An Interesting Data Point on Climate

Particles are just so cool, and so very useful.  Scientists can learn about the past — for example, past climate — using “carbon dating”, a combination of biology and nuclear physics.

In this article in Geophysics Letters, covered in this Colorado University press release (with a somewhat inaccurate title), the abstract contains the statements…

…the extent to which recent Arctic warming has been anomalous with respect to long-term natural climate variability remains uncertain. Here we use 145 radiocarbon dates on rooted tundra plants revealed by receding cold-based ice caps in the Eastern Canadian Arctic to show that 5000 years of regional summertime cooling has been reversed, with average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years,…

Now how does this work?

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Why Do Protons and Neutrons Form Nuclei, and Why Are The Nuclei So Small?

The Structure of Matter series continues: last week’s article on the basics of atomic nuclei is now supplemented with an article discussing the “residual” strong nuclear force which binds protons and neutrons inside of nuclei.  It further explains why nuclei are so small compared to atoms.  Or rather, it explains it in part, because I … Read more

Additional Atomic Articles

I’ve been adding to my series of layperson’s articles on The Structure of Matter, which eventually will serve as an introduction to particle physics for those coming to this site for the first time. You might recall that in early December I supplemented my older article on molecules with an article on atoms. I got … Read more

The Stability and Instability of the Neutron

One of the strange but crucial features of our world is that every type of atom except hydrogen contains neutrons in its nucleus, even though neutrons, on their own, decay (to a proton, electron and anti-neutrino) within about 15 minutes on average.  At first glance this seems puzzling.  At second glance too.  How can stable … Read more

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