Record

Colorado floods triggered by convergence of geography and climate, experts say

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 17, 2013   View Article

The torrent of water that gushed over and down the Rocky Mountains late last week resulted from a fateful confluence of geography and weather. While the deluge is unprecedented in the historic record, it may offer a window onto the new normal as the planet continues to warm.

The exact role of global climate change in the deluge is uncertain, but it certainly played a part, according to climate, weather and policy experts.

As of Tuesday, more than 17 inches of rain had fallen since Sept. 12 in Boulder, Colo. The soaking, described as “biblical” by the National Weather Service, left at least eight people dead with hundreds more still missing and rendered untold millions of dollars in property damage.

Warmest springs on record bring earliest flowers

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 16, 2013   View Article

During the exceptionally warm springs of 2010 and 2012, plants bloomed earlier in the eastern U.S. than they have since the American writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau started keeping records near Walden Pond in 1852.

Many plants now flower several weeks earlier than they did in the 19th century, a response linked to increasingly warmer springs due to global climate change.

For example, in Massachusetts, plants are flowering 20 days earlier now than they were during Thoreau’s time. In Wisconsin, where data on flowering dates was recorded by environmentalist and writer Aldo Leopold in the 1930s, flowering dates are, on average, 24 days earlier.

G’day, mate! Ocean-crossing robot reaches Australia

Publication: NBC News   Date: December 5, 2012   View Article

A robotic wave glider recently pulled into an Australian bay, marking the end of a record-setting 9,000-nautical-mile journey in the name of science and technology.

The Papa Mau robot is one of four wave gliders launched from San Francisco on Nov. 17, 2011. En route, it weathered gale-force winds, fended off sharks and gathered an unprecedented amount of data on weather and ocean conditions that is now available online for anyone to use.

Solar tech converts sunlight at record-breaking rate

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 31, 2012   View Article

An out-of-the-lab solar-power system has successfully shown it can convert more than a third of the sun’s direct sunlight into electricity, a new record for a technology that focuses sunlight akin to the way school kids burn leaves and ants under magnifying glasses.

The record of 33.5 percent efficiency was announced Tuesday by Amonix, a manufacturer of concentrator photovoltaic  (CPV) solar power systems. The achievement was confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and breaks the previous record of 30.5 percent, also held by Amonix.

Robot walks 40.5 miles non-stop

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 12, 2011   View Article

A four-legged bipedal robot named Ranger, about as tall as a human adult truncated at the hips, has walked 40.5 miles on a single battery charge without stopping or any human hand-holding, smashing a world record, researchers reported this week.

The robot was built and programmed at Cornell University. It started walking around an indoor track on May 1 just after 2:00 p.m. ET and came to an abrupt stop May 2 at 9 p.m., after 30 hours, 49 minutes and 2 seconds. In that time, Ranger made 307.75 laps around the .13 mile track at an ambling pace of 1.3 mph.

Saturn Lightning Storm Breaks Solar System Record

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 15, 2009   View Article

A lightning storm has been raging on Saturn since mid-January, making the tempest the longest-lasting storm ever detected in our solar system, astronomers announced today.

The lightning flashes are 10,000 times stronger than lightning flashes on Earth, research team member Georg Fischer, of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, said via email.

Venice “Ancestor” City Mapped for First Time

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 30, 2009   View Article

The outline of an ancient Roman city buried beneath cropland near Venice, Italy, has been mapped in detail for the first time with the aid of aerial photography, a new study says.

Until now the ancient city of Altinum, which dates back at least to the first century B.C., was known only from historical records and a few minor excavations.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach