Posts Tagged ‘clouds’

Mysterious high altitude Martian plume — probably manoeuvres of the Earth invasion fleet

February 16, 2015

There is a new paper in Nature:

A. Sánchez-Lavega et al, An extremely high-altitude plume seen at Mars’ morning terminatorNature(2015),

doi:10.1038/nature14162

Abstract: ……. Here we report the occurrence in March and April 2012 of two bright, extremely high-altitude plumes at the Martian terminator (the day–night boundary) at 200 to 250 kilometres or more above the surface, and thus well into the ionosphere and the exosphere. …….. They were spotted at a longitude of about 195° west, a latitude of about −45° (at Terra Cimmeria), extended about 500 to 1,000 kilometres in both the north–south and east–west directions, and lasted for about 10 days. The features exhibited day-to-day variability, and were seen at the morning terminator but not at the evening limb, which indicates rapid evolution in less than 10 hours and a cyclic behaviour. We used photometric measurements to explore two possible scenarios and investigate their nature. For particles reflecting solar radiation, clouds of CO2-ice or H2O-ice particles with an effective radius of 0.1 micrometres are favoured over dust. Alternatively, the plume could arise from auroral emission, of a brightness more than 1,000 times that of the Earth’s aurora, over a region with a strong magnetic anomaly where aurorae have previously been detected. Importantly, both explanations defy our current understanding of Mars’ upper atmosphere.

Mars plume

The plume appeared twice in 2012, and stretched for 1,000km (via BBC)

 

Of course what it really was, was the Martian fleet on manoeuvres.

The fleet consists of millions of minute – by Earth standards – spacecraft. Each carries a strand of aggressive RNA specially tailored to modify the DNA of earth based species. They are due to invade Earth probably in February 2018.

This will be the Third Martian Invasion of Earth. The First Invasion introduced life to Earth. The Second got rid of the dinosaurs who were not performing or evolving to expectations. This Third Invasion is to correct the cumulative errors – as perceived by the Martians – building up in human DNA.

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Cloud Image wins National Geographic competition

August 26, 2014

See also the clouds at this post.

The Independence day by Marko Korošec 2014 NG Traveler winner

The Independence day by Marko Korošec 2014 NG Traveler winner

First Place Winner: The Independence Day

Photo and caption by Marko Korošec

While on storm chasing expeditions in Tornado Alley in the U.S. I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching a storm near Julesburg, Colorado, on May 28, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but it stayed an LP [low precipitation] storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail, and some rain.

National Geographic Traveler Director of Photography Dan Westergren, one of this year’s judges, shares his thoughts on the first-place winner:

“This winning photo of a supercell over the plains of eastern Colorado stopped the judges in our tracks. When we first saw the picture we guessed that the photographer probably had dedicated quite a bit of time chasing storms to capture such an amazing sight. But what makes the picture particularly strong is that except for the cloud, the rest of the scene is quite ordinary. The crazy UFO-looking shape gives the impression that it’s going to suck up the landscape like a tablecloth into a vacuum cleaner. The unresolved tension in the image makes me want to look at it over and over.”

Location: Julesburg, Colorado, USA

Climate warming due to humans is highly uncertain says new paper in Science

February 2, 2014

The level of uncertainty in this supposedly “settled” science never fails to amaze. But I observe that it is beginning to be politically acceptable to talk about the uncertainties and even – as in this paper – to begin to question the significance of human activities on climate.

“Climate Effects of Aerosols-Cloud Interactions. Daniel Rosenfeld, Steven Sherwood, Robert Wood, Leo Donner. Science VOL 343, 24 JANUARY 2014

Abstract: Aerosols counteract part of the warming effects of greenhouse gases, mostly by increasing the amount of sunlight reflected back to space. However, the ways in which aerosols affect climate through their interaction with clouds are complex and incompletely captured by climate models. As a result, the radiative forcing (that is, the perturbation to Earth’s energy budget) caused by human activities is highly uncertain, making it difficult to predict the extent of global warming (12). Recent advances have led to a more detailed understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions and their effects on climate, but further progress is hampered by limited observational capabilities and coarse-resolution climate models.

The paper is behind a pay-wall but the accompanying press release begins “The warming effect of human-induced greenhouse gases is a given, but to what extent can we predict its future influence?”. I have no doubt that “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere have a small warming effect but evidence is still lacking even for this simple statement because the carbon balance of the earth is still far from certain and the extent to which fossil fuel combustion contributes to the carbon dioxide concentration is still not certain. So while the warming effect of  greenhouse gases is established, its magnitude is not and the impact of humans on the concentration is also not yet certainly established. In fact, the primary contributors to the “greenhouse effect” are still water vapour and clouds but clouds also cause significant cooling by blocking insolation. Carbon dioxide by itself is almost of minor consequence and the weakness of climate models has always been that they make unjustified assumptions for the forcing effects of carbon dioxide. The pause in warming over the last 17-18 years and the slight decline in global temperatures for the last decade – while carbon dioxide concentrations have been steadily increasing – is a further indicator that the warming effect of carbon dioxide has been grossly exaggerated.

The Press Release goes on:

…… Indeed, one could say that the picture is a “cloudy” one, since the determination of the greenhouse gas effect involves multifaceted interactions with cloud cover.

To some extent, aerosols –- particles that float in the air caused by dust or pollution, including greenhouse gases – counteract part of the harming effects of climate warming by increasing the amount of sunlight reflected from clouds back into space. However, the ways in which these aerosols affect climate through their interaction with clouds are complex and incompletely captured by climate models, say the researchers. As a result, the radiative forcing (that is, the disturbance to the earth’s “energy budget” from the sun) caused by human activities is highly uncertain, making it difficult to predict the extent of global warming.

And while advances have led to a more detailed understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions and their effects on climate, further progress is hampered by limited observational capabilities and coarse climate models, says Prof. Daniel Rosenfeld of  the Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of the article in Science. ….. 

Their recent studies have revealed a much more complicated picture of aerosol-cloud interactions than considered previously. Depending on the meteorological circumstances, aerosols can have dramatic effects of either increasing or decreasing the cloud sun-deflecting effect, the researchers say. Furthermore, little is known about the unperturbed aerosol level that existed in the preindustrial era. This reference level is very important for estimating the radiative forcing from aerosols.

Also needing further clarification is the response of the cloud cover and organization to the loss of water by rainfall. Understanding of the formation of ice and its interactions with liquid droplets is even more limited, mainly due to poor ability to measure the ice-nucleating activity of aerosols and the subsequent ice-forming processes in clouds.

Needless to say they end up asking for more funds:

While it is unfortunate that further progress on understanding aerosol-cloud interactions and their effects on climate is limited by inadequate observational tools and models, achieving the required improvement in observations and simulations is within technological reach, the researchers emphasize, provided that the financial resources are invested. 

Clouds – Just water and a bit of dirt

October 17, 2013

Check these “60 insane cloud formations” at the Matador Network:

Lenticular cloud, Mt. Fuji, Japan

Lenticular cloud, Mt. Fuji, Japan

and this one leaving this world

Lenticular UFO in Patagonia image A Lamy

Lenticular UFO in Patagonia image A Lamy

Satellite data clearly shows global cooling from 1984 – 2006

August 4, 2013

Brightness temperatures derived from the Meteosat data show a planetary trend of global cooling of upto  2K/decade since 1984.

One wonders why this data has not been publicised earlier.

In general, the Atlantic Ocean, Africa and Europe show a negative temperature trend, varying between zero and -2 K/decade.

Andries Rosema, Steven Foppes and Joost van der Woerd, Meteosat Derived Planetary Temperature Trend 1982-2006Energy & Environment, Volume 24, Number 3 – 4 / June 2013, 381-396, doi:10.1260/0958-305X.24.3-4.381

The paper is behind a paywall at the Journal but a pdf version is available (via climategate.nl): Rosema et al Meteosat data 1984-2006

From the author’s conclusions:

The amazing finding of the present study is that we do not observe global warming in the period 1982-2006, but significant cooling. …

The satellite data are from a reliable origin supported by the European meteorological community. Their accurate calibration has received due attention and efforts from Eumetsat. Our processing of these data has been simple and straight forward, involving only noon and midnight image composition, averaging and a filter to eliminate cloud effects. We have created similar planetary temperature change images for the unfiltered, 10, 20 and 30 day filtered data, clearly showing convergence towards the longer filters, indicating that cloud influences were effectively removed. 

Moreover, we do observe significant temperature increase at some locations which are due to human interventions, and which are quantitatively in line with the theoretically expected effects of these interventions. Therefore we believe the observed planetary temperature decrease for most of the hemisphere to be real.

The cloud filtered temperature change patterns, in figure 2c, indicate that the largest decrease occurs in the more cloudy regions of the hemisphere: the tropics and the temperate zones, while in the desert belt the temperature decrease is much smaller. This suggests that cloudiness changes could be the mechanism behind the observed global cooling since 1982: an increase in cloudiness would decrease global radiation and increase rainfall and evapotranspiration. Both effects tend to decrease the surface temperature.

While their conclusions about cloud cover as the determining mechanism are plausible – but as yet unproven – their general observations are quite significant:

In general, the Atlantic Ocean, Africa and Europe show a negative temperature trend, varying between zero and -2 K/decade. Remarkable, is a large area in southern Africa, mainly Zimbabwe and Mozambique, where the temperature decrease is even larger and in the range of -2 to -3 K. Also note the temperature decrease of Lake Chad and Lake Nasser, probably due to an increase in their surface areas. There are also some spots that show a substantial temperature increase, in particular in SE Iraq (figure 3a) and NW Tanzania (figure 3b).

They see a general reduction of temperature everywhere except in two small areas of Iraq and Tanzania:

  1. SE Iraq- An exceptional location which shows a strong temperature increase of some 5K in the period of 20 year. This increase took mainly place in the period 1993-1995 and reflects the draining of the marshes at the confluence of the Ephrata and Tigris under the regime of Sadam Hussein.
  2. NW Tanzania, south of Lake Victoria. There is a temperature increase of 1.3 K in 20 year. This location is in a strongly developing mining area. Decrease in vegetation cover and reduced  evapotranspiration may have caused this temperature increase.

ABSTRACT
24 year of Meteosat hourly thermal infrared data have been used to study planetary surface temperature change. Thermal infrared radiation in the 10.5-12.5mm spectral window is not affected by CO2 and only slightly by atmospheric water vapor. Satellite thermal infrared data have been converted to brightness temperatures as prescribed by Eumetsat. Hourly brightness temperature images were then composed to corresponding noon and midnight temperature data fields. The resulting data fields were cloud filtered using 10, 20 and 30 day maximum temperature substitution. Filtered data were subsequently averaged for two 10 yearly periods: 1986-1995 and 1996-2005. Finally the change in brightness temperature was determined by subtraction. In addition nine locations were selected and data series were extracted and studied for the period 1982-2006. Our observations point to a decrease in planetary temperature over almost the entire hemisphere, most likely due to an increase of cloudiness. Two small areas are found where a considerable temperature increase has occurred. They are explained in terms of major human interventions in the hydrological balance at the earth surface.

“Climate science” now hunting for cooling effects – and finds the brightness of clouds

May 6, 2013

How is it that – for a settled science – all these new “cooling” mechanisms are suddenly being found? Could it have something to do with trying to rescue climate models which have failed to predict the slowdown in global warming? “Climate science” is now hunting for previously unidentified cooling effects to explain the warming that has not happened.

This time it is the brightness of clouds! Apparently manmade pollution in the form of organics can enhance the formation of clouds which happen to be brighter from above and which reflect more of the suns radiation. Voilà! An as yet unidentified cooling effect.

But this conclusion comes not from measurements but from yet another model!

From the University of Machester (via Alpha Galileo):

Organic vapours affect clouds leading to previously unidentified climate cooling

University of Manchester scientists, writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, have shown that natural emissions and manmade pollutants can both have an unexpected cooling effect on the world’s climate by making clouds brighter.

Clouds are made of water droplets, condensed on to tiny particles suspended in the air. When the air is humid enough, the particles swell into cloud droplets. It has been known for some decades that the number of these particles and their size control how bright the clouds appear from the top, controlling the efficiency with which clouds scatter sunlight back into space. A major challenge for climate science is to understand and quantify these effects which have a major impact in polluted regions.

The tiny seed particles can either be natural (for example, sea spray or dust) or manmade pollutants (from vehicle exhausts or industrial activity). These particles often contain a large amount of organic material and these compounds are quite volatile, so in warm conditions exist as a vapour (in much the same way as a perfume is liquid but gives off an aroma when it evaporates on warm skin).

The researchers found that the effect acts in reverse in the atmosphere as volatile organic compounds from pollution or from the biosphere evaporate and give off characteristic aromas, such as the pine smells from forest, but under moist cooler conditions where clouds form, the molecules prefer to be liquid and make larger particles that are more effective seeds for cloud droplets.

“We discovered that organic compounds such as those formed from forest emissions or from vehicle exhaust, affect the number of droplets in a cloud and hence its brightness, so affecting climate,” said study author Professor Gordon McFiggans, from the University of Manchester’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

“We developed a model and made predictions of a substantially enhanced number of cloud droplets from an atmospherically reasonable amount of organic gases.

“More cloud droplets lead to brighter cloud when viewed from above, reflecting more incoming sunlight. We did some calculations of the effects on climate and found that the cooling effect on global climate of the increase in cloud seed effectiveness is at least as great as the previously found entire uncertainty in the effect of pollution on clouds.”

  • ‘Cloud droplet number enhanced by co-condensation of organic papers,’ by Gordon McFiggans et al, will be published in Nature Geoscience on Sunday 5 May 2013.

More evidence that cloud cover – and not carbon dioxide – dominates climate

May 17, 2012

The Hockey Shtick reports on a recent paper by Aldert J. van Beelen and Aarnout J. van Delden of the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University, The Netherlands which shows that the hours of sunshine decreased somewhat from 1958-1983 and then increased sharply between 1985 and 2010 at a number of places. The authors postulate that the reduction of cloud cover since 1985 was possibly due to the cleaner air with reduced aerosols during this period.

It was not so long ago that the CERN CLOUD experiments showed that cosmic rays could indeed influence cloud formation providing support for Svensmark’s hypothesis that it is solar effects via cloud formation which dominates climate.

If we assume that the reduction in sunshine hours between 1958 and 1983 was due to man-made pollution and that this was reversed in the period after 1985, it still needs Svensmark’s solar effects or some other mechanism to explain the very sharp reduction in cloud cover and increase in sunshine hours  after 1985. It seems patently obvious from every day observations that cloud cover is far more important to weather and climate than any far-fetched notions of man-made carbon dioxide having any significant influence.

The Hockey Shtick: A paper recently published in the journal Weather finds that global summer average sunshine [solar short-wave radiation that reaches Earth’s surface] dimmed during the period 1958-1983 [prompting an ice age scare], but markedly increased from 1985-2010. The increase in summer average sunshine between those two periods is 6 Watts per square meter, which dwarfs the alleged effects of CO2 by more than 5 times. [Alleged CO2 effect from 1958-2010 was calculated using the IPCC formula 5.35*ln(389.78/315) = 1.14 Watts per square meter]. At one measurement site [De Bilt], summer sunshine increased from 1985-2010 by 15 Watts per square meter, more than 23 times the IPCC alleged forcing from CO2 during the same timeframe [5.35*ln(389.78/346.04) = 0.64 Watts per square meter].

The paper states the increase in sunshine reaching the Earth’s surface is due to a decrease in aerosols including clouds, which are influenced by both anthropogenic and natural factors, and possibly changes in solar activity.

from van Beelen and van Delden “Weather” Vol.67 No. 1, January 2012

Net effect of clouds on climate is strongly cooling and not of warming

September 21, 2011

During daytime clouds shadow the earth from the sun’s radiation and have a cooling effect while at night they act as a blanket and decrease the radiation away from earth into space. For anybody who has desperately sought the shade on a warm day or has observed the absence of frost after a cloudy night, this might seem a pretty obvious and a rather trivial statement.

The alarmists’ view of global warming assumes that the net effect of clouds is to warm the earth’s climate and that it is one of the “positive feedbacks” for warming. But a new paper in September’s Meteorological Applications severely undermines these assumptions by showing that this feedback is strongly negative. To put the magnitude of this cooling effect into perspective, the net cooling effect of clouds is put at -21W/sq.m while the much-touted effect of a doubling of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is supposed to be only +1.2W/sq.m.

When this is coupled to the recent support for Svensmark’s hypothesis  on solar effects for cloud formation from the CERN cloud experiment, and the lack of warming over the last decade  while carbon dioxide has been increasing, it only emphasises that:

  1. the science of how climate varies is a long way from being settled, and
  2. the magnitude of carbon dioxide effects on climate are extremely small, and
  3. the effect of man-made emissions on the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is miniscule

Whether directly by incoming radiation or indirectly by the formation of clouds or through the transport of heat by the oceans and the winds, it is the sun which is the predominant forcing. Climate models which ignore solar effects and do not have the sun at their centre are fatally flawed.

Allan, R. (2011) Combining satellite data and models to estimate cloud radiative effect at the surface and in the atmosphere, Meteorological Applications, 18 (3). pp. 324-333, ISSN 1469-8080, DOI: 10.1002/met.285

Abstract: Satellite measurements and numerical forecast model reanalysis data are used to compute an updated estimate of the cloud radiative effect on the global multi-annual mean radiative energy budget of the atmosphere and surface. The cloud radiative cooling effect through reflection of short wave radiation dominates over the long wave heating effect, resulting in a net cooling of the climate system of − 21 Wm−2. The short wave radiative effect of cloud is primarily manifest as a reduction in the solar radiation absorbed at the surface of − 53 Wm−2. Clouds impact long wave radiation by heating the moist tropical atmosphere (up to around 40 Wm−2 for global annual means) while enhancing the radiative cooling of the atmosphere over other regions, in particular higher latitudes and sub-tropical marine stratocumulus regimes. While clouds act to cool the climate system during the daytime, the cloud greenhouse effect heats the climate system at night. The influence of cloud radiative effect on determining cloud feedbacks and changes in the water cycle are discussed. 

“It’s the Sun, stupid” > Svensmark vindicated: CERN shows cosmic rays do influence cloud formation

August 25, 2011

The much awaited results from the CLOUD experiments at CERN have now been published in Nature and show that cosmic rays can influence cloud formation – as Henrik Svensmark has hypothesised. This mechanism – ultimately dependent upon the sun – is far more credible as an explanation of the climate variations seen in recent times than dubious computer models based on implausible forcings due to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Cloud formation may be linked to cosmic rays Kirkby, J. et alNature 476, 429-433 (2011).

Nigel Calder (via GWPF) writes:

Long-anticipated results of the CLOUD experiment at CERN in Geneva appear in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature (25 August). The Director General of CERN stirred controversy last month, by saying that the CLOUD team’s report should be politically correct about climate change (see my 17 July post below). The implication was that they should on no account endorse the Danish heresy – Henrik Svensmark’s hypothesis that most of the global warming of the 20th Century can be explained by the reduction in cosmic rays due to livelier solar activity, resulting in less low cloud cover and warmer surface temperatures.

Willy-nilly the results speak for themselves, and it’s no wonder the Director General was fretful.

Henrik Svensmark (born 1958) is a physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen who studies the effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation. His work presents hypotheses about solar activity as an indirect cause of global warming; his research has suggested a possible link through the interaction of the solar wind and cosmic rays. His conclusions have been controversial as the prevailing scientific opinion on climate change considers solar activity unlikely to be a major contributor to recent warming, though it is thought to be the primary driver of many earlier changes in climate.

I cannot do any better than reproduce Nigel Calder’s explanation of the CERN experimental results:

Jasper Kirkby of CERN and his 62 co-authors, from 17 institutes in Europe and the USA, announce big effects of pions from an accelerator, which simulate the cosmic rays and ionize the air in the experimental chamber. The pions strongly promote the formation of clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules – aerosols of the kind that may grow into cloud condensation nuclei on which cloud droplets form. What’s more, there’s a very important clarification of the chemistry involved.

(more…)

Measurements show climate models get the energy balance wrong (again)

July 27, 2011

Settled science?

The deification of climate models and the development of the Global Warming religion will be remembered as one of man’s great follies.

A new paper in Remote Sensing Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1603-1613; doi:10.3390/rs3081603 

On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance

by Roy W. Spencer  and William D. Braswell
ESSC-UAH, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Cramer Hall, Huntsville, AL 35899, USA;  
E-Mail: danny.braswell@nsstc.uah.edu

A University of Alabama Huntsville news release (via Dr. Pielke Snr.)  

Climate models get energy balance wrong, make too hot forecasts of global warming

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 26, 2011) — Data from NASA’s Terra satellite shows that when the climate warms, Earth’s atmosphere is apparently more efficient at releasing energy to space than models used to forecast climate change have been programmed to “believe.”

The result is climate forecasts that are warming substantially faster than the atmosphere, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The previously unexplained differences between model-based forecasts of rapid global warming and meteorological data showing a slower rate of warming have been the source of often contentious debate and controversy for more than two decades.

In research published this week in the journal “Remote Sensing” http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/8/1603/pdf, Spencer and UA Huntsville’s Dr. Danny Braswell compared what a half dozen climate models say the atmosphere should do to satellite data showing what the atmosphere actually did during the 18 months before and after warming events between 2000 and 2011.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle. The models forecast that the climate should continue to absorb solar energy until a warming event peaks. Instead, the satellite data shows the climate system starting to shed energy more than three months before the typical warming event reaches its peak.

“At the peak, satellites show energy being lost while climate models show energy still being gained,” Spencer said.

This is the first time scientists have looked at radiative balances during the months before and after these transient temperature peaks.

Applied to long-term climate change, the research might indicate that the climate is less sensitive to warming due to increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere than climate modelers have theorized. A major underpinning of global warming theory is that the slight warming caused by enhanced greenhouse gases should change cloud cover in ways that cause additional warming, which would be a positive feedback cycle.

Instead, the natural ebb and flow of clouds, solar radiation, heat rising from the oceans and a myriad of other factors added to the different time lags in which they impact the atmosphere might make it impossible to isolate or accurately identify which piece of Earth’s changing climate is feedback from manmade greenhouse gases.

“There are simply too many variables to reliably gauge the right number for that,” Spencer said. “The main finding from this research is that there is no solution to the problem of measuring atmospheric feedback, due mostly to our inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in our observations.”

For this experiment, the UA Huntsville team used surface temperature data gathered by the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Great Britain. The radiant energy data was collected by the Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.

The six climate models were chosen from those used by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The UA Huntsville team used the three models programmed using the greatest sensitivity to radiative forcing and the three that programmed in the least sensitivity.

Dr. Roy Spencer writes about his paper:

Well, our paper entitled On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance which refutes Dessler’s claim, has just been accepted for publication. In it we show clear evidence that cloud changes DO cause a large amount of temperature variability during the satellite period of record, which then obscures the identification of temperature-causing-cloud changes (cloud feedback).

Along with that evidence, we also show the large discrepancy between the satellite observations and IPCC models in their co-variations between radiation and temperature.

 

 


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