Monthly Archives: November, 2013

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Nov. 17 – 25, 2013

It’s been quite an active weather week across the contiguous USA. A noteworthy winter weather event covered parts of New Mexico, Texas, and southwest Oklahoma with sleet, snow, and freezing rain. That event came in on the heels of very significant tornado outbreak across the Midwest & Ohio valley with a rare High Risk…made even more rare that the High Risk was in November. Finally, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season draws to a very quiet close.

Here are this weeks links…

GENERAL SCIENCE

Interesting op-ed read: “Science Needs To Be More Dangerous.” And, I’m inclined to agree, but this doesn’t mean “dangerous” as in “carelessly reckless.”

Another good “must read” ~  Top 20 Things Politicians (and any non-scientist) Needs To Know About Science.”

SCIENCE EDUCATION

At the college and university level, there’s a dire need for science classes for the non-science major.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

The Audubon Society’s 114th Christmas Bird Count is starting soon! Here’s how you can sign up for this important project.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

An alarming number of homes in the USA are at an increasing risk of wildfires.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued their 2013-2014 winter weather outlook. A more detailed prognostic discussion can be found here.

The NIST has released their comprehensive report on the Joplin, MO tornado of 22 May 2011. Note: this is a large 480+ page PDF file.

The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season draws to a close as the 6th least active since 1950.

Climate change’s influence on tornadoes is a “mixed bag”…and no easy answers in the near future.

Human’s aren’t the only species that can sense changes in barometric pressure. Apparently, birds can too.

Summary of an interesting report from the United Nations Environmental Program concludes that atmospheric nitrous oxide could double by 2050.

If you haven’t seen this cool wind map, check it out. It’s bookmark worthy!

A very interesting read on social media and severe storm warnings.

Is legal defense for a climate scientists necessary? Sadly, the answer is yes.

Some very dramatic footage (strong language advisory…you’ve been warned) from the Washington, IL tornado of 17 November 2013. Videos of this type are as telling of the varied human “flight or fight” survival response as anything else.  If nothing else, it’s a perfect example of why people should (among other body protection apparel) wear sturdy shoes when taking shelter during a tornado warning. Sandals or “flip-flops” won’t cut it.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…

Top 8 Things That I Hear When I Say That I’m A Meteorologist (Many of these apply to weather hobbyists or storm chasers as well.)

Stop the presses! It rained in Los Angeles! Head to shelter immediately! This is a botox and suntan threatening situation!

Finally…with high tech graphics and “user friendly” info, this gem will put the careers of many broadcast meteorologists in jeopardy!  😀

Have a great week everyone!

Cheers!

National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) Technical Investigation of Joplin, MO Tornado (492 page PDF File) #mowx

There’s no doubt that the Joplin, MO tornado of 22 May 2011 was a watershed event in 21st century USA weather history. A triple digit death toll had not been seen in the USA since 1953. Since then, spotter networks, improvements in radar and warning technology had reduced the overall death tolls dramatically. In light of the 3 May 1999 Bridge Creek/Moore/OKC tornado, much speculation was generated about the potential death tolls that could result from a violent, long-track EF-4 or EF-5 moving through a large metropolitan area such as Dallas/Ft. Worth. Many people, including yours truly, assumed it would take a direct hit for a triple digit death toll to occur in contemporary society. Only then, the death tolls could possibly top 100 or more. The Joplin, MO event was a dramatic wake up call that it didn’t take a large metropolitan area suffering a direct hit from a violent tornado for a 100+ fatality death toll to occur. The Joplin metro has a population of roughly 50,000 yet had a death toll of 161 from a violent EF-5 that moved through the city during a late Sunday afternoon.

The NIST has released a technical investigation of the Joplin tornado event. While rather technical, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the atmospheric or earth sciences. A word of caution; this is a large 492 page PDF file. The download time, depending on your internet connection and computer, may take some time. Regardless, it’s a worthwhile read with a wealth of information.

Understanding @NOAA #Climate Outlooks & How They Can Influence Your Bottom Line

As I was scanning through my Twitter timeline this afternoon, I noticed a tweet from NOAA’s Climate. gov account. The winter outlook will be issued tomorrow by the Climate Prediction Center. To better help the public understand what these outlooks mean, NOAA has put together a very nice video explaining the outlook’s content. This not only gives the general public a good understanding of what the outlook data means, but is a good tool for business owners who have a bottom line that is often dependent on climate trends. As the video states, these are not short-term forecasts that we are used to seeing every day but a long-term outlook that’s greatly influenced by a myriad of data. The outlooks are not a guarantee that specific climactic conditions will exist, so every individual user will have to figure out the best game plan for their own unique situation and needs.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the outlooks have in store. Predicting climactic trends is as daunting a task as any other in the atmospheric sciences. I hope this information has been helpful to you in understanding the climate outlooks.

Have a great week…

Cheers!

 

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Nov. 10 – 18, 2013

Thanks to yesterday’s severe weather & tornado outbreak across the Midwest and Ohio valley, I’m running a day late on this week’s Gee-O-Science links post. Meteorologists from many National Weather Service offices will be combing over thousands of square miles documenting tornado paths, downburst/microburst damage, hail swaths, and a myriad of other data. Unfortunately, there were several fatalities and communities impacted by tornadoes. If you’d like to help the storm victims, please visit redcross.org

Now for this weeks links…

ASTRONOMY

Here’s a very cool panorama that shows you “where-in-the-Mars” is the Curiosity Rover.

GEOLOGY

Check out this cave where the forecast is, “dark with a chance of clouds.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES

Here’s the Storm Prediction Center’s Preliminary Storm Report page for the 17 November 2013 severe weather outbreak. For those unfamiliar with this data, please keep in mind that these are preliminary reports and many numbers, especially the tornado count, will be substantially lower once redundant reports are eliminated and NWS damage surveys completed.

NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center has issued their October, 2013 State of the Climate report. Among the data, Alaska had its warmest October on record.

Unless the USA gets a good hand, by 2016 it’ll be in a world of hurt regarding weather satellites.

Filling in gaps in long-term temperature records with satellite data indicates that recent surface warming trends had probably been underestimated.

A good read by Chris Mooney. “Could Carl Sagan Have Defeated Climate Denial?

Check out Climate Modeling 101…”designed to help the public learn the basics of climate modeling.”

The World Health Organization has rated Super Typhoon Yolanda a Category 3 disaster…their highest level.

A keen understanding of past disasters can help solve future problems.

SOCIAL MEDIA/TECHNOLOGY

Done efficiently & with sharing info of value, tweeting & blogging aren’t a waste of academics’ time.

And that’s a wrap…have a great week everybody!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Nov. 2 – 10, 2013

In my neck of the woods, there’s a crisp cool morning breeze and the trees are turning a myriad of yellows, reds, gold, & bronze. Autumn has settled in. The big weather story this week is Super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated much of the Philippines.

Here’s a look at this weeks links…

GENERAL SCIENCE

A very thought-provoking read: “We All Start Out As Scientists, But Then Some Of Us Forget.”

And another very thought-provoking essay: “I Don’t Believe In Science.” As Carl Sagan said, “Science is a way of thinking much more than a body of knowledge.”

More political science than social science…but still a spot on article: “Virginia governor’s race shows global warming science denial is a losing political stance.”

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a great list of apps than help put the citizen in citizen science!

ASTRONOMY

The shadow from an early November solar eclipse was captured in spectacular fashion by the Meteosat-10 weather satellite.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

As was the case with the United States Dust Bowl, civilizations rise and fall with the quality of their soil.

The recent air pollution in China was so bad that it kept the government from spying on people…which is good.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Read how the Montreal Protocol helped climate change.

Social media often documents the after effects of natural disasters faster than mainstream media. Flickr is a good example of how the impacts of Hurricane Sandy were captured for posterity.

With over 6 petabytes of data, browsing through NOAA’s climate data base can be daunting. NOAA View is a cool new tool to help you out.

An ice core can give scientists a glimpse into a 1.5 million year old record of the Earth’s climate.

No surprise, but research shows solar activity plays a very minimal role in climate change.

Finally, the Red Cross has set up this page for donations for Typhoon Haiyan relief. The devastation across the Philippine islands is horrific…and those folks need a great deal of help.

And that’s a wrap! Have a great week everyone!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Oct. 26 – Nov. 2, 2013

The tropical Atlantic hurricane season is coming to an end soon. This year will go down in the record books as one of the most inactive seasons ever. It also gave many time to reflect on Hurricane Sandy and it’s devastating effect on the northeastern contiguous US. Some of the most beneficial lessons are learned in hindsight & our encounter with Sandy certainly fits that bill. Several of this week’s links will focus on that event. On that note, let’s get started…

PALEONTOLOGY

For the first time, scientists reconstruct giant steps taken by one of the largest species of dinosaur.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Interesting multi-media article from Climate Central on the challenges that Hurricane Sandy presented for meteorologists.

Also from Climate Central: One Year Later: The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

One perspective on five ways the recovery efforts from Sandy are far from over.

On the other side of the coin, five things Sandy changed for the good.

A nice “before/after” photo essay from the Wall Street Journal on the region devastated by Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy’s toll was not limited to property and infrastructure. The social and psychological effects of Sandy (and countless other natural disasters) can linger for decades after the rebuilding is complete.

Recent research in paleo-climatology shows that El Nino has been exceptionally active in the 20th century compared to the past 600 years.

Read how lightning detection sensors mounted on cell phone towers are used to gather forecast data.

The World Health Organization warns of the carcinogenic nature of the air we breathe.

Interesting read from the New York Times: A Closer Look at Climate Panel’s Findings On Global Warming Impacts.

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

Cheers!

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