Tag Archives: April

Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For January 28 – February 4, 2017

Greetings everyone! I hope all of you are having a good weekend and your week went well since we last visited. There’s a lot to go over from this week…and an unusually large amount of articles on science and public policy. For the near future, this will be a dominant topic in the sciences so get ready to see a lot of it in every form of media you can imagine which includes, but isn’t limited to, social media. On that note, let’s get started.

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

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Mark your calendars! The March For Science will take place in Washington, D.C. and a host of other cities worldwide on Earth Day, 22 April 2017!

march-for-science2

There are a number of ways you can keep informed on the March For Science. You can visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Tension and stress over the transition. That’s a vast understatement. “Fears that Donald Trump’s presidency will suppress climate science at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are causing widespread unease”.

What would happen if the USA withdraws from the Paris climate agreement? While small gains could be made on the local level, the overall effect would be a climate-based diplomatic disaster.

One viewpoint feels that scientists marching on Washington, D.C. would be a bad idea. I beg to differ, but understand where the writer is coming from. Regardless, you can’t retreat from the front lines…we’ve a job to do.

Many scientists in the USA are very concerned about draconian cuts in research funding. In fact, many could be forced out of science altogether.

Don’t be surprised if you see many scientists running for political office in the next few years.

We got a good scare this week when it was reported that a climate change denier would be put in charge of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “But, according to the Commerce Department, which oversees NOAA, climate change doubter Ken Haapala never met with NOAA leadership and isn’t shaping its future.” So…for the time being…NOAA and the National Weather Service is somewhat safe. But, considering the ongoing Trump administration hostilities toward science, this could change in a most unfortunate way.

At least there’s some good news from our friends in Scandinavia. “Sweden has presented a new climate law designed to ensure all future governments have a “credible climate policy” as well as announcing an ambitious target of achieving a net level of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.”

CITIZEN SCIENCE

A citizen scientist has written a very concise book on climate change that fills a niche that has been largely ignored.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Check out these amazing images from the Cassini mission of Saturn’s rings!

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

This is quite an amazing video from Hawaii, USA of lava flowing into the ocean.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Renewable energy sources are making headway by leaps and bounds. A single wind turbine in  a 24-hour period produced an amazing 216,000 kWh (which is a LOT of power!) on December 1, 2016 at a testing site near Østerild, Denmark. That’s officially a new world record.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Meteorologists have come a very long way in forecasting winter weather. Here’s a really good read from the Capital Weather Gang on the amazing winter weather forecasting improvements that have taken place since the 1970’s.

For far too long, female broadcast meteorologists have been labeled “weather girls.” The fact of the matter is they are just as highly educated scientists as their male counterparts. The Weather Channel’s “Weather Geeks” weekly show takes a look at this irritating phenomenon.

Considering the political inclinations that are increasingly hostile towards climate science research, scientists who study our planet are understandably increasingly anxious.

Michael Mann, a well-known climate scientists, has strong opinions on the current USA presidential administration…opinions that reflect the feelings of every scientist I’ve discussed the current science hostile climate (no pun intended) that is ramping up in the Trump administration.

Here’s an interesting read on how a common springtime weather pattern and pollution transported from Asia combines to create unhealthy ozone levels for the USA’s desert southwest.

The latest US Drought Monitor shows improving conditions for California while extreme drought conditions worsen in AR, AL, GA, OK, & much of New England.

drought-monitor-map

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

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links For May 9 – 16, 2016

Greetings everyone! I hope all of you have had a good start to your week. There have been multiple rounds of severe weather across North America in the past few days, unfortunately it also includes fatalities which occurred during tornadoes in Oklahoma. Due to reviews of recent severe weather events and the pending severe weather today across the Southern Plains, this post will be another brief one. Having said that, let’s get started.

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

SOCIAL SCIENCE

An interesting read on those “Eureka” moments that many of us have every so often.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Check out these amazing images from the Hubble telescope of the planet Mars.

Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two spiral galaxies are alike.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A very important question for current and future generations. Can cities be sustainable?

In many of the world’s most polluted cities, driving bans or restrictions are becoming commonplace.

Since the Paris climate agreement, cities and companies have pledged to fight climate change. What’s next?

On the positive side, more cities are becoming greener with renewable energy sources soaring through the roof.

Details on the commitments of the U.S. and the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) on further climate action after the Paris Agreement.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Take a look at a very compelling climate change visualization that speaks volumes.

When studying the atmosphere, there’s more to it than the adrenaline rush of severe thunderstorms. Here’s an excellent read on the important study of the link between the Earth’s atmosphere and biodiversity.

A fascinating read on pinpointing the timing of when oxygen first appeared in the earth’s atmosphere.

2016 continues to break global temperature records with April being the seventh hot month in a row.

As the Atlantic hurricane season approaches, the National Hurricane Center has released it’s list of names for the 2016 Tropical Cyclone season.  Capture 1

THE QUIXOTIC

Somehow I strongly suspect that if the genders were switched, this wouldn’t have been an issue. “Reporter forced to cover up on live TV because her dress was too revealing.”

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!

Cheers!

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More April, 2011 Supercells in TX & AR

In this post, I’ve included a variety of supercell structures from more than one location. Regardless of the locale, each of these storms presented a significant threat to life and property.

In our first image, we have a supercell scanned from the Dyess AFB, TX doppler radar (KDYX) at 0238 UTC on 24 April 2011. A very clean inflow notch and hook echo can be seen.

The Storm Relative Velocity (SRV) product shows a very strong couplet indicating vigorous rotation with the storm. It’s very likely that a tornado was forming or already in progress.

This Base Reflectivity (BR) product is a supercell scanned from the Fort Worth, TX doppler radar (KFWS) at 2045 UTC on 25 April 2011. The image shows more of the classic supercell structure with a textbook hook echo a few miles south of Cleburne, TX. A tornado was reported at the time of the BR scan.

The above SRV scan is from a supercell near Little Rock, AR (KLZK) on 26 April 2011 at 0006 UTC. A very strong couplet can be seen near Mayflower, AR along with a strong Rear Flank Downdraft (RFD) passing over Maumelle, AR. At the time of this scan, a tornado was in progress.

The storms during this event were moving very rapidly, almost 50 mph. As you can see in this BR scan, the center of circulation has moved northeast of Mayflower, AR in just nine minutes. A large tornado was reported and the purple reflectivity is indicative of a substantial amount of airborne debris. This is often referred to as a “debris ball.”

The SRV product from KLZK at the same time as the above BV image shows a well defined couplet. Just south of the couplet is a hint of a RFD and/or gust front associated with the storm just to the south.

Approximately one hour later, the storms had consolidated into more of a linear structure. North of the KLZK radar site, a “comma head” echo had taken shape. This is frequently seen at the northern part of a particularly intense squall line. The northern portion of the storm structure begins to wrap around itself and almost becomes a mesoscale low pressure area. It’s also not uncommon for tornadoes to occur in this region.

As displayed by the KZLK SRV scan at 0124 UTC, a broad area of rotation exists with the comma head echo. This is especially evident by the strong inbound (green) winds. A substantial bow echo has also developed to the south.

During the afternoon of the same day, storms redeveloped over portions of AR including this supercell observed by the Fort Smith, AR doppler radar (KSRX) which, in the BR scan, shows an unusual circle in the mesocyclone. This is likely a result of a very heavy rain curtain being drawn around the south side of the mesocyclone creating what storm chasers refer to as a “bears cage.” A tornado was reported with this storm at the time of this scan.

The KSRX SRV scan at the same time shows a significant couplet. A confirmed tornado was in progress at the time of the scan. The inflow winds on the couplet are particularly strong.

Later that evening at 2307 UTC, a supercell with strong rotation approached the Memphis, TN metro as seen in this BV product from the KNQA doppler radar. This image shows structure that is more characteristic of a High Precipitation (HP) supercell. HP supercells can be particularly dangerous since they often hide the tornado in very heavy rain. The location of the mesocyclone circulation would be just a few miles southwest of Marion, AR.

As we can see from the KNQA SRV product at 2311 UTC, the advantage of doppler radar is obvious. A very strong couplet can be observed just southwest of Marion, AR moving to the northeast. By just using visual observations, the area of rotation would likely have been obscured or impossible to see due to the heavy precipitation wrapped around the mesocyclone. Damage was reported with this storm, but was very minor compared to the record breaking outbreak that would occur the next day.

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