Monthly Archives: August, 2015

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For August 19 – 26, 2015

Perhaps the biggest news this week is the tropical cyclone activity in both the Pacific and Atlantic. We’re coming into the statistical “peak” of activity, so expect to hear quite a bit about one, and possibly more, storms in progress. Most eyes in North America are on Erika which, as of this post, is at tropical storm strength and expected to not intensify until sometime during the coming weekend. There are too many “cons” in the mix at the current time. While Erika bears watching, there’s no need for panic, falling victim to hyperbole, or taking anything seriously that’s spread by fear mongers…especially in the social media arena. Perhaps the best message behind the formation of Erika, and other tropical cyclones round the world, is the importance of having an emergency preparedness kit at the ready. Ready.gov has a great place to start with the basics. From there, you can move on to tailor your kit for your specific needs. The time to prepare is now…not when the National Hurricane Center is telling everyone in dire straits that any emergency preparedness actions should be rushed to completion. That’s a nice way of saying, “You’re out of time…and luck.”

With the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina upon us, much of this week’s post will mostly focus on that event.

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION

In order to get girls more interested in computer science (or any science field for that matter), the classrooms need to be less “geeky” i.e. more gender neutral.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

A very nice Citizen Science Essay on the power of the crowd.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Of the many long-term dimensions of climate change, the increasing risk of wildfires is one of the most daunting.

When firefighters speak out on climate change, it would behoove us to listen up very carefully.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE/HURRICANE KATRINA

If you thought July, 2015 was hot, you were right. Based on NOAA data, it was the warmest month ever for our humble home.

Among many fields of science, it’s time for the health care industry to raise its voice on climate change.

A very telling read on climate change “skepticism” if you will…”Here’s What Happens When You Try To Replicate Climate Contrarian Papers.”

California isn’t the only state plagued by an ongoing drought. Much of Europe has been plagued by drought and heat waves as of late.

It’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the central USA Gulf Coast. Here’s just one of many essays that ask an essential question. “What have we learned?”

An excellent overview from NASA on the scientific advancements in the last ten years and their relation to Hurricane Katrina.

From a public policy perspective, what has changed since Hurricane Katrina?

A retrospective on Hurricane Katrina from the National Weather Service offices in New Orleans, LA & Mobile, AL.

Here’s a very comprehensive Tropical Cyclone Report from the National Hurricane Center on Katrina. (43 page PDF file)

Is the coastline of the USA becoming more vulnerable to land-falling hurricanes? Absolutely…and it’s getting worse year by year.

Last, but not least, a very good read for anyone, especially storm chasers and/or “social mediarologists” seeking fame & followers by giving your storm images away for free. “Why Giving Permission Is Costing You A Small Fortune…” I see this happening online countless times during the year, with an alarming uptick in frequency during the height of the storm chasing frenzy. The very basis for this essay is also the reason why I stopped posting any images from my storm chasing expeditions back in 1998…and have no plans on sharing any in the future.

And on that note, that’s a wrap for this week! Here’s a hearty “welcome” to any and all new followers! Glad you’re along!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For August 12 – 19, 2015

As of this post, the tropical Atlantic just got interesting. The National Hurricane Center has just named an area of low pressure “Danny” which, as of today, is tropical storm forecast to reach hurricane status. The ongoing drought in the USA’s western states continues on a steady course. Any rain received will offer little help. We’ll take a quick look at those topics and more this week…so let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Is there elegance in science? Indeed there is! From the microscopic to the atmospheric to the vastness of the cosmos, few other areas of study have such amazingly inimitable beauty as science.

TECHNOLOGY

A most disturbing privacy related read on the AT&T and NSA partnership.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

The increase in popularity of citizen science is amazing and something that I strongly support and advocate. In spite of the good points, concerns do exists…especially with those who have an ax to grind. Objectivity is not only paramount, but good scientific ethics.

 SOCIAL SCIENCE

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, the social and psychological scars are still very deep, fresh, and won’t go away in spite of any rebuilding and infrastructure rejuvenation.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING

If you’ve not seen Google’s Earth View, you should check it out. It has a plethora of amazing satellite images from around the world.

Rain will be welcome in drought-ravaged California. What will happen when heavy rains arrive will be another story.

A not-so-good read for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. “Nitrogen dioxide air pollution increases allergenicity (aka potency) in ragweed pollen.”

An interesting recycling concept: taking old shoes and using them for an energy source.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Tropical cyclone Danny is currently at tropical storm status. According to the current National Hurricane Center forecasts, it should become a hurricane by Friday, August 20, 2015. Obviously, all of this is tentative and subject to change…so please follow the National Hurricane Center for the latest updates and forecast information.

Intriguing read on the relation of Amazon fire risk and its possible links to tropical cyclone/hurricane formation.

If you thought July, 2015 was hot in the USA, you were right. In fact, 2015 may well surpass 2014 as the hottest year on planet Earth since records have been kept.

An interesting read from Climate Central on the importance of the Antarctic ice sheets and their relation to sea level rise.

This week is the 46th anniversary of Hurricane Camille…one of only three Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the USA. Here’s a fascinating National Hurricane Center report from September, 1969 on this major weather event. (64 page PDF file)

The Old Farmer’s almanac is indeed popular…but take any weather forecast contained in any issued with a very large grain of salt.

That’s a wrap for this post!

I’d like to extend a hearty “welcome” to my new followers. I’m really glad you’re along for the fun.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest on Tumblr

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

A Badly Needed Social Media Vacation And Sacking Windows 10

After several weeks of marathon late nights on various social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.) it was painfully obvious that I needed a social media break. Let’s keep this short, sweet, and to the point. I highly recommend everyone take a social media vacation every so often if for no other reason than to recharge your batteries. It’s also a good time to reflect and take a retrospective view of your own social media presence and where you want it to go. It’s also time to realize certain outlets/platforms (Twitter being a good example) are in a bit of an instability mode at the present time. Google+, in spite of my best hopes, is all but cratered…no thanks to Facebook. Social media takes work, an appreciation of diversity, non-conventional/traditional viewpoints, and sharing information because you care about your audience…not because one is a shill or flapping the wings to get attention and followers. Time away from social media gives me a change to recharge, reevaluate, and re-inspire myself to the very serious (and often daunting) task of commitment to an online presence even when there’s not much going on. Now that I’m refreshed, I’m ready for renewed vigor and plenty of things to share. Soon, I’ll be starting my seventh year on Twitter and have no plans of slowing down. For my other social media accounts, some of which have existed for at least five years, the best is yet to come. Taking that “social media vacation” was just the right elixir in just the right amount. I highly recommend it to all.

The best is NOT yet to come for Windows 10. I downloaded the “latest and greatest” when it was first available. Fortunately, this was on an older machine that I was using as the “guinea pig” for this escapade. I’ll not bore you with several articles regarding privacy issues (there are dozens of them addressing the same issues) so we can pass over that. My main issue with Windows 10 is the overall instability that exists with the operating system at this time. From my perspective, this is Microsoft’s last-ditch attempt to keep a desktop OS alive…which is a real shame since I prefer the desktop environment over all others. Most of my monitors (even the one I use with my Dell laptop) are in the 24″ – 27″ range. In laptops, I won’t consider anything under 15″. For the general consumer who checks email and posts the occasional social media post, a tablet may be just grand, but manufacturers of both hardware and OS will be overlooking a large segment of their consumer base if they think everyone’s going to use nothing else than an 8″ tablet. If you absolutely must have Windows 10, by all means knock yourself out. Happy with Windows 7 or 8.1? Please keep it. If your experience will be anything like mine, you’ll be much happier. After seventeen days (yes, I know that’s not long) I couldn’t stand watching and tweaking the train wreck anymore and, for this workhorse, went back to Windows 8.1. I know there will be plenty of folks eager to jump in and will have a good user experience. Hopefully that will be the case with most of you. Otherwise, IMHO…proceed with extreme caution.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For Aug. 5 – 12, 2015

Greetings to all. I hope your summer (for my Northern Hemisphere followers) is going well and you’re handling the heat as well as possible. It may be the middle of August, but with the amount of daylight decreasing daily along with lowering “average” high temperatures, there are hints that autumn is just around the corner. In fact, for the N. Hemisphere, the meteorological autumn starts on September 1st. Nothing magical happens at the stroke of midnight on September 1st, it’s simply an easier way to “compartmentalize” the months of the year for statistical climatological purposes. The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is literally on the doorstep. From this week until late September, the probabilities of Atlantic tropical cyclone formation increase dramatically. For the time being, a combination of dry air over the Atlantic along with wind shear (strong winds increasing in speed and direction with height) are not allowing any storms to organize. This will only be a temporary setup and the current calm scenario can and will change. For those who live in areas vulnerable to Atlantic tropical cyclones, this is an excellent time to make sure your emergency preparedness kits and plans are in place. Are you ready?

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A very nice essay on a phenomenon that is one of the biggest irritants of my online experience (aka…adverts & pop-ups). “The Ethics Of Modern Web Ad-Blocking.”

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

How many American’s are vulnerable to earthquakes? The numbers are surprisingly high.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

How about some awesome renewables news. “The US Wind Energy Boom Couldn’t Come At A Better Time.”

This has to be seen to be believed. “Millions Of ‘Shade Balls” Protect LA’s Water During Drought.” Naturally my first question is, “Are these plastic spheres recyclable and/or reusable?”

This article’s focus is on the UK, but it applies to countless large metro areas around the world.

Why is the USA turning to renewable energy? When it comes to even strictly economics, the answer is obvious.

A desert is a desert is a desert, right? Truth be known, there are several kinds of deserts with vastly different ecosystems.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An excellent read that puts to the trash bin a common misconception. “Corrected Sunspot History Suggests Climate Change Not Due to Natural Solar Trends.”

You’ve probably seen this before, but there’s no time like the present to add this to your bookmarks. NWS Heat Safety Tips.

NOAA is quite confident that this year will be a relatively quiet hurricane season for the tropical Atlantic. But, the caveat is the fact that it only takes one land-falling hurricane to make it seem otherwise.

I can think of far worse places to live than Minneapolis, but by some accounts, the Twin Cities is rated as least desirable in climate ranking. When climate change is added to the equation, cities all across North America will be vastly different from they are now.

If climate change wasn’t bad enough, four of the worst insect pests known to the human species will thrive…unfortunately.

Central and eastern Europe has been roasting in a recent heat wave that can hold its own to anything seen in the USA’s southern plains.

Check out this amazing new series of maps from NOAA. This is the kind of site you can spend far too much time looking at…even if you’re not a weather geek.

This dashcam video from Taiwan is a perfect example of how ANY vehicle can be swept away by even the most modest tornadoes. IMHO, judging by the speed of water vapor in the vortex, the type of debris lofted, and behavior of buildings and vegetation, I’d rate this tornado no stronger than a robust EF-1 or a very weak EF-2…ergo…NO vehicle is safe in ANY tornado.

A bit of weather and engineering…ever wonder how a skyscraper stays intact during a typhoon/hurricane…or any high wind storm for that matter? Me too.

And that’s a wrap for this post! Here’s a hearty “welcome”  to my new followers. I’m glad you’re along for the fun. 🙂

Cheers!

Tornado Quest on Twitter.

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For July 29 – August 5, 2015

Summer is still firmly entrenched across much of North America. In fact, for the southern plains, we’ve just reached the climatological period for peak average high temperatures. The good news is that after the first week in August, there’s a slow decline in high temperatures to look forward to. We’ve many more weeks of hot, humid weather on tap, but hang on. Autumn will be here before we know it. The tropical Atlantic has been quiet so far…but we’re coming to the peak of climatological activity for the hurricane season. This is as good a time as any to make sure you’re prepared before it’s too late. On that note, let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE/SCIENCE EDUCATION

Spot on. “Neil deGrasse Tyson on Q&A calls scientific illiteracy a tragedy of our times.”

A very handy read from American Scientist on the most daunting task science writers (like yours truly) face more often than not…making science comprehensible for the general public.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Check out this amazing image from NASA and the ISS silhouetted against the moon.

Fascinating read on what could be the largest feature in the observable universe: a ring of nine gamma ray bursts — and hence galaxies – 5 billion light years across.

Chances are, you’ve already seen this. If not, take a look. “This animation shows images of the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DISCOVR spacecraft’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera and telescope, and the Earth – one million miles away.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Welcome to the club, Sweden! Sincerely, Oklahoma. “Gothenburg rocked by “fairly big” earthquake.”

Speaking of earthquakes, here’s an intriguing story from Aljazeera American on the connection between fracking and Oklahoma earthquakes. Read between the lines…let the coverup begin…or continue as the case may be.

Here are some very nice photos of the Earth’s newest island.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING

Once again, Sweden shows up top in quality of life by recycling a staggering 99% of its garbage.

Not all states are equal in the new Clean Power Plan. Here’s an explanation why. Critics arguments will inevitably fail since they had the opportunity to do something about it, but blew it off instead.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If you think the summer heat is brutal where you are, imagine dealing with “off the charts” head indices that have occurred recently in Iran.

The most recent US Drought Monitor shows vast improvement over most of the USA. Unfortunately, the relentless drought is holding fast in the western states.

Speaking of the western USA drought, here’s a collection of recent links on the topic.

Computer models on climate change are very good at what they do…and more accurate than previously thought.

Part sociology and part atmospheric science. This is a very surprising look at educational background and it’s relation to concerns and beliefs on climate change.

That’s a wrap for this post. I’d like to welcome my new followers on social media. There are quite a few of you and I’d like to extend a sincere “Welcome!” to all of you. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest on Instagram

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