Tornado Quest Science Links Week In Review For June 5 – 12, 2017

Greetings to one and all! For those of us in North American, summer is in full swing with sizzling temperatures expected for the next several days. Summer heat is a highly underrated weather hazard and I’ve got some outstanding information from the National Weather Service in this week’s post. As for severe weather, it’s going to be a very quiet period for much of the Great Plains the next few days. Overall, May 2017 was quieter than usual across the contiguous USA with the number of tornadoes, high wind, and hail reports being below normal. And, of course, the big news of the past few days has been the USA’s decision to discontinue commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. Fortunately, at the state and local level, there’s a groundswell gathering momentum that will hold to the commitment and do the right thing. There’s plenty to go over, so let’s begin.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

If you’re looking for a way to help out weather research with crowdsourcing citizen science, the mPING project is for you. The free app is easy to use and you can send reports year round for a variety of weather conditions.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

We’ve just observed World Oceans Day. Considering that approximately 75% of the surface of the earth is covered by water, it behooves us all to have a thorough understanding of how our oceans work and how important they are to our forms of life.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s a look back at severe weather activity in the USA for May, 2017. Of note are two events recorded in Oklahoma…a 104mph non-tornadic gust reported at the Walters, OK Oklahoma Mesonet station and a 4.25″ hailstone that was documented in Okfuskee County, OK. The number of tornadoes nationwide was 290…only slightly higher than the statistical average of 276. Overall, it was a below normal month in severe weather activity.

Infographic courtesty NOAA Storm Prediction Center

This week marks the anniversary of the June 8, 1974 Great Plains tornado outbreak. While not one of the larger outbreaks of recent years, long-time residents remember this event well. The Tulsa, OK metro was hit by three tornadoes with up to EF-3 damage in some areas. The deadliest tornado was the Drumright, OK EF-4 which killed fourteen people along a thirty mile long path. Here’s a overview of the events across several great plains states.

This is also the anniversary of the Barneveld, Wisconsin EF-5 tornado. The Milwaukee, WI National Weather Service has a comprehensive overview.

Here’s a look at the dangers of sea level rise in the USA according to new data from NOAA.

Many American residents who don’t have a good understanding of hour weather and climate work are prime targets for climate change denialists who prey on their lack of earth science knowledge.

While on the topic of the American public, Dr. Marshall Shepherd has written and excellent essay on fifteen suggestions for broadcast meteorologists on conveying weather information to their viewers.

Flooding in the USA kills more people annually than tornadoes, lightning, high winds, and hurricanes combined. It would behoove those of us in America to take the threat of climate change induced flooding very, very seriously.

Summer heat is settling in across much of North America. By observing heat safety tips, heat illnesses and deaths can be prevented.

Infographic courtesy NOAA

PUBLIC POLICY

One of the most thought-provoking articles I’ve read as of late. The subtitle says it all and it right on the mark. “For too long, liberals have been treating climate change as a third or fourth tier issue. As the US exits the Paris Climate Accord, it’s time for liberals to re-evaluate an issue that subsumes all others.”

In some form of media, climate change denial, both scientific and political, is nurtured in a variety of ways. Most of it goes unchallenged. It’s time to change that and call the denialists out. This will also require some introspection on the part of those of us who accept the overwhelming evidence of climate change science.

A disturbingly unsettling read on six ways budget cuts will hamper NOAA’s weather forecasting capabilities. Yes, this will affect you in more ways than you can imagine.

As of this post, thirteen states in the USA are continuing on with their commitment to the Paris Agreement. Let’s hope that in short order many other states join their ranks.

While on the topic of dedication to commitment, here’s another good read from Climate Central on how the USA can hold to its promise for the Paris Agreement.

Asking public officials if they “believe” in climate change is the wrong way to attempt an initiation of a productive dialogue.

Last but not least, is there a way that individual Americans can still follow the Paris Climate Agreement? Absolutely. Here’s how.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend 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 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!


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Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For February 25 – March 4, 2017

Greetings everyone and Happy Meteorological Spring to my friends and followers in the Northern Hemisphere. For many, it’s been an exceptionally warm winter and spring is already throttling up. In the USA, Skywarn spotter classes are ongoing as of this post. Check with your local National Weather Service office to see if there’s a class scheduled near you. And, as has been the case for the last few weeks, science and public policy have been front and center…so let’s get started.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Wind and solar power are gaining major ground in countries across the globe. Considering that change is often difficult, how will the status quo adapt?

Cities around the globe smarten up & go green as 2/3 of world population will live in urban areas by 2030.

Air pollution isn’t just a minor irritation, it’s a major health hazard with lethal implications. Here’s an excellent read on how to deal with and/or avoid potentially deadly poor air quality.

Before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed in the USA, environmental conditions were in a sorry state. It would behoove us to keep that in mind and fight against the threat of retrograding into a new dark age.

While on the topic of air pollution, other countries besides the USA have their share of air quality issues. The problem for USA citizens is their noxious air travels round the globe and eventually reaches us.

Here’s another sobering look at environmental conditions in the USA in the pre-EPA days.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

A new earthquake outlook for 2017 highlights Oklahoma and California as the hot-spots for quake activity…so we’ve been warned.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If it seems like spring has come early this year for much of the Northern Hemisphere, you’re not imagining things.

The new GOES-16 weather satellite is sending back amazing high-resolution images!

For the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of meteorological spring occurred on 1 March 2017. Here’s a look back at an unusually warm winter from Climate Central.

2017winterreview_miami_en_title_lg

Sea surface temperatures and weather/climate are inextricably linked. From the National Weather Service in New Orleans, LA, “The Gulf has remained warm this winter, generally 2-7F above avg now. Pic from the NOAA View Global Data Explorer.”

c53aixlwcaadv9o-jpg-large

For the state of California, it was famine to feast in terms of rainfall. Here’s a look at the “atmospheric rivers” that kept the state dry, then inundated it with dangerous flooding conditions.

Speaking of drought, here’s the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for March, 2017. In spite of recent rains, drought conditions persist or increase across many areas of the plains and southern states.

month_drought

Though the focus of this article is on the recent heat wave in parts of Australia, it applies to other continents as well. “Climate Scientists Say Likelihood Of Extreme Summers Surging Due To Global Warming.”

What do citizens of the USA think about climate change? This interesting read provides some maps and links to answer that question.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1_22_48-pmPercentage of adults, by state, who think global warming is happening. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication | George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication

An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius) according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Severe Weather Safety Link Of The Week: With the severe weather season well underway across the USA, here’s a very comprehensive yet concise overview of severe weather and it’s hazards from the National Weather Service. “Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, And Lightning. Natures Most Violent Storms.” (20 page PDF file)

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

NOAA is about to take a bit hit from the Trump administration, specifically their satellite division. This is ugly…and it will only get worse. Nefariously draconian comes to mind (considering that much of the life-saving data you benefit from comes from the portion of NOAA that’s under the gun), but that would be to politely generous.

Four Ways NOAA Benefits Your Life Today.” This is a “must-read” by Dr. Marshall Shepherd on the irreplaceable benefits that NOAA and the National Weather Service provide to USA citizens.

Do scientists really lose credibility when they become political? Absolutely not. We need all the scientists involved in the current political climate as possible.

Fighting fire with fire is the only way to deal with the building hostilities toward the scientific community.

Things are bad indeed. “Responding to attacks on scientific expertise and threats to public funding, the growing protest of American scientists might also suggest something about the perceived direness of the state of the world under Trump: If the scientists are organizing, then things must be really bad.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stopped collecting important climate and environmental data. No data = no science = no progress.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A Norwegian news site is on to an excellent way to deal with trolls and/or people who have a “knee-jerk” reaction to a headline and leave hostile and threatening comments. Make them read and article or essay and answer questions about it before they’re allowed to comment. There’s nothing like a little mature, critical thinking to take the place of sophomoric rants.

This disconcerting privacy read will make you think twice about carrying a mobile device in and out of the USA. In case you’re wondering, your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights don’t apply.

Your privacy in the safety of your own home is also a hazard. Chances are, you are your own worst security risk.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to send out a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. We’re in interesting times…so hang on…lots more fun to come.

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For December 12 – 20, 2016

Greetings everyone! For those of you across North America, I hope you’re managing to stay warm during the current cold snap. It certainly adds a bit of ‘zing’ to the holiday season. Speaking of the holidays, this post and the following two will be on the brief side. It’s a crazy, busy time of year for many of us and I’m no exception. Still, there are important topics to keep abreast of, so let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A wide variety of science fields are covered in this particular retrospective on the twelve key science moments of 2016.

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION

What’s the best way to communicate scientific concepts that are often very complex to the general public? “It turns out that even in the world of scientific writing, your eighth-grade teacher was right: how you write can matter as much as what you write.”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Exciting news for astronomy fans. The world’s largest digital survey of the visible Universe, mapping billions of stars and galaxies, has been publicly released.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

When the air quality in a city is so bad that airline traffic is cancelled, you know it’s air that is literally lethal to breathe.

Here’s an excellent read and infographic on reducing your plastic pollution. The plastics that are part of many life saving items aren’t the problem, it’s the “daily plastics” that aren’t always necessary and so easily discarded that are the challenge.

The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association has released a “fact” sheet on waste water injection/fracking and it’s relation to the recent and dramatic increase of earthquakes in the Sooner State. For reasons that are blatantly obvious, they’re not taking responsibility for their actions. This is public relations cherry-picking at its best.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An unsettling read from Climate Central: Scientists Are Saving Climate Data; This Is Why It Matters. “In recent days, efforts have sprung up to archive climate data on federal sites. They’ve been spurred by fears that the Trump administration could take a hostile stance toward climate science and that budget cuts could make data less accessible.”

A very unsettling essay by climate scientist Michael E. Mann that is a “must read” for anyone interested in the atmospheric sciences. “I’m A Scientist Who Has Gotten Death Threats. I Fear What May Happen Under Trump.”

Here’s a look at NOAA’s global State Of The Climate report for November, 2016. First, let’s take a look at selected climate anomalies and events.

201611Here’s the global temperature trends for November. While much of North America was quite above normal, parts of Europe and Asia were unseasonably cool.

201612

After a very warm November in North America, 2016 had to get one last cold shot in before year’s end. Watching it take place across surface observations (especially the Oklahoma Mesonet) was quite a sight.

Finally, a rather impertinent view of the never-to-be-settled-argument on school closings and winter weather. In this game, you just can’t win, even when erring on the side of justifiable caution.


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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For November 17 – 29, 2016

Greetings everyone! Thanks for stopping by. For those in the USA who celebrated the holiday, I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving. I took advantage of the rare opportunity for some R&R time for myself, so this week’s post will be a bit shorter than usual, but still full of thought-provoking ideas. There’s plenty to catch up on, especially on the front lines of climate change. On that note, let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

If you celebrated the USA’s Thanksgiving holiday, be thankful for many things, including science. There’s a myriad of topics to discuss and inspire a sense of wonder.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

A reminder that even though winter may be settling in across North America, your mPING and CoCoRaHS reports are still important. They’re not just for severe thunderstorms. Every single report counts!

GEOGRAPHY

The Mercator maps that so many of us are familiar with give a very distorted view of the world. How distorted? This article with an interactive map with show you.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Interesting news on Mars. “Frozen beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars lies about as much water as what’s in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes.”

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Oklahomans are suing frackers over earthquakes. I sincerely wish them luck in their pursuit of justice. Their defendants are capriciously deviant and very wealthy.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

People in urban areas are at risk of air pollution induced health problems with around 85% exposed to levels deemed harmful by the World Health Organization. These particles are too small to see or smell, but have a devastating impact.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

What scientists are seeing happening to the Arctic ice is both surprising and not a little alarming. Another spot-on and apt description is that the current scenario is, “seriously weird.”

The first decade of the 21st century set the pace. From Climate Central: USA Record Highs Will Far Outpace Lows With Warming.

Perilous times ahead in the USA regarding climate science & renewable energy. “The world is waiting to hear what President-elect Donald Trump has in mind for governing the U.S. Among the biggest questions is what will happen to the budget for climate and energy-related activities.”

An ominous note to what lays ahead in the world wide theater. In early 2017, the USA is poised to begin a potentially disastrous retreat from climate science leadership. China is more than happy to step up, don the crown and seat themselves in the throne. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

The new GOES-R weather satellite is the most advanced one launched to date. It will not only provide amazing data, but could save your life someday.

As expected, Trump intends to dump the Paris climate accord, but at least 71 percent of the American public support it.

chart_paris-agreement-survey_718x361

It’s been a very quiet year in the USA for tornadoes. As of November 21, 2016, 830 preliminary tornado reports so far which is well below the statistical average.

cx5qmmouaaaryfw-jpg-largeThat’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend 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 November 10 – 17, 2016

Greetings everyone! How’s the weather in your neighborhood this week? Hopefully it’s to your liking. In parts of North America, we’ll be getting a good shot of cold autumn weather for mid November. In spite of that, much of the NOAA outlooks for the next week or so hint at relatively clement weather…which is good if you’ll be doing any traveling for the American Thanksgiving holiday. Regardless, be sure to keep tabs on forecasts for both your local area, destination, and all points in between. Things can and will change unexpectedly. It’s been a very busy week here with my dance card full and my cup runneth over repeatedly…so this post will be on the brief side.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE/SCIENCE EDUCATION

The fine folks at Science Friday have compiled a very cool list of six things you can break down right now!

Much to my delight, “the Paris Agreement includes Article 12, calling for the promotion of climate-change education — and the 2030 Agenda includes a comprehensive Sustainable Development Goal on education, with a specific target on education for sustainable development. Education is key to understanding climate change — it is vital to learning to adapt and take action, for today’s generation and tomorrow’s.”

Like it or not, science and politics (both foreign and domestic) go hand in hand more so now than ever before. With the recent USA election in mind, a few prominent scientists shared their reactions.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

For many years, a clean energy transition was said to be much too expensive and troublesome by skeptics and special interests. Furthermore, they claimed it would make consumers’ energy bills very expensive and increase operating costs. They were dead wrong.

Most everything we use can be recycled. If that’s the case, why don’t we do more recycling than we do now?

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Stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath. Chances are that the air you just breathed in and out is polluted.

cxjysnxweaaex4d-jpg-large

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

October, 2016 was yet another record-breaking month for global temperatures. On its current track, 2016 looks to top 2015 for the year as a whole.

oct-2016-temp-mapFor October 2016, NASA’s map show lots of yellow, orange, and red. Simply put, those are areas where temperatures were well above average for the month. Map courtesy Climate Central & NASA.

Here’s an excellent piece by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. “Dear President-Elect: Climate Change Is Not A Hoax, And We’re All In This Together.”

La Niña is here and is playing a major role in the ongoing drought and worsening wildfires in the southern USA states.

Regardless of who is president, climate…and nature overall…supersedes any policy designed to focus on short-term goals.

Ending on an aesthetically positive note, take a look at these spectacular autumn vistas captured by drones.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to welcome 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 More For October 3 – 10, 2016

Greetings folks! I hope everyone’s having a good start to their week. Of course, the big story this week has been Hurricane Matthew which left hundreds dead in its wake and an untold amount of destruction. It was a stark reminder than, in spite of a nearly decade long “hurricane drought” for the USA, many areas are still as vulnerable (if not more so) as they ever were. With increasing real estate development and growing populations, hurricane prone areas are still in nature’s cross-hairs. As it is often said, it only takes one…and it doesn’t have to be a major hurricane making landfall over a major population area for significant amounts of damage to personal property, infrastructure, injuries, and deaths to occur. The temptation to flee the snow belt or the extremes of the Great Plains and live in a year round “clement climate” that is warm and conducive to sunbathing in winter is strong, but, depending on where you live, it comes with a price.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE/SCIENCE COMMUNICATION

As I’ve discussed with many colleagues as of late, the attack on science isn’t just delegated to a few small regions, but has become a global menace. The challenge of communicating science to the public must be taken up by a science-savvy press and science educators among others.

Public misconceptions about many fields of study are common. Here’s an excellent overview of eight myths about the public’s view of science.

Communicating to the public about scientific topics can be risky, yet it can be done. “How Scientists Can Engage The Public Without Risking Their Careers.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

What’s next for Twitter? One of the biggest movers and shakers in social media is on rocky ground…and whoever buys it will determine its fate.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Americans are increasingly concerned about our environment even though a relatively small percentage of people surveyed are actively taking part in doing what they can to take better care of our humble home.

Well said. “If only we could see the air pollution around us we could identify the culprits and avoid exposure. From an early age we are taught not to drink dirty water or eat moldy food but we have less opportunity to avoid harmful air.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The duties that are required of hurricane hunters are not for the faint of heart. This is a very tough job that often goes without thanks. This excellent video gives you a quick overview of what goes on in those violent storms.

Adding insult to injury. Rising temperatures due to climate change are “loading the dice” for a permanently dry southwestern USA.

A sobering read from Climate Central. “Carbon dioxide just hit its annual minimum at Mauna Loa Observatory and failed to dip below 400 ppm.”

On the brighter side, 191 countries have found a plan to let airlines grow without increasing their significant impact on the environment.

This explains a lot. “The Psychology Behind Climate Change Denial.”

Finally, on a positive note, there are many ways you can receive potentially life-saving weather advisories, watches, and warnings…and that includes all of your mobile devices. Here’s a helpful info-graphic from the National Weather Service with a quick overview.

nws-mobile-device-infographic

For more specific information for your location, go to mobile.weather.gov ~ the good news is that as connected to information sources as we are today, almost everyone can get weather information 24/7.

THE VISCERAL UNDERBELLY

Considering this comes from the Drudge report, I’m not at all surprised at its reprehensible, sophomoric rhetoric. Politicizing a weather event such as Hurricane Matthew is indeed, “deplorable.”

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

Cheers!

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