Gee-O-Science Links for May, 2013

Running a few days late due to local severe weather events, but here’s May’s post. Hope you enjoy.

To say that May, 2013 was histrionic (in a weather way) is a vast understatement. A cool spell across the plains, including record latest snowfalls in OK, got the month off to an unusual start. But the most notable climactic characteristic  of May for North America, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, made up for lost time with a multi-day severe weather episode that reached it’s peak with the EF-5 tornado that damaged much of Moore, OK and killed 24 people. The large volume of atmospheric science links I’ve compiled for this month dictates that I’ll be using most of this post for those topics and combine general science, tech, social science, etc. together…so let’s get started.


My, how far we’ve come. Here’s a look back at science labs over the past few centuries.

Take a visit to The People’s Science whose purpose is to increase communication between scientists and the general public.

Light pollution is a constant annoyance for many photographers and astronomers. Now there are two new citizen science apps to measure light pollution.

Got a green thumb? Why not make a garden that’s a haven for wildlife & chip in on some citizen science at the same time?

When I was a kid, the school bullies had a field day teasing me about my interest in dinosaurs. Looks like I won in the long run.

This comes as no surprise to me. Political ideology affects energy-efficiency attitudes and choices.

Daniel Dennett, whom I admire a great deal, has a new book out that I’m itching to read!

Skeptics (including yours truly) are often misunderstood and mislabeled “everythingologists.”  The reality is otherwise.

Our climate is changing…and so is the English language. The Grapes of Wrath and the language of the Dust Bowl.

Have a tough decision to make? Give the 10/10/10 rule a try.

Some new tech gadgets are pretty cool, but this is a first. Meet Memoto, an automatic life-logging camera.

Yahoo, in a desperate attempt to appear appealing to my fellow Gen Xr’s and younger crowd, bought Tumblr. No, I’m not happy. I’ve had a Tornado Quest Tumblr blog for many years. All I can say is…Yahoo, you’d better not screw this up.

Affirmations can be a great mental boost to help you though the good and bad times of life. Here are some knowledge affirmations, many of which I thought were quite helpful.

If there ever was a browser add-on that I couldn’t live without, Ghostery would be the one. It’s available for Firefox & Opera and I can’t recommend it highly enough. They’ve put together a very clever list of trackers that’s modeled after the periodic table of elements. As the saying goes, “know thine enemy.”

Which company protects your privacy the most or least? Check out this list. There are some pleasant surprises & disappointments.

There’s a reason all of my photography that’s posted online is watermarked & copyrighted & I suggest others follow suit.


NOAA has released their research & development five year strategic plan for 2013-2017.

Infrastructure around the US is in dire need of replacement. Very important parts of the weather forecasting process are not immune.

Are you following your local National Weather Service office on Twitter? Here’s a very comprehensive list.

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 26 – June 1…here’s what you need to know…and prepare now.

Speaking of hurricane preparations, taping windows is useless. Here’s info on why it’s a waste of time, money, & could be increasing danger to yourself and others.

Researchers are working on a new way of measuring the destructive potential of hurricanes.

Why are hurricanes given names? Here’s the reason why.

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has released some very interesting data on deaths associated with Hurricane Sandy.

While on the topic of Sandy, that storm forced third-most  people from their homes worldwide for the year 2012.

Lofted by hurricanes, some bacteria is living the high life right outside of your airplane window.

Some tropical cloudiness apparently likes to “fly” by its own rules.

Atmosphere agitated by breaking waves…an interesting read in the physics of fluid dynamics.

Interesting new information on cirrus clouds forming around mineral dust and metallic particles.

The “haves” and the “have nots.”  The US is a nation divided (as of late May, 2013) by drought.

The MPEX (pronounced “em-pex”) Mesoscale Predictability Experiment runs from 15 May to 15 June and will study where and when thunderstorms form along the CO front range & adjacent great plains.

Here’s a very nice article on a fascinating wind phenomenon known as “sting jets.”

Global Warming vs Climate Change: Is there a difference? Do we need to change terms? Perhaps not.

There’s much news circulating today about the concentration of carbon dioxide topping 440 ppm. Here’s just one of many articles, more here & here. But nothing can beat NOAA’s Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii for solid data.

More carbon dioxide is good for the environment. And so is addiction to nicotine. Keeps the tobacco industry healthy & robust. Makes sense…right?

There’s nothing like a good discussion over a glass of fine wine. Here’s 99 one-liners that’s bound to help liven up the evening. From personal experience, you can’t change their mind if they see science as an enemy of a “free” society. Trust me.

Many species of plants and animals are just as vulnerable to our rapidly changing climate.

As glaciers melt and retreat, they’re exposing long-frozen species of plants…some of which are coming back to life.

Alaska’s not only the largest state in the USA, but one that struggles with the meshing of politics and climate change.

A very clear statement from the American Meteorological Society on the inclusion of climate science in science education.

Does climate change play a part in the frequency and/or intensity of tornadoes? There could be a connection, but most scientists agree we need more research.

The Moore, OK tornado of 20 May 2013 brought back to the forefront of tornado discussions the 3 May 1999 OK/KS outbreak. Here’s the NOAA service assessment (51 page PDF file) of the largest tornado outbreak in OK history.

Discriminating between EF-4 and EF-5 damage can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned meteorologists with vast experience in tornado path surveys. Here’s a very nice slide presentation (26 slide PDF file) that has some great information.

Tornadoes of F-5/EF-5 intensity are exceptionally rare. Here’s a map and list of all the F-5/EF-5 tornadoes in the US since 1950 (the year official tornado records began). OK & AL are tied for 1st place with seven each.

Many folks have questions about the Enhanced Fujita Scale. This is a good primer to get you started.

The Atlantic magazine has some awe-inspiring images of tornado damage in Moore, OK. As graphic as the photos are, they can’t replace being there and seeing this magnitude of damage first hand.

This “swipe map” shows the jaw-dropping effects of the Moore, OK EF-5 tornado. A great deal of information can be deciphered from observing damage in a before/after format.

This time lapse video of the Moore, OK tornado speaks volumes about the various changes and fluid dynamics of the tornado life cycle.

Here’s the first Public Information Statement from the Norman, OK NWS rating the Moore, OK tornado as an EF-5.

A good read from a SPC meteorologist on the forecasting challenges of the May 31, 2013 tornado outbreak in the plains. Meteorology is one of the few occupations where many critical life and death decisions are made trying to second guess something as chaotic and erratic as the earth’s atmosphere.

Wrapping this up, here’s a nice piece from the Capital Weather Gang written in light of some unfortunate encounters storm chasers had with tornadoes in central OK on May 31, 2013.

It’s quite likely that I’ll be doing a weekly post of geoscience & science links if for no other reason than to spread out the workload. Some of the information is also time sensitive, especially in today’s “this morning’s news is yesterday’s history” state of mind.

See you…soon!

Maybe even next week.



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