Monthly Archives: October, 2013

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Oct. 20 – 26, 2013

Across North America, the crisp, cool air of autumn is firmly in place. It’s hard to imagine that summer’s heat firmly entrenched just a few short weeks ago. And just think, the holiday season is less than two months away. The older I get, the faster the time flies. There’s plenty to look at this week so let’s get started.


Why do so many people reject science? Some answers give insight into our complex perceptions of the world around us.

The USA government shutdown may be over, but it’s effects on scientific research will resonate for some time to come.

Fascinating photo essay look at 400 years of women in science.


How can non-scientists influence the course of scientific research? The possibilities are almost endless!

Looking for some cool citizen science projects for Halloween? Look no further…check these out!


On it’s way to Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft snapped an amazing photo of our home.


The USGS is investigating possible links between recent Oklahoma earthquakes and waste water disposal from oil and gas production.


In spite of vast amounts of scientific data to support climate change, the vitriol is still flying in a most sophomoric manner.

If it’s biased with an obvious non-scientific bias void of objectivity from the beginning, it’s not science.

Given a choice, some studies on public perception of climate change indicate that people would rather have immediate material reward than invest in future quality of life.

Scientists are planning a trip to the stratosphere…a part of our atmosphere which we know little about.

Interesting read on unprecedented Arctic warming (with journal reference for further reading).

The US Drought Monitor for late October is out. Much of the southern plains and southwest plagued by a continuing drought, will stay dry.

Unless ‘mother nature’ has an ace up her sleeve that we don’t know about, the 2013 Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season will be one of the quietest on record.

The El Reno, OK tornado of May 31, 2013 will go down as one of the most controversial tornadic events in recent science history. WeatherBrains had a recent show you can watch here with Oklahoma City’s KFOR television meteorologist Mike Morgan.  The inimitable Chuck Doswell chimes in with a reply to the interview here. Finally, here’s another take on the scenario from Virginia Tech’s Jen Henderson.  Needless to say, the many dimensions of the El Reno tornado, from the downgrading from an EF-5 to an EF-3 to how the Oklahoma City media handled the storm, aren’t going to go away quietly.


As a long-time indoor gardener, I can vouch for the validity of tropical houseplants improving indoor air quality. Here are some good choices of easy to care for varieties.

Considering the “state-of-the-art” animations you can watch here, I’d say every on-camera meteorologist’s job security is sound. 🙂

And that’s a wrap for this week!

A special “thank you” to my new followers on Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, & Instagram. Glad you’re along!



Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Oct. 12 – 20, 2013

The crispness of cool Autumn air is beginning to settle in across the Northern Hemisphere. Some areas in the contiguous 48 states have seen significant snowfall amounts. In the tropical Atlantic, one of the least active hurricane seasons in over 40 years continues. And with the US government shutdown over (for the time being), NOAA, NASA, USGS, the EPA, and other agencies are getting back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, a great deal of scientific research was put on the back burner. So, with all that in mind, lets take a look at this weeks links…


Many folks in tornado prone areas pine for public shelters. Chuck Doswell doesn’t think they’re a good idea and I very much agree.

The folks at the Capital Weather Gang wrote a very interesting article that (in spite of its unpopularity) I feel is quite valid: Beware the flaky forecasts.

National Geographic has a very nice multi-media feature on the El Reno, OK tornado of May 31, 2013 with a great overview of the Twistex team.

Here’s a very interesting read (with journal reference) on how the Earth’s rotation affects vorticies (hurricanes, tornadoes, ocean currents, etc.) in nature.

Wind energy is great and I hope becomes more the norm. Unfortunately, those spinning blades can play havoc with National Weather Service radars.


The World Health Organization has now included air pollution as a major health hazard.


Project FeederWatch is a great way to get involved in citizen science during the cold winter months. Think of it as keeping track of miniature dinosaurs!

NASA has a very cool cloud spotter app for all of you folks out there who, like me, spend a lot of our outdoor time looking at clouds.

Here’s a great article with a plethora of citizen science projects that has almost something for everyone.


When I was awestruck at the size of the Tyrannosaurus in NYC’s Museum of Natural History, I naturally assumed it was probably the largest in the world. Nope…there are bigger ones!

And that’s a wrap for this post! Hope everyone has a great week!


Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Sept. 23 – Oct 12, 2013

After a few week on hiatus due to several ongoing projects, I’ve decided to trim the Gee-O-Science weekly post down to ten links per week. Even with the best of intentions, time management can go awry. Having said that, here we go…

Here’s an excellent account of the El Reno, OK tornado of May 31, 2013: “Chasing The Beast” which no only goes into the tragic events of fatalities, but several other storm chaser accounts of events during this particularly violent tornado.

Another good read from the American Meteorological Society is this preliminary report on the role of multiple vortex structures (44 page PDF file) in the El Reno, OK tornado and it’s connection with storm researcher fatalities.

Building homes to withstand hurricane force winds is one thing, but tornadoes are something else…unless you’d like living in a steel-reinforced concrete pillbox.

NOAA is embarking on a very cool concept, using underwater robots to improve hurricane science.

The Latest IPCC Climate Change report has been out for many days, but there’s still some uncertainty on the contents. Here’s a good overview from Scientific American that was posted before the latest report was issued.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reports that Arctic sea ice minimum for 2013 is the sixth lowest on record.

Sadly enough, evolution isn’t the only science topic that’s being ostracized. Add climate change to the list.

Though not an official NOAA weather product, this ever-changing wind map is one of the coolest sites online.

Check out these amazing black and white images of the red planet.

When possible, I’ll try to include a citizen science link with every weeks post. Here’s a cool one you can try out and all you need is a computer to gather 19th century weather data.

As you can tell, some article will not be strictly related to specific geoscience topics and will often contain information on other areas of interest. Variety, especially in science, is the spice of life.

Have a great week folks….cheers!

Preliminary AMS Report On Fatalities Associated With The El Reno, OK Tornado of May, 31, 2013 #okwx

This is a very interesting, and very preliminary, report from the American Meteorological Society on the fatalities associated with the El Reno, OK tornado of May 31, 2013.  While the final report should be forthcoming soon, this is still a very informative, and humbling, read.

Before downloading, please keep in mind that this is a forty-four page PDF file.

The report is very detailed and is quite technical. The basic message behind the report is that the El Reno tornado was rather rare in its structure, behavior, and life cycle. As an interesting side note, a similar storm mentioned on page sixteen that occurred near Geary, OK in May, 2004 is a tornadic supercell that I recall very well due to my own close encounter. Like the El Reno/Canadian County, OK supercell, the structure was largely High Precipitation (HP) in nature and more than once I found myself in a potentially dangerous setting when attempting to get a clearer view of the wall clouds and tornadoes.

I hope to see further research into the El Reno event in the future if for no other reason that it was a structurally unique tornado. Fortunately, most tornadic supercells aren’t similar to this event. Regardless, there’s never enough that we can learn about unusual storms of this nature.

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