Monthly Archives: January, 2015

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Jan. 19 – 26, 2015

There’s been a wide variety of topics across many fields of science that have been of interest to many folks this past week. As is often the case as of late, most center on climate issues. A few encouraging stories on the renewable energy front have also been of great interest. As for the current winter across North America, much of the TX panhandle and NM saw significant snowfall as did much of the northeastern states from PA and NY into New England during a powerful storm that could put its mark into the record books. Due to some previous commitments and a bit of workload related to the ongoing blizzard in the northeastern states, this week’s post will be a bit on the brief side.

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


If you’re riding out the big northeastern blizzard, you can help the National Severe Storms Laboratory with weather research by reporting snow, wind, etc. via the mPING app!

While you’re out in the snow, you may want to measure how deep it is. The folks at the National Weather Service in Norman, OK have put together a quick tutorial on how to measure snow correctly.


A “spot-on” read with some psychology, physiology, and social media blended to make a very valid point. It’s no wonder that, for those of us who see the glass as half full, the sarcastic snarks in social media are so repulsive.

A very interesting look (in images) of “The Emerging Global Web.”


Amateur astronomers have made some significant contributions to science…including discovering comets.


Here’s some good news on the renewables front. A large area will soon open for wind power in New England.

An interesting read on having a lawn that is greener in every sense of the word.

Check out these fantastic aerial images of our humble home. They do put things in perspective.

This gives “Bean Town” a whole new meaning! “Boston’s Got Gas As Methane Seeps From City.”


Are you following the Twitter account of your local National Weather Service office? If not, here’s a complete list for the USA.

Not necessarily atmospheric science, but an interesting look at how Colorado keeps 9,000 miles of highway clear of snow.

East Antarctica’s largest glacier is melting…and that’s a lot of ice. A lot. Up north in Greenland, two lakes beneath the ice have disappeared.

A fascinating look at some weather history. If you think it’s bad getting through a blizzard in the 21st Century, reconsider what the folks in New York City suffered with in 1888.

Finally, in regards to the ongoing blizzard, here’s a great essay by Greg Laden. “The Great Blizzard of 2015: Fair To Say It Is AGW Amplified.”

Last but definitely not least, here’s some very important winter weather safety information for you folks who are dealing with this week’s massive snowstorm.

Stay warm and safe folks!



Tornado Quest Science Links and Much More for Jan. 12 – 19, 2015

Save for a few bouts of wintry weather, it’s been a relatively quiet weather week across most of North America. Drought conditions still persist across parts of CA, NV, OK, and TX with little relief in sight. The big news is the final analysis of global climate for 2014. Since records have been kept, 2014 was the warmest year on our planet. As is often the case, burning the candles at both ends with a full dance card chasing after me…so this will be a short post for this week.

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


Citizen Science: Theory and Practice is taking submissions for their 2015 launch! “The journal will provide a central space for cross-disciplinary scholarly exchanges that are aimed at advancing the field of citizen science.”

Need some citizen science project ideas to get involved in? SciStarter has a great list to start with!

Here’s a very cool list of awesome outdoor apps for kids…or those who are young at heart AND interested in the wonders of nature.


A stark reminder on the importance of basic science research.


If you’re a user and fan of Firefox, there’s a critical security update that you need to address ASAP.


The world’s first solar bike path has been unveiled in the Netherlands.

New York City’s newest recycling center is a state-of-the art facility. Such a shame these aren’t as common as landfills.

If you’re traveling to Beijing, you’d better bring your own oxygen supply. Their toxic air is literally off the charts.

An amazing array of images from NASA that reveal how much climate change has transformed our Earth.

A thought-provoking essay that, indirectly, proves the superior value of the scientific method. “The Danger The Planet Faces Because Human Instinct Overpowers Human Reason.”


There’s been little change in this week’s USA Drought Monitor with extreme to exceptional conditions persisting for parts of CA, NV, OK, and TX. With no relief in sight, the stress of dealing with the drought is taking its toll as the dry conditions become a way of life.

Considering the ongoing drought in California, there are many questions pertaining to atmospheric conditions that bring rain to that region. This study will answer many of them.

How much will climate change cost us? More than we think.

When words alone aren’t enough. Five charts that help explain why 2014 was so warm on our humble home. Here are some very cool animations that further drive the point home.

And lastly, a little meteorology, a little sociology. “Weather May Influence Institutional Investors’ Stock Decisions.”


For the record, I have no problem with selfie-sticks. But, I will go on record for hoping that this doesn’t become the next social media fad.

That’s a wrap for this post…


Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For January 5 – 12, 2015

Hopefully all of you have gotten the new year off to a good start. Over much of North America, the winter weather has been relatively “tranquil” as of late with a minimum of snow and/or ice events. For many National Weather Service offices, Skywarn spotter classes will be starting soon. If you’re considering getting into storm spotting, these classes are mandatory to understanding the severe storm environment. And, now that another year has recently ended, the latest climate overview of last year from NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center has been issued with a plethora of data on the weather and climate of the USA for 2014.

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


Few things can beat hands-on experience, especially for kids. “8 Ways To Nurture Your Children’s Connection To Nature.”


For citizen science to succeed, persistence is the key. Trying is what is most important and noteworthy.


An interesting study done by Pew Research on some of the most popular forms of social media.

Will a renewed emphasis on IT security take place in 2015? Let’s hope so!


Denmark has become the world’s champion in wind power. When will other countries, including the USA, step up to the plate?

The USA (amongst other countries) isn’t the most efficient when it comes to recycling, so recycling goes undone. Unfortunately, the solution is even worse.

A most unpleasant dilemma. The Great Lakes could be full of tiny plastic fibers. You’ll also be surprised where they come from.


If you’re into weather and climate and not watching Weather Geeks on The Weather Channel, you’re really missing a treat!

A fascinating read on NCAR research into great plains thunderstorms and their relation to ozone production.

The “warming hiatus” that has occurred over the last 15 years (and is the focus of much discussion) has been caused in part by small volcanic eruptions.

We’ve just started a new year…and CO2 is still above the 440 PPM mark.

The National Weather Service has announced a tenfold increase in supercomputer power. This is long overdue and can’t happen soon enough.

“Dark Money” funding climate change denial efforts? Truth is stranger than fiction…and is no surprise either.

A great up to date read on the elusive El Niño which, as of late, has been playing quite the “cat-n-mouse” game.

More information on the unmistakable link between our atmosphere and the biosphere. Climate change is having a substantial effect on Mother Nature.

Here we go again. “The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus: 114th Congress Edition.”

Having the reputation of a well-known journalist does not necessarily make for an informed (and accurate) stance on science.


Nothing like a little nostalgia to make one appreciate how far we have come with technology.

Not all careers in science are glamorous. In fact, some can be downright disgusting…but folks love them anyway.

Heads up gents. The ladies aren’t as fond of facial hair as we’d like to think they are…i.e. the twenty-something hipster “lumbersexual” look with the high-water pencil leg pants is out.

Have a great week…and if it’s cold where you are, stay warm!


State Of The Climate Report from @NOAANCDC For Dec. 2014 & 2014 Overview

The latest State Of The Climate report from NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center (NCDC) has just been released. It’s a compendium of information on the climate of December, 2014 and a review of last year as a whole. There are several interesting features that stand out for the year as a whole.

  • For the 18th year in a row, temperature readings exceeded the USA 20th century average.
  • In 2014, there were eight weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion dollars each across the USA.
  • Alaska, Arizona, California, and Nevada had their warmest year on record while most areas east of the Rockies (save for New England and Florida) were cooler than average. No state had a record cold year.

For the month of December, 2014,  temperature and drought were the main features.

  • December was indeed warm for the USA. In fact, the second warmest December on record, and the warmest since 1939. In spite of that, no state had a record warm month.
  • Beneficial precipitation did ease ongoing drought conditions across many areas, but the hardest hit states of California and Nevada are still dealing with Exceptional to Extreme drought.
  • As of December 30th, 28.7 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought which is a very slight improvement over November.

The full detailed report from NCDC will be released on 12 January, 2015. In summary, several facts do stand out. Overall, 2014 was a very warm year for the USA, billion dollar disasters are becoming more commonplace, and just under one third of the USA is experiencing relentless drought conditions that are becoming a way of life. It’s important to keep in mind that this is only an overview for a part of North American and the overall global climactic trends are not taken into account…but eerily mirror what is happening within the USA. Finally, we would be remiss to not take into account the effect on our economy, infrastructure, public health, and overall standard of living these climate trends are having on our way of life.



Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Dec. 29, 2014 – Jan. 6, 2015

By now, most of you have had your fill of “new year wishes” but bear with me and allow me to indulge in one more. To all my loyal followers…old and new…I’d like to wish you a great 2015. In spite of the fact that New Year’s Eve is one of the most overblown “holidays” of the year, let’s learn what we can from our mistakes and/or miscalculations in 2014 and look to the future. It’s my sincere hope that lady luck flies in close to all of us on each perilous mission we take. This year will also be a pivotal one in terms of climate change, sustainable lifestyles, renewable sources of energy, space exploration, and so much more.

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


If you’ve got the means, you can take part in the world’s biggest high altitude balloon flight.


Deleting yourself from the internet grid isn’t easy, but here are some tips on how to get started.

When a Google search isn’t enough, there are alternatives.

If you’re browsing in private mode, it may not be as private as you think.


A 3.9 billion year old meteorite from Mars is giving insight into that planet’s history.

How would this rate on the Enhanced Fujita Scale? The Hubble telescope has peered into the depths of our Milky Way galaxy and discovered a point where an eruption drove gases outwards at 2 million miles per hour.


Being a sustainability optimist, I can’t help but share this good essay. “9 Reasons Not To Be Depressed About The Planet.”

Dont’ toss that dried up Christmas tree in the trash. Here are four ways to recycle your tree for wildlife.

Speaking of Christmas, how is it possible to recycle Christmas lights?

Any good news is always welcome on the environmental science front. Here are ten reasons to be encouraged that environmental progress was made in 2014.

On the downside, the news regarding sea levels isn’t good.


From the fine folks at NCAR/UCAR, a look back at their top ten stories of 2014.

Most of us have always heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Here’s an interesting look at a new perspective on snowflake formation.

As the final data from 2014 comes in, it’s looking more and more likely that last year was the warmest ever for our planet. The Japanese Meteorological Agency has solid data.

The Guardian has their take on the last best chance to reach an agreement on cutting carbon emissions.

Good tips on how to become a climate change activist.

Here’s a “spot-on” read…”18 Scientists And What They Actually Think About Climate Change.”

Sir David Attenborough: Climate change threatens humanity – but those in power deny it. Why? It’s easier (and more profitable) that way.

Not even the Pope is immune to the rants of climate change denialists.

Why isn’t Greenland…green? It’s partially climate, partially geology.

Finally, 2014 will go down as the year Oklahoma had the fewest tornadoes since official records began in 1950. Considering the brutal beatings from tornadoes the Sooner state has taken in the last 15 years, who in their right mind would complain?

That’s a wrap for this post…


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