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!


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