Monthly Archives: July, 2013

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For July 22 – 28, 2013

With the aftermath of a derecho causing a great deal of headaches for yours truly, this has been a hectic week…so this post will be a bit on the brief side. Still, it was another interesting week in science with almost something for everyone.  Here’s a look at a few select items I managed to gather together while being without power (and air conditioning) in July.

GENERAL SCIENCE

Very well said…in comic strip form: What Science Does.

Here’s an enjoyable video on 10 unanswered science questions. Certainly food for thought.

My fellow map lovers will enjoy this: a fun look at Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map updated for the 21st century.

Speaking of maps, here’s a look back on ten beautiful medieval maps.

Inspired by the Voyager 1 photo of Earth taken in 1990, Carl Sagan reflects on the pale blue dot in a 1994 interview with NPR’s Science Friday.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Sprites and blue jets, atmospheric phenomenon associated with lightning, has fascinated me for years. Here’s a great story on how a citizen scientist detected Britain’s first “lightning into space.”

TECHNOLOGY

What happens when phone lines are destroyed in storms? The solutions won’t be easy to find.

I highly recommend the search engine DuckDuckGo. Here’s some background info from it’s builder, Gabriel Weinberg.

GEOLOGIC SCIENCES

Earthquakes can have devastating effects far from where they originally occurred.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES

The National Hurricane Center has a very nice page on Tropical Cyclone Climatology with everything you’ve ever wondered about and more.

NASA will utilize drones to gather data on tropical cyclones and related weather phenomenon.

Global warming is making life hell (literally) for firefighters.

Sub-arctic forests have recently been experiencing an increase in wildfires.

A view into the challenges of predicting sea ice cover…a daunting forecast challenge that’s often overlooked.

Interesting read on how new knowledge about permafrost can lead to more accurate climate models in the future.

Here’s a very interesting photo essay; “Adapting to climate change in arid Chile

Shortly before midnight on July 23, a derecho blasted through the Tulsa, OK metro leaving over 100,000 electricity customers without power. What is a derecho and what makes them a very unique type of thunderstorm?

Math isn’t just the universal language of science, it helped forecast the path of Hurricane Sandy.

Here’s a very interesting read on weather radar gaps and downtime. It’s a topic that has concerned me for quite some time.

Interesting read on dual radar storm analysis techniques using one radar.

Worth revisiting: The American Meteorological Society’s 2012 information statement on climate change.

Here’s an outstanding “behind-the-scenes” video overview of the devastating May, 2013 tornado events in Oklahoma from KWTV (News9) in Oklahoma City.

Finally, one of the most dramatic videos of the El Reno, Oklahoma tornado of May 31, 2013 I’ve seen. Of particular interest is the twin multiple suction vorticies at 00:42 seconds. This was previously noted by Dr. Ted Fujita in a film of the Xenia, OH tornado of April, 3, 1974. This is an incredible display of the complex nature of fluid dynamics that takes place in large & intense tornadic events. But a word of warning…being this close to any tornado is very dangerous…I never condone that behavior under any circumstances.

And that’s a wrap…have a great week everyone.

Cheers!

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Gee-O-Science Links For July 15 -21, 2013

Summer has a firm grip on much of North America. There have been several rounds of severe weather across the northern plains of the USA & the south-central provinces of Canada. From a climate standpoint, it’s the time of year for their “severe weather season” and it will last a few more weeks. As usual, there are a plethora of science links to enjoy, so let’s get started…

GENERAL SCIENCE

Interesting take on the scientific peer review process and it’s limitations.

TECHNOLOGY

Home of the strange: “The web’s weirdest places” ~ Truly idiosyncratic places…

Does weather affect website traffic and search engine performance?

A very interesting and timely essay from the Electronic Frontier Foundation regarding online privacy.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTION

Fellow fans of the Tyrannosaurus Rex can rest easy. Our favorite carnivore’s reputation is left intact with recent evidence.

A interdisciplinary article…evolution is having trouble keeping up with climate change.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Increasing amounts of plastic debris in our oceans is having a detrimental effect on many aspects of ocean life.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Oklahoma’s OETA has put together an excellent episode of “Stateline” on the National Weather Center!

Check out the new experimental National Weather Service User Defined Area Forecast!

Data from the National Climactic Data Center shows what a histrionic month June, 2013 was for the contiguous 48 U.S. states.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that air pollution can be held responsible for up to 2 million fatalities per year.

When it’s hot, it’s not just the heat. Ozone is a significant health threat to millions worldwide (and many major U.S. cities).

When summer temperatures soar, pets need special attention. Here’s some great info on helping your pets keep their cool.

If you live in Oregon or Washington state and it seems the nights are warmer, it’s not your imagination.

Why does hot weather cause power outages? The answer is surprisingly simple.

With the loss of many natural buffers, the number of people at risk from hurricanes could double.

Farmers in the U.S. view climate change as just another weather challenge.

Interesting read on how “brown oceans” fuel hurricanes.

Speaking of hurricanes, the Dept. of Homeland Security is taking an interest in predicting hurricanes.

The sequester’s worrisome impacts on hurricane hunters is a potentially dangerous shortcoming.

Here’s an example of an exclusive club that you really don’t want to join. Trust me.

In a rapidly changing Arctic climate, the U.S is playing catchup…and currently has no surface-based Navy ships that are capable of navigating the icy waters.

A bill mandating that NOAA ignore climatology is blasting through legislation with little or no attention. Lawmakers/public elected servants are woefully ignorant of the fact that NOAA’s primary purpose is far more diverse than short-term forecasts.

JUST FOR FUN

Take a look at several dozen stunning libraries from all over the world.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT

This is a new feature that I’m going to give a try. Occasionally, I do come across items that I’ve been particularly pleased with in terms of quality, durability, value for the investment, and overall usefulness. But first a quick note: This is purely subjective in nature and I am in no way being compensated by these companies. Also, this will not always be a monthly parts of the Tornado Quest “Gee-O-Science” links post & will only be used when I feel it’s appropriate. I’d like to start off with a recommendation for Kestrel Meters. For over 12 years, I’ve used a variety of their meters and have yet to be disappointed. They offer a variety of meters that are perfect for storm spotters/chasers, atmospheric field research operations, hiking/nature outings, recreational activities of all kinds, HVAC technicians, and so much more. Highly recommended!

And that’s a wrap! Have a great week everyone and if you’re sweltering in the summer heat, take it easy out there.

Cheers!

Gee-O-Science Links For July 7-14, 2013

It’s been a relatively tranquil weather week across North America. A few severe storms have taken place across the plains states, specifically the northern plains and south-central Canada. Climatologically, it’s time for their severe weather season to begin as the “death ridge” takes over the vast majority of the traditional tornado alley states. Along with the summer heat, drought conditions, dust storms, and wildfires have plagued many states. There’s been a great deal of climate news lately as well. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening lately…

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Lavas from the Afar Depression in Ethiopia are giving scientists clues as to how oceans form.

After riding out several Oklahoma earthquakes in 2011, I’m not surprised to find this article…a thought-provoking read. Induced seismicity is certainly a topic worthy of exploration.

Some volcanoes “scream” louder and louder until they blow their tops.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Here’s a nice interactive map from Climate Central showing the increase in wildfires in recent years in western USA states.

A team of U.S. and U.K. scientists has found geologic evidence that casts doubt on one of the conventional explanations for how Antarctica’s ice sheet began forming.

Two interesting, and somewhat humorous, map of the USA showing what all states are best…and worst…at when it comes to various environmental & public health issues.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

It’s sadly inexcusable that this heat safety information has to be repeated year after year after year…especially since every death from this irresponsibility is 100% preventable.

Rats, stoats, and other furry little critters…oh my! Small mammals could become even more invasive due to climate change.

Increasing amounts of CO2 could continue to have long-lasting changes to vegetation in desert areas.

Evolution is occurring right before our eyes, but not fast enough to keep up with climate change.

Welcome to the future: Climate change…with a forecast for 2018 that calls for cloudy with record heat.

Looks like quite the storm is brewing over any connection of hurricanes and climate change.

This should come as no surprise to anyone. Air pollution could be responsible for over 2 million deaths annually across the globe.

Could efforts to clean the air in Asia result in a worldwide increase in the number of tropical cyclones?

Across the contiguous 48 United States, the jet stream position brought two very different sides of the coin.

Arcus, or roll clouds, have always fascinated me. Here’s a great photo of one of these rare clouds.

Tornadoes aren’t limited to the plains states. In fact, they do occur in mountainous regions as well.  Here’s a nice video clip of a recent tornado that was spotted from the summit of Pike’s Peak in Colorado, USA.

I would be remiss to not include this essay on tornado precautions from the inimitable Chuck Doswell. He covers a few points that are often overlooked in more popular material.

Have a great week everyone. If it’s hot where you are, remember the sunscreen & pop open a cool one for me.

Cheers!

Lavas from the Afar Depression in Ethiopia, where three tectonic plates are spreading apart, have given scientists a new insight into how ocean basins form.
Lavas from the Afar Depression in Ethiopia, where three tectonic plates are spreading apart, have given scientists a new insigh

Gee-O-Science Links: June 30 – July 6, 2013

I hope everyone in the USA or Canada had a great Independence or Canada Day holiday. As usual, there’s a lot of cool science of all kinds out there. Allow me to let my muse throw caution to the wind &  take a look at what’s been going on recently.

GENERAL SCIENCE

NPR’s Science Friday has a new theme song…and I must say that I like it a lot!

Happy 1st birthday to the Higgs boson!

Here’s a great read by Kathleen Raven of Scientific American ~ Chemistry & Physics: One Needs The Other.

TECHNOLOGY

As most of you know, Google Reader is no more. Here’s a nice list of alternatives. I use Feedly and highly recommend it to everyone.

Dozens of top websites banded together against the NSA’s breach of US Constitution’s 4th Amendment with an online protest…which I heartily support.

This is one of the coolest websites I’ve seen in some time. Plane Finder lets you watch aircraft of all kinds fly round the world.

Let’s throw the baby out with the bath water & start over again…living in sod huts and using stone tools. Why? The internet is dangerous!

ASTRONOMY

After 105 years, the mystery of the devastated hundreds of square kilometers of uninhabited Siberian forest around the Tunguska River may have been solved.

Solar prominences put on a strange and spectacular show in the sun’s sky.

Planning an interstellar trip? Here’s your one-stop-shop for all the info you’ll need…like how long it’ll take you to drive to Saturn in your ’63 Chevy babe magnet.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

With the help of over 4,000 citizen scientists worldwide, NOAA”s Cyclone Center has a fantastic new website!

I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but it’s worth an encore. You can help the Nat’l Severe Storm Laboratory (NSSL) year round with research using the PING app.

Read about the EPA’s new project to to encourage citizen scientists to learn more about the air, water, and resources around them.

Here’s another great read on the often overlooked importance of citizen scientists from all walks of life.

Let’s get the citizen science out of the lab and onto the streets…or wherever you like to indulge in your field of interest. 🙂

SOCIAL SCIENCE

Social and psychological resilience of individuals & communities in the wake of hurricane Sandy.

Can introverts (like yours truly) and extroverts co-exist without an emotional “cold war”? Here are some tips on how it can be done.

As a proud Swede, I can’t say I take issue with the subject matter of this article, but the author needs to accept the truth…in general, we Scandinavian’s have little or no use for small talk. We’re not anti-social, we’ll just blame it on the looooong winters.   😉

While we’re on the topic of small talk, here’s an utterly charming (and just as relevant today as it was in 1866) article on some do’s and don’ts for the “art” of conversation.

SCIENCE EDUCATION

K-12 science education may have a new set of standards in the USA, but unfortunately the history of science is taking a back seat.

Here’s a fun activity for students bored to tears with dissecting frogs. How about a tornado in a bottle?

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

In a bitter cold lake under a glacier in Antarctica, a surprising amount of life goes on.

Take a look at this amazing view of June, 2013 Colorado wildfires from the ISS.

Are wildfires in the western USA becoming larger and more fierce? Be sure to read the additional links at the bottom of the article for a more complete perspective.

The Red River rivalry between OK & TX goes much farther than football.

Some technology & environmental science rolled into one: up to 45% of Sweden’s energy supply comes from renewable resources.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES

The latest drought outlook from NOAA show’s little or no relief for many plains and western states in the contiguous 48 USA.

If you need to find your local National Weather Service office online, the Tulsa NWS has a nice map where you simply click and find the site you need. Many other centers (SPC, CPC, et al.) are listed as well.

Assuming the late June/early July heat wave in the southwest doesn’t break any long-standing records, here’s info on the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the highest temperature ever recorded on planet earth.

The Climate Prediction Center has released their latest El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) diagnostic discussion

Very interesting read from the World Meteorological Organization, a review of climate extremes from 2001-2010.

El Nino was very active in the late 20th century. Could there be a connection to climate change? (My tweet of this article brought out an unusual spike in vitriol from attention-hungry trolls.)

The Red Cross has come up with a cartoon to help demystify climate change to people living on low-lying Pacific islands, which are especially susceptible to rising ocean levels.

Climate change could have permanent effects on the growing and/or survival habits of certain species of trees.

Here are two very diverging opinions on the Artic’s impact on weather “whiplash.”

Lightning safety has been in the news lately. It’s a weather hazard that exists year round & should be taken very seriously.  How hot is a lightning bolt? Much hotter than you think! What popular recreational activity is at the top of NOAA’s list for lightning deaths? You may be surprised to find out.

Interesting read from AccuWeather: What’s causing an increase in high-rated tornadoes?

Considering taking up storm chasing as a hobby? Read this very thoughtful and thorough essay from Tornado Titans…then reconsider. There are some very good points made here.

At a recent hearing, it was suggested that research on storm warning lead time should include an examination of how people respond to them. Good idea!

I’ve decided to make a separate post regarding the May, 2013 tornado events in Oklahoma. I still need to sort through some videos and read over many essays. After the disastrous events of the May 31st El Reno, OK event, I need extra time to properly gather my thoughts.

As usual, you can follow me on various social media sites…and I invite you to check them all out:  Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, & Facebook.

See you soon…cheers!

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