Monthly Archives: July, 2015

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For July 22 – 29, 2015

For much of North America, it’s been summer as usual. One notable exception is the ridge of high pressure that has parked itself over the southern plains and, for the time being, has no intentions of moving. With a rich supply of Gulf moisture, the dew points combined with temperatures in the upper 90’sF have created potentially dangerous heat indexes near or above 110F. In conditions like that, the body can easily be overcome by heat…even in people who are in the best of physical condition. As for the tropics, the Atlantic and eastern Pacific are quiet for the time being. But, it’s still very early in the hurricane season. We’re nowhere close to reaching the climatological peak. While the tropics are quiet, this is an excellent time to make sure your emergency kit is in order.

Here’s a big “thank you” to all the folks who’ve given me positive feedback about this blog and my decision (for the time being) to make it a more concise post. Like many of you, I’ve many simultaneous projects in progress, each with its own unique demands, requirements, and deadlines. On that note…

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson explain literally everything in the universe…and, in under 8 minutes!

BIOLOGICAL/MEDICAL SCIENCE

A fascinating read on a brutal fact of injuries suffered in the 22 May 2011 Joplin, MO tornado: Soil Dwelling Fungus Rode Joplin Tornado To Unexpected Human Home.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A very interesting and eye-opening look at many modes of social media and/or messaging from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. To no one’s surprise, many of the most popular items are to be trusted the least.

One of the most annoying facts of online culture is the tendency of website designers to block password managers. “Websites, Pleas Stop Blocking Password Managers. It’s 2015.” Trust me, if there’s anything that will induce me to not revisit your site, it’s the blocking of password managers.

SOCIAL SCIENCE

When the storm has passed and it becomes yesterday’s news, most of the populace assumed things are back the normal. If anything, the contrary to that delusion is the long-term truth. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, et al. all have the same brutal psychological effects on many of the people dealing with the aftermath.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Oklahoma has a new claim to fame…and it’s nothing to do with tornadoes. Shake, frack, and roll!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A very good read from the USGS: “How Much Water Is There On, In, And Above The Earth?” Interesting to note that, “The vast majority of water on the Earth’s surface, over 96 percent, is saline water in the oceans.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

This was quite a popular story this past week, but the phenomenon isn’t uncommon. In fact, bugs, bats, birds, smoke, cold fronts, outflow boundaries, etc. are easily picked up on doppler radar and, depending on the time of day and season, is quite commonly seen.

If you missed the Tornado Forecasting Workshop this spring with Rich Thompson, you can watch them on YouTube here.

Is asking “How much rain will it take to end the drought?” too simplistic? Quite often it is.

Tornadoes occur round the world on many continents. They’re no stranger to Sweden, but it’s very rare for the Lapland region to see tornadoes in a region this far north.

Finally, I’d like to welcome my new followers…I’m really glad you’re along for the fun. Tornado Quest covers a plethora of geoscience topics that will be of interest to many. We’re here for the long haul too…so stick around for some very cool things we have in the works.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For July 15 – 22, 2015

If it’s sizzling hot with summer heat where you are, I hope you’ve been able to keep your cool. For much of North America, a ridge of high pressure (often referred to colloquially by storm chasers as the “death ridge”) has dominated much of the mid-summer weather. Temperatures in the mid to upper 90F combined with dew points in the 70’s has created a torrid sauna that only the most staunch fans of summer can love. For those (like yours truly) who prefer a more temperate summer, hang tight. In a matter of week’s the heat will pass swiftly and the seasons will change.

This week’s post, for the sake of dealing with a myriad of time constraints, will be rather brief. In fact, I may experiment with a more concise format for a period of time. Having had several in-depth conversations on the social psychology behind social media with people who, in a professional capacity, are engaged public relations has been very enlightening. In general, most people like you and me prefer to digest as much information in shorter segments rather than long-winded accounts. Having said that, let’s not waste any more time.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

As I explained in this week’s introduction, much evidence shows that brevity is key in social media success…i.e. the ideal Twitter tweet is between 70-100 characters.

A startling look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s fourth annual “Who Has Your Back” report on the tech sector’s customer privacy practices. Though this report is from May, 2014, all indications are that little (if anything has) changed.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

SciStarter and NASA are enlisting citizen scientists for a nationwide research project that will examine water availability and soil moisture conditions.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

NASA has released a new photograph of our humble home that is true to its description. Epic!

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The biggest news this week in weather and climate was NOAA’s latest State Of The Climate Report. The bottom line; 2014 was the warmest year on record for planet Earth.

The latest US Drought Monitor showed a great deal of improvement…except, of course, for the drought plagued western states. The newest report will be issued tomorrow and, in spite of recent California rains, will likely show little change.

In spite of a recent rebound, the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice continues.

Are heat advisories and/or excessive heat warnings “over-the-top hype” or are they beneficial to the public? Personally, I believe it’s the latter, but many strongly disagree.

Last but definitely not least is a “shout out” to “This Week In Science” (TWIS) with Kirsten Sanford, PhD, Justin Jackson, and Blair Bazdarich providing the web’s most entertaining and informative look into a wide spectrum of science topics. If you’ve not seen an episode, you should check it out.

That’s a wrap for this week’s post! I’d like to welcome my new followers…glad you’re along for the fun. Stick around folks, there are some very cool things in the works for Tornado Quest.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For July 5 – 15, 2015

Summer has settled in over the southern plains of the USA with the annual vengeance. With the exception of a recent rainy spell complete with flash flood warnings and plenty of fuel to fire a bumper crop of hungry, vindictive mosquitoes, heat indices have been brutal even without the air temperature reaching the century mark. It’s all part of life in this neck of the woods. Fire and ice. If you’re a native to the region like me, you know it takes a thick skin to “weather the weather.” With the severe weather season winding down overall, it is a perfect time for those of us into the atmospheric sciences to stretch our wings and explore different weather and climate vistas; tropical weather (sans tropical cyclones), global wind patterns, climate change, dual-pol doppler radar case studies, atmospheric chemistry, or the ever-present connection between weather, climate, and life forms of all kinds. There’s an almost endless and ever-changing continuum of fascinating atmospheric science topics for the taking and, if you dare step out of your comfort zone, a great deal of knowledge can be yours. As one of my meteorological mentors emphasized with me over 30 years ago, “Everything about the atmosphere and every science related to it is fascinating. If it isn’t, you’re just a one-trick-pony and need to find another interest.” If variety is the spice of life, it is exceptionally important in the sciences. On a more personal note; I’m temporarily back up to speed for the time being. Ongoing heath issues are the reason I’ve had to spread recent posts out several days apart. Friendly suggestion: never take good health for granted. Thanks for the words of encouragement and concern from followers and online friends. You know who you are…and I know who is on my side. Your support, regardless of whether is in-person or from thousands of miles away, is something I appreciate a great deal. Thank you!

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A fascinating, but rather technical, read on the limitations of statistics in scientific research.

“For women who aspire to the sciences, a sense of belonging is a powerful force in determining the path they take.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA/PRIVACY

An excellent essay covering anonymity online…which is becoming more difficult to maintain in lieu of convenience.

Some good news for fellow Firefox users…Mozilla is taking Flash down and hard.

PHYSICS

Here’s some awesome physics news on the building blocks of our universe. “World record: Most powerful high-energy particle beam for a neutrino experiment ever generated.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Ten years in the making, NASA’s New Horizons reached the pinnacle of a 3 billion mile voyage to Pluto. The images are amazing!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Smoke from recent Alaskan and Canadian wildfires has been taking a significant toll on contiguous USA air quality.

NASA captured from space the annual population of algae (the blue-green color of the phytoplankton) in the North Atlantic reaching towards its peak.

For seasonal allergy sufferers, the BBC takes a look at the science behind the summer pollen count in the UK.

Worse than allergies…new research shows approximately 9,500 people die every year in London from air pollution.

Both and environmental and atmospheric science essay where the title says it all. “The Oceans can’t take any more: Fundamental change in oceans predicted.”

Suger-coating the issue or avoiding being labeled “doom and gloom” won’t make the potential environmental disaster go away.

For decades, the fossil fuel industry (by some accounts) has been involved in a game of public deception that continues to this day.

Some great news on the renewables front. Kenya is building Africa’s biggest wind power farm to generate one fifth of its power needs.

Want more awesome renewables news? Denmark just generated 140 percent of its electrical needs from wind power.

Here’s even more good renewables news! The price of solar power has once again dropped to a new low!

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The National Weather Service recently implemented new graphics on their websites which will make it easier for you to interpret forecasts and how they will impact your day-to-day life.

The National Weather Service needs your feedback in another very important (and potentially life-saving) topic: Severe Weather Impact Graphics. These have, IMHO, been exceptionally effective in giving you important severe thunderstorm and tornado warning impact information that can be found nowhere else. Your local NWS office will issue these products over social media (specifically Twitter). You can also follow @NWSSevereTstorm and/or @NWSTornad0 on Twitter and get every severe thunderstorm warning and tornado warning issued for the USA. This example of a Tornado Warning from the National Weather Service in Tulsa, OK is a good example of a Severe Weather Impact Graphic.

NWS Tulsa Tornado WarningTake careful notice of the plethora of information you get in addition to the warning over your NOAA weather radio. Population, the area in square miles, number of public schools, hospitals, airports, etc. are included. The time the warning is valid til is also included as well as storm information regarding movement and hazards. Media meteorologists (whom you should follow…your personal favorites of your choice) are excellent at conveying this information to the public. Ultimately, your first line of defense in a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning scenario is knowledge and awareness of impacts to your and your loved ones…and that comes from the National Weather Service…and no one else…storm chasers and weather hobbyists in particular.

While on the topic of severe weather warnings and the use (and abuse) of social media to disseminate warning information, here’s a spot-on essay that shows just hot bad the deterioration, specifically with Twitter, has become with bots and “mediarologists” run amok.

The PECAN severe storm research project has been gathering some incredible data this spring across the Great Plains. I can’t wait to see the data presented at conferences!

Good advice. “Keep calm and stop obsessing over weekly changes in ENSO.”

As if the western USA drought wasn’t bad enough, an unusually hot summer is raising the misery index for many residents of Washington to Utah.

The heat has also been problematic in Europe as well. “Heat records all over: The Northern Hemisphere Is In Hot Water.”

“Which Advanced Country Has The Most Climate Sceptics?” No, it’s not the United States. Yes, some of the internet’s most notoriously hostile climate change denialists live there.

As of late, there’s been a rubbish story making the rounds that an “ice age” is imminent. Don’t believe it for a minute.

“Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists Call For Action To Minimize The Substantial Risks Of Climate Change.”

The IPCC is at a crossroads with many key points to consider. Here’s an excellent essay that provides the reader with a concise overview.

Why do people in the path of a hurricane ignore evacuation orders?

Speaking of storm safety, is this tornado photo an awesome childhood experience or reckless parenting? My main concern would be the lightning danger…which is always a potentially lethal killer in every thunderstorm.

Last but certainly not least, here’s some “bookmark worthy” summer heat safety tips from the NWS that will help keep you and your family safe from this underrated killer.

THE QUIXOTIC

Some people, in spite of being the beneficiaries of broadcast meteorologists, simply can’t wrap their heads around the importance of potentially life-saving information. Sadly, this is an all-too common behavioral phenomenon.

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE…

In our contemporary society where technology reigns 24/7…this could be just the ticket to de-stressing from our obsession with being plugged in.

Now dust off those coloring pencils and crayons…and de-stress! 🙂

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For June 24 – July 4, 2015

If you’re celebrating the United State’s Independence Day at home or abroad, I hope you have a great holiday. As is so often the case, this is prime time across much of North America for heat and more than a few rogue thunderstorms that can throw a wrench into holiday plans. Due to the holiday, this will be a short version of the weekly links post…but I wanted to pass along some information that I hope will be of use and/or interest to you.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A thought-provoking read from The New Yorker: “An Epidemic Of Reason?

A timely read for the Independence Day holiday. “Is The Declaration of Independence A Scientific Paper? Technically…yes.

TECHNOLOGY

A look back and the long, strange trip through advancements in technology within the United States.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a very cool citizen science project where you can help find out if climate change has made the western USA drought worse than it should be.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The latest US Drought Monitor shows vast improvement across almost all of the USA…except for California of course.

Finally…if you’re celebrating Independence Day outdoors, NOAA has some heat safety rules that are very important for you and your friends and family.

As I stated earlier…if you’re celebrating…have a safe and happy holiday!

Cheers!

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