Author Archive: Tornado Quest

Tornado Quest Science Links Of The Week In Review For May 15 – 22, 2017

Greetings to all! I hope the weather is to your liking wherever you are! It’s been a very busy week across much of the USA plains states this past week with several days of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. The beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season is also right around the corner. If you live in a hurricane prone region, this is the ideal time of year to prepare for the storm that we hope you won’t see. This week’s post is a bit on the brief side due to several active days of severe weather but still has plenty of topics of interest…so let’s get started.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Frequently, I will get inquiries as to how people can get involved in citizen science. SciStarter is a great place to begin with something for everyone.

SCIENCE EDUCATION

An interesting read on focusing on the “bigger picture” instead of minutiae details in improving STEM student learning and comprehension.

For science teachers, here’s a very good read from meteorologist Dan Satterfield with a very nice Teacher’s Guide To Climate Change. The link in the article will take you to a FREE copy of the guide.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Fortunately no seeds were lost, but the irreplaceable stronghold of the world’s seeds was flooded by conditions attributed to climate change.

If you need some “eye candy,” look no further than the amazing planet we live on. Here’s a gallery of fifty-one amazing images of our humble home.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

With the North American severe weather season in full swing and the hurricane season just around the corner, now’s the time to double check your NOAA weather radio to make sure it’s in proper working order and, among other preparations, make a good emergency communication plan. If you’re wondering about the NOAA weather radio coverage for your area, check out this map for more information.

Are “High Risk” areas in Storm Prediction Center outlooks becoming more common? Actually, no…but the forecasting is becoming far more accurate.

What are the calendar dates with the most and fewest tornadoes? US Tornadoes takes a look at some very interesting tornado data.

Less than a year after previous one, the Pacific Ocean is possibly going with another El Niño event.

Globally, April 2017 was the second highest for the month of April going back to 1880. The 2017 year-to-date global temperature was also the second warmest on record.

The World Meteorological Organization has compiled a list of world records for the highest reported historical death tolls from hail storms, tornadoes, lightning, tropical cyclones.

Check out these amazing views of thunderstorms captured by a pilot. You don’t get views like this on every flight.

Having been a storm chaser since March, 1982, I have seen the avocation turn from a small community of perhaps 200 nationwide to a free-for-all circus. This article on the chaser traffic jam (and traffic jam is being much too polite) is a good starting point on addressing the challenges.

PUBLIC POLICY

The uncertainty of this scenario is exceptionally disturbing. Considering the current political trends in the USA, it should come as no surprise. “Will The Government Help Farmers Adapt To A Changing Climate?

There were impressive numbers for world-wide attendance on the April 2017 March For Science.


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Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For May 8 – 15, 2017

Greetings everyone! I hope the weather is to your liking wherever you are. The past few days have seen a substantial uptick in severe weather activity across the plains states of the USA. We’ve still many weeks of severe weather potential ahead of us…so keep an eye on your local forecasts. Hurricane Preparedness Week has officially wrapped up, but don’t let your guard down. Now is an excellent time to prepare for the storm you hope never happens. There’s much more to go over…so let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

When corporate interests are heavily involved in or sponsor research, it’s understandable why public trust in the research results drops like a lead balloon.

There are a few things that science may never have the answers to. Getting comfortable with the unknown, adaptation, and not living in a ‘black-or-white’ world is all part of understanding and appreciating the sciences.

In spite of the convenience of digital ebooks, there’s nothing like turning the pages of a real book.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Why do we build super telescopes? Our thirst for knowledge is just one reason.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Atlanta, GA is the twenty-seventh city in the USA to pledge to be powered by renewables.

Here’s some more good renewables news. “Gemini windpark off the coast of the Netherlands will eventually meet the energy needs of about 1.5 million people.”

Some very challenging times ahead for the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency. “The Environmental Protection Agency has a clear, one-sentence mandate: “The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The NWS Hurricane Preparedness Week has drawn to a close…but it’s still the perfect time to prepare and be ready. It only takes one storm.

If severe weather is forecast for your area, do you know what the Storm Prediction Center’s (SPC) tornado probabilities mean? Here’s an excellent explanation your tornado risk in SPC outlooks from Weather Decision Technologies.

After a brutal drought across much of the USA, relief has finally come (for the time being) and the drought coverage is the lowest since 2000.

The latest US Drought Monitor shows significant improvement over many areas that were previously dry while drought conditions in Florida and Georgia continue to worsen.

A very interesting climate read about a new study. “Emissions from thawing permafrost are now outpacing the uptake of carbon dioxide during the growing season.”

The link between climate change and public health is very real and irrevocable. “Climate Change Could Increase ER Visits For Allergy-related Asthma.”

According to an analysis for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) our humble home could see the goal to limit warming to 1.5°C easily surpassed within a decade.

A bittersweet “Happy Birthday” to the temperature spiral showing the rise of global temperatures thanks to humanity’s release of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

For parts of the Rio Grande river in New Mexico, low water levels are a direct result of reduced snowfall which can be traced to warming temperatures.

An interesting read on the joint project between social networks and the role they play in decision-making about climate change adaptation.

Finally, a very thought-provoking read. “A Parable From Down Under For U.S. Climate Scientists.”

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. And for folks in hurricane prone regions, I hope your hurricane preparedness actions are going according to plan. Hopefully, you’ll not have to use them.

Cheers!

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

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Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For May 1 – 8. 2017 #HurricaneStrong

Hurricane Preparedness Week #HurricaneStrong has started for the USA. This week’s focus will be on preparing for these powerful storms. If you live in a hurricane prone region, now is the time to prepare. There are numerous websites from the National Weather Service, the American Red Cross, and FEMA that have helpful information.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

With the current USA’s Environmental Protection Agency now out of the climate science business, here are some good resources to keep yourself informed.

Here’s some very good renewables news. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a new wind turbine was installed every two and a half hours in the United States during the first quarter of 2017.

Arbor Day may only officially be celebrated once a year, but in reality every day can be arbor day.

In spite of improvements in many countries, air pollution still is a substantial public health issue round the world with developing countries having the most troubles.

The contentious atmosphere (no pun intended) surrounding the current presidential administration, the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues with nefarious overtones.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

It’s Hurricane Preparedness Week in the USA from May 7 – 13, 2017. Now is the time to get prepared if you live in a hurricane prone region. The National Weather Service has a comprehensive hurricane preparedness website with all the information you need. On Twitter, you can also follow @NWS along the #hurricanePrep #HurricaneStrong & #ItOnlyTakesOne hashtags for more information.

Here’s a very nice infographic from the National Weather Service with a plethora of information on the WSR-88D weather radars that are an invaluable part of the forecasting and warning process.

NOAA has a very useful tool you can use to find out how climate change will affect your neighborhood.

Taking into consideration the recent changes in the Antarctic ice shelves, a major break could be imminent.

A slower rise in global temperatures from 1998 to 2012 has been hailed by climate change denialists as proof that Earth’s climate isn’t changing and future projections are irrelevant. In fact, new data show that the “hiatus” has no impact on long-term climate change projections.

Big changes in the broadcast meteorology field with the minority finally becoming the majority. Broadcast meteorologists are coming to the inevitable conclusion that they’re not only the only scientists their viewers will ever see on television, but that climate change is now a part of the essential information they must convey to their viewers.

The recent drought in California may be linked to a newly identified climate pattern.

This past week marked the eighteen anniversary of the 3 May 1999 Kansas and Oklahoma tornado outbreak, the largest outbreak to date in the history of Oklahoma. The National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK has a comprehensive retrospective with a wealth of information. And yes, it can and will happen again.

This past week also marked the tenth anniversary of the Greensburg, KS EF-5 tornado. Thanks to fast and effective warnings from the Dodge City, KS National Weather Service and good coverage by broadcast meteorologists, many people had plenty of warning. A few decades ago, a tornado of this magnitude would have resulted in dozens of fatalities.

We’ve not heard the last of this for a long, long time. “New York Times Wants To Offer Diverse Opinions. But On Climate, Facts Are Facts.”

Finally, some helpful lightning safety information courtesy the National Weather Service office in Burlington, VT. Every year approximately thirty people are killed and hundreds injured in the USA alone from lightning. Most if not all of these deaths and injuries are avoidable.

That’s a wrap for this post…see you next time!

Cheers!


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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For April 23 – May 1, 2017

Greetings one and all…and Happy May Day! It’s a time for many of us of Scandinavian ancestry to celebrate the arrival of summer after a dark winter. Njut av semestern och låt oss fira ankomsten av den varma sommaren! Ironically, this past winter in many areas of the Northern Hemisphere had a very mild winter with subfreezing temperatures and normal snowfall being the exception to the rule. This past week brought several rounds of severe weather with tornadoes, flash flooding, and high winds being responsible for a considerable amount of damage from Texas through Oklahoma into Arkansas. Keep in mind that, from a climatological perspective, May is the most active month across North America for tornadoes. Those of us who live in tornado-prone areas should be at the ready. This week’s review will be shorter than usual due to the severe weather, but there’s plenty to cover so let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Here’s a nice examination of ten common misconceptions in physics…and all sciences overall.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

If you’re into citizen science and weather, your mobile device is the ideal too for the mPING project. It’s an easy to use FREE app for iOS and Android where you can send in a weather report and help the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in research!

Here’s a great starting point for several citizen science projects from SciStarter and The Crowd And The Cloud.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

The Cassini spacecraft is the first to ever be this close to the planet Saturn…and in the process, took some amazing images.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

An eye-opening look at water quality issues posed by fracking from American Scientist.

Here’s some encouraging news on the renewables front. “Last year, the solar industry employed many more Americans than coal, while wind power topped 100,000 jobs.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

On the sixth anniversary, a look back at the April 25 – 28, 2011 tornado outbreak.

The Arctic is reacting to climate change faster than climate scientists had anticipated.

A gut-punching look at the crazy scale of human carbon emissions.

In an ironic twist, two years after the Paris Climate Agreement, several developing countries are bypassing far wealthier nations in climate change policy.

The New York Times has hired a notorious climate change denialist and is publishing his material. Understandably, scientists are having none of this. The reaction is not surprising. “Bret Stephens’ first piece for the Times showed exactly why some climate realists are canceling their subscriptions.”

Being taken seriously in regards to climate change has its benefits and hazards…especially when you’re considering ideas that are well “out of the box.”

TED talks are almost always enlightening and/or entertaining. Finally (after what seems like forever), here’s one on clouds and climate change.

PUBLIC POLICY

This past weekend’s Climate March was a very good start…let’s keep the momentum going!

Not by conincidence, the EPA under Scott Pruitt wiped all climate change information and data from it’s website. No nefarious agenda here, just the “new” business as usual.

Propaganda is nothing new. But the study of how it’s used and how humans react to it is an interesting look into human behavior.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to contact me at tornadoquest@protonmail.ch…and have a great week!

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 Science Week In Review For April 16 – 23, 2017

Greetings to one and all…and a belated Happy Earth Day! While every day should be Earth day, this is the one of the few days during the year that global consciousness on the current state and fragile future of our humble home can be brought to the forefront of public consciousness. To be practical, this is the only home our species and the thousands of other species will ever know. It would behoove is to be good stewards and take a keen interest in the welfare of this amazing orb whirling round our sun. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. Abuse it and, well…there are unpleasant ramifications.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

If you thought bad air quality was a moderate health hazard, thing again. It’s much worse.

Many areas of the USA and Canada that are prone to wildfires have residents that are forced into learning how to live with this annual hazard.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The latest State Of The Climate report from NOAA is out. Here’s a look at the climate conditions and events for March, 2017.

Visual aids are fantastic for conveying information. The impact can be substantial. This graphic that puts global warming into an easily comprehensible perspective is particularly startling.

Antarctic ice melt, previously thought to be progressing but rather slowly, is now much worse and widespread than we thought.

Conveying the importance of climate change to the general public is a never-ending and daunting task. “Why Humans Are So Bad At Thinking About Climate Change.”

From the Royal Meteorological Society, “An international coalition of 33 meteorological and climate societies and institutions have released a Collective Global Climate Statement to coincide with Earth Day on 22nd April, which this year is focused on environmental and climate literacy. The Statement was initiated and coordinated by the Royal Meteorological Society.”

In spite of its frequency, lightning it one of the most enigmatic atmospheric phenomenons. Here’s a fascinating look at some of the forms it can take. Sprites, often seen above strong/severe supercell thunderstorms, are my personal favorite.

Atmospheric aerosols are an essential element of our weather and air quality. Sunlight is responsible for chemical reactions in our lower atmosphere…the atmosphere we live in and breathe.

Some Twitter chatter from those steeped in hyperbole has been carelessly using the word “outbreak” as of late in reference to potential severe weather. What exactly is a tornado outbreak? (Paper courtesy Rick Smith, WCM for NWS Norman, OK.)

Speaking of severe weather and tornadoes, here’s a nice retrospective from US Tornadoes of all the tornado warnings issued in the USA since 2008.

For some people, anxiety and/or phobias regarding weather, specifically severe weather, are a real challenge to their everyday quality of life and no laughing matter. Fortunately, there are resources available to help anyone why suffers with this challenge…and when you live in Tornado Alley, it can be especially stressful.

Infographic courtesy National Weather Service: Norman, OK

Heat is one of the most underrated weather related hazards and is often fatal. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people with no access to air conditioning or forced to work out of doors in heat that is getting worse year by year and is potentially lethal.

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

The March For Science brought out scientists and those concerned with science in over 500 cities across six continents. Though the March For Science is a success and brought the current anti-science mindset to the public consciousness, we’ve a long, long hard battle ahead…and the march was just the first step.

The new funding crunch on scientific research has the potential to induce desperate measures that could lead to very dangerous and sloppy science.

As of mid April, 2017, NOAA was still without a new administrator who will oversee climate research, weather forecasting, ocean protection and a $5.6 billion budget.

Support for the worldwide March For Science isn’t unanimous. It’s important to hear both sides and the reasons why some will march, and some, while sympathetic to the cause, will not be taking part.

Scott Pruitt, the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator says the USA should abandon the Paris Climate Agreement. “Pruitt’s statement puts him at odds with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive of ExxonMobil, who said during his confirmation hearing that it was important for the U.S. to “maintain its seat at the table.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to welcome my new followers in social media. Interesting times are ahead and I’m glad you’re along for the wild 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 Science Week In Review For April 8 – 16, 2017

Greeting’s to everyone! If you’re celebrating the holiday weekend, I hope it’s a good one. For those not celebrating, I hope your spring/autumn is going as well as possible. Here in the USA, the severe weather season is in full swing this week with several days of challenging forecasts. Also, don’t forget the March For Science is coming up on 22 April 2017! This week’s post will be a bit on the brief side due to a developing severe weather setup…so let’s get started.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A disconcerting privacy read. In the process of trying to guard privacy rights, some people are trying to “trash their tracks.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Polluting your web history won’t keep you from having your rights violated by nefarious opportunists.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a good read on spring-time citizen science projects from SciStarter! Why sit on the sidelines when you can take part? Citizen scientists add valuable data to research projects that, in most situations, would be difficult to obtain.

Citizen science and weather go hand-in-hand exceptionally well! Here are four ways you can enjoy citizen science get involved and contribute valuable weather and climate data to data bases and research!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

It seems as if wind energy gets less expensive month by month…and that’s some very good news!

The drought in California may by “officially” over, but it’s best to not think it won’t happen again.

Speaking of California, here’s some very good renewables news. On one day in March, 2017, California got fifty percent of it’s electricity from solar power.

NASA has a new Night Light Map that shows patterns of human settlement across our humble home.

Challenging times ahead for the EPA. With air quality in the USA still problematic, the health of millions is at stake.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If this past winter seemed short for much of North America, you weren’t imagining things. For the southwestern USA states in particular, spring is coming earlier every year.

This is the kind of record breaking data that doesn’t bring about smiles. We’ve yet another record breaking month for low Arctic sea ice.

Here’s a very informative Science Friday interview with climate scientist Michael Mann on his recent House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology hearing testimony.

Time is running short. “We Must Reach Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, Says Former UN Climate Chief.

Weather balloons carry instrument packages that supply invaluable data for forecasting and observations. Check out this video of a weather balloon exploding at 100,000 feet!

The Heartland Institute is at it again…this time will a well oiled PR campaign based on unfounded accusations sans evidence.

PUBLIC POLICY

NASA continues to be the target of budget cuts that, in the long run, will mean the demise of valuable data that benefits us all.

Now that former Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt is running the USA’s EPA, some climate change denialists are bemoaning that, “he won’t fight.”

While on that topic, the train wreck continues. “Scott Pruitt Calls For An ‘Exit’ From The Paris Accord, Sharpening The Trump White House’s Climate Rift.”

Last but definitely not least, don’t forget the March For Science is only days away on 22 April 2017! Currently, there are over 500 satellite marches that will be taking place the world over!

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

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 Science Week In Review For April 1 – 8, 2017

Greetings everyone! It’s been a busy week for severe weather events across the contiguous USA the past few days. One of those days included a rare High Risk in the southeastern states. Perhaps more unusual is the fact that it was the third High Risk for 2017…and we’re still in early April. There’s a great deal of uncertainty as to whether the rest of the “tornado season” will be active. The best action for the general public to take is the necessary preparedness steps. This week’s post will be a bit shorter than usual due to ongoing projects and the severe weather of the past week…so let’s get started.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

A good climate read on the irrevocable link between climate change and its effects on living animals and other parts of the earth’s biosphere.

In spite of its numerous benefits, renewable energy sources are still subject for debate. Here’s a very concise overview over many very contentious renewables topics.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

With the severe weather season in full swing, I’ve compiled a list of safety links that I hope will be helpful to you. Remember, the severe weather season is (from a climatological perspective) just kicking into gear and we have several active months ahead.

If you’re programming your NOAA weather radio, here’s a helpful page with an interactive map that will help you with any coverage questions.

This video is proof positive that a vehicle is no match for even a weak and quite modest tornado.

This past April 3rd was the forty-third anniversary of the tornado “Super-outbreak” of 1974. Here’s a very nice retrospective and even a look at if it were to happen again today, how the amount of damage and potential casualties would be much greater. As we saw with the 27 April 2011 outbreak, events of this magnitude can and will happen again.

From Climate Central, “A never-ending stream of carbon pollution ensures that each year the world continues to break records for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” Unfortunately, 2017 will be no different.

With largely ice-free summers since 2011, the Arctic Ocean is taking on characteristics of the Atlantic Ocean.

PUBLIC POLICY

The campaign to put science and tech leaders in public office is gathering momentum fast…and can’t happen soon enough. In fact, it’s time for scientists to step up with no time to waste.

This short video explains why scientists are mobilizing and taking a stance against the “fear of facts” that is pervasive within the current USA’s presidential administration.

It should come as no surprise that scientists have understood for over a century the way our climate functions…better than the current head of the USA’s EPA.

The role of scientists is to present facts, the future possibilities, and consequences. Unfortunately, the people (often our politicians/lawmakers) are so scientifically illiterate that they can do little more than convey ignorance and make egregiously misguided decisions.

Last but not least, a cartoon that has a bite of truth mixed with humor.

And that’s a wrap for this post! Remember, if you live in an area that is prone to severe weather, make final preparations for your emergency kits and any other necessary arrangements. Until next time…Cheers!


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

Tornado Quest on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tornadoquest

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Tornado Quest on Tumblr: http://tornadoquest.tumblr.com/

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

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

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Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Severe Weather Safety Links To Keep You And Your Family Safe. #WeatherReady (Updated 7 April 2017)

For Monday, April 3, 2017, the Storm Prediction Center is forecasting numerous severe storms across parts of several southern states. The climatological peak of activity isn’t until May…so we’ve several more weeks of active severe weather episodes that may, or may not, materialize. Regardless, best to be prepared. I hope these links are of assistance to you.

SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY AND PREPAREDNESS

SEVERE WEATHER INFORMATION

One caveat about this category. The two links for the SPC and NWS are excellent sources and the starting point for everyone’s information. As for local broadcast meteorologists, I can only suggest that you watch those which are to your liking…which is extremely subjective…and therefore in the interest of fairness and objectivity, I have no recommendations.

INFOGRAPHICS

From the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), a concise explanation of risk categories. (Graphic courtesy SPC)

Do you know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING? (Graphic courtesy NWS Amarillo, TX)

When a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, there is specific criteria that a thunderstorm must meet to be considered severe. You should be aware of those criteria and recognize them if you see them and what safety precautions to take. (Graphic courtesy NWS Birmingham, AL)

Your mobile device can save your life. Make sure your phones, tablets, et al. are charged at all times. (Graphic courtesy NOAA)

CITIZEN SCIENCE: CONTRIBUTING TO DATA BASES AND RESEARCH DURING/AFTER THE STORM

  • CoCoRaHS: “”Volunteers working together to measure precipitation across the nations.”
  • mPING: “Weather radars cannot “see” at the ground, so mPING reports are used by the NOAA National Weather Service to fine-tune their forecasts. NSSL uses the data in a variety of ways, including to develop new radar and forecasting technologies and techniques.”

Last but not least on the list of links is one that I know pertains to not a few people…a phobia of thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning and thunder. It may be no consolation, but I have two bits of encouragement for anyone who suffers with these challenges.

  1. The first three (thunderstorms, tornadoes, and lightning) are obvious hazards, but thunder is harmless. It’s merely the air reacting to the sudden heating caused by the extremely hot lightning bolt. If you’ve ever experienced a static electric shock and heard a small “pop” sound, it’s basically the same thing, only on a larger scale. So let the thunder roar. It is what causes the thunder that you need to be wary of.
  2. Consider where you live or will be during a severe thunderstorm. The chances of the very spot you are in getting the worst of the storm are actually rather small. Let’s say you live in a 2,000 square foot home and a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for your area. The odds of the highest winds, largest hail, and perhaps flash flooding blasting the structure you’re in is quite small. On a map, you’re a mere speck that is barely seen without a magnifying glass. Let’s take it up a notch a bit an consider tornadoes. In spite of what you see on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, the local or national news, etc., tornadoes are an exceptionally rare event. Most tornadoes are also in the EF-0 or EF-1 category with maximum winds of perhaps 110 m.p.h. at peak intensity. Most frame homes and commercial buildings will easily sustain a direct hit from a tornado of this strength. Yes, it’ll leave a mess but if you read the safety rules above and take proper precautions, you’ll be fine. Scared? Yes. That’s normal. Our limbic system in our brain (aka fight or flight) is a wonderful part of hundreds of millions of years of evolution that has evolved to give us adrenaline, increased heart rate and respiration, and a host of other reactions that are there for our benefit. Bottom line: have a disaster/severe weather preparedness kit assembled and at-the-ready year round, know what to do in a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning, avoid any lightning dangers, don’t drive or go into flash flooding areas, keep abreast of weather updates with a NOAA weather radio, your mobile device, and/or the broadcast meteorologists of your choice, and you’ll be just fine. Knowledge is power…and you’ll feel more powerful and less fearful with an increased knowledge of storms and what to do when a watch and warning is issued for your location.

Finally…one last word…

Please keep in mind that only NOAA weather radio, your local National Weather Service office, or reliable media are the best sources of important, timely, and potentially life-saving weather information, watches, and warnings! None of the links on this page should be used for life-&-death decisions or the protection of property!

Stay weather aware…and stay safe!

Cheers!

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

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Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For March 12 – 19, 2017

Greetings to everyone! All across most of North American, spring is in full swing much earlier than usual. The severe weather season has also kicked into gear and the peak of the season (by climate data) is still well over two months away. There’s plenty to cover this week, so let’s get started.

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

SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY

This week’s severe weather safety link is the Tornado Safety page from the Storm Prediction Center’s Roger Edwards. The page starts out with a very appropriate and true warning: There is no such thing as guaranteed safety inside a tornado. Freak accidents happen; and the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and its occupants. Extremely violent EF5 tornadoes are very rare, though. Most tornadoes are actually much weaker and can be survived using these safety ideas.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

A up-to-date list of citizen science projects is always available from the folks at SciStarter. The City Nature Challenge is just one of many taking place in several USA cities. I’ve been a long-time participant in the CoCoRaHS rain, hail, and snow network. By participating, you will provide meteorologists with valuable precipitation measurements. The CoCoRaHS network also has a free app where you can send in your daily reports…even if you don’t get any precipitation at all!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

For those of you familiar with the Scandinavian countries, it should come as no surprise that the World Health Organization (WHO) says that Stockholm is one of the cleanest capital cities on the planet.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The recent snowstorm in the northeastern parts of the USA has brought more than snow. The usual cries of “foul” are not going unnoticed. Unfortunately, they’re not coming from a segment of the population that understands the daunting task of forecasting winter weather. Here are some badly needed answers from those who know.

Now that spring has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has put together their Spring 2017 Outlook and these two maps that hint at a warmer-than-usual spring for much of the contiguous USA. As for precipitation, there are equal chances (EC) that much of the country experiencing drought will or will not get any relief.

For #WorldMetDay on 23 March 2017, the World Meteorological Organization has new cloud identification charts!

The new charts cover low, middle, and high level clouds as well as other general cloud information and are available in several languages.

Weather satellites are as essential to the atmospheric sciences as x-rays and CT scans are to the medical profession. Science Friday recently spoke with some folks from NOAA on the current and future nature of weather satellites. Do weather satellites need a repairman? What does the future hold for NOAA’s satellites?

For those who have taken part in a NWS Skywarn storm spotting course, you’ll find some valuable information in this video from storm chaser Skip Talbot called “Storm Spotting Secrets.” Please pay attention to the caution at the beginning of the video. This is NOT a replacement for a NWS Skywarn spotter training course. After having been a storm chaser since March, 1982, I can honestly say that almost every storm environment is different, nature always has the upper hand, and what will get you in trouble is either (1.) the danger that blindsides you that you never see coming or (2.) pushing the safety envelope in order to have more “extreme” videos and/or photographs. Many supercell thunderstorms can intensify at an almost incomprehensible rate and you may not have time to react in a safe and rational matter.

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Good for them. Let’s hope the more join the ranks. “In Challenge To Trump, 17 Republicans Join Fight Against Global Warming.”

A sobering read about the current state of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affairs. “A Guide To The EPA Data Under Threat By The Trump Administration.”

The recent proposed “skinny budget” is a very real threat to the EPA, NOAA, NASA, and more. It also potentially puts the general public at risk.

Speaking of budget, if the current USA presidential administration cuts climate science funding, the ramifications could severely hurt the UK’s climate scientists ability to do research. With NOAA in the crosshairs, this isn’t a matter to be taken lightly. Ginned up hype? Contrary to some who are on the defensive, no…this isn’t.

Although science funding makes up only about 1% of the annual USA’s federal budget, much of the future of climate science research funding is in jeopardy.

A very intriguing read. The USA’s new defense secretary cites climate change as a national security issue.

Unfortunate yet somehow not surprising. “Financial officials from the world’s biggest economies have dropped from a joint statement any mention of financing action on climate change, reportedly following pressure from the US and Saudi Arabia.”

THE QUIXOTIC

This is one of those headlines that leaves you a bit gobsmacked. “Climate Change Denier Jim Inhofe Says EPA Is ‘Brainwashing’ Out Children.”

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

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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