Monthly Archives: August, 2017

Tornado Quest Top Science Links For August 22 – 29, 2017

Hello everyone and thank you for stopping by. The obvious big story is Harvey. What first started out as a modest tropical disturbance became a Category 4 hurricane with unprecedented flooding and rainfall amounts for much of Texas and (potentially) Louisiana. As a result, this week’s post will be on the brief side…so let’s get started.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Solar energy is growing at an astoundingly successful rate. Unfortunately, many policymakers (aka politicians with ties to fossil fuel interests) are in denial. “If policymakers believe solar is growing more slowly than it actually is, they may be less likely to prioritize the kinds of research and development that will help better integrate renewables onto the grid, such as improving battery storage technology. This could lead us to continue relying on more carbon-intensive energy sources.”

There’s a glimmer of hope in the coral reef bleaching crisis. Some new data recently gathered indicated that some reefs may be able to weather the next change in ocean temperatures.

Rivers, like our atmosphere or land masses, are in a constant state of change. Here’s a fascinating look at the history of a Oregon, USA river over 12.000 years.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

This past week marks the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew…one of only three Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in USA history. The NWS Miami, FL has a comprehensive retrospective of that watershed event.

Satellite image courtesy NOAA

Hurricane Harvey has proven to be quite a devastating tropical cyclone. It was the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the USA since Charley impacted Florida in 2004 and the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on the Texas coast since 1961. To say that Harvey is a disaster of epic proportions is almost an understatement. The latest information on Harvey can be found at the National Hurricane Center’s website. More important information can be found on FEMA”s website. As of this post, the situation in Texas and Louisiana is still ongoing as will continue to be a dire scenario for quite some time.

If you live in a hurricane prone region, it’s never too late to prepare for the storm you hope doesn’t come your way. While the weather is quiet (for now), prepare now. Many affected by Harvey were caught unaware and may be out of their homes for months or even years.

A NOAA weather radio should be as common in homes and workplaces as smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. When in a life-and-death weather related scenario, it’s the best way to receive severe weather information as it is issued by the National Weather Service.

Very heavy rainfalls from Harvey will plague much of southeastern Texas for quite some time. The aftermath will seem almost overwhelming in recovery efforts.

Indeed, Harvey has become a landmark weather event by becoming, “the most extreme rain event in US history.”

Here’s an excellent read that explains how Harvey went from a very modest cluster of thunderstorms to a monster storm that will be one for the records books.

While Harvey is still in progress, it’s time to gather data for research on its connection to climate change. Some claim it is too early or shouldn’t be done at all. I digress. Studying a weather phenomenon while it is in progress is essential to atmospheric science research. “How A Warmer Climate Helped Shape Harvey.”

Here’s a GOES-16 satellite image of Category 4 Hurricane Harvey less than four hours before official landfall on 25 August 2017.

The social science element in Harvey cannot be ignored. Natural disasters of this magnitude bring out a wide spectrum of human behaviors.

Forecasting flooding is as important as forecasting winds when dealing with a tropical cyclone like Harvey. This infographic explains how the NWS forecasts for those conditions.

Graphic courtesty NOAA’s West Gulf River Forecast Center

Climate change has allowed a Russian oil tanker to sail through the Arctic region without an icebreaker…and that’s not good.

I’ve been asked this question many times. Why is snow-white? It’s all about the light.

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

Cheers!

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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

 

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Tornado Quest Top Science Links For August 15 – 22, 2017

Greetings everyone! I hope the weather is to your liking in your location. The big storms across the United States this week has been the solar eclipse, the first significant one for almost a century. The tropical Atlantic has been somewhat more active as of late. The major concern at this date (22 August 2017) is the remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey which could bring substantial rainfall totals to much of Texas and possibly Louisiana. There are plenty of other topics to touch on, so let’s get started.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

The presence of the troll in social media is nothing new. The sad fact is most anyone can (during a momentary lapse of decorum) can become one.

PUBLIC HEALTH

There is a myriad of hazards from weather and climate conditions. Depending on the time of year and location, bugs can be an even greater hazard…many of which spread diseases for which there is no cure.

GENERAL SCIENCE/CRITICAL THINKING

Here’s an essay that’s quite good in reminding us of the fact that science, in its best form, is its harshest critic. It’s all part of how the scientific method works.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

After thousands of years, solar eclipses are still fascinating to scientists…and that’s a very good thing!

If you get the chance to watch another eclipse, please remember to take the necessary safety precautions.

If you missed the 21 August 2017 eclipse, don’t worry. There are several others in the coming years that will pass across North America.

Over the next 50 years, you can travel to a number of locations around the globe to witness an eclipse.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Here’s some good renewables news. “The increasing presence of wind and solar in the United States helped prevent the premature deaths of up to 12,700 people between 2007 and 2015.”

In consideration of the abundance of bad news, here are some amazingly beautiful images of our incredible home that will offer a visual respite.

 

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

For months, several Atlantic hurricane season outlooks have stated that 2017 would be an active year. This still could come to fruition. The most important element to remember; regardless of how many storms form, it only takes one tropical cyclone landfall to make for a major disaster.

Here’s a look at tropical cyclone formation outlooks from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center from 23 August to 5 September 2017. An active period is anticipated in portions of both the Pacific and Atlantic.

Graphic courtesy Climate Prediction Center

In California, scientists are taking the reigns of climate research in their own hands. Considering the current hostilities toward climate research, this may be necessary for many other USA states.

It may be August, but for parts of Sweden, it’s time for a touch of snow.

Studying climates of the past (paleoclimatology) is important because it can give us glimpses into the climates of the future.

PUBLIC POLICY

Considering all parties involved, this should come as no surprise to those of us who live in Oklahoma. The Sooner State’s new Attorney General is opposed to the proposed Oklahoma wind farm that could be the largest in the United States.

Nothing good can come from this. “US president Donald Trump’s administration has disbanded a government advisory committee intended to help the country prepare for a changing climate.”

In spite of overwhelming scientific evidence and a global consensus, some of climate change’s most vulnerable victims are the most fervent skeptics of science.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to welcome my new followers in social media. Glad you’re along for the fun. Tornado Quest covers a diverse range of topics including environmental issues, climate change, renewable energy sources, and much more. You’ll find much to enjoy, or provoke thought, with our accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Cheers!

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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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest Science Links Week In Review For August 8 – 16, 2017

Greetings everyone! It’s been a busy weather and science news week with a story on virtually any topic from A to Z. Recent severe weather events, including the 6 August 2017 Tulsa, OK tornado have kept me busy & delayed this post by one day. So…without further delay, let’s get started.

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

 

EDUCATION

This isn’t strictly limited to science education, but is applicable to everyone…regardless of your occupation. “9 Super Successful People Share Their Reading Habits.” As a voracious reader, I can attest to the validity of the information within the article.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

If you’re into weather and citizen science, one way you can contribute is taking part in the mPING crowdsourcing project. Whether using a desktop or mobile device, you can contribute valuable data year round to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) to help weather research. The mobile app is free and available for iOS or Android.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Regardless of where you live and what hazards you may be susceptible to, an emergency kit is essential to any home or workplace. They’re easier to put together than you think too!

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION

Conveying science to the general public is a daunting challenge. The answer to this challenge is in using less “jargon” and explaining the basic facts.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

An interesting look at how the solar energy industry will handle the 21 August 2017 solar eclipse.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

What does the USA’s National Weather Service do? More than you can imagine. Here’s a great overview of a government agency that quite often saves lives in addition to putting together your local forecast.

Here’s the latest US Drought Monitor. Dry conditions continue to worsen across the north central states.

Graphic courtesy @DroughtCenter

NOAA has just released an updated 2017 Atlantic hurricane season outlook. There are some substantial changes from the outlook in May. Remember, an outlook is not a forecast. The bottom line, a more active season is now expected.

Graphic courtesy National Weather Service Caribou, Maine

The latest NOAA State Of The Climate report reiterates what many of us have suspected the past few months. 2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of record keeping.

 

The State Of The Climate map below shows a startling increase in global surface temperatures. From the report, “Aided by the strong El Niño early in the year, the 2016 annual global surface temperature observed record warmth for a third consecutive year, with the 2016 annual global surface temperature surpassing the previous record of 2015.”

Graphic courtesy NOAA National Center For Environmental Information

Climate Central has an excellent read on the recent data on 2016 being a record year for global climate change.

As global temperature trends rise, are we willing to face the role current generations play in the lives of future ones and how climate change will affect their world?

A new analysis with data from NASA shows the vast El Niño weather pattern of 2014–16 caused tropical forests to produce approximately 3 billion tons of carbon. That’s equivalent to nearly 20% of the emissions produced during the same period by making cement and burning fossil fuels.

If you think that heat waves in cities across the USA are longer than in years past, you’d be correct. Extended streaks of heat, most likely in urban areas due to the heat island effect, are becoming more common.

Climate change deniers had a field day with a recent SNAFU within a New York Times story.

After 30 years, the challenge of dealing with the Earth’s ozone problem still remains very elusive.

New Orleans is once again dealing with floods. This city, which largely rests below sea level, will continue to have flooding problems until either a proper infrastructure is in place, or the city no longer exists.

After the Tulsa tornado of 6 August 2017, there was quite an unnecessary backlash and reaction to the “tornado sirens” not being sounded in the city of Tulsa. This was the correct decision. Here’s an infographic on the basis of what these archaic toys are meant for. Opinions vary on the usefulness of these sirens, but they have many faults and are (at best) Cold War era technology that is, at best, minimally useful. My sound advice: forget sirens even exist. There are far more effective means of getting potential life-saving weather warnings.

Graphic courtesy National Weather Service Tulsa, Oklahoma

PUBLIC POLICY

This should come as no surprise to those of us in Oklahoma who are familiar with our former attorney general’s proclivities. “Scott Pruitt Brushes Off ‘So-Called Settled Science’ On Conservative Radio Show.” Keep in mind that this individual is now the head of the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency. He also doesn’t want to “politicize science,” but due to the nature of our rapidly changing society, that can’t be done.

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

Cheers!

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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 Links Week In Review For August 1 – 8, 2017

Greetings to everyone! This has been an active and interesting weather week across much of North America. Many areas that are normally broiling in temperatures well into the mid to upper 90’s are enjoying cool nights and afternoon highs 10 – 15 degrees cooler. I, for one, am not complaining one bit! A severe weather day for parts of the southern plains brought an EF-2 tornado through parts of midtown Tulsa, OK during the early morning hours of 6 August 2017 resulting in at least 30 injuries. Last but not least, the tropical Atlantic has been more active than in previous weeks…and the peak of the hurricane season is still to come. There’s plenty of other topics to go over, so let’s get started.

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

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION

Here’s an excellent read on communicating science to the general public. “There are too many important issues that science has reached a consensus on that the public has not.”

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

This spectacular new dinosaur fossil is bound to bring great enthusiasm to my fellow dinosaur fans.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

This is truly amazing! “Humanity’s farthest and longest-lived spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, achieve 40 years of operation and exploration this August and September. Despite their vast distance, they continue to communicate with NASA daily, still probing the final frontier.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

Based on new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, the USA’s Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone (oxygen-deprived water where fish can’t survive) is the largest since it started measuring in 1985.

Congratulation Miami! You’ve taken a very bold step. Now, who’s the next city with the chutzpah to make this kind of decision? “South Miami this week became the first city outside of California to require all new homes to install solar panels on their roofs.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s an excellent interactive map from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tulsa, OK with a detailed survey of the Tulsa tornado of 6 August 2017. The tornado formed from a rapidly moving Quasi Linear Convective System (QLCS) and raced at almost 50 mph across midtown portions of the city. This event should be a start reminder that should be a stark reminder that, in spite of the climatological norms, tornadoes do not follow a calendar. “Tornado Season” in the USA runs from January 1 – December 31…and tornadoes can also occur at any time of the day or night and are not limited to forming under a photogenic supercell.

Check out NOAA’s interactive map of the history of the hottest summer day at thousands of locations across the USA.

A new visualization from Climate Central shows a history of global warming in only 35 seconds.

From Climate Central, a startling, but not surprising, survey. “The World Economic Forum surveyed 750 experts on what the most likely and impactful risks facing humanity are in 2017. They ranked extreme weather as the most likely risk and the second-most impactful, trailing only the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Traveling by commercial aircraft can be challenging enough…but climate change could be introducing a whole new level of inconvenience.

For decades, the urban heat island effect has kept many large cities warmer than surrounding areas. Climate change is poised to make those warmer-than-average urban environments even hotter.

The monsoon season for Arizona, USA residents has been going full throttle in no small part due to the influences of climate change.

The USA isn’t the only country that has histrionic summers. This year has been a rough summer for our friends in Sweden.

I’ve yet to see one of these, but hope to one day…if I can only keep from blinking at the wrong moment! The common but elusive green flash of sunsets.

Truth stranger than fiction. Federal scientists, including those from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have published a 543-page report with startling information on climate change. They’re trying to get the word out before the current presidential administration can bury the report.

That’s a wrap for this post! You can also find Tornado Quest on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr at the links below.

Cheers!

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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 Links Week In Review For July 25 – August 1, 2017

Greetings everyone! I hope the weather is to your liking regardless of where you live. Here in the USA’s Great Plains, we’re enjoying an unseasonably pleasant cool spell, but the summer heat will be back soon enough. For the time being, the tropical Atlantic is relatively quiet…but the peak of the hurricane season is still several weeks away.

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

TECHNOLOGY

Many folks have push notifications turned on for countless apps. For your own sake and sanity, turn them off. I only have text messages and emails going…and I couldn’t be happier.

SCIENCE EDUCATION

If you’re considering a career in the sciences, you’re going to need a thorough background in math. Start early…you won’t regret it.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Here’s an excellent read from Science Friday on how to view the upcoming solar eclipse safely.

The quote attributed to Carl Sagan that “we are made of star stuff” is emphasized even more so in this good read. “Half The Atoms Inside Your Body Came From Across The Universe.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

This is awesome news for the Sooner State! Oklahoma will soon be home to what could be the largest wind farm in the USA! This is definitely a step in the right direction!

Speaking of wind energy, solar and wind are not “alternative” energy sources anymore. We have got a long way to go to make a dent in climate change, but fortunately, they are already mainstream.

Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” has a new sequel that is not only an update but shows everyday citizens how they can contribute to helping our planet’s environment.

For severe weather and hurricane research, specially equipped aircraft are used. For research into wildfires, the planes used are a different breed of aircraft altogether.

As of late, the western USA has seen a brutal episode of wildfires with almost 5.2 million acres burned from January to late July 2017…and there are several more months left with no let up in sight.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An interesting set of charts from Climate Central on risks to our way of life. As depicted in the first one, climate change and natural disasters supersede every other risk.

Even without an El Niño event (which brings warm ocean water to the surface, temporarily causing average global surface temperatures to rise), 2017 is already setting global temperature records.

If you’re a RadarScope user, you may occasionally notice that a radar is down. Radars, like all other forms of technology, require maintenance and chances are that’s why there’s no data.

Here’s a look at Tornado Warnings issued by the USA’s National Weather Service as of 31 July 2017.

Graphic courtesy Iowa Environmental Mesonet

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for fun. We’re living in interesting times, so hang around for some thought provoking topics.

Cheers!

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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

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