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Concept: Atmospheric pressure


Using a 25-y time series of precision satellite altimeter data from TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2, and Jason-3, we estimate the climate-change-driven acceleration of global mean sea level over the last 25 y to be 0.084 ± 0.025 mm/y2Coupled with the average climate-change-driven rate of sea level rise over these same 25 y of 2.9 mm/y, simple extrapolation of the quadratic implies global mean sea level could rise 65 ± 12 cm by 2100 compared with 2005, roughly in agreement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (AR5) model projections.

Concepts: Sea level, Oceanography, Climate change, Atmospheric pressure, Ocean, Altimeter, Ocean Surface Topography Mission, TOPEX/Poseidon


Recent evidence suggests that changes in atmospheric circulation have altered the probability of extreme climate events in the Northern Hemisphere. We investigate northeastern Pacific atmospheric circulation patterns that have historically (1949-2015) been associated with cool-season (October-May) precipitation and temperature extremes in California. We identify changes in occurrence of atmospheric circulation patterns by measuring the similarity of the cool-season atmospheric configuration that occurred in each year of the 1949-2015 period with the configuration that occurred during each of the five driest, wettest, warmest, and coolest years. Our analysis detects statistically significant changes in the occurrence of atmospheric patterns associated with seasonal precipitation and temperature extremes. We also find a robust increase in the magnitude and subseasonal persistence of the cool-season West Coast ridge, resulting in an amplification of the background state. Changes in both seasonal mean and extreme event configurations appear to be caused by a combination of spatially nonuniform thermal expansion of the atmosphere and reinforcing trends in the pattern of sea level pressure. In particular, both thermal expansion and sea level pressure trends contribute to a notable increase in anomalous northeastern Pacific ridging patterns similar to that observed during the 2012-2015 California drought. Collectively, our empirical findings suggest that the frequency of atmospheric conditions like those during California’s most severely dry and hot years has increased in recent decades, but not necessarily at the expense of patterns associated with extremely wet years.

Concepts: Earth, Precipitation, Climate, Weather, Atmospheric pressure, Atmosphere, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere


This paper presents the results of investigations whose aim was to describe the influence of the pressure difference level on the ability of contaminants migration between neighbouring rooms in dynamic conditions associated with door swing. The analysis was based on airflow visualization made with cold smoke, which simulated the heavy contaminants. The test room was pressurized to a specific level and then the door was opened to observe the trail of the smoke plume in the plane of the door. The door was opened in both directions: to the positively and negatively pressurized room. This study focuses on the visualization of smoke plume discharge and an uncertainty analysis is not applicable. Unlike other studies which focus on the analysis of pressure difference, the present study looks at the contaminants which are heavier than air and on “pumping out” the contaminants by means of door swing. Setting the proper level of pressure difference between the contaminated room and the neighbouring rooms can prove instrumental in ensuring protection against toxic contaminants migration. This study helped to establish the threshold of pressure difference necessary to reduce migration of heavy contaminants to neighbouring rooms.

Concepts: Present, Toxicology, Pressure, Atmospheric pressure, Plane, Rooms, Room


The viability of many species has been jeopardized by numerous negative factors over the centuries, but climate change is predicted to accelerate and increase the pressure of many of these threats, leading to extinctions. The Hawaiian honeycreepers, famous for their spectacular adaptive radiation, are predicted to experience negative responses to climate change, given their susceptibility to introduced disease, the strong linkage of disease distribution to climatic conditions, and their current distribution. We document the rapid collapse of the native avifauna on the island of Kaua'i that corresponds to changes in climate and disease prevalence. Although multiple factors may be pressuring the community, we suggest that a tipping point has been crossed in which temperatures in forest habitats at high elevations have reached a threshold that facilitates the development of avian malaria and its vector throughout these species' ranges. Continued incursion of invasive weeds and non-native avian competitors may be facilitated by climate change and could also contribute to declines. If current rates of decline continue, we predict multiple extinctions in the coming decades. Kaua'i represents an early warning for the forest bird communities on the Maui and Hawai'i islands, as well as other species around the world that are trapped within a climatic space that is rapidly disappearing.

Concepts: Hawaii, Climate, Climate change, Atmospheric pressure, Invasive species, Hawaiian Islands, Island, Hawaiian language


Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record. For Syria, a country marked by poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest. We show that the recent decrease in Syrian precipitation is a combination of natural variability and a long-term drying trend, and the unusual severity of the observed drought is here shown to be highly unlikely without this trend. Precipitation changes in Syria are linked to rising mean sea-level pressure in the Eastern Mediterranean, which also shows a long-term trend. There has been also a long-term warming trend in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding to the drawdown of soil moisture. No natural cause is apparent for these trends, whereas the observed drying and warming are consistent with model studies of the response to increases in greenhouse gases. Furthermore, model studies show an increasingly drier and hotter future mean climate for the Eastern Mediterranean. Analyses of observations and model simulations indicate that a drought of the severity and duration of the recent Syrian drought, which is implicated in the current conflict, has become more than twice as likely as a consequence of human interference in the climate system.

Concepts: Climate change, Atmospheric pressure, Jordan, Fertile Crescent, Lebanon, Iraq, Levant, Syria


Although many people naively assume that the bite of carbonation is due to tactile stimulation of the oral cavity by bubbles, it has become increasingly clear that carbonation bite comes mainly from formation of carbonic acid in the oral mucosa. In Experiment 1, we asked whether bubbles were in fact required to perceive carbonation bite. Subjects rated oral pungency from several concentrations of carbonated water both at normal atmospheric pressure (at which bubbles could form) and at 2.0 atmospheres pressure (at which bubbles did not form). Ratings of carbonation bite under the two pressure conditions were essentially identical, indicating that bubbles are not required for pungency. In Experiment 2, we created controlled streams of air bubbles around the tongue in mildly pungent CO2 solutions to determine how tactile stimulation from bubbles affects carbonation bite. Since innocuous sensations like light touch and cooling often suppress pain, we predicted that bubbles might reduce rated bite. Contrary to prediction, air bubbles flowing around the tongue significantly enhanced rated bite, without inducing perceived bite in blank (un-carbonated) solutions. Accordingly, though bubbles are clearly not required for carbonation bite, they may well modulate perceived bite. More generally, the results show that innocuous tactile stimulation can enhance chemogenic pain. Possible physiological mechanisms are discussed.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Oral mucosa, Perception, Sense, Atmospheric pressure, Carbonic acid, Carbonation, Carbonated water


Global mean sea level rise estimated from satellite altimetry provides a strong constraint on climate variability and change and is expected to accelerate as the rates of both ocean warming and cryospheric mass loss increase over time. In stark contrast to this expectation however, current altimeter products show the rate of sea level rise to have decreased from the first to second decades of the altimeter era. Here, a combined analysis of altimeter data and specially designed climate model simulations shows the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo to likely have masked the acceleration that would have otherwise occurred. This masking arose largely from a recovery in ocean heat content through the mid to late 1990 s subsequent to major heat content reductions in the years following the eruption. A consequence of this finding is that barring another major volcanic eruption, a detectable acceleration is likely to emerge from the noise of internal climate variability in the coming decade.

Concepts: Sea level, Oceanography, Climate change, Atmospheric pressure, Acceleration, Ocean, Altimeter, TOPEX/Poseidon


One of the key reasons for the limited use of atmospheric pressure plasma (APP) is its inability to treat non-flat, three-dimensional (3D) surface structures, such as electronic devices and the human body, because of the rigid electrode structure required. In this study, a new APP system design-wearable APP (WAPP)-that utilizes a knitting technique to assemble flexible co-axial wire electrodes into a large-area plasma fabric is presented. The WAPP device operates in ambient air with a fully enclosed power electrode and grounded outer electrode. The plasma fabric is flexible and lightweight, and it can be scaled up for larger areas, making it attractive for wearable APP applications. Here, we report the various plasma properties of the WAPP device and successful test results showing the decontamination of toxic chemical warfare agents, namely, mustard (HD), soman (GD), and nerve (VX) agents.

Concepts: Vacuum tube, Human body, Gas, Atmospheric pressure, Diode, Textile, Chemical warfare, Felt


Weather conditions are commonly believed to influence musculoskeletal pain, however the evidence for this is mixed. This study aimed to examine the relationship between local meteorological conditions and online search trends for terms related to knee pain, hip pain, and arthritis. Five years of relative online search volumes for these terms were obtained for the 50 most populous cities in the contiguous United States, along with corresponding local weather data for temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and precipitation. Methods from the climate econometrics literature were used to assess the casual impact of these meteorological variables on the relative volumes of searches for pain. For temperatures between -5°C and 30°C, search volumes for hip pain increased by 12 index points, and knee pain increased by 18 index points. Precipitation had a negative effect on search volumes for these terms. At temperatures >30°C, search volumes for arthritis related pain decreased by 7 index points. These patterns were not seen for pain searches unrelated to the musculoskeletal system. In summary, selected local weather conditions are significantly associated with online search volumes for specific musculoskeletal pain symptoms. We believe the predominate driver for this to be the relative changes in physical activity levels associated with meteorological conditions.

Concepts: Precipitation, Climate, Weather, Thermodynamics, Humidity, Relative humidity, Atmospheric pressure, Fog


Prevailing abiotic conditions may positively or negatively impact insects at both the individual and population levels. For example while moderate rainfall and wind velocity may provide conditions that favour development, as well as movement within and between habitats, high winds and heavy rains can significantly decrease life expectancy. There is some evidence that insects adjust their behaviours associated with flight, mating and foraging in response to changes in barometric pressure. We studied changes in different mating behaviours of three taxonomically unrelated insects, the curcurbit beetle, Diabrotica speciosa (Coleoptera), the true armyworm moth, Pseudaletia unipuncta (Lepidoptera) and the potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Hemiptera), when subjected to natural or experimentally manipulated changes in atmospheric pressure. In response to decreasing barometric pressure, male beetles exhibited decreased locomotory activity in a Y-tube olfactometer with female pheromone extracts. However, when placed in close proximity to females, they exhibited reduced courtship sequences and the precopulatory period. Under the same situations, females of the true armyworm and the potato aphid exhibited significantly reduced calling behaviour. Neither the movement of male beetles nor the calling of armyworm females differed between stable and increasing atmospheric pressure conditions. However, in the case of the armyworm there was a significant decrease in the incidence of mating under rising atmospheric conditions, suggesting an effect on male behaviour. When atmospheric pressure rose, very few M. euphorbiae oviparae called. This was similar to the situation observed under decreasing conditions, and consequently very little mating was observed in this species except under stable conditions. All species exhibited behavioural modifications, but there were interspecific differences related to size-related flight ability and the diel periodicity of mating activity. We postulate that the observed behavioral modifications, especially under decreasing barometric pressure would reduce the probability of injury or death under adverse weather conditions.

Concepts: Psychology, Insect, Weather, Atmospheric pressure, Behavior, Human behavior, Tropical cyclone, Wind