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Drought_File_26013This spring ranks in the top ten when it comes to rain. The Austin area is more than six inches above normal. But what does that mean for the summer? A UT professor may have the answer. She’s devised a new forecasting method that could give Central Texas a more accurate look at the future.

Before, it was almost like flipping a coin. The larger-scale climate models had a 50 percent accuracy rate. But a new forecasting method is reported to be about 70 percent effective in predicting summer rainfall.

“There’s a good chance this summer will be wetter than normal,” said UT Austin Professor Rong Fu.

The professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences is the principal investigator in devising a new forecasting method that is said to be more accurate than traditional climate models. The statistical forecast model relies on more localized data rather than the larger-scale dynamic climate models traditionally used to predict summer weather.

KEYETV, May 21, 2015

The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2015

The Weatherford Democrat, May 25, 2015

The Gainesville Daily Register, May 23, 2015

The Austin American-Statesman, May 21, 2015

Featuring Rong Fu,  Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences

 

 


Solar-powered seismic instruments recorded data that SMU researchers now say points to disposal of wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations as the likely cause of earthquakes that rattled rural Parker County starting in November 2013. Image: Robert W. Hart/Special Contributor

Solar-powered seismic instruments recorded data that SMU researchers now say points to disposal of wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations as the likely cause of earthquakes that rattled rural Parker County starting in November 2013. Image: Robert W. Hart/Special Contributor

Oil and gas operations are the most likely cause of dozens of earthquakes that began rattling the North Texas towns of Azle and Reno in November 2013, a group of scientists has concluded.

The study, led by researchers at SMU and published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, presents some of the most conclusive evidence yet that humans are shifting faults below Dallas-Fort Worth that have not budged in hundreds of millions of years.

Cliff Frohlich, associate director of the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, contributed to the research.

The Dallas Morning News, April 22, 2015

The Texas Tribune, April 22, 2015

 

Featuring: Cliff Frohlich, Associate Director, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences

 


Winter pattern for all neutral years that followed a  La Niña (1901-2004)

Winter pattern for all neutral years that followed a La Niña (1901-2004)

On average, La Niña—the cool phase of a natural climate pattern in the tropical Pacific—leads to somewhat dry winters in California.  But a new analysis of historical data from scientists in NOAA’s Climate Program Office suggests that dryness often deepens into drought the following year, even if the tropical Pacific has technically shifted back to “neutral” conditions.  Consistent with that pattern, California’s ongoing drought began in 2011-12, during the second year of a La Niña phase, and it persisted into the “neutral” years of 2012-2014. Yuko Okumura, a research associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, contributed to the data analysis.

Climate.gov, April 20, 2015

Featuring: Yuko Okumura, Research Associate, University of Texas Institute for Geophysic, Jackson School of Geosciences


Jackson School professor Philip Bennett testing water wells in the rural village of San Antonio in Basey, Samar, two months after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013. Image: Bayani Cardenas

Jackson School professor Philip Bennett testing water wells in the rural village of San Antonio in Basey, Samar, two months after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013. Image: Bayani Cardenas

Storm surge thrown onshore by tropical systems can kill, destroy property and reshape coastlines.

Here’s another negative for the list: Depending on the makeup of the soil and local infrastructure, it can also contaminate water deep in the ground.

The people on the Philippine island of Samar are learning this the hard way 17 months after waves of seawater thrown onto the island by Typhoon Haiyan fouled groundwater with salt and bacteria, according to a paper published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

 

 

 

Bloomberg Business, April 16, 2015

Futurity, April 16, 2015

Featuring: Bayani Cardenas, Associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences


An artist’s impression of the Chicxulub asteroid impacting the Yucatan Peninsula as pterodactyls fly in the sky above. Painting by Donald E. Davis

An artist’s impression of the Chicxulub asteroid impacting the Yucatan Peninsula as pterodactyls fly in the sky above. Painting by Donald E. Davis

The catastrophic asteroid crash blamed for the demise of the dinosaurs also left a gaping scar in the Earth. That sprawling crater made 65.5 million years ago may hold the answers to many mysteries surrounding the space-rock event.

Now, scientists plan to drill 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) below the surface of the Chicxulub crater in Mexico to bring up a giant core — and delve 10 million to 15 million years into the past. The endeavor would result in the first offshore core taken from near the center of the crater, which is named for a nearby seaside village located on the Yucatán Peninsula.

 

 

 

 

 

The Christian Science Monitor, April 12, 2015

The Austin American Statesman, April 12, 2015

Discovery News, April 12, 2015

Livescience, April 8,2015

redOrbit, April 7, 2015

The Texas Standard, April 7, 2015

 The Daily Mail, April 13, 2015

Gizmodo, April 14,2015

Featuring: Sean Gulick, Research Association Professor, Institute for Geophysics and Department of Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences


Night in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Analysts warn a sudden energy shortage in the Caribbean could create security problems not far from U.S. shores and even trigger mass migration. But thanks to its domestic energy boom, the U.S. has a rare opportunity to get out in front of the crisis and possibly build some goodwill of its own. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Night in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Analysts warn a sudden energy shortage in the Caribbean could create security problems not far from U.S. shores and even trigger mass migration. But thanks to its domestic energy boom, the U.S. has a rare opportunity to get out in front of the crisis and possibly build some goodwill of its own.
Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is in Jamaica Thursday, meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and more than a dozen other leaders from throughout the Caribbean. It’s the first stop on a three-day tour that also includes a hemispheric summit meeting in Panama. Topping today’s agenda is a looming energy crunch in the Caribbean, and a chance for the U.S. to seize the initiative there from leftist leaders in Venezuela.

Unlike the United States, which is suddenly awash in cheap oil and natural gas, countries like Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are heavily dependent on imported oil, not only to run their cars but also to keep the lights on.

“The economic achilles heel for these small islands is really electric power generation,” says Jorge Pinon, who directs the Latin America and Caribbean Program at the University of Texas. “That’s very important for their tourism and for hotels. So affordable and reliable electricity has a very high economic value for those small islands.”

NPR, April 9, 2015

Featuring: Jorge Piñon, Director, Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program, Jackson School of Geosciences


Scott Tinker, Director, Bureau of Economic Geology

Scott Tinker, Director, Advanced Energy Consortium

The Texas Standard interviewed The University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology Director Scott Tinker about the potential impact of Iran’s oil on the world market and the Texas economy. Tinker also addresses some larger oil and economy issues. It’s well worth a listen. The interview runs from about the 7:40 to the 11:40 mark.

The Texas Standard, April 2, 2015.

Featuring: Scott Tinker, Director, Bureau of Economic Geology


The University of Texas Tower

The University of Texas Tower. Photo courtesy of Allison Fang.

On Friday April 3, 2015 the UT Tower will be lit orange in honor of GeoFORCE Texas receiving a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The award is among the highest honors a university can receive from the United States government.

GeoFORCE Texas, an outreach program of the university’s Jackson School of Geosciences, takes high school students from disadvantaged areas of the state in inner-city Houston and rural Southwest Texas on field trips each summer throughout high school to  geologically significant sites across the country. As a result, potential geoscientists are introduced to the profession, and students from disadvantaged areas find a path to college and rewarding careers.

The Presidential Award recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering — particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields. A GeoFORCE representative will receive the awards at a White House ceremony later this year, and the program will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

The Daily Texan, March 31, 2015

KVUE, March 30, 2015


A satellite view of Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA handout photo obtained by Reuters on Feb. 6, 2012. (NASA handout via Reuters)

A satellite view of Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA handout photo obtained by Reuters on Feb. 6, 2012. (NASA handout via Reuters)

A hundred years from now, humans may remember 2014 as the year that we first learned that we may have irreversibly destabilized the great ice sheet of West Antarctica, and thus set in motion more than 10 feet of sea level rise.

Meanwhile, 2015 could be the year of the double whammy — when we learned the same about one gigantic glacier of East Antarctica, which could set in motion roughly the same amount all over again. Northern Hemisphere residents and Americans in particular should take note — when the bottom of the world loses vast amounts of ice, those of us living closer to its top get more sea level rise than the rest of the planet, thanks to the law of gravity.

The findings about East Antarctica emerge from a new paper just out in Nature Geoscience by an international team of scientists representing the United States, Britain, France and Australia. They flew a number of research flights over the Totten Glacier of East Antarctica — the fastest-thinning sector of the world’s largest ice sheet — and took a variety of measurements to try to figure out the reasons behind its retreat. And the news wasn’t good: It appears that Totten, too, is losing ice because warm ocean water is getting underneath it.

The Washington Post, March 16, 2015

NASA, March 16, 2015

Nature Geoscience | News and Views, March 16, 2015

The International Business Times, March 16, 2015

SciGuru, March 16, 2015

NPR, March 17, 2015

The Telegraph, March 17. 2015

Delhi Daily News, March 17, 2015

Yahoo News, March 17, 2015

NBC News, March 17, 2015

RawStory, March 17, 2015

CNN International, March 18, 2015

The Atlantic, March 20, 2015

The Austin American-Statesman, July 6, 2015

Featuring: Jamin Greenbaum, Ph.D candidate, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics,  Jackson School of Geosciences

 


PHOTOGRAPH BY GUY CORBISHLEY / ALAMY

PHOTOGRAPH BY GUY CORBISHLEY / ALAMY

In the penguin exhibit at the London Zoo, there is a small V.I.P. section, cordoned off with low boulders, where paying guests can meet the birds and pose for selfies. On a recent chilly Friday morning, John Hutchinson, of London’s Royal Veterinary College, and James Proffitt, of the University of Texas at Austin, ventured into the area with other plans. The biologists set up a kind of corridor, a long wooden platform with Lucite walls, and began fitting it with metal force plates—two small, about the width and length of a shoebox, and one large, about three times bigger. “They’re like fancy 3-D bathroom scales,” Hutchinson told me, designed to measure force side to side, front to back, and downward.

 

 

The New Yorker, March 12, 2015

BBC, March 16, 2015

Featuring: James Proffitt, Ph.D student, The Jackson School of Geosciences


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