Tag Archives: heat index

Tornado Quest Science Links Week In Review For May 21 – 28, 2018

Greetings to everyone! If you’re in the USA, I hope you get a chance to take a moment to remember those who, in serving our country, paid the ultimate sacrifice. We have a wild weather setup that’s ongoing as of this post for the Memorial Day holiday. Alberto, the first named tropical cyclone of the 2018 Atlantic season, is ready to make landfall on the Florida panhandle coast. We’ve also had catastrophic flash flooding in the Mid-Atlantic region, severe weather in the central plains with more forecast for today and tomorrow, an ongoing drought for much of the southwest, a heat wave that is bringing triple digit head indices as far north as Minnesota, and Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is still in the news. And…this is only the end of May.

There’s plenty to review this week, so let’s get started.

Summer heat is making an early appearance across much of the contiguous USA. Sad to say that there have been fatalities due to people leaving children in cars during hot days. These deaths are totally preventable and should never happen. Heat stroke and heat fatalities can occur in temperatures as low as 80F.

Infographic courtesty NOAA


Here’s a very cool citizen science project that’s part history, part climatology. “Citizen Scientists Are Unearthing Climate Data From Old Ships’ Logs.”


The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has been expanding as of late. Along with that is a new hazard, a toxic gas called “laze.”

Speaking of Kilauea expanding, a third lava flow has reached the ocean. This Hawaiian volcano has been very active since 3 May 2018.

In spite of the fact that we don’t hear about volcanoes often, they’re actually quite common around the globe. Here’s an excellent essay on 7 facts about volcanoes you should know.


While the focus of this article is on protecting yourself from ticks this summer (see the Summer Weather Safety section for more info), there’s definitely an environment/climate connection.

We all know that clean air is essential for good health. Truth be known, clean air is also good for the economy.

Many of us had an idea that this was true, but reading this article still knocks the wind out of me. “Humans Just 0.01% Of All Life But Have Destroyed 83% Of Wild Mammals.”

The sheer mass of plastic pollution in our oceans is mind-boggling. In some images, these pieces of our lives take on the appearance of sea life.

Here’s a collection of more startling images of plastic pollution and wildlife. The National Geographic cover certainly hits the bullseye on this very disturbing scenario.


NOAA issued their outlook for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane seasonThere are other outlooks as well from a variety of sources. They don’t all agree and variable are unavoidable. The most important factor to remember is these are outlooks, not forecasts.

While on the topic of hurricanes, here’s a fascinating study on 34 years of tropical cyclone eye location and size and it’s connection to other characteristics of these amazing storms.

New research on the connection of climate change and hurricanes indicates that these devastating tropical cyclones will become more intense in a myriad of ways in the coming decades.

The latest US Drought Portal has been issued. More specifically, the Drought Monitor shows some relief in the contiguous USA, but there’s no hint at long-term relief in sight for the hardest hit areas.

As of this post, the tornado “season” across the USA has been relatively tranquil with only three intense tornadoes documented. Considering the alternative, no one is complaining. Here’s an excellent read on why this year has seen less tornado activity compared to other years.

Meanwhile in Sweden, a recent heat wave brought not a little discomfort. Temperatures to 30C (86F) are rare in this part of the world. Wish I could say the same for Oklahoma. Additionally, heatwaves in many northern countries are becoming more common at a disturbingly frequent rate.


With the Memorial Day holiday having taken place in the USA, the “unofficial” start to summer has arrived. All across the Northern Hemisphere, the days are getting longer…and the sun’s rays more intense. With that comes a variety of hazards and the links below cover heat safety and UV protection. As with all weather hazards, a few simple precautions can prevent a ton of trouble.

Heat: A Major Killer

Summer Weather Safety & Survival: The Heat Index

Ultra Violet (UV) Radiation Awareness & Safety Info

World Health Organization: UV & Sun Protection

That’s a wrap for this post! For those of you who are new followers, I’d like to send a sincere “Thank You” and “Welcome” your way. I’m glad you’re along for the fun. For the folks who have been around a while, I’m glad you’ve stuck around for the fun. You know better than anyone that we can never tell what’s around the corner in this joint. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!


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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For June 14 – 22, 2016

Greetings to one and all! I’m glad you stopped by. This post will be on the brief side due to previous time-consuming commitments and today’s severe weather potential. I’ll post some safety information regarding severe weather in addition to summer heat safety tips. With summer settling in with a vengeance across much of North America, it’s time to take seriously the dangers of this underrated and silent killer. As usual, there’s a bit of environmental and astronomical news as well. On that note, let’s get started.

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


In July 2016, the Juno mission will take a look at Jupiter’s atmosphere and what lays below it.

A very cool video. “Mapping Laniakea, the Milky Way’s Cosmic Home.”


A good climate read with this week’s best headline. “California’s Trees Are Thirstier Than A College Kid With A hangover.”

A very nice infographic that answers many questions about sea level rise.

Speaking of the sea, here’s a nice infographic on how deep the Earth’s oceans are in comparison to “above the ground” objects. Note: While 37,000 feet may be deep for our oceans, it’s the height of a very modest cumulonimbus thunderstorm. Supercell thunderstorms across Tornado Alley regularly reach heights of 50,000 – 60,000 feet.


What would our humble planet be like with a global warming temperature increase of 1.5C? Very, very unpleasant.

Summer heat is a vastly underrated hazard…and killer. Here’s two excellent sources of safety information to keep your family, friends, and you safe.

Today’s (22 June 2016) severe weather outlook includes a possibility of a widespread damaging wind event aka “derecho” or MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) across parts of the lower Great Lakes region and the Ohio valley. What exactly is a derecho?

An interesting read on the irrevocable link between climate and health. “British scientists say they have developed a model that can predict outbreaks of zoonotic diseases — those such as Ebola and Zika that jump from animals to humans — based on changes in climate.”


If there was ever a reason to get your amateur (ham) radio license, this is it.

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


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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For July 29 – August 5, 2015

Summer is still firmly entrenched across much of North America. In fact, for the southern plains, we’ve just reached the climatological period for peak average high temperatures. The good news is that after the first week in August, there’s a slow decline in high temperatures to look forward to. We’ve many more weeks of hot, humid weather on tap, but hang on. Autumn will be here before we know it. The tropical Atlantic has been quiet so far…but we’re coming to the peak of climatological activity for the hurricane season. This is as good a time as any to make sure you’re prepared before it’s too late. On that note, let’s get started.

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


Spot on. “Neil deGrasse Tyson on Q&A calls scientific illiteracy a tragedy of our times.”

A very handy read from American Scientist on the most daunting task science writers (like yours truly) face more often than not…making science comprehensible for the general public.


Check out this amazing image from NASA and the ISS silhouetted against the moon.

Fascinating read on what could be the largest feature in the observable universe: a ring of nine gamma ray bursts — and hence galaxies – 5 billion light years across.

Chances are, you’ve already seen this. If not, take a look. “This animation shows images of the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DISCOVR spacecraft’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera and telescope, and the Earth – one million miles away.


Welcome to the club, Sweden! Sincerely, Oklahoma. “Gothenburg rocked by “fairly big” earthquake.”

Speaking of earthquakes, here’s an intriguing story from Aljazeera American on the connection between fracking and Oklahoma earthquakes. Read between the lines…let the coverup begin…or continue as the case may be.

Here are some very nice photos of the Earth’s newest island.


Once again, Sweden shows up top in quality of life by recycling a staggering 99% of its garbage.

Not all states are equal in the new Clean Power Plan. Here’s an explanation why. Critics arguments will inevitably fail since they had the opportunity to do something about it, but blew it off instead.


If you think the summer heat is brutal where you are, imagine dealing with “off the charts” head indices that have occurred recently in Iran.

The most recent US Drought Monitor shows vast improvement over most of the USA. Unfortunately, the relentless drought is holding fast in the western states.

Speaking of the western USA drought, here’s a collection of recent links on the topic.

Computer models on climate change are very good at what they do…and more accurate than previously thought.

Part sociology and part atmospheric science. This is a very surprising look at educational background and it’s relation to concerns and beliefs on climate change.

That’s a wrap for this post. I’d like to welcome my new followers on social media. There are quite a few of you and I’d like to extend a sincere “Welcome!” to all of you. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!


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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…


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


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.


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


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.


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…


Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For May 20 – 27, 2014

This is traditionally a very busy time for me with many projects calling for attention as well as some very active weather…so this will be a very abbreviated post. If time allows, I may add a few links later in the week.

Here are this week’s links for your consideration…


After many decades in citizen science, I can tell you it’s anything but weird and wild…but it’s certainly in it’s golden age with unbridled curiosity…and nothing but good things can come from that.

Popular Science has a list of 5 apps for a very cool citizen science summer.

If you’re into astronomy and citizen science, your help is needed in evaluating images from the Spitzer space telescope.


Apparently, Dimetrodon is not a dinosaur. The child paleontologist in me is crushed.


Here’s a fascinating site from the USGS that shows the location of wind farms across the USA!

Across the Atlantic, Sweden is set to take the lead in Nordic wind power.


For the northern hemisphere, summer is on the doorstep. Summer heat kills more people every year that tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, et al. combined. Here’s some very important information on this “silent killer.”

The Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, like many regions, are taking a shellacking from an relentless drought.

NOAA’s Carbon Tracker is a fascinating tool. Here’s a look a the details.

A look at Europe’s next generation of weather satellites.

The World Meteorological Organization is taking action on storm surges which kill more people that tropical cyclone winds or earthquake-generated tsunamis.

NOAA has issued their outlook (not a forecast) for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. Near normal or below normal number of tropical cyclones are expected. The caveat is the simple fact that it takes only one intense hurricane (i.e. Andrew) to devastate a region and cause billions in damage.

We’re at the 30th anniversary of the devastating Memorial Day flood in Tulsa, OK…the deadliest natural disaster in the city’s history. Here’s a look back from the Tulsa World and the Tulsa Nat’l Weather Service. To date, it’s the deadliest natural disaster in Tulsa’s history with 14 fatalities.

That’s a wrap for this post!


Toasty Temps Bring New #Weather Hazards #okwx #kswx #txwx

May is finally here which means the peak month for tornado activity has arrived. It just so happens that the computer model forecasts are hinting at a rather quiet period for the southern plains. In the meantime, we’ve got several days ahead with well above average temperatures which bring their own hazards. Our bodies are not yet acclimated to the heat. Even the most active and athletic individual can fall victim to heat related illnesses very quickly. I’d like to pass along some helpful information that’s beneficial to have on hand.

Ultra Violet Radiation Awareness: Protecting yourself from UV rays is very important, even in quite mild & cool weather.

Summer Weather Safety and Survival: The NWS Norman, OK has put together a very nice page with a wealth of safety information including a Heat Index page.

Heat: A Major Killer: The “visually spectacular” weather events make the rounds on media but heat, which lacks the “sensationalism” of a tornado outbreak or hurricane, kills far more people each year than violent weather events combined. This page from the NWS is very comprehensive and explains many of the advisories that are issued by your local NWS office.

I hope this information is helpful to you and, regardless of where you live, it helps you stay safe in the sizzling summer days ahead.





Early Summer Heat & My First Radio Interview

Summer has arrived with a vengeance in the southern plains.  Hopefully this won’t be an omen, but we’ve already had several days of head indicies well over 100 degrees F. and numerous Ozone Alert days.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with said alert, it basically means that the ozone which helps maintain life as we know it due to its presence in our upper atmosphere has a tendency, largely to blame on over dependence on fossil fuels, to collect near the ground.  Add to that a ridge of high pressure, little or no wind, and a metro area buzzing with cars, trucks, and every kind of gas-powered tool to manicure lawns to the point of perfection and you’ve got the makings for a vast amount of ozone collecting at ground level.  This stuff is not good for you to breathe.  And I’m talking to the healthy ones out there.  For folks with respiratory problems, heart disease, etc., it can make for rough going.  Summer is here.  Get ready.  Surviving a summer on the southern plains of the USA is a test of wills.  But, enough of that.  On to a lighter topic.

This Friday (7.3.09) I’m going to be a guest on Skeptically Speaking which is likely the only skeptic-themed radio show in the world.  This is my kind of radio!  The topic is storm chasing and realted topics.  Am I excited? You bet!  Am I nervous?  You bet!  Who in their right mind wouldn’t be?  The advantage of a setting like this is I won’t be misquoted or have statements taken out of context.  My experience in the past on print interviews has been lackluster at best.  At least this time my words will be my own, there will be plenty of friendly banter going on, and I get to verbally crush into molecular pulp so many of the ridiculous myths that are pervasive in the topics of severe weather and tornadoes.  Sadly, some of those myths that people cling to have cost some their lives.  I’ll also lay out the hard and fast facts about storm chasing which, to sum up briefly, consist of a great deal of failure, frustration, and exhaustion.  Tornadoes are an extremely elusive, irratic, and incredibly rare phenomenon.  Their fleeting existence eludes those of us who seek them out year after year in an atmospheric cat-and-mouse game.  The lovely Desiree and company of Skeptically Speaking will no doubt lead me gently into this uncharted territory.  I have no doubt it will be great fun.  If you miss the show, visit the Skeptically Speaking website (http://skepticallyspeaking.com) and you can listen to the show at your convenience.  While you’re there, check out the other fascinating array of guests and topics from other shows.  So, here goes…another new adventure.  Mom, I’m dedicating this one to you.

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