Monthly Archives: December, 2014

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Dec. 22 – 29, 2014

Another year is finally drawing to a close. There are a plethora of “year end lists” out there on every topic imaginable. In terms of climate and weather, it’s always interesting to look back for weather geeks like me. For North America, two things are certain. 2014 will go down as one of the years with the lowest tornado count and (fortunately) another year without a devastating major hurricane making landfall. As for climatology, much new climate change research was revealed and reconfirmed. In spite of the naysayers (who so often confuse weather with climate), the atmosphere above us and the inexorably linked biosphere in which we live is changing…and few species are as poorly adapted to deal with the changes as our own. What will 2015 bring? In terms of synoptic or mesoscale meteorology, we will wait and find out. I’ve no idea what the coming severe weather “season” will bring. Certain climactic variable may give us a subtle hint, but I’m not delusional to think that such short-term synoptic scale events can be forecast months in advance. Yes, it’s tempting for many to be drawn to prognostications like a moth to a flame but chances are they’ll just get burned. So if you do indulge, caveat emptor and avoid the fear mongers. And on that note…let us continue.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

An interesting read on the different cultures that exist in various scientific fields.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Could cash, Twitter, and Facebook be sent to Coventry 2015? Maybe.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A look back at some amazing space images of 2014.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Here’s a very informative article on “treecycling” and what to do with your Christmas tree after the holiday winds down.

A Christmas tree made of plastic shopping bags certainly induces one to take pause and think.

The USA could power itself with solar energy about 100 times over. I’d certainly love to see this come to fruition.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

A thought provoking long-read. “The Climate In 2015: Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart.”

According to data from NOAA, 2014 will go down in the records book as the hottest year yet.

This is a spot-on essay that touches on why we should feel optimistic about our planet’s climate in 2015.

Finally, here’s a non-technical overview of the USA tornadoes of 2014. Overall, it was well below average in most every category.

Happy New Year to all! Let’s get 2015 off to a good start!

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links For Dec. 15 – 22, 2014

The Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere is finally upon us. If you’ve been aggravated by the lack of sunlight, take heart. From now until late June, the amount of daylight will increase every day. Obviously we have a great deal of wintery weather ahead…so don’t put the long-johns away just yet.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A recent episode of Science Friday had a very good segment that’s worth a listen…and discussion. “Scientists Speak Out About Attacks On Science

Sadly, no shortage of these as this year draws to a close. The worst anti-science stories of 2014.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Good food for thought. “10 Ways We’re Being Rude In Social Media And Don’t Even Know It.”

Online privacy is something far too many take with far too little a grain of salt.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

From SciStarter: 12 Days Of Christmas: Citizen Science Edition!

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

A very cool time-lapse video of the world’s most complete Stegosarus skeleton being assembled.

A fascinating read on genetics confirming the relationship between fins and hands

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

A lofty goal, but very worth one in my book. Austin, TX to get 55% of its power from renewables by2025.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

There are countless colloquial and/or provincial weather terms that need to be put to rest. Among them are “twister,” “thunderhead,” “snowpocalypse,” “snOMG”…and “superstorm.”

Here’s the latest USA Drought Monitor. In spite of recent heavy rains, the surface was barely scratched (for long-term benefit) in CA, NV, OK, TX.

If you live in an area prone to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, there are some recent changes in the Storm Prediction Center’s Day 4-8 Outlooks that you should be aware of.

Living in much of Alaska is tough enough, but this village will give us insight as to how it’s residents…and the rest of us…are unprepared for climate change.

At this year’s conference of the American Geophysical Union, a great deal of climate change research was shared. Communicating that important data to a largely apathetic public is something else.

An interesting read from NOAA on changes in the Arctic due to rising air and sea temperatures.

And that’s a wrap for this post. If you’re celebrating the holiday, my best wishes to you and yours. Have fun and God Jul!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links For Dec. 8 – 15, 2014

It’s no secret that the big weather news this week was the storm system that brought a great deal of rainfall to the west coast and specifically to the drought ravaged parts of California. While this may have helped take the edge off the ongoing drought, it’s only temporary. In fact, in the long-term, it’s unlikely that much benefit will be seen from this event. There’s plenty more to take a look at, so let’s get started.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Just a reminder of the amazing free mPING app that you can get for iOS or Android. Whether its snow, hail, or high winds, you can send in a report to the National Severe Storms Laboratory and help weather research! The mPING app, unlike many other weather apps, has a very small footprint…so it won’t gobble up a ton of space in your mobile device.

Can citizen scientists lead the way in exciting new research? You bet they can.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY/RECYCLING

Check out one of the most novel ideas for recycling used Christmas trees I’ve seen to date.

If plastic doesn’t have a recycling number, what should you do with it?

Aside from not taking it for granted, what did Americans learn this year from not being able to drink their water?

An interesting infographic on which countries are the most energy efficient.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

A recent Met Office study indicates heatwaves are likely “every other year” by 2030’s.

Here’s the latest State Of The Climate report from NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center. It was a chilly November for the contiguous USA, but that was a global exception.

Six thought-provoking charts on the future of climate change.

A good read on the inextricable link between our atmosphere and biosphere.

A climate change denier ≠ skeptic. In fact, nothing could be further from truth in labeling. Hence, many scientists are encouraging journalists to stop referring to deniers as skeptics.

There’s a great deal of media coverage in the aftermath of the latest UN Climate Summit. Here’s a concise overview. Unfortunately, what was agreed upon has little teeth.

Oklahoma is known for tornadoes in the spring, but December? No month is immune. Oklahoma County recorded it’s first December tornado on 12/14/14. Tulsa County has experienced December tornadoes in 1975 (Dec. 5th) and two on Christmas Eve 1982 (Dec. 24).

Speaking of tornadoes, ustornadoes.com has compiled a “top ten” list of tornado videos of 2014. Please note that this is not an endorsement of storm chasing, “extreme” or otherwise, and the inevitable dangers chasers/spotters will encounter.

Interesting read from NASA on research into thunderstorm gamma rays.

What are your chances of a white Christmas in the contiguous USA? In my neck of the woods, slim to none.

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Nov. 30 – Dec. 8, 2014

As a winter chill sets in over much of North America, the 2014 Atlantic basin hurricane season officially ended on Nov. 30, 2014. Fortunately, it was mild in comparison to past seasons. In the western USA as of this post, parts of California were getting some badly needed rainfall. Unfortunately, it won’t be nearly enough to be of long-term benefit to drought ravaged areas. Finally, with December 1st comes the beginning of the “meteorological winter” for the Northern Hemisphere. In Lima, Peru, a very important United Nations climate summit is underway…the results of which will hopefully be productively beneficial.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A very interesting and educational read on “The Science of Scientific Writing.”

We live on an amazing planet where everything came together at the right place and right time for a myriad of life forms to evolve over billions of years. Take a (full screen) look at this spectacular “birds-eye-view” over Alaska. It’ll renew your appreciation of the only home our species will ever have.

Some good news for getting science articles online. Nature promotes read-only sharing by subscribers.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

If you think cyberbullying is limited to children and teenagers, think again.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCES

Here’s a spectacular view of NASA’s Orion spacecraft at liftoff from a very close vantage point. Here’s the official NASA video.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Very cool! “In world first, researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency.”

A look at the six countries that produce almost sixty percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate change is more than just the atmosphere. Much of our biosphere, including the animal kingdom, is also affected.

How much water do you use? An interesting look at this question from the USGS.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season has come to an end. Here’s a quick overview.

This past week’s US Drought Monitor still shows exceptional conditions persisting in CA, NV, OK, & TX. Recent rains may help next week’s map more appealing to the eye.

An interesting read: “Are We Missing The Big Picture On Climate Change?”

With the U.N. Climate Summit taking front and center of much media coverage, Science Friday had a nice segment covering the news on this week’s broadcast.

A thought-provoking read on the power of women in the face of climate change.

An interesting read from Climate Central on how USA winters are changing.

A recent popular article on predictability for USA cities isn’t as on the mark as many think it is. Capital Weather Gang chimes in with a sound rebuttal.

And that’s a wrap for this post…

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Nov. 23 – 30, 2014

If you were celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, I hope it was a good one and you had a grand time. Some folks in the northeastern USA states didn’t have such a grand time dealing with a snowstorm that could not have had “better” timing. If you ran that gauntlet and survived, congratulations. You deserve a medal.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Christmas is coming and so is the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Here’s how you can get involved.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

How about some good news. The largest solar plant in the USA is running full throttle. We need to see more of this…and soon.

Check out these cool wind turbines that are made for home-scale energy needs. I’d certainly give one of these a whirl.

This was only a matter of time. Farmers are discovering the benefits of renewable energy.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

No surprise here. “In the ski business, there are no climate deniers.”

An all too often overlooked topic. The effects of climate change driven heatwaves on an aging population.

A very important U.N. climate summit is underway in Lima, Peru. This one is especially important due to the potential accomplishments.

No secret to those in the know. Risks from extreme weather are “significant and increasing.”

Very interesting read on using past climate data to better understand the El Nino’s of the future.

A very creative use of robotic technology to study the secrets of the southern oceans.

And that’s a wrap for this week. Stay curious folks…it’s good for the brain.

Cheers!

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