Tornado Quest Science Links Week In Review For May 14 – 21, 2018

Greetings to one and all! I hope the weather is to your liking wherever you are. We’ve had some recent spells of severe weather in the USA, but the rest of May looks unusually quiet. Considering the alternative, I’m not complaining. Speaking of severe weather, here’s a quick reminder to check your NOAA weather radio as we navigate our way through the peak of the North American severe weather season and prepare for the beginning of the Atlantic tropical cyclone season.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Only time will tell if this works. “Twitter Changes Strategy In Battle Against Internet Trolls.”

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

At least the largest of these will fall in desolate areas. “Large boulders 2 metres across and weighing 10 tonnes could soon begin blasting out from Kilauea, the erupting volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.”

Kilauea is a major volcanic event. In spite of that, “the largest possible explosive event from Kilauea would still be tiny compared to other volcanoes around the world, from Krakatoa to Mount St. Helens to Vesuvius.”

Property damage isn’t the only victim of Kilauea’s activity. Public health is an ongoing issue that need more media coverage than property damage.

In retrospect, here’s a look at the 18 May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. (Article originally published in 2014.)

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Here’s an interesting read on combining renewable energy and collecting NOAA environmental data. “Adaptable And Driven By Renewable Energy, Saildrones Voyage Into Remote Waters.”

The challenges on how to handle plastic pollution are not easy to sort out. Here’s one perspective on how solutions could be worse than the current situation.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The latest US Drought Monitor is out. There’s little to no relief in sight for drought ravaged regions in the Extreme/Exceptional areas from the southwest into Oklahoma and Texas.

Sample of U.S. Drought Monitor

A wider perspective on the current USA drought conditions can be found at the US Drought Portal page.

The dismal snow pack in many western USA states isn’t a good sign for the summer heat and wildfires that often occur in this mountainous region.

There has been some discussion recently on the topic of heat bursts. They’re a common phenomenon, especially in the USA’s great plains. Here’s a good read on a fascinating weather event.

Hurricane Harvey was a powerful hurricane on its own. The record heat in the Gulf of Mexico just added more fuel to the fire. Unfortunately, this also means that tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin could pack more of a powerful punch than people in their path are capable of dealing with.

In a new report released on 17 May 2018, NOAA confirmed that April 2018 was the 400th consecutive month of warmer-than-average global temperatures. “The year-to-date (January-April) global temperature was the fifth warmest such period in the 139-year record.”

https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/april-2018-global-significant-events-map.png

Infographic courtesy NOAA

New studies hint at climate change and its ramifications could be far worse than we anticipate.

PUBLIC POLICY

Becoming a politically engaged scientist has become less of an option and more of a requirement in today’s politically volatile climate.

The plot thickens as the train wreck continues. The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been engaged in some unscientific actions as of late…and that’s putting it politely.

An interesting tale of a USA government sea level rise report finally being released after charges of censorship. “Although National Park Service officials say the report was handled properly, the study’s lead author says the administrative review process has morphed from a “rubber stamp” into a tool for the government to suppress inconvenient science. “Censorship is a good word for that,” said Maria Caffrey, the University of Colorado, Boulder, researcher who led the study.” There’s no shortage of censorship and twisting facts when it comes to climate change denialists.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. It’s nice to have you along for the fun. Stay safe and keep your eyes on the sky!

Cheers!

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