Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For September 30 – October 7, 2015

Two big stories have dominated the North American weather news this week. The first event is Hurricane Joaquin which, as of this post, is still an ongoing event. Joaquin peaked in intensity on 3 October 2015 when it briefly reached maximum sustained winds just under the Category 5 threshold making it the most intense tropical cyclone of the Atlantic 2015 season to date. The other big story, which could have been made worse if Joaquin had made landfall on the eastern USA coast, is the historic flooding in North and South Carolina. The Charleston, South Carolina region was hit particularly hard. While flooding often doesn’t appear as “devastating” as substantial wind damage, it can be just as (if not more) deadly and force residents into years of recovery and rebuilding. One only has to look at areas of New Orleans, Louisiana to see this. Some areas of the “Big Easy” have yet to recover a full decade after Katrina slammed ashore in 2005. The deadliest natural disaster in the history of Tulsa, Oklahoma is not a tornado, but the Memorial Day flash flooding event of May, 1984 in which 14 fatalities occurred. Flooding kills more people every year than all other weather related phenomenon combined. Unfortunately, its dangers are highly underrated by much of the general public until they meet it head on. Only then does the stark realization occur that floods can be just as devastating to life and property as a major hurricane or violent tornado. On the brighter side, this week is the National Weather Service’s “Did You Know” week which is going on to help inform the general public about the many facets and benefits the NWS provides to our quality of life. You’ll likely see many posts on Twitter from your local NWS office with the hashtag #NWSDYK.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

An excellent essay on the benefits of citizen science. “Science Of The People, By The People, And For The People.”

A reminder to download the free mPING weather app you can use year round regardless of where you live and contribute to weather research. “The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory is collecting public weather reports through a free app available for smart phones or mobile devices. The app is called “mPING,” for Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground.” This app also has a very, very small “footprint” so it won’t be gobbling up a ton of space on your smart phone.

If you’re into citizen science and astronomy, you need to check out this new collaboration.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

New high-resolution photos of Pluto’s moon Charon show that it’s so ugly, it’s positively beautiful.

NASA has just released over 8,400 Apollo moon mission photos online…and they are spectacular.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING/RENEWABLES

Perhaps the most cynical and imprimatur hyperbole on recycling I’ve ever read. “The Reign of Recycling.” When short-term profits supersede long-term environmental benefits, we’ve made no progress…and the author and New York Times have no problem with condoning such irresponsibility. Fortunately here’s a spot-on rebuttal that slays the arguments put forth in the NYT article.

Robots could (and should) make sorting recycling materials safer.

Indoor air quality is just as important as the air we breathe outside. Here’s some handy tips on how to improve indoor air quality on a budget.

The USA is gaining ground in the use of renewable energy but in some respects, has a great deal of catching up to do.

There’s a surprisingly cold “blob” of water in the north Atlantic. What’s causing that?

It happened once, it  can happen again. “Scientists say an ancient mega-tsunami hurled boulders nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If you’ve not checked out the National Weather Service’s Enhanced Data Display, you should take a peek. It’s a fantastic source of weather information for the general public, pilots, emergency managers, and more.

NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory has a very cool way to view weather conditions worldwide in an interactive site that’s well worth checking out.

This article, written early in the life cycle of Hurricane Joaquin, poignantly expresses the frustrating forecasting scenarios that so often plague meteorologists.

During Hurricane Joaquin’s early stages, the European forecast model was more accurate at one stage than the American model. What does that mean for weather forecasting?

What caused the recent record-setting rainfall in South Carolina? Here’s a nice overview that explains everything you need to know.

My fellow weather geeks will enjoy this NPR story. “What’s At The Edge Of A Cloud?”

Fortunately, there’s a reason or two for feeling optimistic about the upcoming Paris climate change summit.

While some recent documented gains in Antarctic ice may offset losses, there’s no reason to celebrate. The deniers will likely jump on this story, but their own workplace climate is changing.

There’s no “grey’s” or uncertainties about this. “No Doubt About it: People Who Mislead The Public About Climate Change Are Deniers.”

Speaking of melting ice and glaciers, the Mont Blanc glacier in the French alps isn’t what it used to be and is France’s most visible symbol of climate change.

The high price of reckless disregard for solid climate science. “The Cost Of Doing Nothing Hit $400 Trillion.”

THE QUIXOTIC

When public servants run out of constructive projects to benefit society and the quality of life, they do what they do best…especially if they’re threatened by science. Start a witch-hunt.

That’s a wrap for this post!

A quick “Thank You” and “Welcome” to my new followers on social media. It’s nice to have you here. I’m in this for the long haul, so the fun is just getting started.

Cheers!

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

 

 

 

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