Monthly Archives: August, 2014

Tornado Quest Science Links and Much More for August 24 – 31, 2014

For the time being, the tropical Atlantic has quieted down. In the eastern Pacific, Hurricane Marie reached an impressive Category 5 status and had an imposing presence on satellite imagery. Though it may seem serene now, especially in the Atlantic, we’re just entering the statistical “peak” of the hurricane season. If you live in a hurricane prone region and have not set in place an evacuation plan and/or emergency disaster kit, now would be an excellent time to do so. And speaking of “below average” weather events, much of the USA is running well below normal for the number of tornadoes to date.

This week’s post will be shorter than usual. I’ve many really exciting projects in the works and with the potential of severe weather Sunday (August 31) and Monday (September 1), my dance card is full.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…


NASA’s new Earth Science Week website is up and running! Check it out…and give them a follow on Twitter at @NASAESW

Interesting chart: Why Most STEM Majors Don’t Have STEM Jobs.


For RadarScope users: How to add custom locations.

Instagram’s new Hyperlapse app should make for some interesting videos of clouds of all kinds.

Using Windows 8.1? Here’s a handy guide on how to tidy it up.

Interesting, and disconcerting, read on why some privacy apps in the Google Play store get the boot.


Like to be a weather detective? You can help out a citizen science project that helps document weather observations back to the late 19th century.

Crowdsourced photos of the dry conditions across many USA states are helping scientists get a clearer idea of how extensive the ongoing drought is.


Volcanic ash and jet aircraft engines don’t mix. Here’s why.

California is part of a very volatile seismic region. Here’s a good read on the causes behind the recent Napa Valley earthquake.


Cleaner air is not only better for our health, but can help pay for reducing carbon emissions.

Renewable energy is growing at an ever-faster pace and produces up to 22% of the world’s electricity.

An interesting perspective: Is ecology explaining less and less?

For the first time ever, drought-ravaged California is going to regulate underground water.

Water scarcity isn’t just a developing world problem, it’s a global issue. A new study says reducing water scarcity is possible by 2050.

Interesting new study says our humble planet Earth can sustain more terrestrial plant growth than previously thought.


For the contiguous USA, 2014 has had a wild roller-coaster ride in regards to temperature. Climate Central also had a very interesting look on this year’s temperatures.

The next time the USA is confronted with a “Katrina” or “Sandy”…will we do better?

Climate scientists are not mincing words on the latest draft of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

These photos of the western USA drought conditions are simultaneously stunning and sobering.

While the tropical season in the Atlantic has been rather quiet, the Pacific has seen (to date) five robust tropical cyclones.

Check out these amazing images of Hurricane Marie…which was a Category 5 hurricane in the eastern Pacific.

NASA is using unmanned aircraft to fly hurricane missions. This has really good future potential.

I could talk about this until I’m blue in the face…but people continually follow (in droves) amateur weather buffs and “social mediarologists” as if every post to their website, blog, Twitter account, et al is the sacred word. Most are of dubious integrity and only fishing for attention and relish needless fear mongering. Long-range hurricane/tropical cyclone outlooks from the National Hurricane Center are the ONLY ones you should take seriously.

 Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” series was a smashing success…and his explanation of climate change is to-the-point and brilliant.


No surprise that an article with this opinion would appear in one of Oklahoma’s largest newspapers. At least this paper used some data from the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

And that’s a wrap for this wild week! If you’re celebrating Labor Day, enjoy the holiday weekend and if it’s hot, stay cool!



Tornado Quest Science Links and Much More for August 17 – 24, 2014

Summer heat has settled in across the central and southern plains this week bringing with it seasonably hot temperatures and dewpoints that make the atmosphere “air you wear.” In the tropics, the Pacific has still been active (Hurricane Marie is now a Category 5), but fortunately no land masses are currently threatened. The Atlantic has also remained quiet as of late save for Cristobal which has an erratic future that has spurred not a little hype.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…


Like it or not, Google Maps can track your every move. Fortunately, you can do something about that.

While on the topic of privacy, here are some good iOS privacy tips.

Regardless of what browser you use, you should be using privacy extensions. Here’s an overview of some of the best. I use many of these myself and can’t recommend them highly enough.

There are chances coming to your Twitter timeline that, in my opinion, are bound to be irritating.


Here’s a very cool citizen science project where you can help scientists identify cities at night and help increase our knowledge of light pollution.


Why does NASA study the ultraviolet sun? Solar weather and public health are just two of many reasons.


The “cookie-cutter” nature of many new subdivisions and home owner associations are going legal over some residents attempts at installing solar energy equipment.

While on the topic of solar power, here’s a look at the top ten solar energy states in the US.

How about some good news. According to the EPA, progress is being made in reducing urban air toxics in the US.


The Napa Valley region of California had the strongest earthquake since 1989 in the early morning hours of 24 August, 2014. If you felt it, here are three ways you can report your information.

With the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma taking a dramatic uptick  in recent years (with as many as 20 in one day), many folks have questions. Here’s a good OK Earthquake FAQ from the OK Geological Survey.

The ongoing drought in western states, California in particular, is potent enough to move mountains.

If you need information on Iceland’s #Bárðarbunga volcano, the Iceland Met Office has all the latest information you need.


For the latest on Cristobal, follow the National Hurricane Center at @NHC_Atlantic on Twitter or their website at this link. Of course, your local and/or national broadcast weather sources of your choice will have good info as well.

When it comes to weather and climate research, three radars are always better than one.

Here’s this week’s US Drought Monitor. Some relief for the southern plains, but much of California is still in the grips of a brutal drought.

The Climate Prediction Center’s drought outlook is out…and there’s no relief in sight for many western states.

The “hurricane hype” from “mediarologists and storm chasers is really nothing new, but a constant irritant that’s frequently seen during tornado warnings, blizzards, derechos, etc. What’s one to do? Remember, only heed warning information from your local National Weather Service office and the broadcast weather sources of your choice. The Weather Channel’s WX Geeks show addresses this in a recent episode. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Thanks to WX Geeks host Dr. Marshall Shepherd for posting all three parts on Twitter.

The heat island effect cooks US cities to the broiling point. Having been born and raised in a large metro area, I can attest to the validity of this.

Being a climate scientist isn’t easy in the current political climate (no pun intended) which tends to put a higher priority on short-term profits over long-term public health of current, and future, generations.

One of this week’s best links…”A Little Love For The Locals, Please?” Being a broadcast meteorologist isn’t the bright lights and glamour many assume it to be.


Sometimes, evidence based facts can induce vitriol of the worst kind. Teaching people how to think (aka critical thinking) and not what to think can be a most daunting task.

Have a great week…


Tornado Quest Science Links and Much, Much, More for August 10 – 17, 2014

To say this past week has been a busy one for the Pacific tropical cyclone season is almost a vast understatement. For those of us who enjoy watching weather events around the world unfold, there hasn’t been a shortage of tropical storms and hurricanes to keep us occupied. On the flip side, the Atlantic season has been quiet thanks to a significant amount of dry Saharan air from Africa that is hindering formation of tropical cyclones that could threaten the US eastern coast, Gulf region, or the Caribbean. For the lower 48, the latest look back at July from the National Climactic Data Center is out and it was indeed an unusually cool month for much of the plains states while western states dealt with drought conditions and wildfires. With several writing projects on hand, I’ve got a full dance card…so this weeks post will be a bit on the brief side.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…


A very thought-provoking read on the uncertainty that is inherent in science.

Most contemporary “science” documentaries are a faint copy of anything remotely educational.

A fascinating look into the writings of Issac Newton from Cambridge University.


Fireflies (aka lightning bugs) and citizen science are a perfect match.

If you love weather and want to get involved in citizen science, CoCoRaHS is a great place to start.

The Smithsonian Museum needs citizen science volunteers for a massive digitization project.


Here’s the full NCDC overview of the US climate for July, 2014. As you can see, it was an unusual month for much of the country.

In case you missed this, I’m re-posting the link regarding changes to the Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlooks. If you live in an area prone to severe weather, this applies to you and is important information that you need to familiarize yourself with.

An interesting look (with reference information) on changes in western USA precipitation patterns.

Speaking of western USA precipitation, could dust ease the relentless California drought?

Forest in Europe (and likely many other regions) are showing the effects of climate change.

This is the 45th anniversary of Hurricane Camille…a rare Category 5 tropical cyclone that made landfall on the central Gulf coast. Here’s a detailed overview and a stunning photo gallery from NOAA of Camille’s aftermath.


Earlier this week, I posted this article. Being optimistic in sustainability topics comes naturally to me as I’m excited by and very enthused at the prospects. Perhaps the article could have been written or worded differently, but I’m merely passing along information that I hope my followers will find of interest or value. One individual associated with a university took exception to the way the article was written. I’ve no problem with that, but the rebuttal was aimed at me and not the site or its author…both of whom are 100% responsible for the content…content over which I have no control. This is the case with 99% of the information that most of us share in social media. Said individual is entitled to his/her opinion, but the professional and tactful recourse would have been to contact the original creators of the article. This is a classic case of “kill the messenger.”  I try my absolute best to share articles and information that will convey information to the widest audience possible. I also try my best to keep an upbeat online demeanor but you and I well know how challenging that can be. Regardless of our “mood-of-the-day,” one thing I’ve learned from many successful social media people is branding. Not everyone is the life-of-the-party online, but some forethought and manners can go a long way. Also, our online reputation is something to be closely guarded and protected.  It says a lot about you, your friends, and everyone’s employer. Finally, while not the last word, a caveat I recommend to many…and often. I Do No Argue On The Internet.

Now that we’ve gotten that singularly unattractive business out of the way…I hope all of you have a great week and plenty of things to smile about. Life is good…and very short…it ain’t a crime to be good to yourself!



Tornado Quest’s Science Links and More for August 3 – 10, 2014

While weather over most of North America has been rather tranquil this past week, the tropical cyclone activity has been interesting to watch. Save for Bertha in the Atlantic, the tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific has been very active. Iselle cruised across the Hawaii doing a great deal of infrastructure damage, but it could have been much worse.  Julio was nice enough to stay to the north of the islands. The Hawaiian Islands are no stranger to tropical cyclones, they just don’t happen to have frequent encounters with them. Perhaps worst of all was a certain degree of hype in mainstream media which, considering their lack of ineptness with scientific data, should come as no surprise. As of this writing, Invest 94-L coming off the west coast of African looks interesting, but will be facing a very hostile environment conducive to any development. For now…the Atlantic basin remains rather tranquil…but that could change.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…


Ready, set, glow! Here’s how to take part in a cool citizen science firefly project this summer.

From SciStarer: Super Moon, Super Meteor Showers, Super Citizen Science!


The journey to the answers is half the fun. “The Never-Ending Conundrums Of Classical Physics.”


The Mars Curiosity rover is celebrating its second anniversary on its amazing journey across the Mars landscape. Here’s to many more anniversaries!

Have you ever watched the ISS pass overhead on a clear night? It’s a spectacular sight I’ve relished many times. Here’s a site (Spot The Station) where you can find out when your viewing chance will come along.


Atmospheric scientists aren’t the only ones that have to deal with misinformation, rumors, and denialism. Geologists get it too.


NOAA and EPA scientists have found a large area of low oxygen water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Looks like it’s time for California to come to terms with its water woes…which, at this time, look to be permanent.

A look at the top ten US states leading the nation in solar energy growth.

Just how far will “urban sprawl” grow in our largest population centers? A great deal. While that is good in many ways, it also makes our growing cities more vulnerable to unavoidable natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

It’s never too early to teach kids about science. Here are some cool books that will make environmental science education easy.


As the old saying goes, some clouds have a silver lining. In this case, something that could help with an ever-increasing amount of greenhouse gases.

Check out these amazing view of pyrocumulus clouds captured a few days ago over Oregon.

An interesting study on the interactions among fire, climate change, and forests for five major regions of the United States.

The chances of an El Nino forming this year have been reduced, but its formation is still expected.

How much do hurricanes hurt the economy? More than the local chamber of commerce would like to believe.

There are some substantial changes coming this autumn to Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlooks. Take a look at what’s in store.

A very interesting read on “Investing For Meteorologists.” No, we’re not talking finances.

All above-ground storm shelters should be manufactured by, purchased from, and installed by companies that adhere to strict requirements. Here’s a study into an apparently home-brew shelter that led to tragic results.

An enjoyable read by Greg Laden on how to talk with that relative/friend/coworker, et al who thinks climate change is a hoax.


If you’re like me, you spend many hours seated at your computer every day of the week. Here’s a very good article on setting up a computer centered workspace.

Thought provoking: How Perfectionism Destroys Happiness.

Eight tips to help you stay safe online…from Webroot…an anti-virus software I highly recommend.

That’s a wrap for this week!


Tornado Quest Science Links And More for July 27 – August 3, 2014

It’s hard to believe that August is already here. Before we know it, thoughts will turn to autumn (or spring in the southern hemisphere) and we will see seasonal changes taking place. Speaking of autumn, the recent cool spell across the eastern 2/3 of the contiguous USA has been a welcome respite from the summer heat and humidity. Many areas that are drought-plagued received beneficial rains. Of course, we can’t forget the Atlantic tropical cyclone season. There are many weeks left and though it’s been rather quiet, best not to let our guards down.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…


An interesting read on a small study on scientists on Twitter based on “a metric that compares the popularity of scientists on Twitter to the impact of their publications within peer-reviewed journals.”


An enlightening, and somewhat disconcerting, read on privacy and the mobile devices we love and live by.

Another very informative read from Ghostery (which is a browser add-on that I can’t recommend highly enough): 50 Things A Server Can Tell When You Visit A Webpage.

Single-tasking is apparently the new multi-tasking. Sorry to say, it doesn’t work for me.

The “Right To Be Forgotten” has drawn a great deal of discussion lately. The more I read about it, the more I’m sympathetic to Google’s quandary.

A very thought-provoking read on social media presence: “Preaching Is Creating A Divide Between You And Your Audience.”


Interesting insight into the magnetic field of Mercury and how it’s different from the one here on Earth.

The Mars Opportunity rover just broke an extraterrestrial mileage record…25 miles.

The new Mars rover will have more bells and whistles than you can count…and that’s very good!


An interdisciplinary look at how paleontology can give us a glimpse of climate change of the past…and future.

A new study suggests that dinosaurs fell victim to a “perfect storm” of events.


The southwestern portions of the USA have had a brutal blow from the ongoing drought. Conditions are bad enough that the amount of remaining groundwater is getting perilously low.

With no end in sight, take a look at how bad the drought conditions are in California.


Tornadoes in New England are rare, but not unheard of. Just a few days ago, an EF-2 tornado damaged portions of Revere, Massachusetts.

Is there reason to be hopeful that we can get a better grasp on climate change? Yes, there is. Here are a few reasons why. At the very least, it can’t hurt to try.

A read on a new study (with journal link) on water vapor in the upper atmosphere and its relation to global warming.

What’s being called “nuisance flooding” is becoming more a regular occurrence. Further details are at this link to the 66 page PDF report from NOAA.

The issue of climate change and politicians isn’t exclusively limited to the United States.

Shattering Myths To Help The Climate” is a good read…and a start…but much work needs to be done yet. Myths, in spite of solid scientific evidence, don’t go away easily.

When the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning, you should take it every bit as seriously as a tornado warning. Not convinced? This video should help.

Another example of the dangers of summer’s “silent killer.”

Had your city reached it’s summer peak heating yet? Fortunately, mine hasn’t…but that’s about to change.

Being a meteorologist is a difficult enough…a myriad of myths exist regarding the science…but a female broadcast meteorologist is all too often the target of a pleb with a pencil.


At a loss for words, but not at a loss for pity. Political science (an oxymoron if there ever was one) and true science make for poor bedfellows.

That’s a wrap for this week…


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