U.S. hurricanes and the “Butterfly effect”

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Africa: the source of U.S. hurricanes?

 “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” The thought-provoking title of the breakthrough presentation given in 1972 by meteorologist Edward N. Lorenz at the 139th Meeting of the American Association for the Advacement of Science (AAAS) sounds as prophetic as ever, after 42 years. Continue reading U.S. hurricanes and the “Butterfly effect”

Satellite images for the environment: a breakthrough effort in Italy

A major scientific and technological endeavor in environmental monitoring and protection is underway, headed by the University of Pisa (Italy). One of the major assets of this effort is that it makes use of the huge wealth of data available on the web for anyone who has the professional and scientific skills to make the most of it. Continue reading Satellite images for the environment: a breakthrough effort in Italy

Ban on oil drillings in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Humanmade earthquakes are once again in the news in Italy, after the publication of the ICHESE Report (International Commissions on Hydrocarbon Exploration and Seismicity in the Emilia Region), which was commissioned to an international team of experts in the wake of the pair of quakes that rattled the Po Plain in 2012, claiming 27 lives. Continue reading Ban on oil drillings in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Italian heat

Fierce sunshine in Verona, northeastern Italy
Fierce March sunshine in Verona, northeastern Italy

Temperatures are on the rise; this winter season in Italy was the second warmest since 1800. According with data recently published by the Italian Institute of Atmospheric Science and Climate (ISAC) of the National Research Council (CNR), the average temperature during this winter was 1.8° C higher than the average winter temperatures during the 1971-2000 interval. Continue reading Italian heat

North America’s freezing winter

The Big Chill
The Big Chill

This winter the central and eastern part of North America experienced very cold temperatures. The latest U.S. climate report stated that it was the 34th-coldest winter on record in USA, 1° F cooler than average, and the coldest in the last four years. The report showed also that there was more snow than usual: in the Northern Hemisphere snow covered 255,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average and produced the 18th largest winter snow cover. Many claimed that this is evidence against Global Warming: is that true? Continue reading North America’s freezing winter

Pompeii: Crumbling Cradle of Volcanology

With Pauls W.S. Anderson’s blockbuster “Pompeii” still in movie theaters, it may be the right time to reflect upon the need to do whatever it takes to protect Italy’s stunning cultural heritage sites.

Indeed, Pliny the Younger’s description of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which buried Pompeii, Ercolano and Stabia under a thick cover of ash and pumice deposits, might well be regarded as marking the birth of volcanology. Continue reading Pompeii: Crumbling Cradle of Volcanology