Tag Archives: blizzard

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For January 3 – 13, 2017

Greetings everyone! This has been a wild weather week across much of the western USA with California getting tons of snow, more than enough rainfall to put a dent in much of the drought stricken areas, and even an EF-0 tornado near Sacramento. Much of the midwest is bracing for an ice storm and, as of this date (13 January 2017) Ice Storm Warnings are in effect from the northeast Texas panhandle across Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and even into west-central Illinois. As usual, there’s a plethora of other topics to cover. On a personal level, it’s been a “full dance card” week for me with many projects that led me to delay this week’s post. On that note, let’s get started…

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Excellent read from American Scientist magazine on nurturing scientific literacy among the general public. What is meant by ‘scientific literacy?’

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a fascinating story of a man who, in search of a quiet existence in a remote area, inadvertently had a significant effect on climate change science.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A very cool astronomy read about researchers getting the first look at a very rare kind of galaxy.

A recent study found evidence that the Earth’s moon is older than scientists thought…millions of years earlier than previously believed.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

An idea that, for the sake of our future generations, should come to fruition. “How To Save $23 Trillion Per Year: 100% Renewable Energy For The World.”

Good advice to get the new year started off right. “All too often environmentalism is about stopping doing something, but maybe it’s time to be more active and start doing something instead?”

As of late, the air pollution in China has literally become lethal in nature. This article explains why their air pollution is on the rise again.

China isn’t the only country struggling with severe air pollution problems. Just five days into 2017, London has breached its annual air pollution limit.

Those of us in Oklahoma know all too well what Trump’s EPA nominee Scott Pruitt is capable of. Now, the rest of the country has the chance to find out for themselves.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An interesting read on a study that says the frequency of large-scale tornado outbreaks is increasing in the USA, particularly when it comes to the most extreme events. A link to the original study is included.

Tornadoes in California? You bet. On 10 January 2017, the Sacramento area was visited by an EF-0 tornado.

The latest US Drought Monitor shows over 20% of the contiguous USA is experiencing drought conditions. Recent rain and snowfall throughout the southern states should provide relief that will be evident on the next Drought Monitor.

c1axvprxaaa0ot7-jpg-large

There’s often a great deal of confusion about winter weather advisories, watches, and warnings. This NWS infographic has got you covered.

winter-weather-watch-warning-advisory-infographic

Are you prepared for an ice storm? If you’re in the areas under an Ice Storm Warning, all the preparations in this info-graphic (courtesy of the St. Louis, MO National Weather Service) should be rushed to completion.

are-you-prepared-for-an-ice-storm

While it may sound bizarre, you can have a blizzard even when it’s not snowing.

In 2016, a total of 121 flood related deaths occurred in the USA. This map from the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center gives a state-by-state breakdown. High death tolls in West Virginia were due to June floods, Texas deaths from flooding in late May.

2016-usa-flood-deaths-map

Just when you thought the new year couldn’t get off to a more bizarre start. “House Science Committee’s Twitter Account Is Now Just Another Climate Science Denial Troll.”

While not necessarily representative of the whole of American society, this survey gives an informative ‘snapshot’ of the daunting challenges atmospheric scientists are up against when trying to convey climate science to the general public.

Another challenge is conveying the risk of climate change to the public. A recent World Economic Forum report ranks climate change and associated environmental factors as the greatest risk facing humanity.

Here’s a disconcerting ‘must-read’ on the anti-science crusade that continues to build steam in the USA. “The Congressional Attack On Science.”

A concise overview from the Capital Weather Gang of ten extreme weather events outside of the USA that killed thousands and cost untold billions during 2016.

In the Antarctic, an ice shelf is breaking up from the inside out. The ice shelf is bigger than New York’s Long Island and when it breaks off, it could result in global sea level rise that threatens many large cities close to the world’s coasts.

THOUGHT PROVOKING

Last but not least, when asked about death and the ‘afterlife,’ astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gives a spot on answer that is particularly enlightening.

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

Cheers!


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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For January 18 – 25, 2016

For much of the eastern USA, it’s been a very interesting week. A major snowstorm with blizzard conditions effected many states from the Mid-Mississippi valley to the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern states. When the going gets rough, you might as well have fun! On that note, let’s get started.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Good news for citizen science folks into weather! The free mPING weather app is now global! Your important reports help with weather research. Check out the details here!

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Astronomers are checking into the possibility of a “planet nine” in our solar system.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Do the safety impacts of using ice during a winter storm outweigh the negative long-term environmental impacts?

Scientists say that plastic may best define our current period within the Anthropocene. I’m inclined to agree.

The air quality of the UK has, as of late, taken on lethal proportions.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

A spot on read on the climate change denier’s histrionics that rear their sophomoric heads during events like the USA’s recent snow event.

Based on NOAA and NASA data, 2015 was the hottest year on record. Will 2016 follow suit?

Millions of people across the USA are dealing with the aftermath of a massive snowstorm. Just how do all of those snowflakes form?

El Nino may bring welcome rains to drought plagued California, but it’s a mere drop in the bucket.

With the recent snowstorm/blizzard fresh in the minds (and everything else) of millions of folks in the eastern USA, I’d like to once again pass along some winter weather safety information that I hope you’ll find helpful.

Last but not least, some friendly advice. Always rely on trusted and official sources of weather information year round regardless of where you live. Obviously this includes NOAA’s National Weather Service but also should include the national an/or local broadcast meteorologists of your choice. It would behoove you to avoid the social media fear mongers, “hypesters”, and armchair meteorologists (often referred to as media-rologists since the growth of their social media is more important than timely and accurate information). The squeaky wheels get the grease and, unfortunately, it all too often isn’t official weather sources of potentially life-saving information. My opinion on this isn’t popular for the obvious reasons, but I stand by every word and feel it is very sound.

On that note, that’s a wrap for this post! A hearty “Welcome” to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun and flattered that you’ve chosen to follow me.

Cheers!

 

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For July 22 – 29, 2015

For much of North America, it’s been summer as usual. One notable exception is the ridge of high pressure that has parked itself over the southern plains and, for the time being, has no intentions of moving. With a rich supply of Gulf moisture, the dew points combined with temperatures in the upper 90’sF have created potentially dangerous heat indexes near or above 110F. In conditions like that, the body can easily be overcome by heat…even in people who are in the best of physical condition. As for the tropics, the Atlantic and eastern Pacific are quiet for the time being. But, it’s still very early in the hurricane season. We’re nowhere close to reaching the climatological peak. While the tropics are quiet, this is an excellent time to make sure your emergency kit is in order.

Here’s a big “thank you” to all the folks who’ve given me positive feedback about this blog and my decision (for the time being) to make it a more concise post. Like many of you, I’ve many simultaneous projects in progress, each with its own unique demands, requirements, and deadlines. On that note…

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson explain literally everything in the universe…and, in under 8 minutes!

BIOLOGICAL/MEDICAL SCIENCE

A fascinating read on a brutal fact of injuries suffered in the 22 May 2011 Joplin, MO tornado: Soil Dwelling Fungus Rode Joplin Tornado To Unexpected Human Home.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A very interesting and eye-opening look at many modes of social media and/or messaging from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. To no one’s surprise, many of the most popular items are to be trusted the least.

One of the most annoying facts of online culture is the tendency of website designers to block password managers. “Websites, Pleas Stop Blocking Password Managers. It’s 2015.” Trust me, if there’s anything that will induce me to not revisit your site, it’s the blocking of password managers.

SOCIAL SCIENCE

When the storm has passed and it becomes yesterday’s news, most of the populace assumed things are back the normal. If anything, the contrary to that delusion is the long-term truth. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, et al. all have the same brutal psychological effects on many of the people dealing with the aftermath.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Oklahoma has a new claim to fame…and it’s nothing to do with tornadoes. Shake, frack, and roll!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A very good read from the USGS: “How Much Water Is There On, In, And Above The Earth?” Interesting to note that, “The vast majority of water on the Earth’s surface, over 96 percent, is saline water in the oceans.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

This was quite a popular story this past week, but the phenomenon isn’t uncommon. In fact, bugs, bats, birds, smoke, cold fronts, outflow boundaries, etc. are easily picked up on doppler radar and, depending on the time of day and season, is quite commonly seen.

If you missed the Tornado Forecasting Workshop this spring with Rich Thompson, you can watch them on YouTube here.

Is asking “How much rain will it take to end the drought?” too simplistic? Quite often it is.

Tornadoes occur round the world on many continents. They’re no stranger to Sweden, but it’s very rare for the Lapland region to see tornadoes in a region this far north.

Finally, I’d like to welcome my new followers…I’m really glad you’re along for the fun. Tornado Quest covers a plethora of geoscience topics that will be of interest to many. We’re here for the long haul too…so stick around for some very cool things we have in the works.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Jan. 26 – Feb. 2, 2015

This past week across North American has been active, not only in weather, but in robust discussions of how the “blizzard of 2015” should have been handled. To say that the opinions expressed (particularly the ones critical of the National Weather Service) were as powerful as the blizzard itself is a vast understatement. The chasm between the general public and forecasters isn’t going to narrow anytime soon. As we’ll see in a few links below, the rift between a certain demographic (unfamiliar with the methodology of science) and scientists (including citizen scientists) is as strong as ever. Taking into consideration the current political divisiveness which includes not at little anti-science hyperbole, we haven’t heard the end of this yet.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Here’s a very thought-provoking article with a scientist who’s near the top of my “most admired” list…the inimitable E.O. Wilson.

Here are three articles on the division between the general public and science.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

I was thrilled to take part in the first #CitSciChat, sponsored by SciStarter on Twitter. Caren Cooper has a very nice recap. Be sure to join us again on February 25th!

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Thank you Verizon! Customers can now opt out of ID tracking. For those of us who are privacy conscious, this is good news.

Smart Keyboard Gets A Charge Out Of You.” I’d gladly give one of these a spin!

A spot-on essay. “Don’t Be On Social Just To Be On Social.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

The connection between population, environmental science, and climate is laying the groundwork for challenges that have no easy solutions.

Why do zebras have stripes? Believe it or not, temperature plays a part.

Oklahoma, you are slowly but surely getting on the right track! The Sooner state now ranks fourth nationally in wind power.

Some good news on the solar front. Thousands of U.S. schools are running on solar.

I’d love to see this spread far and wide. “Spain reveals plans for first ever public street light system powered by wind and sun.”

It would behoove us, for the benefit of future generations, to mind the problematic challenge of “drowning in plastic.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

How do snowflakes form? Is it true that no two snowflakes are alike? Here’s a good essay with answers.

Speaking of snow, many folks considered the January, 2015 blizzard to be a underachiever.” To the contrary, it was anything but that. Still, the fallout was strong and widespread.

Are you interested in becoming a Skywarn spotter but can’t attend a National Weather Service spotter training session? The National Weather Service in Norman, OK will have three free online webinars during February and March. Though the focus may be geared towards parts of Oklahoma and Texas, there will be valuable information that is absolutely essential to know before taking on the responsibility of community service.

The preliminary agenda for this year’s ChaserCon is now online…and it’s a great lineup!

While ozone is beneficial in the upper atmosphere, at ground level it can cause serious health problems. Oddly enough, thunderstorms aren’t helping.

Nice video, but “microburst” is the correct meteorological term and they’re not that rare.

I can’t wait to see the data from NASA’s new SMAP observatory which will measure soil moisture just beneath ground level.

A very cool read from Climate Central. “Climate Calculator Lets You Create A New World.”

Climactic rivalry? “The U.S. Is A Country Divided By Seasons And Warming.”

The urban heat island effect is nothing new to this urbanite as heat waves are becoming more prominent in urban areas.

A geological connection to climate change. Iceland is rising as its glaciers melt.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map has changed very, very little from last week as the relentless drought continues for many areas…CA, NV, OK, & TX in particular.

THE VISCERAL UNDERBELLY

As a veteran target for the “Serengeti Strategy,” I can attest to the validity of this essay…which I’m passing along for the benefit of others who are victims. Bullying and intimidation isn’t segregated to the schoolyard. It’s alive and well in the “adult” world.

Egads…and just when I thought the “chemtrail” conspiratists took the cake, I (misguidedly) came across this.

Ending on a more positive note…I’d like to pass along a quick reminder that Tornado Quest is not only on WordPress, but also on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. You can easily find links to all of these social media sites on the Tornado Quest About Me page! Also, I’d like to send a sincere “thank you” to all my followers. Each and every one of you are appreciated and never taken for granted. Social media, from my perspective, has never been about numbers, shilling, or a popularity contest. It truly is a perfect example of quality over quantity.

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Jan. 19 – 26, 2015

There’s been a wide variety of topics across many fields of science that have been of interest to many folks this past week. As is often the case as of late, most center on climate issues. A few encouraging stories on the renewable energy front have also been of great interest. As for the current winter across North America, much of the TX panhandle and NM saw significant snowfall as did much of the northeastern states from PA and NY into New England during a powerful storm that could put its mark into the record books. Due to some previous commitments and a bit of workload related to the ongoing blizzard in the northeastern states, this week’s post will be a bit on the brief side.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

If you’re riding out the big northeastern blizzard, you can help the National Severe Storms Laboratory with weather research by reporting snow, wind, etc. via the mPING app!

While you’re out in the snow, you may want to measure how deep it is. The folks at the National Weather Service in Norman, OK have put together a quick tutorial on how to measure snow correctly.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A “spot-on” read with some psychology, physiology, and social media blended to make a very valid point. It’s no wonder that, for those of us who see the glass as half full, the sarcastic snarks in social media are so repulsive.

A very interesting look (in images) of “The Emerging Global Web.”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Amateur astronomers have made some significant contributions to science…including discovering comets.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY/RENEWABLES

Here’s some good news on the renewables front. A large area will soon open for wind power in New England.

An interesting read on having a lawn that is greener in every sense of the word.

Check out these fantastic aerial images of our humble home. They do put things in perspective.

This gives “Bean Town” a whole new meaning! “Boston’s Got Gas As Methane Seeps From City.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Are you following the Twitter account of your local National Weather Service office? If not, here’s a complete list for the USA.

Not necessarily atmospheric science, but an interesting look at how Colorado keeps 9,000 miles of highway clear of snow.

East Antarctica’s largest glacier is melting…and that’s a lot of ice. A lot. Up north in Greenland, two lakes beneath the ice have disappeared.

A fascinating look at some weather history. If you think it’s bad getting through a blizzard in the 21st Century, reconsider what the folks in New York City suffered with in 1888.

Finally, in regards to the ongoing blizzard, here’s a great essay by Greg Laden. “The Great Blizzard of 2015: Fair To Say It Is AGW Amplified.”

Last but definitely not least, here’s some very important winter weather safety information for you folks who are dealing with this week’s massive snowstorm.

Stay warm and safe folks!

Cheers!

New Winter Weather Records Set

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Weather records were made to be broken. The longer records are kept, the better the chances for them being broken. But don’t delude yourself into thinking that because you’ve lived in “XYZ” for “X” number of years that you’ve come close to experiencing all of the climatological extremes that are possible. You haven’t. It used to crack me up when I’d hear someone say, “I’ve never seen anything like this!” concerning a certain weather event. Well of course you haven’t. If humans lived to the ripe old age of 2,000 years, you might have something worthwhile. Otherwise, it just doesn’t hold up.

Having said that, I will say that, in the time I’ve observed snowfall at my location, the weather events of early February, 2011 were spectacular. Will they be surpassed someday? Yes. Hopefully, I’ll be around to savor them.

So on to the details. Here’s a Public Information Statement issued 17 February 2011 concerning the winter weather of that month and the records that were set.

NOUS44 KTSA 172229
PNSTSA

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK
429 PM CST THU FEB 17 2011

ARZ001-002-010-011-019-020-029-OKZ049-053>076-180600-
BENTON-CARROLL-WASHINGTON AR-MADISON-CRAWFORD-FRANKLIN-SEBASTIAN-
PUSHMATAHA-CHOCTAW-OSAGE-WASHINGTON OK-NOWATA-CRAIG-OTTAWA-PAWNEE-
TULSA-ROGERS-MAYES-DELAWARE-CREEK-OKFUSKEE-OKMULGEE-WAGONER-
CHEROKEE-ADAIR-MUSKOGEE-MCINTOSH-SEQUOYAH-PITTSBURG-HASKELL-
LATIMER-LE FLORE-
429 PM CST THU FEB 17 2011

…ALL TIME OKLAHOMA 24 HOUR SNOWFALL RECORD OFFICIALLY SET…
…ALL TIME OKLAHOMA RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE OFFICIALLY SET…

THE WINTER STORM THAT OCCURRED 8-9 FEBRUARY 2011 BROUGHT A NEW 24
HOUR SNOWFALL RECORD FOR THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA. THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE COOPERATIVE OBSERVER IN SPAVINAW OKLAHOMA MEASURED
27 INCHES OF NEW SNOW FROM THIS STORM. THIS NEW RECORD HAS BEEN
OFFICIALLY VERIFIED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE…THE NATIONAL
CLIMATIC DATA CENTER…AND THE OKLAHOMA CLIMATOLOGICAL
SURVEY. THIS NEW RECORD BREAKS THE PREVIOUS 24 HOUR SNOWFALL RECORD OF
26 INCHES THAT OCCURRED IN WOODWARD AND FREEDOM ON 28 MARCH 2009.

EXTREMELY COLD TEMPERATURES FOLLOWED THE WINTER STORM AND A NEW
RECORD MINIMUM TEMPERATURE WAS ALSO SET FOR THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA. THE
OKLAHOMA MESONET SITE IN NOWATA /WHICH IS MAINTAINED BY THE
OKLAHOMA CLIMATOLOGICAL SURVEY/ RECORDED A MINIMUM TEMPERATURE OF -31
DEGREES FAHRENHEIT ON THE MORNING OF 10 FEBRUARY 2011. THIS NEW
RECORD HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY VERIFIED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE…THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER…AND THE OKLAHOMA
CLIMATOLOGICAL SURVEY. THIS NEW RECORD BREAKS THE PREVIOUS RECORD
OF -27 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT SET IN VINITA ON 13 FEBRUARY
1905…WATTS ON 18 JANUARY 1930…AND GUTHRIE ON 4 JANUARY 1947.

What makes the candy even sweeter for this scenario is the scientific scrutiny that these records were subject to as a result of rational analysis and critical thinking. The records were verified by the National Weather Service, the National Climactic Data Center, and the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Trust me, these folks aren’t going to take just any measurement from Bubba-Six-Pack with a hermit-like existence in the middle of the Ozarks who happened to see a -31F reading while he was slopping the hogs. If the (preliminary) records that were set are to have any scientific validity, they must be subject to extremes in scrutiny.

Congratulations Oklahoma! You’ve gotten yourself some new records. Now, let’s see what you can do this spring with the severe weather season!

A Christmas Blizzard

It’s a rare event for blizzard conditions to exist anywhere in Oklahoma, but they did on the evening of December 24, 2009. Here’s some images and data from the event.

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