The science behind fire clouds, fire thunderstorms, and fire tornadoes

Weather and wildfires share a close relationship. Certain weather conditions are known to ignite wildfires: High temperatures and low humidity dry out the landscape, lightning strikes can spark a flame, and fast-moving winds spread flames across nearby desiccated land.

But wildfires also spawn their own weather systems, including pyrocumulonimbus clouds—which NASA has called the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds” for the thunderbolts they hurl at Earth, fueling further blazes and sometimes even fire tornadoes.

Fire weather has contributed to the scale of several historic conflagrations, including the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires that burned more than a million acres across Australia, and the wildfires across the West Coast of the United States in 2020. Here’s what causes firestorms—and why they’re becoming more common in a warming world.

How firestorms get started

Firestorms form through a convective process, in which heat rises through the air. When a column of moist air over a

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A volcanic eruption may have helped the dinosaurs take over the world

In the past half billion years of Earth’s history, there have been five widely-accepted major mass extinctions, but new findings published recently in Science Advances suggest that there may have been another—one that created conditions that allowed dinosaurs to take over the world.



a snow covered mountain: A volcanic eruption may have helped the dinosaurs take over


© Provided by Popular Science
A volcanic eruption may have helped the dinosaurs take over

The newly proposed mass extinction, which occurred during a period of time 233 million years ago called the Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE), resulted in the loss of 33 percent of marine genera (the next-highest level of taxonomy above species) according to the study. Large volcanic eruptions in western Canada likely caused the event by emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases, causing rapid global warming and a period of increased rainfall that lasted roughly one million years. Afterward, climate conditions rapidly changed from rainy to arid, which, coupled with the increased plant growth

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Protests Erupt in Louisville After Breonna Taylor Decision

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Protests Erupt in Louisville After Breonna Taylor Decision

Protesters took to the streets in Louisville, Ky., after the state’s attorney general announced that only one of three officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor would be charged.

“On or about March 13, 2020, in Jefferson County, Ky., the above-named defendant, Brett Hankison, committed the offense of wanton endangerment in the first degree. That concludes the business of the grand jury sitting for Jefferson County in September 2020. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, you may be excused.” “That’s it?” “Is that the only charge?” “The cannot do their jobs! This is why we are angry! This is why we are upset!” “Say her name!” “Breonna Taylor!” “What do we want?” “Justice!” “If we don’t get it.” “Shut it down!” “If we don‘t get it!” “Burn it

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NASA releases Artemis mission plans to return astronauts to the moon

  • NASA just unveiled its first full plan for its Artemis program, a series of missions to return people to the moon for the first time since 1972.
  • The program would launch an uncrewed mission around the moon in 2021, followed by a crewed moon flyby in 2023, then a lunar landing in 2024.
  • The plan also calls for NASA and other agencies to set up a lunar base. 
  • But NASA needs $28 billion over the next four years to make Artemis happen.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NASA has released its first full plan for its Artemis missions, which aim to put the first woman on the moon and the first man since 1972. 

The plan calls for a lunar landing in 2024, but before that, NASA intends to launch two other missions to the moon to test its new Orion spacecraft.

“Our plan to land the first

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Australia Says Majority of 470-Strong Beached Whale Pod Has Died | World News

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The majority of a 470-strong pod of pilot whales found stranded off Australia’s remote southern coast has died, officials said on Wednesday, as rescuers struggled in freezing waters and fading light to free those still alive.

The group, which is the biggest beaching in the country’s modern history, were first spotted a wide sandbank during an aerial reconnaissance of rugged Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania state on Monday.

After two days of a difficult and dangerous rescue attempt, state marine scientists said at least 380 of the long-finned pilot whales had died.

By late Wednesday, around fifty of the mammals were freed but experts said there was a high likelihood they would return as many did during the rescue attempt a day earlier, creating an exhausting loop for rescuers who cannot work through the night.

The outlook for the remaining 30 stranded and still alive pilot whales, a

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Without oxygen, Earth’s early microbes relied on arsenic to sustain life

microbe
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Much of life on planet Earth today relies on oxygen to exist, but before oxygen was present on our blue planet, lifeforms likely used arsenic instead. These findings are detailed in research published today in Communications Earth and Environment.


A key component of the oxygen cycle is where plants and some types of bacteria essentially take sunlight, water, and CO2, and convert them to carbohydrates and oxygen, which are then cycled and used by other organisms that breathe oxygen. This oxygen serves as a vehicle for electrons, gaining and donating electrons as it powers through the metabolic processes. However, for half of the time life has existed on Earth, there was no oxygen present, and for the first 1.5 billion years, we really don’t how these systems worked, says lead author of the study and UConn Professor of Marine Sciences and Geosciences Pieter

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Space Force, DoD agencies, NRO try to get on the same page on future acquisitions

A “program integration council” run by the Space and Missile Systems Center will include representatives from DoD space-buying agencies and the National Reconnaissance Office.

WASHINGTON — The Space Force announced in June that one of its major field organizations will be an acquisition command that will unify the current mishmash of agencies that handle space programs.

The new organization, the Space Systems Command, has not yet been stood up. In the meantime, representatives from several space buying agencies will be meeting regularly in an informal “program integration council” led by the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center.

“We want to make sure that there’s alignment across programs,” Col. Dennis Bythewood, the Space and Missile Systems Center’s director of special programs, told SpaceNews in an interview.

The integration council is run by the Space and Missile Systems Center. It includes representatives from agencies that operate independently from the Space Force

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Is Your Sales Organization Ready To Emerge Its Fittest Self?

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that many sales organizations are ill-equipped to adapt quickly to changing buyer preferences. Yet sales leaders who move to a fact-based, technology-enabled sales operating model will position their companies to meet the expectations of buyers in the “next normal.” 

A popular social media meme encourages healthy fitness habits during our Covid-19 lockdown, promoting exercise as a means of emerging from the pandemic in better shape than before. This same question can be asked about sales organizations: Can your sales organization use this time to better itself? 

Looking ahead to 2021, sales leaders must shift from adapting to the “new normal” to proactively planning for the recovery and their “next normal.” We have used the last few months to study sales organizations and to think about ways that they can enter the “next normal” as a hunk — fitter, more agile, and with more muscle. Our

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A newly discovered asteroid will pass close to Earth on Thursday

Discovered only on September 18, in Tucson, Arizona, the school bus-sized asteroid which is estimated to be somewhere between 15-30 feet in diameter is expected to graze past our planets surface with about 13,000 miles of breathing room. This falls well below the orbit of our geostationary weather satellites which are located about 22,000 miles above earth’s surface.

Its closest approach to earth will occur around 7:12 a.m. ET on Thursday, as it skirts over the Southeastern Pacific Ocean, near Australia and New Zealand.

Its approach will be so close to earth, that our gravity will alter its speed and trajectory according to earthsky.org.

“There are a large number of tiny asteroids like this one, and several of them approach our planet as close as this several times every year,” said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.… Read More

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Inside the secret lives of synchronous fireflies

Inside the secret lives of synchronous fireflies
A stacked photograph of Photinus carolinus fireflies flashing in the wild. Credit: Peleg Lab

During typical summers in the southeastern U.S., streams of visitors travel to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to witness one of nature’s most spectacular displays of light: thousands of male fireflies, all flashing together in near-perfect harmony.


“This is the most beautiful biological phenomenon that I’ve ever witnessed,” said Orit Peleg, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder.

In a study published today in the Journal of The Royal Society Interface, she and her lab members shed new light on this beautiful phenomenon—striving to understand how relatively simple insects manage to coordinate such feats of synchronization.

The team discovered that the light shows may be more complicated than scientists realized: Rather than flash according to some innate rhythm, the fireflies seem to observe what

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