Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For June 18 – 25, 2014

The past few days have seen summer settle in for a great deal of North America, but the week got started off with a bang. Another series of severe weather episodes brought a round of severe thunderstorms complete with high winds, large hail, flash flooding, and some impressively intense tornadoes. Will 2014 go down as one of the years with the fewest number of tornadoes? Time will tell. There are many active months still ahead. This is also Lightning Safety Week in the USA. I’d also be remiss to remind folks to slowly acclimatized themselves to the  coming summer heat (aka the “silent killer”) and prepare now for the Atlantic hurricane season. In spite of outlooks hinting at a below average season in terms of activity, it only takes one major hurricane making landfall to create a significant disaster.

A shorter post today…working with a full dance card here…so here goes…

Here are this week’s links…


I am normally apolitical…but the fact that science makes politicians very antsy is too good to pass up.

Communicating science to the general public is very challenging and not likely to get easier even in this technical age.


Read how citizen scientists are using the web to track the natural world. And yes, you can take part too!


Check out this amazing pop-up solar power station. This could be quite the thing, especially where power is difficult to get to or in disaster areas.

Watching wind turbines in snow makes “inefficiencies” visible…but in due time (much to the chagrin of alternate energy skeptics) that will be rectified.

Summer means an increase in trips to the FL beaches…and an opportunity to trudge your way through a 1.250 tar mat. How nice.

By 2020, Finland is on track to become a model country for sustainable transport.

In spite of the annual sizzling Texas heat, wind power in the Lone Star State is very good things for consumers and their pocketbooks.

Adrift of the coast of Portugal is a frontrunner in the global race for floating windfarms.

At the neighborhood scale, downscaling is helping people deal with climate change.


This is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Few weather dangers, save for heat, are given such a cavalier attitude. Simply put, if you can hear the thunder, you can be struck.

Speaking of safety, here’s a rather unnerving look at energy installations that are vulnerable to extreme weather.

Meteorological summer verses astronomical summer. What’s the difference?

National Severe Storms Laboratory researchers are leading a project to evaluate experimental flash flood products issued by the National Weather Service.

The sight of the Pilger, NE tornado slinging a house into the air is rare, but it does happen. In 1982, I photographed the remains of a small house that was carried intact by tornado.

Here’s a sobering view of the tornado damage in Pilger, NE…with many before & after pics. A great deal is revealed by simply looking at and considering construction practices.

A very interesting read from the AMS on fatalities in tropical cyclones.

This is a fascinating look at hurricane tracks of the past from NOAA.

Chances are very, very good that our atmosphere is gearing up for an El Nino.

A “must-read” for those who use social media, Twitter in particular, during severe weather. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem (especially with attention-hungry accounts by the hundreds) that’s going away soon.

Finally, this article has stirred a great deal of consternation amongst those in the storm chasing community who’ve felt threatened by its content. While I disagree that present day radar makes Skywarn spotters obsolete,  I feel it has some sound observations. After decades of storm chasing, I’ve seen many trends come and go. With the taste of notoriety and fame all too irresistible,  more chasers than ever are scampering for “extreme” video and photos, interviews with national media, and a dominant yet precarious position on the social media pedestal. Some internet trolls consider me a “curmudgeon” of the Chuck Doswell type. I actually consider that a compliment. Thank you.


No, this won’t work. Ranks right up there with hanging a bomb on a pole at the southwestern corner of a small town.

On that note…this is a wrap…




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