Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links Feb. 18 – 25th, 2014

With the North American severe weather season fast approaching, the contiguous USA has just had its first widespread severe weather event. Fortunately, it appears that most damage was minor, tornadoes were not common, and straight line winds were the major hazard. In light of this severe weather episode, I’ve been asked a number of times, “What will the 2014 severe weather season be like?” Honestly, I haven’t a clue. There are many global atmospheric characteristics and trends that could give us a hint, but they’re not consistently reliable. The policy I recommend: Prepare for the worst & hope for the best. Knowledge is power…and make sure you have access to reliable and timely severe weather information. First, make sure your NOAA weather radio is functioning and you have plenty of batteries. Second, if you’re active in social media, follow your local National Weather Service office, your favorite local broadcast meteorologists, and any local officials/emergency management accounts. Now comes that waiting game.

Here are your links for this week…

GENERAL SCIENCE

This is something I’ve wondered about. “How Wrong Is Your Time Zone?”

For the mathematically inclined, formulae can thrill in the way that visual art and music do.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A good primer for those curious about astronomy: “Where Do Galaxies Come From?”

If clear skies are in your area, enjoy viewing Jupiter which, in a few days, will be at its highest point in the sky for many years to come.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

What’s causing the recent spike in unprecedented seismic activity in Oklahoma?

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Parts of the UK have experienced devastating floods as of late. They’re now at a crossroads in adaption, or abandonment.

A sobering look at images at the horrible air pollution that plagues much of China.

We’re aware of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but what about Repair?

If we’re to take sustainability seriously, we need a clear vision of what a sustainable future will look like.

The spinning blades on wind turbines not only generate useful electricity, but in rare occasions…lightning

The recent loss of Arctic sea ice may have long-term effects that are greater than expected.

Some amazing imagery of the recent loss of snow-pack in California.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

When much of Moore, OK was devastated by an EF-5 tornado on 20 May 2013, the Plaza Towers Elementary become a deathtrap…not because of the tornadoes intensity, but due to shoddy construction.

The ongoing drought in California may have serious consequences concerning public health.

In spite of short-term cold spells and winter precipitation, January, 2014 was the fourth warmest January since records began in 1880.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT COULDN’T GET MORE WEIRD…

Giant walls built across the traditional ‘tornado alley’ can save the day!

Good news! The Farmer’s Almanac is spot on. Weird.

More bizarre histrionics from the climate change denialists. Apparently those they disagree with (including yours truly) are “global warming Nazi’s.”

Make no mistake about it. The climate denialist machine is well-oiled and well-financed.

Denialism means just that. Denying information or facts that have proven to be true. Being a skeptic is another matter!

Finally, an interesting read on the “shills, skeptics, and hobbyists lumped together in climate denialism.”

In closing, I’d like to add some objective sanity regarding the matter.

My point for posting the above articles is, save for the last one, to show an example of the bizarre antics that have taken place in the world of earth sciences.  I don’t enjoy the bitter vitriol any more than anyone else and DO NOT under ANY circumstances entertain or tolerate trolls or bullying…online or in person. The saddest point about the climate change discussion is the vitriol from denialists has sunken to a new sophomoric low that eradicates any sense of professionalism on their behalf. It’s the kind of childish “mud-slinging” that so often seen in political races. It’s also dismaying to see seemingly intelligent people create accounts in social media for one purpose: trolling those who disagree with them. Hopefully, this will be a self-correcting phase and many of the bullies will disappear when they realize they are truly persona non grata in every sense of the phrase.

And as for the proposal to build walls that prevent tornadoes, well…that’s just pure bullshit.

Cheers!

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