Tornado Quest’s Science Links and More for August 3 – 10, 2014

While weather over most of North America has been rather tranquil this past week, the tropical cyclone activity has been interesting to watch. Save for Bertha in the Atlantic, the tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific has been very active. Iselle cruised across the Hawaii doing a great deal of infrastructure damage, but it could have been much worse.  Julio was nice enough to stay to the north of the islands. The Hawaiian Islands are no stranger to tropical cyclones, they just don’t happen to have frequent encounters with them. Perhaps worst of all was a certain degree of hype in mainstream media which, considering their lack of ineptness with scientific data, should come as no surprise. As of this writing, Invest 94-L coming off the west coast of African looks interesting, but will be facing a very hostile environment conducive to any development. For now…the Atlantic basin remains rather tranquil…but that could change.

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


Ready, set, glow! Here’s how to take part in a cool citizen science firefly project this summer.

From SciStarer: Super Moon, Super Meteor Showers, Super Citizen Science!


The journey to the answers is half the fun. “The Never-Ending Conundrums Of Classical Physics.”


The Mars Curiosity rover is celebrating its second anniversary on its amazing journey across the Mars landscape. Here’s to many more anniversaries!

Have you ever watched the ISS pass overhead on a clear night? It’s a spectacular sight I’ve relished many times. Here’s a site (Spot The Station) where you can find out when your viewing chance will come along.


Atmospheric scientists aren’t the only ones that have to deal with misinformation, rumors, and denialism. Geologists get it too.


NOAA and EPA scientists have found a large area of low oxygen water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Looks like it’s time for California to come to terms with its water woes…which, at this time, look to be permanent.

A look at the top ten US states leading the nation in solar energy growth.

Just how far will “urban sprawl” grow in our largest population centers? A great deal. While that is good in many ways, it also makes our growing cities more vulnerable to unavoidable natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

It’s never too early to teach kids about science. Here are some cool books that will make environmental science education easy.


As the old saying goes, some clouds have a silver lining. In this case, something that could help with an ever-increasing amount of greenhouse gases.

Check out these amazing view of pyrocumulus clouds captured a few days ago over Oregon.

An interesting study on the interactions among fire, climate change, and forests for five major regions of the United States.

The chances of an El Nino forming this year have been reduced, but its formation is still expected.

How much do hurricanes hurt the economy? More than the local chamber of commerce would like to believe.

There are some substantial changes coming this autumn to Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlooks. Take a look at what’s in store.

A very interesting read on “Investing For Meteorologists.” No, we’re not talking finances.

All above-ground storm shelters should be manufactured by, purchased from, and installed by companies that adhere to strict requirements. Here’s a study into an apparently home-brew shelter that led to tragic results.

An enjoyable read by Greg Laden on how to talk with that relative/friend/coworker, et al who thinks climate change is a hoax.


If you’re like me, you spend many hours seated at your computer every day of the week. Here’s a very good article on setting up a computer centered workspace.

Thought provoking: How Perfectionism Destroys Happiness.

Eight tips to help you stay safe online…from Webroot…an anti-virus software I highly recommend.

That’s a wrap for this week!



#astronomy, #citizen-science, #climate, #climate-change, #climatology, #computer, #critical-thinking, #drought, #el-nino, #environmental-science, #hurricane, #meteorology-2, #national-weather-service, #noaa, #physics, #pyrocumulus, #science-2, #science-education, #solar-energy, #storm-prediction-center, #storm-shelters, #sustainability, #technology, #tornado, #urban-sprawl, #weather

Tornado Quest Science Links And More for July 27 – August 3, 2014

It’s hard to believe that August is already here. Before we know it, thoughts will turn to autumn (or spring in the southern hemisphere) and we will see seasonal changes taking place. Speaking of autumn, the recent cool spell across the eastern 2/3 of the contiguous USA has been a welcome respite from the summer heat and humidity. Many areas that are drought-plagued received beneficial rains. Of course, we can’t forget the Atlantic tropical cyclone season. There are many weeks left and though it’s been rather quiet, best not to let our guards down.

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


An interesting read on a small study on scientists on Twitter based on “a metric that compares the popularity of scientists on Twitter to the impact of their publications within peer-reviewed journals.”


An enlightening, and somewhat disconcerting, read on privacy and the mobile devices we love and live by.

Another very informative read from Ghostery (which is a browser add-on that I can’t recommend highly enough): 50 Things A Server Can Tell When You Visit A Webpage.

Single-tasking is apparently the new multi-tasking. Sorry to say, it doesn’t work for me.

The “Right To Be Forgotten” has drawn a great deal of discussion lately. The more I read about it, the more I’m sympathetic to Google’s quandary.

A very thought-provoking read on social media presence: “Preaching Is Creating A Divide Between You And Your Audience.”


Interesting insight into the magnetic field of Mercury and how it’s different from the one here on Earth.

The Mars Opportunity rover just broke an extraterrestrial mileage record…25 miles.

The new Mars rover will have more bells and whistles than you can count…and that’s very good!


An interdisciplinary look at how paleontology can give us a glimpse of climate change of the past…and future.

A new study suggests that dinosaurs fell victim to a “perfect storm” of events.


The southwestern portions of the USA have had a brutal blow from the ongoing drought. Conditions are bad enough that the amount of remaining groundwater is getting perilously low.

With no end in sight, take a look at how bad the drought conditions are in California.


Tornadoes in New England are rare, but not unheard of. Just a few days ago, an EF-2 tornado damaged portions of Revere, Massachusetts.

Is there reason to be hopeful that we can get a better grasp on climate change? Yes, there is. Here are a few reasons why. At the very least, it can’t hurt to try.

A read on a new study (with journal link) on water vapor in the upper atmosphere and its relation to global warming.

What’s being called “nuisance flooding” is becoming more a regular occurrence. Further details are at this link to the 66 page PDF report from NOAA.

The issue of climate change and politicians isn’t exclusively limited to the United States.

Shattering Myths To Help The Climate” is a good read…and a start…but much work needs to be done yet. Myths, in spite of solid scientific evidence, don’t go away easily.

When the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning, you should take it every bit as seriously as a tornado warning. Not convinced? This video should help.

Another example of the dangers of summer’s “silent killer.”

Had your city reached it’s summer peak heating yet? Fortunately, mine hasn’t…but that’s about to change.

Being a meteorologist is a difficult enough…a myriad of myths exist regarding the science…but a female broadcast meteorologist is all too often the target of a pleb with a pencil.


At a loss for words, but not at a loss for pity. Political science (an oxymoron if there ever was one) and true science make for poor bedfellows.

That’s a wrap for this week…


#astronomy, #california, #climate, #climate-change, #climatology, #computer, #dinosaur, #drought, #environmental-science, #evolution, #flooding, #ghostery, #google, #groundwater, #massachusetts, #mercury, #meteorology-2, #national-weather-service, #noaa, #opportunity-rover, #paleontology, #privacy, #science-2, #social-media, #summer, #tornado, #twitter, #weather

Tornado Quest Science & More Links for July 20 – 27, 2014

After a very nice cool spell for much of the eastern half of the contiguous 48, summer heat returned with a vengeance. Fortunately, another cool-down is on the way. We’ve still a long way to go in summer, but I’m going to enjoy every bit of the cooler weather while it lasts.

Still ironing out a few SNAFU’s with the Tornado Quest Twitter account. For the most part, the odd glitches over the past two weeks seem to have settled down. Unfortunately, the powers that be in social media have a life of their own…and we’re all vulnerable to their whims and tantrums.

I’d like to welcome my new followers…I’m glad you’re here for the ride. Many sincere thanks to all the folks who’ve re-tweeted or mentioned me in the last few days. I’d like to thank all of you but my schedule only allows so much time for social media…so here’s a big THANK YOU!!! 🙂

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


This story could easily fall under the Atmospheric Science category, but it’s a solid citizen science story about 80+ years of observations from a devoted weather enthusiast.


Check out this very informative slide presentation on the recent spate of seismic activity in Oklahoma.


Onshore wind power is now the cheapest form of new electricity in Denmark. We need to see more of this the world over.

Speaking of wind power, here’s a nice look at how wind turbines work and how they’ve changed over the years.

More good reasons to plant a tree (preferably one native to your region)…they’re good for our health.


Today (July 27) was the second episode of WXGeeks on The Weather Channel…and it was almost as enjoyable as the first…I mean to say, Chuck Doswell was on episode #1…how can you top that? Anyway, there was a spot-on discussion regarding weather hobbyists and social media presence. If you’ve not been watching WXGeeks, you’re missing out on a treat.

A very interesting look at Arctic sea ice from NOAA including its current status and changes over time.

In case you missed the latest United States Drought Monitor, you can find it here. The drought has eased in some areas, but extreme and exceptional conditions still exist from California to Oklahoma.

Lyndon State College has an exceptionally good damage analysis of the Moore, OK tornado of 20 May 2014. Damage surveys have always been a keen interest of mine and I’m thoroughly convinced that they are an integral part of understanding severe weather behavior.

An interesting take on the challenges of forecasting tropical cyclones.

What’s it like to stand in a Cat 3 hurricane force wind? Not fun.

Why do we care so much about El Niño? Here are some answers from Climate Central.

A detailed old diary is indeed worth it’s weight in gold: “250-Year-Old Eyewitness Accounts of Icier Arctic Attest to Loss of Sea Ice.”

Finally, an interesting and enlightening read: “I Crashed A Climate Change Denial Conference In Las Vegas.”

That’s a wrap for this week…


#arctic, #citizen-science, #climate, #climate-change, #climatology, #damage-survey, #denmark, #drought, #earthquake, #el-nino, #environmental-science, #geology, #hurricane, #meteorology-2, #oklahoma, #science-2, #social-media, #sustainability, #technology, #tornado, #weather, #wind-power, #wxgeeks

Tornado Quest’s Science & More Links for July 13 – 20, 2014

With the exception of some tropical cyclones in the western Pacific and isolated severe weather events, it’s been a relatively quiet weather week. For the contiguous 48 states, the big news was a big cool-down which set many records across many states east of the Rockies.  A good example is the Tulsa metro which had four days in a row with high temperatures that didn’t reach 80F. That hasn’t happened since records for the Tulsa metro have been kept. If you had a chance to enjoy the unseasonable cool weather, I hope you relished the opportunity. Summer heat will be on the way back with a vengeance…and we have many hot weeks ahead. As usual, I’ve got a full dance card so this week’s post will be a bit on the short side.

On a technical note: Still having some problems with Twitter. Some people are unintentionally being unfollowed. Currently I’m working with someone who is far more tech savvy than I am on such issues and we hope to have the problem resolved soon. If you’ve been unfollowed by accident, we’ll try to catch it and follow you back asap. Unfortunately, it looks to be a Twitter issue and something beyond our control. My apologies for any inconvenience.

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


Here’s a very cool astronomy citizen science project where you can join the Global Telescope Network and help out astrophysicists with research.


Here are some amazing images taken of our sun by the world’s largest solar telescope.


With the recent increase in Oklahoma earthquakes, developers are taking extra measures in construction.

Speaking of the drastic increase in Oklahoma earthquakes, the debate over links to waste-water fracking is on the increase.


A thought-provoking read: “Nature has the answers, if we ask the right questions.”

The drought in California is so bad that agricultural use of groundwater is becoming commonplace.

The first step in preserving the world’s forests is first answering the question, “What is a forest?


NOAA has released their 2013 State Of The Climate Report. It should come as no surprise that the data shows a climate that is changing faster than we can comprehend.

A very interesting read on 20 women making waves in the climate change debate.

Rarely are people aware of the effects the atmosphere takes on our socio-economic world. Since 1971, weather and climate related events have take a huge toll. With an ever changing and growing world, the social and economic losses are bound to increase.

We’re only half way through the year and for folks in California, it’s been a sizzling six months.

Eight thought-provoking charts with a glimpse into the effects climate change has had since the early 1970’s. Links to original sources (Guardian and WMO) are included.

Last but not least, I watched the Weather Channel debut episode today of “WxGeeks” with Dr. Marshall Shepherd and Chris Warren hosting. The inimitable Dr. Chuck Doswell was their first guest and, in his own unique style, was spot on…especially in his discussion about the all-too-frequent reckless behavior that has run amok within a certain element of the storm chasing community. This will be a weekly show…and I’m really looking forward to further episodes and a wide variety of guests.

That’s a wrap for this week…


#astronomy, #california, #citizen-science, #climate, #climate-change, #climatology, #drought, #earthquake, #environmental-science, #fracking, #geology, #meteorology-2, #national-weather-service, #noaa, #oklahoma, #science-2, #storm-chase, #sustainability, #weather

Updated 15 July 2014: Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For July 6 – 13, 2014

It’s been another busy weather week across North America with everything from tornadoes in Canada to a visit from Hurricane Arthur to the NC coast. Arthur peaked at Category 2 intensity, but the damage seemed minimal compared to what could have occurred.

Before getting to this week’s links, the Tornado Quest Twitter account (@TornadoQuest) was either the victim of a malicious (and illegal) cyber-attack or an unexplainable “glitch” in the Twitter cyber-sphere. Sometime in the early morning hours of Saturday, 12 July 2014, hundreds of accounts that I was following (some I’d followed for several years) were unfollowed. If you’ve been unfollowed, it was not intentional, you will be followed back, and please accept my apologies. I have some people who are quite good at computer forensics (think of Sherlock Holmes for technology…locating and tracking down people) looking into the matter. Again, my sincere apologies and I appreciate those of you who have expressed concern and patience.  Also, this week’s blog will be very short. As time allows, I’ll likely add a few links this week.

Update: 15 July 2014. Thanks to some help from folks who know much more about internet “glitches,” the situation with the Tornado Quest Twitter account seems to have been solved. We’re going to monitor this for quite some time. Again, my apologies if you were mistakenly unfollowed during this “cyber-mess.” 

Without any further delay, lets dive right into this week’s links…


A spot-on article by Chris Mooney worth revisiting: Neil deGrasse Tyson on “Cosmos,” How Science Got Cool, and Why He Doesn’t Debate Deniers. Couldn’t have said it better myself.


Sustainability science requires the freedom to observe and understand our planet. Indeed it does.

A zero-energy house of the future could be lurking in your neighborhood. Our cities desperately need more of these.

Some good news on the sustainability front: Global Solar Module Prices Just Reached A Record Low.

NASA will soon be using  a high-flying laser altimeter to check out summer sea ice…and more.

Groundwater levels across Texas have been declining for decades. Some contributing factors have finally been identified.

Helsinki is taking a bold step with plans on having a car-free city within ten years.

The ongoing great plains drought and a poor KS wheat harvest are bound to have a domino effect that will be felt far outside of the wheat belt.


I’m often asked, “What makes a thunderstorm severe?” The answer is quite simple, but frequently misunderstood. And no, heavy rain and frequent lightning don’t make for a severe thunderstorm.

Interesting read on west Antarctica ice sheet research and why it’s so important to climate change research.

Looking into the past is often very productive in getting a glimpse into the future. Greenland melt may have pushed sea level six meters higher in the past.

A thought provoking read on two challenges regarding climate change. 1) How bad will it get and 2) how to combat the changes.

To date, 2014 has been relatively quiet for tornado activity. There are several months (including a normally active autumn) left in the year…so don’t let your guard down.

I’ve gotten a few inquiries regarding El Nino and it’s relation to ENSO. Here’s a good primer from NOAA.

NOAA”s new storm surge maps helped USA east coast residents prepare better for Hurricane Arthur.

An interesting take on the “urban heat island effect” that we urbanites are so familiar with.

Much of the eastern 2/3 of the contiguous 48 states will get an unseasonably nice cool down for mid July. Polar-vortex? Yes? No? Maybe?

Northern Sweden is sizzling in summer temps to 83F…the hottest it’s been in 90 years.

I rarely endorse specific products, but have to give a “tip-0f-the-hat” to RadarScope. If you’re on the go, or mobile, it’s top notch in terms of data…including a host of new dual-pol products.


Don’t look now…but those with too much time and too little civility and intelligence have discovered yet another way to reach an all-time new low.

Now, back to deciphering the technical difficulties.


#climate, #climate-change, #climatology, #computer, #critical-thinking, #el-nino, #enso, #environmental-science, #greenland, #helsinki, #hurricane, #kansas, #nasa, #national-weather-service, #noaa, #radar, #radarscope, #science-2, #storm-surge, #summer, #sustainability, #sweden, #texas, #thunderstorm, #tornado, #weather

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For June 25 – July 6, 2014

Aside from a few episodes of severe weather, the formation of Hurricane Arthur kicks off the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. Summer is settling in over much of North America and hopefully it won’t be as brutal as recent summers. Even if it is cooler, drought conditions still plague many states from CA to OK & TX. Thanks to Arthur and the Independence Day holiday, I’m running a few days behind on this post but, considering the way good stories are posted to various sites, I may change the post date of Gee-O-Science links to the weekend. We all know how crazy the weekdays can become with an overwhelming blizzard of news…science based or otherwise.

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


Check out this very cool list from Caren Cooper of recent science publications that relied on citizen science!

Another cool piece from Caren Cooper on Thomas Jefferson’s legacy of inspiring a nation of citizen scientists.


Can studying human behavior in the wake of natural disasters help us in the future?


An interesting and very timely segment on this week’s Science Friday on the hazards, shills, and sock puppets so prevalent in social media.

Science Friday had a fascinating segment this week…”The Web Of Doubt.”  A slick website, professional demeanor, & trollish ego dripping with confidence doesn’t beget a benevolent individual or organization. Caveat emptor.


There’s an increasingly strong link between the recent increase in Oklahoma earthquakes and fracking.

Take a gander at these jaw-dropping images of the world’s deepest cave.


A novel idea. Turning waste food into biogas.

For cities that get a lot of sunlight, white roofs offer potential benefits to occupants and local climate.

After a slow start to the mosquito “season,” recent floods across parts of the US may induce a drastic increase in mosquito population.


Check out this very cool lightning detection site with worldwide maps.

You’re familiar with the heat index. Do you know about the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature and how using it can keep you safe & healthy in the summer heat?

Here’s another spot-on blog post from the inimitable Chuck Doswell. I love how he never beats around the bush.

What really annoys scientists about the climate change debate? Aside from slander, libel, and sophomoric vitriol we (and I) know all too well…a lot.

Here’s a no-frills look at climate change science in a simple table.

Hurricane Arthur was the big weather headline of this week. Tornadoes and waterspouts are a frequent hazard of tropical cyclones as they make landfall. Here’s a very good FAQ from NOAA on hurricanes & tornadoes.

The ongoing Oklahoma drought is bringing back memories of the 1930’s Dust Bowl.

Hurricane Arthur was not only the “debut” of the Atlantic hurricane season, but helped debut a new storm surge map.

When it comes to lightning safety, the “lightning crouch” will make no difference. The key to survival is not placing yourself (by design or accident) in a scenario where you can get struck.  Simply put, if you can hear thunder, you’re in danger.

Speaking of lightning safety, it’s not out of the question that dozens could be killed at an outdoor sports venue by lightning.

Finishing our links on lightning, here’s an interesting look at USA lightning fatality statistics from 1959 – 2013 (3 page PDF file).

Last but not least, a very thought-provoking essay: “When Beliefs And Facts Collide.”

That’s a wrap for this week!



#citizen-science, #climate, #climate-change, #climatology, #computer, #critical-thinking, #drought, #earthquake, #education, #environmental-science, #geology, #lightning, #lightning-safety, #meteorology-2, #mosquito, #national-weather-service, #noaa, #oklahoma, #recycling, #science-2, #science-education, #security, #social-media, #storm-surge, #sustainability, #technology, #thunderstorm, #wet-bulb-globe-temperature

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For June 18 – 25, 2014

The past few days have seen summer settle in for a great deal of North America, but the week got started off with a bang. Another series of severe weather episodes brought a round of severe thunderstorms complete with high winds, large hail, flash flooding, and some impressively intense tornadoes. Will 2014 go down as one of the years with the fewest number of tornadoes? Time will tell. There are many active months still ahead. This is also Lightning Safety Week in the USA. I’d also be remiss to remind folks to slowly acclimatized themselves to the  coming summer heat (aka the “silent killer”) and prepare now for the Atlantic hurricane season. In spite of outlooks hinting at a below average season in terms of activity, it only takes one major hurricane making landfall to create a significant disaster.

A shorter post today…working with a full dance card here…so here goes…

Here are this week’s links…


I am normally apolitical…but the fact that science makes politicians very antsy is too good to pass up.

Communicating science to the general public is very challenging and not likely to get easier even in this technical age.


Read how citizen scientists are using the web to track the natural world. And yes, you can take part too!


Check out this amazing pop-up solar power station. This could be quite the thing, especially where power is difficult to get to or in disaster areas.

Watching wind turbines in snow makes “inefficiencies” visible…but in due time (much to the chagrin of alternate energy skeptics) that will be rectified.

Summer means an increase in trips to the FL beaches…and an opportunity to trudge your way through a 1.250 tar mat. How nice.

By 2020, Finland is on track to become a model country for sustainable transport.

In spite of the annual sizzling Texas heat, wind power in the Lone Star State is very good things for consumers and their pocketbooks.

Adrift of the coast of Portugal is a frontrunner in the global race for floating windfarms.

At the neighborhood scale, downscaling is helping people deal with climate change.


This is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Few weather dangers, save for heat, are given such a cavalier attitude. Simply put, if you can hear the thunder, you can be struck.

Speaking of safety, here’s a rather unnerving look at energy installations that are vulnerable to extreme weather.

Meteorological summer verses astronomical summer. What’s the difference?

National Severe Storms Laboratory researchers are leading a project to evaluate experimental flash flood products issued by the National Weather Service.

The sight of the Pilger, NE tornado slinging a house into the air is rare, but it does happen. In 1982, I photographed the remains of a small house that was carried intact by tornado.

Here’s a sobering view of the tornado damage in Pilger, NE…with many before & after pics. A great deal is revealed by simply looking at and considering construction practices.

A very interesting read from the AMS on fatalities in tropical cyclones.

This is a fascinating look at hurricane tracks of the past from NOAA.

Chances are very, very good that our atmosphere is gearing up for an El Nino.

A “must-read” for those who use social media, Twitter in particular, during severe weather. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem (especially with attention-hungry accounts by the hundreds) that’s going away soon.

Finally, this article has stirred a great deal of consternation amongst those in the storm chasing community who’ve felt threatened by its content. While I disagree that present day radar makes Skywarn spotters obsolete,  I feel it has some sound observations. After decades of storm chasing, I’ve seen many trends come and go. With the taste of notoriety and fame all too irresistible,  more chasers than ever are scampering for “extreme” video and photos, interviews with national media, and a dominant yet precarious position on the social media pedestal. Some internet trolls consider me a “curmudgeon” of the Chuck Doswell type. I actually consider that a compliment. Thank you.


No, this won’t work. Ranks right up there with hanging a bomb on a pole at the southwestern corner of a small town.

On that note…this is a wrap…



#citizen-science, #climate, #climate-change, #climatology, #critical-thinking, #el-nino, #environmental-science, #hurricane, #lightning, #meteorology-2, #national-weather-service, #nebraska, #noaa, #science-2, #science-education, #social-media, #solar-power, #storm-chase, #sustainability, #technology, #thunderstorm, #tornado, #weather, #wind-power