Gee-O-Science Links For February, 2013

February was an amazing month for science! So much fascinating stuff out there.  There’s a lot going on, so let’s get started and take a look at what’s been happening as of late.

General Science

Communicating science to laypersons is fraught with a myriad of hazards. Here’s a good example of the challenge.

Peer review should always be of great importance to anyone interested in learning about any field of science.

Are scientists normal people? Considering the way they are portrayed through various forms of media and culture, many folks would say they aren’t.

An exciting new way of exploring science journalism is now online: NOVA Next.

Darwin Online is one of the most comprehensive sources of information about one of sciences greatest minds. Here’s a good reason why his birthday (Feb. 12) should be celebrated.

In the social science realm, it’s no secret that the Scandinavian countries are among the best run in the world.  It’s fascinating to examine closely the social, political, and economic structure of one of my personal favorites: Sweden.

The Scientific Method of the human mind…and how Sherlock Holmes can teach us a thing or two about making decisions.

It’s never been a better time for Citizen Science opportunities for schools & people simply interested in science. Dig in and have fun!

When dealing with the unknown, humans habitually lean towards supernatural explanations. Even in the presence of scientific answers, one has to ask, “Why?”

Environmental Science

Most everyone”s heard of the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency, but may not know what they do. Here’s a concise look.

Some very cool info on how the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is spearheading a three-year project to create forecasts of incoming energy from the Sun for solar energy power plants.

Carbon emissions in the USA fall to the lowest levels since 1994, but a mammoth amount of work still remains to be done.

Atmospheric Science

February brings Valentine’s Day. Here’s a look at ten “romantic’ weather phenomenon.

Like most sciences, the study of the atmosphere  has dozens of terms, many of which are unfamiliar to most people Here’s one of the most comprehensive weather terms glossary‘s I’ve seen.

Aircraft reconnaissance missions aren’t just for hurricanes. They can give great insight into winter weather too.

New research on the role of gases working with particles to promote cloud formation.

Some preliminary research indicated that lightning detected from space can indicate the height of thunderstorms.

Dust (aka aerosols) from Asia and Africa can increase snow as far away as California.

El Niño events can have a significant impact on weather over a large area. Here’s a look into new ways of identifying which El Niño events will have the greatest impact on USA winter weather.

The shrinking Arctic ice cap is of increasing concern to scientists. It’s also a very multifaceted subject that draws a plethora of questionable comments.

While on the subject of receding Arctic ice, NOAA will have a whale of a job on their hands charting new water routes if the current rates of ice melt continues.

Paleoclimatology along with a bit of geology can give scientists help with predicting what the earth’s future climate could look like.

Skeptical Science takes a look at the vivid and never ending discussion on climate change. Incidentally, Skeptical Science is one of the best climate change resources available.

For the non-scientist, opinions on climate change rise and fall with the temperatures. Unfortunately, this is confusing weather with climate.

As many northeastern and midwest states dig out from heavy snowfalls, some might think the blizzard conditions are evidence that climate change isn’t taking place.

February brought some drought relief to OK. It’s a start, and a little is better than nothing.

Though a fairly common phenomenon, calving (large pieces of ice breaking off glaciers) is spectacular to watch, especially when it’s a piece of ice the size of Manhattan, NYC.

Budget cuts are a never ending way of life in American politics. Some proposed cuts would put weather forecasts at risk.

Much has been said about the differences between numerical forecast models. Here’s just one of many interesting takes on the subject.

Lots of folks have fun with “Groundhog Day” in various ways. I’m sure for some, it’s a great way to gain a quick buck from tourists and not a little shilling from the local chamber of commerce. Is there any scientific merit to this charade? No. Pure rubbish.

What isn’t pure rubbish is the effectiveness of a NOAA weather radio in saving lives. Many models are programmable with SAME capability. If you have one and need to program it for your location, here’s where you can find your local codes.

Most folks are familiar with tornado safety rules. There are also winter weather safety rules that are equally important and actually apply to a larger segment of our population.

Service Assessments conducted by the NOAA’s National Weather Service are an important part of the post-storm data gathering process. Here’s a comprehensive list that goes back to 1957.

A new name change from NOAA: NWS Hydrometeorological Prediction Center becomes the Weather Prediction Center.

Here’s a nice video segment on the inimitable Dr. Ted Fujita whose groundbreaking research into tornadoes still reverberates in the halls of science today. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Fujita at a atmospheric science conference and have fond memories of our lengthy, and intellectually stimulating, conversation.

Finally, this study isn’t related to geoscience, but if you’re involved in social media in any way (specifically Twitter), this is a good read.

And that’s it for February! March 1st is the beginning of the meteorological “spring” for the Northern Hemisphere…I’m ready for a warm up!

Cheers!

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