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Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For January 23 – 28, 2017

Greetings and salutations one and all! I hope the weather is being good to you wherever you are. There’s a lot to cover this week…and considering recent current events, there’s more than the usual amount of science and public policy topics to cover. Like it or not, the climate of the country is changing in more than one way. We’ve challenging times ahead.

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

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Taking into consideration the inevitability that the next four years in the USA will be challenging for science, many scientists are now planning to run for public office.

From any rational viewpoint, a disturbing event that is unfolding daily. Any way you slice it, facts aren’t political. “What We Actually Lose When The USDA and EPA Can’t Talk To The Public.” (Updated)

Is there more than one way for the USA to pull out of the Paris climate agreement? Unfortunately, yes.

Still in its formative stages, the March For Science is slowly gaining momentum…and will likely be the next big march in Washington, D.C. The organizers have a website and Twitter account where you can stay up-to-date on details.

Starting with only a few texts between friends, “500 Women Scientists” has grown to 14,000 strong and counting.

TECHNOLOGY

A very interesting privacy and security read. “Firefox, Chrome start calling HTTP connections insecure.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Environmental disasters such as the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Of Mexico oil spill take a heavy toll on the biosphere…and mental health of people who have to deal with the immediate effects and long-term aftermath.

The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency has an uncertain future. To get an idea of how filthy it was before its formation, take a look back at America’s environmental state before 1970.

Here’s some good news on the renewable/wind energy front. The USA’s largest offshore wind farm is coming to Long Island.

And some more good news…the Irish parliament has voted to take on the task of divesting from fossil fuels.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

NOAA recently tweeted a page that has been a good source of information on global warming…and it’s probably one of the best FAQ sites on the topic you’ll find online. There’s a plethora of references too…and those are gems for further research.

In recent decades, flooding in the northern countries of Europe has more than doubled.

The latest Drought Monitor shows that for the first time since March, 2011, exceptional drought conditions are not affecting the USA population.

Highlights: Drought conditions have eased a great deal across much of California.

capture-2

Extreme Drought conditions (red shading) have spread rapidly in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

capture-1

If you’ve ever wondered how a well done tornado path survey is written up by a National Weather Service office, the survey of the Albany, GA tornado of 22 January 2017 by the Tallahassee, FL NWS is a good example. The vast majority of path surveys done by the NWS are exceptionally detailed studies.

And that’s a wrap for this post! As always, I’d like to send a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. It’s nice to have you along for the fun. 🙂

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For Dec. 14 – 21, 2015

There’s a rather seasonably warm holiday week on tap for much of North America. Normally, many areas would be seeing a white Christmas holiday, but not this year. Still plenty of news on the recent Paris Agreement COP21 is making the rounds and will for some time to come. Often the best thoughts are compiled in hindsight. And, for my followers in the Northern Hemisphere, I’d like to wish you a Happy Winter Solstice!

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A woman with a most daunting task. “Meet America’s Anti-Anti-Science Crusader.”

TECHNOLOGY

Just one more reason to stick with Firefox, et al. “Microsoft Edge has inherited many of Internet Explorer’s security holes.”

ICYMI: A nice review of the best secure mobile messaging apps in 2015.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a very cool NOAA led project on climate research that includes citizen scientists.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Did dinosaurs evolve slowly, or arise in the blink of an eye? Recent research suggests the latter.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

On Christmas Day 2015, we’ll be treated to a full moon…the first to occur on the holiday since 1977.

Views of our humble home are always awe-inspiring. “NASA Captures EPIC Views Of Earth.”

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

This will be of particular interest to folks in Oklahoma. A new technique can tell if earthquakes are natural or man-made.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

This should come as no surprise. “Exposure to nature linked to stronger communities and reduced crime.”

The latest US Drought Monitor shows vast improvement across much of the contiguous USA with (the status quo) of California, Nevada, and Oregon holding tight to drought conditions.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Much of the contiguous USA just had a record-breaking wildfire season. Are there links to climate change?

Speaking of breaking records, 2015 is definitely one for the record books with, according to NOAA data, November, autumn, and year-t0-date all being the hottest on record for Earth.

Fascinating read on weather forecasting and computer model use. “Clouds, computers, and the coming storms.”

A good read from Dr. Marshall Shepherd. “So Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About The Strong Polar Vortex.”

Unfortunately, pollution from planes and ships were left out of the COP21 Paris Agreement.

Depending on who you ask, climate change may or may not be a national security risk for the USA.

The recent Paris Agreement gives out a strong message and not a few signals that climate change deniers are a dying breed.

Take a look at these rare Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds recently photographed in Utah, USA.

Star Wars fans will be interested in this: The Science Of Weather In Star Wars.

THE QUIXOTIC

Well, if this doesn’t beat all (at least this week) for ludicrous paranoia. Some folks in North Carolina have their knickers in a twist over solar energy farms they fear will, “suck all the energy from the sun.” Like a tin-foil hat with that?

That’s a wrap for this post! Again, for those celebrating, have a good holiday!

Cheers!

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For July 5 – 15, 2015

Summer has settled in over the southern plains of the USA with the annual vengeance. With the exception of a recent rainy spell complete with flash flood warnings and plenty of fuel to fire a bumper crop of hungry, vindictive mosquitoes, heat indices have been brutal even without the air temperature reaching the century mark. It’s all part of life in this neck of the woods. Fire and ice. If you’re a native to the region like me, you know it takes a thick skin to “weather the weather.” With the severe weather season winding down overall, it is a perfect time for those of us into the atmospheric sciences to stretch our wings and explore different weather and climate vistas; tropical weather (sans tropical cyclones), global wind patterns, climate change, dual-pol doppler radar case studies, atmospheric chemistry, or the ever-present connection between weather, climate, and life forms of all kinds. There’s an almost endless and ever-changing continuum of fascinating atmospheric science topics for the taking and, if you dare step out of your comfort zone, a great deal of knowledge can be yours. As one of my meteorological mentors emphasized with me over 30 years ago, “Everything about the atmosphere and every science related to it is fascinating. If it isn’t, you’re just a one-trick-pony and need to find another interest.” If variety is the spice of life, it is exceptionally important in the sciences. On a more personal note; I’m temporarily back up to speed for the time being. Ongoing heath issues are the reason I’ve had to spread recent posts out several days apart. Friendly suggestion: never take good health for granted. Thanks for the words of encouragement and concern from followers and online friends. You know who you are…and I know who is on my side. Your support, regardless of whether is in-person or from thousands of miles away, is something I appreciate a great deal. Thank you!

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A fascinating, but rather technical, read on the limitations of statistics in scientific research.

“For women who aspire to the sciences, a sense of belonging is a powerful force in determining the path they take.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA/PRIVACY

An excellent essay covering anonymity online…which is becoming more difficult to maintain in lieu of convenience.

Some good news for fellow Firefox users…Mozilla is taking Flash down and hard.

PHYSICS

Here’s some awesome physics news on the building blocks of our universe. “World record: Most powerful high-energy particle beam for a neutrino experiment ever generated.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Ten years in the making, NASA’s New Horizons reached the pinnacle of a 3 billion mile voyage to Pluto. The images are amazing!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Smoke from recent Alaskan and Canadian wildfires has been taking a significant toll on contiguous USA air quality.

NASA captured from space the annual population of algae (the blue-green color of the phytoplankton) in the North Atlantic reaching towards its peak.

For seasonal allergy sufferers, the BBC takes a look at the science behind the summer pollen count in the UK.

Worse than allergies…new research shows approximately 9,500 people die every year in London from air pollution.

Both and environmental and atmospheric science essay where the title says it all. “The Oceans can’t take any more: Fundamental change in oceans predicted.”

Suger-coating the issue or avoiding being labeled “doom and gloom” won’t make the potential environmental disaster go away.

For decades, the fossil fuel industry (by some accounts) has been involved in a game of public deception that continues to this day.

Some great news on the renewables front. Kenya is building Africa’s biggest wind power farm to generate one fifth of its power needs.

Want more awesome renewables news? Denmark just generated 140 percent of its electrical needs from wind power.

Here’s even more good renewables news! The price of solar power has once again dropped to a new low!

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The National Weather Service recently implemented new graphics on their websites which will make it easier for you to interpret forecasts and how they will impact your day-to-day life.

The National Weather Service needs your feedback in another very important (and potentially life-saving) topic: Severe Weather Impact Graphics. These have, IMHO, been exceptionally effective in giving you important severe thunderstorm and tornado warning impact information that can be found nowhere else. Your local NWS office will issue these products over social media (specifically Twitter). You can also follow @NWSSevereTstorm and/or @NWSTornad0 on Twitter and get every severe thunderstorm warning and tornado warning issued for the USA. This example of a Tornado Warning from the National Weather Service in Tulsa, OK is a good example of a Severe Weather Impact Graphic.

NWS Tulsa Tornado WarningTake careful notice of the plethora of information you get in addition to the warning over your NOAA weather radio. Population, the area in square miles, number of public schools, hospitals, airports, etc. are included. The time the warning is valid til is also included as well as storm information regarding movement and hazards. Media meteorologists (whom you should follow…your personal favorites of your choice) are excellent at conveying this information to the public. Ultimately, your first line of defense in a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning scenario is knowledge and awareness of impacts to your and your loved ones…and that comes from the National Weather Service…and no one else…storm chasers and weather hobbyists in particular.

While on the topic of severe weather warnings and the use (and abuse) of social media to disseminate warning information, here’s a spot-on essay that shows just hot bad the deterioration, specifically with Twitter, has become with bots and “mediarologists” run amok.

The PECAN severe storm research project has been gathering some incredible data this spring across the Great Plains. I can’t wait to see the data presented at conferences!

Good advice. “Keep calm and stop obsessing over weekly changes in ENSO.”

As if the western USA drought wasn’t bad enough, an unusually hot summer is raising the misery index for many residents of Washington to Utah.

The heat has also been problematic in Europe as well. “Heat records all over: The Northern Hemisphere Is In Hot Water.”

“Which Advanced Country Has The Most Climate Sceptics?” No, it’s not the United States. Yes, some of the internet’s most notoriously hostile climate change denialists live there.

As of late, there’s been a rubbish story making the rounds that an “ice age” is imminent. Don’t believe it for a minute.

“Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists Call For Action To Minimize The Substantial Risks Of Climate Change.”

The IPCC is at a crossroads with many key points to consider. Here’s an excellent essay that provides the reader with a concise overview.

Why do people in the path of a hurricane ignore evacuation orders?

Speaking of storm safety, is this tornado photo an awesome childhood experience or reckless parenting? My main concern would be the lightning danger…which is always a potentially lethal killer in every thunderstorm.

Last but certainly not least, here’s some “bookmark worthy” summer heat safety tips from the NWS that will help keep you and your family safe from this underrated killer.

THE QUIXOTIC

Some people, in spite of being the beneficiaries of broadcast meteorologists, simply can’t wrap their heads around the importance of potentially life-saving information. Sadly, this is an all-too common behavioral phenomenon.

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE…

In our contemporary society where technology reigns 24/7…this could be just the ticket to de-stressing from our obsession with being plugged in.

Now dust off those coloring pencils and crayons…and de-stress! 🙂

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More: Sept. 7 – 14, 2014

To date, a rather tranquil weather week across most of North America save for some snowy weather in parts of Alberta, Canada and the northern plains of the contiguous USA. As for the tropics, Hurricanes Edouard and Odile are front and center.

Due to time limitations, this post is a bit on the brief side. I’ve several projects with deadlines that have given me a full dance card.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

In our contemporary socio-political climate, being a scientist is difficult enough to make some give up.

TECHNOLOGY

Here are some very handy tips on keeping your data safe while traveling…or even going about your daily routine.

Firefox has had a few changes recently. Here’s some more info. It’s my browser of choice that I can’t recommend highly enough.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Finally! “Citizen Science” is now in the Oxford English Dictionary!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Sweden is now recycling up to 99% of their garbage.

Can moisture from clouds be channeled back to earth to be used for drinkable H2O and electricity generation? It’s worth a try.

Do you really need to rinse your recyclables? Actually, yes you do. Anything is better than sending them to the local landfill.

Can a house handle the Wisconsin winter and use less energy than a hair dryer to stay war? Check it out.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

After viewing this video, I can’t help but wonder if the individual in question (1) knew there was an approaching tornado and (2) realized just how close they were to being seriously injured or killed. Check out this close encounter.

Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, some studies hint at an improvement in the Earth’s ozone layer.  While the ozone layer news is good, that doesn’t negate the importance of ongoing climate change.

NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center has a review of the climate events of August and summer of 2014.

Here’s a concise overview of NOAA’s new radar upgrade called SAILS which will help improve forecasts and warnings.

Weather satellites do more than just take pretty pictures of clouds.

Many of us talk about the dangers of heat and cars until we’re blue in the face. “If You Need Scientific Proof Never To Leave Your Dog In The Car, Here It Is

Finally, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new social media followers. I’m glad you’re along! Also, special thanks to the many folks who have re-tweeted or mentioned me this past week. I appreciate your kindness a great deal.

Have a great week everyone…

Cheers!

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