Air

Cough, Cough: Climate Change May Worsen Air Pollution

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 22, 2014   View Article

Residents of bulging metropolises around the world should brace for an increase in stagnant, polluted air that hangs around for days as a result of climate change-related shifts in wind and rainfall patterns, according to a new study.

The findings highlight one way global warming can compromise human health, which is a major thrust behind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently proposed plan to curb power plant carbon emissions 30 percent by the year 2030, said Janice Nolen, an assistant vice president at the American Lung Association in Washington.

Tiny sensors that measure amplitude are big step

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 8, 2012   View Article

Anyone who watched the recent X-Games coverage heard commentators obsess about “amplitude” — how high snowboarders such as Shaun White soar above the lip of the superpipe to perform aerial tricks.

Scientists more concerned with using vibrating sensors to detect harmful chemicals in the air we breathe and food we eat than White’s frontside double cork 1260 share the love for amplitude.

Blowing bubbles to make ships more fuel efficient

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 19, 2012   View Article

Blowing a lot of bubbles under cargo ships turns out to be a good way to cut down on fuel costs, according to ongoing research on so-called air lubrication technology.

“The basic idea is that if you could somehow have air close to the hull, it would help the hull slip through the water better by reducing the skin friction,” Steven Ceccio, a professor of naval architecture and mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, explained to me Wednesday.

Photos: Honeycomb Clouds “Communicate,” Rain in Unison

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 20, 2010   View Article

Wisps of clouds form a honeycomb-like structure (center) over the Peruvian coast.

Such open-cell marine clouds “communicate” with each other so that they constantly oscillate, or rearrange themselves, in a synchronized pattern, according to a new study from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Inside the thick clouds of the cell walls, water droplets grow, then fall as rain, and the walls dissipate. The raindrops evaporate as they fall, cooling the air, which generates downward air currents.

When the downdrafts hit the ocean surface, they flow outward and collide with each other and “force the air to move upward again” and “form new open cell walls at a different location,” explained study co-author Hailong Wang, a cloud physicist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach