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…


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.


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.



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