Monthly Archives: January, 2017

Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For January 23 – 28, 2017

Greetings and salutations one and all! I hope the weather is being good to you wherever you are. There’s a lot to cover this week…and considering recent current events, there’s more than the usual amount of science and public policy topics to cover. Like it or not, the climate of the country is changing in more than one way. We’ve challenging times ahead.

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

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Taking into consideration the inevitability that the next four years in the USA will be challenging for science, many scientists are now planning to run for public office.

From any rational viewpoint, a disturbing event that is unfolding daily. Any way you slice it, facts aren’t political. “What We Actually Lose When The USDA and EPA Can’t Talk To The Public.” (Updated)

Is there more than one way for the USA to pull out of the Paris climate agreement? Unfortunately, yes.

Still in its formative stages, the March For Science is slowly gaining momentum…and will likely be the next big march in Washington, D.C. The organizers have a website and Twitter account where you can stay up-to-date on details.

Starting with only a few texts between friends, “500 Women Scientists” has grown to 14,000 strong and counting.

TECHNOLOGY

A very interesting privacy and security read. “Firefox, Chrome start calling HTTP connections insecure.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Environmental disasters such as the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Of Mexico oil spill take a heavy toll on the biosphere…and mental health of people who have to deal with the immediate effects and long-term aftermath.

The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency has an uncertain future. To get an idea of how filthy it was before its formation, take a look back at America’s environmental state before 1970.

Here’s some good news on the renewable/wind energy front. The USA’s largest offshore wind farm is coming to Long Island.

And some more good news…the Irish parliament has voted to take on the task of divesting from fossil fuels.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

NOAA recently tweeted a page that has been a good source of information on global warming…and it’s probably one of the best FAQ sites on the topic you’ll find online. There’s a plethora of references too…and those are gems for further research.

In recent decades, flooding in the northern countries of Europe has more than doubled.

The latest Drought Monitor shows that for the first time since March, 2011, exceptional drought conditions are not affecting the USA population.

Highlights: Drought conditions have eased a great deal across much of California.

capture-2

Extreme Drought conditions (red shading) have spread rapidly in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

capture-1

If you’ve ever wondered how a well done tornado path survey is written up by a National Weather Service office, the survey of the Albany, GA tornado of 22 January 2017 by the Tallahassee, FL NWS is a good example. The vast majority of path surveys done by the NWS are exceptionally detailed studies.

And that’s a wrap for this post! As always, I’d like to send a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. It’s nice to have you along for the fun. 🙂

Cheers!

————————————————————————————-

Tornado Quest on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Tumblr: http://tornadoquest.tumblr.com/

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest’s Science Week In Review For January 13 – 23, 2017

Greetings everyone! I hope you’re having a good start to the week and the weather is being kind to you no matter where you are. We’ve just had a three day round of severe weather in the southeastern states of the USA including a High Risk on 22 January 2017. A High Risk is very rare, and even more so in January which is a month that’s not known for severe weather or tornadoes. Unfortunately, there’s a considerable amount of damage from Mississippi to Georgia with a number of fatalities. Simultaneously, the northeastern states dealt with a ‘nor’easter’ and California had an unusual amount of rain. It eased the drought conditions that have plagued that state for years, but won’t help much on the long run. This week’s review was delayed several days by the severe weather events and other projects. My next review will be published this Saturday, 28 January 2017. There’s quite a bit to go over this week, so let’s get started.

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

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Who will lead NOAA and, ultimately the National Weather Service, during the Trump administration? This is something to watch very, very carefully.

Due to the lack of American lawmakers who have a sound scientific literacy, it has become increasingly important that scientists become more involved in the political process.

SCIENCE EDUCATION/CRITICAL THINKING

Pseudoscience is as rampant as ever in our modern day culture and, due to the proliferation of social media, is now more easily distributed to an unwary general public. To put it more succinctly…”This means that just because something catches our attention, or is easy to remember, it does not mean it is useful for understanding a new thing we want to learn.”

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Check out this very cool citizen science project that anyone can take part in. The awesome folks at Science Friday have a nice overview of how folks just like you can help out in year-long bird counts.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

How we process information (and where we get it) has much to do with how we interpret the validity of news…and decide on its validity…even if it’s fake and/or of dubious integrity.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A very cool astronomy read on how the universe could contain ten time more galaxies than previously thought.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Is the USA state of Wyoming trying to outlaw clean energy? If so, they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s an excellent read on severe weather High Risks and associated tornadoes that puts this past week’s severe weather into a historical perspective.

Speaking of tornadoes, is it really that cold inside a tornado? A new study on the tornado vortex says it is cold…very cold.

Since satellite monitoring of sea ice began in the 1970’s, the area of oceans covered by sea ice is at an all time low. Chances are good it’s the lowest it has been for many a millennia.

global-sea-ice-extent-2016The dark burgundy colored line in this NSIDC data graph represents sea ice in 2016. Note how it is far below other lines going back to 1978. Also note that the red line on the far left, representing 2017 to date, is even lower than 2016.

While on the subject of sea ice, take a few minutes and watch this fascinating and well produced video on climate change and its effects on glaciers in Alaska, USA.

Here’s a very good and thought-provoking read from meteorologist Brad Panovich. “It’s Time We Move On From A 0% & 100% Climate Change Debate.”

In case you missed it, “At the exact hour when the presidency transferred hands, the Obama administration’s climate and energy web pages became some of the first casualties of the new Trump administration.”

If the new presidential administration ignores climate change, China is more than willing to step up to the plate and become the world’s leader in climate science.

From a global perspective, some are of the opinion that we’ve almost lost any chance to stave off the effects of climate change. Personally speaking, I’m more optimistic, but we’ve no time to waste on getting the job started…and not letting any one industry or government…get in the way of science.

Fortunately, scientists are reminding citizens of the USA that science has been and always will be a major cornerstone of a civilized, intelligent, educated, and technologically advanced society.

WEATHER SAFETY

Here’s a great read from the American Red Cross on safety travel tips for cold weather conditions.

In light of the recent severe weather events and tornadoes, here’s a quick reminder from the National Weather Service on the difference between a Tornado Watch & a Tornado Warning.

difference-between-tornado-watch-and-warning.

Last but not least, some good news. NOAA’s new GOES-16 satellite is fully functional and is sending back some amazing high-resolution images of the Earth. This is truly a watershed event in the atmospheric sciences!

That’s a wrap for this review! I’d like to welcome my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun! Have a great week everybody…see you Saturday!

Cheers!


Tornado Quest on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Tumblr: http://tornadoquest.tumblr.com/

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

What Does A Particularly Dangerous Situation Tornado Watch mean? #alwx #mswx #flwx

The new Tornado Watch for parts of AL, FL, & a small part of MS is a Particularly Dangerous  Situation (PDS) Tornado Watch. Many folks are not quite sure what that means. From the NOAA Storm Prediction Center’s FAQ, here’s the definition…

2.7 I noticed the wording “THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION” in some of your watches. What does this mean? What is the criteria for a PDS watch?
The “Particularly Dangerous Situation” wording is used in Tornado Watches for rare situations when long-lived intense tornadoes are likely. This enhanced wording may also accompany Severe Thunderstorm Watches for widespread significant severe events, usually produced by exceptionally intense derechos. PDS watches are issued, when in the opinion of the forecaster, the likelihood of significant events is boosted by very volatile atmospheric conditions. Usually this decision is based on a number of atmospheric clues and parameters, so the decision to issue a PDS watch is subjective with no hard criteria. However, the SPC goal is to have 3 out of every 4 PDS Tornado Watches verifying with multiple intense tornadoes. PDS watches are most often issued with a High risk in Day 1 Convective Outlooks.”

All watches, regardless of whether they’re the “typical’ Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch, are something you should watch very carefully, but when a PDS watch is issued, a very active severe weather episode is expected with large hail, strong damaging straight line winds, strong to violent (EF-2+) tornadoes and, last but not least, flash flooding along with dangerous lightning are expected. Considering this PDS Tornado Watch is going into the overnight hours, make sure you have at least three ways of receiving warnings, your NOAA weather radio has fresh batteries and is set on standby, your shelter precautions are in place, and you stay very weather aware by following official sources of potentially life saving information. At night, tornadoes are often difficult to impossible to see…so if you’re in a warning, please take shelter immediately. Lastly, follow @NWSSPC, @NWSBirmingham, @NWSMobile, @NWSTallahassee on Twitter and the broadcast meteorologists/media outlets of your choice.

Stay weather aware and stay safe!

 

 

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For January 3 – 13, 2017

Greetings everyone! This has been a wild weather week across much of the western USA with California getting tons of snow, more than enough rainfall to put a dent in much of the drought stricken areas, and even an EF-0 tornado near Sacramento. Much of the midwest is bracing for an ice storm and, as of this date (13 January 2017) Ice Storm Warnings are in effect from the northeast Texas panhandle across Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and even into west-central Illinois. As usual, there’s a plethora of other topics to cover. On a personal level, it’s been a “full dance card” week for me with many projects that led me to delay this week’s post. On that note, let’s get started…

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Excellent read from American Scientist magazine on nurturing scientific literacy among the general public. What is meant by ‘scientific literacy?’

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a fascinating story of a man who, in search of a quiet existence in a remote area, inadvertently had a significant effect on climate change science.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A very cool astronomy read about researchers getting the first look at a very rare kind of galaxy.

A recent study found evidence that the Earth’s moon is older than scientists thought…millions of years earlier than previously believed.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

An idea that, for the sake of our future generations, should come to fruition. “How To Save $23 Trillion Per Year: 100% Renewable Energy For The World.”

Good advice to get the new year started off right. “All too often environmentalism is about stopping doing something, but maybe it’s time to be more active and start doing something instead?”

As of late, the air pollution in China has literally become lethal in nature. This article explains why their air pollution is on the rise again.

China isn’t the only country struggling with severe air pollution problems. Just five days into 2017, London has breached its annual air pollution limit.

Those of us in Oklahoma know all too well what Trump’s EPA nominee Scott Pruitt is capable of. Now, the rest of the country has the chance to find out for themselves.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An interesting read on a study that says the frequency of large-scale tornado outbreaks is increasing in the USA, particularly when it comes to the most extreme events. A link to the original study is included.

Tornadoes in California? You bet. On 10 January 2017, the Sacramento area was visited by an EF-0 tornado.

The latest US Drought Monitor shows over 20% of the contiguous USA is experiencing drought conditions. Recent rain and snowfall throughout the southern states should provide relief that will be evident on the next Drought Monitor.

c1axvprxaaa0ot7-jpg-large

There’s often a great deal of confusion about winter weather advisories, watches, and warnings. This NWS infographic has got you covered.

winter-weather-watch-warning-advisory-infographic

Are you prepared for an ice storm? If you’re in the areas under an Ice Storm Warning, all the preparations in this info-graphic (courtesy of the St. Louis, MO National Weather Service) should be rushed to completion.

are-you-prepared-for-an-ice-storm

While it may sound bizarre, you can have a blizzard even when it’s not snowing.

In 2016, a total of 121 flood related deaths occurred in the USA. This map from the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center gives a state-by-state breakdown. High death tolls in West Virginia were due to June floods, Texas deaths from flooding in late May.

2016-usa-flood-deaths-map

Just when you thought the new year couldn’t get off to a more bizarre start. “House Science Committee’s Twitter Account Is Now Just Another Climate Science Denial Troll.”

While not necessarily representative of the whole of American society, this survey gives an informative ‘snapshot’ of the daunting challenges atmospheric scientists are up against when trying to convey climate science to the general public.

Another challenge is conveying the risk of climate change to the public. A recent World Economic Forum report ranks climate change and associated environmental factors as the greatest risk facing humanity.

Here’s a disconcerting ‘must-read’ on the anti-science crusade that continues to build steam in the USA. “The Congressional Attack On Science.”

A concise overview from the Capital Weather Gang of ten extreme weather events outside of the USA that killed thousands and cost untold billions during 2016.

In the Antarctic, an ice shelf is breaking up from the inside out. The ice shelf is bigger than New York’s Long Island and when it breaks off, it could result in global sea level rise that threatens many large cities close to the world’s coasts.

THOUGHT PROVOKING

Last but not least, when asked about death and the ‘afterlife,’ astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gives a spot on answer that is particularly enlightening.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to welcome all my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!


Tornado Quest on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Tumblr: http://tornadoquest.tumblr.com/

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For December 27, 2016 – January 3, 2017

Greetings and salutations to everyone! Happy New Year as well! I hope all of you had a great holiday season and the new year is off to a good start. Here’s to 2017 being a year that is everything we want and need. As many of you  are aware of, 2016 was yet another year for the record books in terms of global temperatures with well above normal heat across nearly all continents. On the bright side, it was a ‘slow’ year for tornadoes in the USA. We’ll cover that in detail later in this post. Here’s a select few items to start the new year off with, so let’s get started.

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

HISTORY OF SCIENCE

The history of science has always been an area of study that’s near and dear to my heart. Here’s a particularly inspiring account of how female astronomers at Harvard University accomplished groundbreaking work in classifying stars.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

The dangers of fracking to water contamination (which includes water you use for personal purposes) have been known for years, but the EPA has finally and officially given their ‘seal of approval’ on the hazards. The lack of regulation, something that we Oklahoman’s know about all too well, is abhorrent…and likely to get worse with the new presidential administration.

Here’s some amazingly good renewables news! Sweden has generated more energy from wind power than it ever has before…the equivalent of six nuclear power plants.

The new year should be interesting to watch from an environmental perspective. Here are fifteen environmental trends to watch in 2017.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

2016 has ended with one of the lowest annual tornado totals for the USA since records began in 1954. A preliminary count of 901 could be a record low. At least that’s one bit of good news to come out of last year.

torgraph-big

Here’s a nice compilation of some spectacular tornado videos during 2016. The most important factor to keep in mind while watching these videos is the fact that several individuals involved put themselves in unnecessary danger. No video is worth risking life or limb for fifteen minutes of fame. To be a successful storm chaser or storm spotter, you must have a very detailed and exceptionally informed knowledge of the storm scale environment and accept the possibility that it could change so fast that you may not have time to react for your own well-being. Having chased since March, 1982, this is a lesson I learned very early on and on more than one occasion, it has kept me out of potentially life threatening scenarios.

There’s never a dull moment in Oklahoma weather…and this nice graphic courtesy of the Oklahoma Mesonet shows 2016’s histrionic highlights all across the Sooner State.

ok-mesonet-2016-weather-extremes

With winter comes dangerous wind chills that can result in everything from minor discomfort to permanent frostbite damage to even death. Here’s the best windchill chart available online courtesy of the National Weather Service in Spokane, Washington.

wind-chill-chart

While on the topic of wind chill and the dangers of extreme cold, a recent world-wide study in The Lancet shows that up to seventeen times more people die from cold than heat each year.

From Climate Central, a very important read on how to stay informed on climate change action in 2017. “Here are some of the key issues and places to watch this year as battles are waged against dirty energy, as climate policies are debated and implemented, and as governments abroad move to take over the leadership role that America seems poised to vacate.”

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. There’s plenty of good things on tap with Tornado Quest in 2017, so I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!


Tornado Quest on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Tumblr: http://tornadoquest.tumblr.com/

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

%d bloggers like this: