Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For March 19 – April 1, 2017

Greetings to one and all! I’m glad you stopped by! This week’s review was delayed several days by the recent severe weather across many states in the USA. It’s that time of year and when mother nature throws a tantrum, I have to put a few things on the back burner until the scenario calms down. This has been an unusually active severe weather YEAR so far…with even a very rare High Risk in (of all months) January. We’ll see if this pattern holds and it’s a busier than usual severe weather season. In spite of my penchant for taking a look at the big picture and getting a good idea of what the atmosphere is doing globally, it is often difficult to pin down what will transpire more than five or six days in advance…hence my adversity to crying “wolf” just for attention and social media notoriety. There’s plenty to catch up on since my last review, so let’s get started.

For your consideration, here are this posts links…

SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY

Two important infographics this week…the first one is a concise overview of the Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlook categories.

The second infographic is especially important in explaining the difference between a severe thunderstorm or tornado WATCH and a severe thunderstorm or tornado WARNING. Keep in mind that a watch may be issued several hours before any storms approach your area. Nonetheless, you should stay very “weather aware” even if the sky is blue.

Infographic courtesy National Weather Service: Amarillo, Texas

SCIENCE EDUCATION/CRITICAL THINKING

Critical thinking is one of the most valuable intellectual resources one can use in making decisions of importance. Fortunately, there are some teaching critical thinking to steer young people against the toxic mindsets rampant in pseudoscience.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is finally showing some signs of wear on it’s wheels. Considering the inhospitable conditions in which it has to operate, it’s simply amazing that the rover has lasted this long.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

At the end of February, 2017, drought was affecting approximately 18.3% of the North American population. Since then, conditions have worsened for many of the affected areas.

Graphic from North American Drought Monitor

Speaking of drought, water is a priceless resource that is essential for life. Why then, on a planet with so much water, is it scarce in some locations? Poor management.

Here’s some very good renewable energy news! “Once largely confined to the sunny Southwest, utility-scale solar power plants are now being built everywhere from Minnesota to Alabama to Maine. Aided by plunging costs and improving technologies, these facilities are expected to provide a big boost to U.S. solar energy production.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The World Meteorological Day was on 23 March 2017. The World Meteorological Organization has updated their cloud atlas. For professionals, educators, weather geeks, and citizen scientists, this is quite a treat. Here are some very nice examples of addition to the cloud atlas. Here’s another exceptional collection of images. Truth be known, atmospheric scientists have been aware of these clouds for eons. They only seem ‘new’ to the general public.

In case you missed this, Science Friday had a recent segment that is a ‘must listen’ regarding the state of the USA’s weather satellites.

NOAA has released their spring 2017 flooding outlook for the USA. Parts of Idaho and North Dakota are currently at the highest risk.

Here’s a very cool interactive map of the warmest and coldest temperatures on the first day of spring in the contiguous USA.

If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that the seasonal changes in recent years are vastly different from the changes we enjoyed years ago. They’re certainly not what they used to be.

A recent “slowdown” in CO2 emissions is all good and well, but the devil is in the details…and the future trends may be anything but beneficial.

How American’s think about climate change is visualized in six maps. Unfortunately, a common opinion is that it won’t effect them personally. The problem with that mindset is that the atmosphere doesn’t recognize political boundaries.

All of the major television networks virtually ignored the topic of climate change and atmospheric science in 2016. In spite of increasing public concern over climate change, ‘mainstream’ new sources are really dropping the ball. If it’s not high drama or blood and guts, it’s not good for their ratings.

Sweden is proving to be the EU’s climate leader by leaps and bounds.

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Sometimes scientists have to force politicians to read the sound science behind climate change in order to get their point across.

The USA’s State Department recently made some substantial changes to its climate change page…and they’re not for the better.

Another USA government department has banned the use of the phrase “climate” altogether.

How to Fight The War On Science And Win…an excellent read by Jonathan Foley and Christine Arena. Critical thinking and objectivity are essential in this crucial campaign.

Speaking of the war on science, I’m sure you’re well familiar with the current presidential administration’s actions regarding science and climate change. To get a clearer idea of what has recently transpired and the future ramifications, here’s a concise overview.

NOAA is slated for some drastic budget cuts…this includes valuable data that is used to help keep the North American Great Lakes clean and environmentally safe.

Here’s a spot-on read by Lawrence Krauss. “Killing Science And Culture Doesn’t Make The Nation Stronger.”

Last but not least, an essential read from the Union Of Concerned Scientists archive that is as relevant today as when it was first published. “Science In An Age Of Scrutiny: How Scientists Can Respond To Criticism And Personal Attacks.”

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to welcome my new followers in social media. It’s good to have you along for the fun.

Cheers!

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