Scientists have discovered that the Earth’s atmosphere rings like a bell
(ORDO NEWS) — A team of researchers from the University of Hawaii and the University of Kyoto have discovered that our planet’s atmosphere rings like a giant bell.
According to scientists, the energy passing through the heavens, generated by changes in atmospheric pressure and the gravitational pull of celestial bodies such as the Moon and the Sun, creates waves that resonate around the planet, much like sound waves resonate in a bell.
Despite the fact that they have a different nature, the principle of operation is largely similar.
As the researchers found, atmospheric waves do not rise and break as abruptly as their ocean counterparts. Still, they are quite recognizable if you know where to look: moving pockets of compact air thousands of kilometers long.
Previous research has focused on localized spaces and limited time scales, making it possible to detect these celestial waves between 1,000 and 10,000 km long and at intervals of several hours.
But now, scientists have been able to significantly expand this capability with the ERA5 weather database, which provides real-time, hourly estimates of many global atmospheric, terrestrial and ocean variables over five days and contains verified historical sets of observations.
Using these data, the authors of the new study, Kevin Hamilton (University of Hawaii) and Takatoshi Sakazaki (Kyoto University), studied atmospheric pressure statistics for 38 years, focusing on waves with a frequency of 2 to 33 hours and a length of more than 5,000 kilometers, which travel around the globe at speeds of more than 1,000 kilometers per hour.
This allowed scientists to notice that when waves travel through the air at a certain height and speed, they resonate in the atmosphere, creating a phenomenon similar to how sound waves resonate inside a bell.
“We are considering a very beautiful image shown here as a spatial sound “portrait” of our atmosphere ringing like a bell! It is worth noting that antisymmetric modulations appear in this picture even more clearly than symmetrical ones, especially for gravitational modulations.”
Interestingly, a new study presented by Hamilton and Sakazaki confirmed the 19th century theory. The discovery confirmed the theory of global oscillations proposed in the 19th century by the French physicist and mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace.
According to the researchers, the global frequencies and patterns we observe are consistent with those theoretically predicted.
“It is very interesting to see how the vision of Laplace and other pioneering physicists is fully confirmed after two centuries,” Sakazaki said in a statement.
The new study describes how a team of researchers identified dozens of predicted waveforms, including Rossby waves, which are low frequency and westward. The researchers also identified the presence of Kelvin waves propagating in an easterly direction.
“Our identification of so many sound waves in real data shows that the atmosphere is really ringing like a bell,” said Hamilton, co-author of the study.
“This finally solves a long-standing and classic question in atmospheric science, but it also opens up a new avenue for research to understand both the processes that excite waves and the processes that act to damp waves.”
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