanes can form over cooler waters and usually move from west to east, whereas hurricanes move from east to west.

Named Ianos, the medicane is set to impact Western Greece on Friday and could end up being one of the strongest medicanes on record.
The storm is showing signs of strengthening and organizing on satellite imagery as it takes on an appearance that resembles a hurricane you'd expect to find in the Caribbean.

Ianos currently has winds of 90 kph (60 mph), but winds are expected to increase before landfall, and could reach hurricane-force (winds of 120 kph-75 mph or greater) on Friday when it reaches southern and western Greece. Sea surface temperatures are also currently running warmer in that part of the Mediterranean, making it easier for the storm to gain strength.
According to European Storm Forecasters "a cyclone of hurricane strength will affect western Greece on Friday. This will cause extremely high rainfall amounts of up to around 400 mm (1.3 inches) in some areas."

Winds will also be a concern, especially if the systems maintains strength, while slowing down, as some of the models suggest. Some models are forecasting the storm to have sustained winds of at least 125 kph (77 mph) with gusts of 180 kph (112 mph). Strong winds for a longer duration will result in more widespread hazards and damage.

In fact, Greece's national meteorological service has issued a top level Red Alert for winds, rain and storm conditions due to the medicane.

Climate change to make medicanes worse
According to a study published in 2011, only one or two medicanes occur per year. These powerful storms usually happen during the months of September and October, when sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean are still quite warm, although they can occur at any time of year.
Warmer sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean can allow the storms to take on more tropical appearances and characteristics, increasing the wind speeds and making the storms more intense. Studies have shown that medicanes are likely to become a bigger problem as the planet warms thanks to human-caused climate change -- with stronger winds and heavier rainfall.

Similar storms in 2018 and 2019 struck Greece and Egypt respectively, each dumping many months' worth of rain and resulting in deadly flooding.

Link: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/17/weather/medicane-ianos-mediterranean-hurricane-greece/index.html?utm_source=fbCNN&utm_content=2020-09-18T03:15:09&utm_term=link&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR3VF_W1sNkHMZfou5ufUA_Mefm8YvMgw0sDZwwXj2dOHBwzE8lNC73_LTk
Climate change, the elephant in the room
 

awhyley

Well-Known Member
Climate change, the elephant in the room
So true. Ladies, it's official,

We've come to the last letter in the alphabet for Hurricane names for the year
...GET THE GREEK ALPHABET OUT FOR THE REST OF 2020...

"NHC is issuing advisories on newly formed Tropical Storm Wilfred. It's the 21st named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and is the earliest 21st named storm on record, about 3 weeks earlier than Vince of 2005. Any storms that form during the rest of 2020 will be named using the Greek Alphabet, last used in 2005.

At 11 a.m. AST, the center of Tropical Storm Wilfred was located over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean about 630 miles (1015 km) west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.

Wilfred is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h) and this general motion is expected for the next few days.
Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) from the center. Some slight strengthening is possible today, and weakening should start this weekend and continue into next week
."

(eta: Apologies, didn't realize that we were already on 'Beta'. Storms are outta control this year.)
 
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awhyley

Well-Known Member
More weird apocalyptic 2020 phenomena coming your way - Zoomie Tropical Storms: Paulette's back!

'Zombie' Tropical Storm Paulette returns from the dead because it's 2020


(CNN)As if the weather chaos of a record hurricane season wasn't enough, we now have a new thing to worry about.
The National Weather Service went there and brought up a moniker we haven't heard yet in 2020: "zombie tropical storms." The term surfaced in an NWS tweet on Tuesday.

Paulette formed earlier in September as one of the five active tropical cyclones brewing in the Atlantic Ocean. It was only the second time in history that many storms had existed simultaneously. Hurricane Paulette made landfall in Bermuda as a Category 1 and strengthened to a Category 2 over the island on September 14. The storm then lost speed and lost its tropical storm status, downgraded to a post-tropical low-pressure system.
The storm formerly known as Paulette stewed for five and a half days. That is, until this week.

Paulette regained strength and became a tropical storm once more on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Paulette reappeared Monday about 300 miles off the coast of the Azores islands.
Tropical Storm Paulette is back as a zombie storm.


Tropical Storm Paulette is back as a "zombie" storm. These "zombie" storms, like Tropical Storm Paulette, are rare but they have happened before, said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. "Conditions can become hostile for a tropical storm to maintain its intensity, but if it doesn't dissipate completely, it can revive days later when conditions become more favorable," Miller said.

5 tropical cyclones are in the Atlantic at the same time for only the second time in history
5 tropical cyclones are in the Atlantic at the same time for only the second time in history

And with the apocalypse that 2020 has been, this year is prime for these spooky storms.
"2020 is a good candidate to experience a zombie storm because water temperatures are above average over a bulk of the Atlantic Ocean, and obviously we are seeing a record number of storms -- which ups the chances one could regenerate," Miller said.
Paulette isn't the first storm to return from the dead. The last time this happened was in 2004 with Hurricane Ivan.
If you're wondering why the storm was not renamed Gamma, it's because meteorologists were still able to track the storm's vortex.
We've had so many storms this year that we've run out of names and started naming them after the letters in the Greek alphabet.
CNN's Brandon Miller and Judson Jones contributed to this story.

Link: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/22/weather/paulette-zombie-tropical-storm-trnd/index.html?utm_source=fbCNN&utm_content=2020-09-23T04:01:09&utm_term=link&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR1NcOHfz1KWxCSX1FyiZUCY5-VB2tHBb05DlNjkkzX_R_ed7osgT24YfZ0
 
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