Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny tremors can track extreme storms in a warming planet

21.04.2008
Data from faint earth tremors caused by wind-driven ocean waves—often dismissed as “background noise” at seismographic stations around the world—suggest extreme ocean storms have become more frequent over the past three decades, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other prominent researchers have predicted that stronger and more frequent storms may occur as a result of global warming trends. The tiny tremors, or microseisms, offer a new way to discover whether these predictions are already coming true, said Richard Aster, a geophysics professor at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Unceasing as the ocean waves that trigger them, the microseisms show up as five- to 30-second oscillations of Earth’s surface at seismographic stations around the world. Even seismic monitoring stations “in the middle of a continent are sensitive to the waves crashing all around the continent,” Aster said.

As storm winds drive ocean waves higher, the microseism signals increase their amplitude as well, offering a unique way to track storm intensities across seasons, over time, and at different geographical locations. For instance, Aster and colleagues Daniel McNamara from the U.S. Geological Survey and Peter Bromirski of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography recently published analysis in the Seismological Society of America journal Seismological Research Letters showing that microseism data collected around the Pacific Basin and throughout the world could be used to detect and quantify wave activity from multi-year events such as the El Niño and La Niña ocean disruptions.

The findings spurred them to look for a microseism signal that would reveal whether extreme storms were becoming more common in a warming world. In fact, they saw “a remarkable thing,” among the worldwide microseism data collected from 1972 to 2008, Aster recalled. In 22 of the 22 stations included in the study, the number of extreme storm events had increased over time, they found.

While the work on evaluating changes in extreme storms is “still very much in its early stages”, Aster is “hoping that the study will offer a much more global look” at the effects of climate change on extreme storms and the wind-driven waves that they produce. At the moment, most of the evidence linking the two comes from studies of hurricane intensity and shoreline erosion in specific regions such as the Pacific Northwest Gulf of Mexico, he noted.

The researchers are also working on recovering and digitizing older microseism records, potentially creating a data set that stretches back to the 1930s. Aster praised the work of the long-term observatories that have collected the records, calling them a good example of the “Cinderella science”—unloved and overlooked—that often support significant discoveries.

“It’s absolutely great data on the state of the planet. We took a prosaic time series, and found something very interesting in it,” he said.

Nan Broadbent | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.seismosoc.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>