Monthly Archives: February, 2015

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Feb. 16 – 23, 2015

As of this post, several southern states in the USA have been given a stout taste of winter with all the frozen precipitation trimmings. Many folks, especially those living in the northeast, can’t wait for a taste of spring. Personally speaking, I’m relishing every minute of winter I can get. Soon enough, the brutal great plains summer heat will set in and we’ll be begging for a shot of cool air. As for the inevitable changes that occur and induce an increase in severe thunderstorm activity, they will be here soon enough. Once again I’d like to remind folks to prepare now for the coming uptick in severe weather season. The last thing you want to have happen is realize that you didn’t prepare a “safe place” as a tornadic supercell bears down on your town…or neighborhood. Last but not least, the amount of news concerning climate change has been on the increase as more and more research data confirms that planet Earth’s climate is indeed not what it used to be. On the hopeful side, there are some bright lights in sustainability and renewable energy news.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

From the archives, a disconcerting read on data brokers and what they know about you.

SUSTAINABILITY/RENEWABLES

Would be nice to see this come to fruition. “The Dutch Windwheel is not only a silent wind turbine – it’s also an incredible circular apartment building.”

Here’s some good news on the renewables front…in 2015, more than 10 percent of the electricity used in Texas came from wind turbines.

A very informative read on the indicators for measuring the sustainability of cities.

I’d gladly give one of these a test run! “Rollable solar charger provides portable green energy wherever you go.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Yet another potentially volatile scenario indicating the strong link between our climate and biosphere.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Many folks, especially in the northeastern USA states, have had their fill of snow. Back in February, 2010, for a brief period all 50 states had snow somewhere within their state lines.

Clouds have a secret language all their own. Learn to “read” it fluently, and you’ll be leagues ahead of 99.9% of the world’s population.

The term “polar vortex” has been tossed about a great deal as of late. Here’s a basic explanation of what it really is.

NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center has their global analysis for January, 2015…and save for the eastern part of the USA, it was a warm month worldwide.

Speaking of a warm January, 2015 started off in global climate warmth where 2014 left off.

An interesting read on how tree rings can give scientists a look at climates past.

The hazards of winter weather aren’t just limited to slick roads. Here’s some good information from the CDC on winter weather safety.

As is the case with hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods, etc., winter weather events can tally up a staggering toll in the billions.

A picture (in this case…a word cloud) is worth a thousand words…and gives insight into the chasm between climate science and climate science denial.

From DeSmog Blog: “With the news of Willie Soon’s fossil-fuel-funded career featured on the front page of The New York Times on Sunday, there’s no time like the present to take a look at all of Soon’s friends in the anti-science climate denial echo chamber.” While we’re hot on the trail, it appears that malfeasance “pal review” has been the modus operandi amongst deniers for years.

Many storm chasers like to brag about chasing “extreme” weather…but Antarctica would give all of them a run for their money.

Hurricane hunters that have no qualms about flying through a category 5 hurricane would never dream of flying through a supercell blasting across the Oklahoma prairie. Here’s why.

That’s a wrap for this post…

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For Feb. 9 – 16, 2015

Across much of North America, winter has been raging with a vengeance week. Much of the attention was focused on two areas; from Oklahoma to the Carolinas, and the northeastern states including New England. For future reference, bookmark this page from Ready.gov with winter weather safety information. With the ongoing winter storm and related media commitments, I’ve got a full dance card here…so this week’s post will be shorter than usual. If time permits, I’ll add a few more links during the coming days…so feel free to visit again and see what’s new!

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Across the world, freedom of the press is in peril. That’s one of many reasons why we need social media.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Check out this amazing video put together by NASA that shows how dynamically spectacular our Sun is.

One of the most iconic images of our humble home, the “Pale Blue Dot,” turns twenty-five.

GEOLOGIC SCIENCE

Hidden faults that are disrupted by fracking can be the reason behind many recent earthquakes including the recent spate of seismic activity in Oklahoma.

Speaking of Oklahoma earthquakes, the Tulsa World recently carried an excellent series of articles. “Quake Debate” Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Every ocean on planet Earth has a massive swirling plastic garbage patch.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

As extreme weather events brought on by climate change become more common, the need for advanced weather forecasting will increase.

Little change has taken place in the past week on the latest USA Drought Monitor. Extreme and/or exceptional conditions persist across parts of CA, NV, OK, OR, and TX.

Research covering more than 50 years of data from 14 USA states shows more frequent Midwest flooding events.

Across much of eastern North America, some of the coldest air of the winter season has settled in. How does climate change play a part in this?

How does a scientist survive a winter in Antarctica? It’s not easy, but it can be done.

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) blasted off a few days ago and will give scientists an unprecedented view of important climate data.

Nice to see research with laboratory tornado models is still ongoing. Pioneers like Ted Fujita and Neil Ward spearheaded research into this kind of fluid dynamics.

 An informative and concise read: “Climate Talks Draw Praise, Herald Hard Slog Ahead.”

Residents of California that are dealing with the ongoing drought better learn to love it. It’s now become a way of life.

That’s a wrap for this post…check back for updates!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links For Feb. 2 – 9, 2015

Across North America, winter is still in full swing. With the exception of the relentless snowstorm that has been pounding much of the northeastern USA (and New England in particular), the cold season has behaved itself rather well. With several more weeks of cold weather still to come, we’ve plenty of time for more snow and or ice. All across the USA, National Weather Service offices are holding Skywarn spotter training sessions. If you’re planning on becoming a spotter, this training is absolutely essential. It’s also not too early for everyone to start planning for the coming uptick in severe weather activity. If you live in an area that is prone to severe thunderstorms and/or tornadoes, winter is an excellent time to prepare for an emergency.

I’d like to express my appreciation for all of the positive feedback I’ve received about my diversification of topics on Tornado Quest. While the focus will still be on the atmospheric sciences, you can expect much more in citizen science, environmental science, and related public policy topics for the future. Once again…thanks for all your positive feedback! 😎

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Who better to put on stage and communicate the process of science than scientists themselves.

Are politicians “Oblivious To Oblivion?”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter is finally clamping down on the malevolent guttersnipes that infest so much of social media.

An informative “long-read” on net neutrality that affects everyone who uses the internet. “Don’t call them “utility” rules: The FCC’s net neutrality regime, explained.”

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Thought this is from a December, 2014 post, we’ve plenty of winter ahead of us in North America to help out in the IceWatch USA project.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Here’s a great primer on sustainability…and more specifically, what it really is. “Can You Afford Not Being Sustainable?”

The first recycled alkaline batteries have hit the market. I’ll gladly give these a try…and hope they live up to their promise. Of course, rechargeable batteries are always a good option as well.

Sobering read from NRDC. “Fast Food Trash Nation? Time To Cut Down On Packaging Waste.”

A shameful waste, not just environmentally, but financially. “Every year in the United States, the paper, aluminum, glass, plastics and other recyclable material we throw away would be worth $11.4 billion if it were recycled.”

Good news on the renewables front. “Six charts that show renewable energy is getting cheaper.”

Here’s the amazing gadget that can help reduce CO2…and you can help out by planting one…or two.

This was inevitable. Post-Sandy New York City subways are showing signs of harboring unknown microbes.

While on the topic of microbes, high school students are discovering drug-resistant bacteria in subway stations. But consider this…those same disgusting microbes are also covering your computer keyboard, cell phone, television remote, home or office desktop, et al…

China has some of the world’s worst air quality…and it’s bad enough to have the potential to kill tens of thousands of people over the next decade.

Check out these amazing images of our home from the ISS. A link to the full collection at Flickr is included.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

The Tulsa World has some excellent investigative journalism pieces on the recent upswing in Oklahoma earthquakes.

An interesting read on another geological connection to climate: Seafloor Volcano Pulses May Alter Climate: Strikingly Regular Pattern, From Weeks To Eons.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The debate regarding whether 2014 was the hottest ever misses the point, but still it goes on.

Looking into the climates of the past can give scientists clues as to what our future holds.

Speaking of the past, recent history has shown concern over carbon pollution goes back the the 1960’s.

An excellent read on why communicating climate change is so difficult. It’s “The Elephant We’re All Inside Of.”

We targets of vengeful vitriol wonder. “Fear, Ridicule, Danger: Is It Safe to Be a Climate Scientist?”

Though it’s unlikely, there’s no reason why this can’t happen. “What If Sandy’s Surge Swamped Washington D.C.?”

A good read that is part pet department, part weather. “How To Keep Your Pets Safe And Warm During Cold Weather.”

Check out this fantastic video “full screen. “How Airplanes Affect The Atmosphere Around Them.”

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…

I’m a major league classic film fan…with a very strong inclination toward silent films. If you’ve not seen the restored version of “Nosferatu” (1922), you’re in for a treat.

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Jan. 26 – Feb. 2, 2015

This past week across North American has been active, not only in weather, but in robust discussions of how the “blizzard of 2015” should have been handled. To say that the opinions expressed (particularly the ones critical of the National Weather Service) were as powerful as the blizzard itself is a vast understatement. The chasm between the general public and forecasters isn’t going to narrow anytime soon. As we’ll see in a few links below, the rift between a certain demographic (unfamiliar with the methodology of science) and scientists (including citizen scientists) is as strong as ever. Taking into consideration the current political divisiveness which includes not at little anti-science hyperbole, we haven’t heard the end of this yet.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Here’s a very thought-provoking article with a scientist who’s near the top of my “most admired” list…the inimitable E.O. Wilson.

Here are three articles on the division between the general public and science.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

I was thrilled to take part in the first #CitSciChat, sponsored by SciStarter on Twitter. Caren Cooper has a very nice recap. Be sure to join us again on February 25th!

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Thank you Verizon! Customers can now opt out of ID tracking. For those of us who are privacy conscious, this is good news.

Smart Keyboard Gets A Charge Out Of You.” I’d gladly give one of these a spin!

A spot-on essay. “Don’t Be On Social Just To Be On Social.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

The connection between population, environmental science, and climate is laying the groundwork for challenges that have no easy solutions.

Why do zebras have stripes? Believe it or not, temperature plays a part.

Oklahoma, you are slowly but surely getting on the right track! The Sooner state now ranks fourth nationally in wind power.

Some good news on the solar front. Thousands of U.S. schools are running on solar.

I’d love to see this spread far and wide. “Spain reveals plans for first ever public street light system powered by wind and sun.”

It would behoove us, for the benefit of future generations, to mind the problematic challenge of “drowning in plastic.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

How do snowflakes form? Is it true that no two snowflakes are alike? Here’s a good essay with answers.

Speaking of snow, many folks considered the January, 2015 blizzard to be a underachiever.” To the contrary, it was anything but that. Still, the fallout was strong and widespread.

Are you interested in becoming a Skywarn spotter but can’t attend a National Weather Service spotter training session? The National Weather Service in Norman, OK will have three free online webinars during February and March. Though the focus may be geared towards parts of Oklahoma and Texas, there will be valuable information that is absolutely essential to know before taking on the responsibility of community service.

The preliminary agenda for this year’s ChaserCon is now online…and it’s a great lineup!

While ozone is beneficial in the upper atmosphere, at ground level it can cause serious health problems. Oddly enough, thunderstorms aren’t helping.

Nice video, but “microburst” is the correct meteorological term and they’re not that rare.

I can’t wait to see the data from NASA’s new SMAP observatory which will measure soil moisture just beneath ground level.

A very cool read from Climate Central. “Climate Calculator Lets You Create A New World.”

Climactic rivalry? “The U.S. Is A Country Divided By Seasons And Warming.”

The urban heat island effect is nothing new to this urbanite as heat waves are becoming more prominent in urban areas.

A geological connection to climate change. Iceland is rising as its glaciers melt.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map has changed very, very little from last week as the relentless drought continues for many areas…CA, NV, OK, & TX in particular.

THE VISCERAL UNDERBELLY

As a veteran target for the “Serengeti Strategy,” I can attest to the validity of this essay…which I’m passing along for the benefit of others who are victims. Bullying and intimidation isn’t segregated to the schoolyard. It’s alive and well in the “adult” world.

Egads…and just when I thought the “chemtrail” conspiratists took the cake, I (misguidedly) came across this.

Ending on a more positive note…I’d like to pass along a quick reminder that Tornado Quest is not only on WordPress, but also on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. You can easily find links to all of these social media sites on the Tornado Quest About Me page! Also, I’d like to send a sincere “thank you” to all my followers. Each and every one of you are appreciated and never taken for granted. Social media, from my perspective, has never been about numbers, shilling, or a popularity contest. It truly is a perfect example of quality over quantity.

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

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