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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 And Much More For March 14 – 21, 2016

Greetings everyone! Whether you’re in the Northern Hemisphere welcoming spring or the Southern Hemisphere watching the transition to autumn, I hope everyone’s had a good week. A quick reminder that National Weather Service offices across the USA are having Skywarn spotter training courses. Check with your local NWS office for details. In climate news, sea level rise has become a topic of a great deal of discussion as of late. For people living around the world in coastal or low-lying areas, this is a serious concern. On that note, let’s get started on this week’s post.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Instagram, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to try what others have failed at or wisely backed out of…arranging posts in order of “relevance.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A major league public health hazard is taking place in Mexico where, “Some 1.1 million vehicles were banned from the metropolis, children & elderly were encouraged to stay indoors, bus & subway services were offered for free amid the first high ozone alert in 14 years.”

An excellent primer on sustainable living in your home.

A very thought-provoking environmental read. “Nature, All Or Nothing.”

Take a look at these spectacular views of some amazing sea landscapes.

A fire and ice challenge for drought plagued California. Preparing for a flood while dealing with a drought.

Could climate change and/or environmental impact warnings on gasoline/petrol pumps actually work? It’s worth a try.

Time to step up to the plate Oklahoma. You should be next in line for this. “Colorado Considers Bill To Make It Easier To Sue Big Oil Over Fracking Earthquakes.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The public’s common mantra of “We didn’t know it was coming.” doesn’t hold up when meteorologists from both the National Weather Service and media have been talking about impending severe weather for up to four days in advance. The fact that said severe weather event occurred in December is irrelevant. When is severe weather season in the USA? From January 1 – December 31. Where does severe weather and/or tornadoes occur? Wherever they’ve occurred in the past…which is in all 50 states.

A very fun read on the twenty funniest and most fitting names in weather, specifically broadcast meteorology.

Why does the sky look bigger in some parts of the world? It’s simply a matter of subjective perspective.

The latest US Drought Monitor for 15 March 2016 shows dry conditions spreading across the central and northern plains while the relentless CA drought continues.

From NOAA: “February Global Temperature Anomaly Sets New Record For The Globe.”

A very nice introduction to a frequently asked question. “Global Warming Basics: What Has Changed?”

Spot on. “There’s good news and there’s bad news: More Americans are concerned about climate change now than at any time in the past eight years. But that’s because the consequences are getting harder to ignore.”

A fascinating read on a new study that looks back on the Earth’s climate, and climate change, up to five million years ago.

An interesting primer on why Nor’ Easters can be more intense than the typical snow-belt snowstorm.

A new series of papers coming from the University of Manchester will be the first extensive study of European tornadoes in ninety-nine years.

This week marks the anniversary of the Tri-State tornado…the deadliest tornado to date in the history of the USA.

Here’s a fun read on rainbows…one of the Earth’s most quixotic atmospheric phenomenon.

 JUST ONE MORE THING…

Get up, and get out. Spending time outdoors in nature is good for your health.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm “Welcome” to my new followers here on WordPress as well as on Twitter, Instagram, & Tumblr. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

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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…

GENERAL SCIENCE/SCIENCE EDUCATION

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.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

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.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

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.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING

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.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

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!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest on Instagram

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For April 28 – May 5, 2015

After several days of respite from episodes of severe weather, an active week is underway with much of the Great Plains forecast to have multiple rounds of thunderstorms, some of which will be severe. Like many other posts for this time of year, this week will be somewhat brief. Between Skywarn spotting duties, storm chasing, and several writing projects, I’ve got a full dance card. Nevertheless, there are plenty of good science stories for our enjoyment.

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

TECHNOLOGY/PRIVACY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Mind the apps you download from Google Play…or iTunes for that matter. Many popular ones, without your permission, are collecting a great deal of private data. For you and me, it’s simply a matter of common sense when choosing apps.

Snarks, trolls, & nefarious interlopers run amok in social media. It can be tough enough for adults who are targets but for our youth, much of the anonymous abuse can be particularly brutal. “Young people think friends more at risk of cyberbullying.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Can Instagram be used by citizen scientists to track climate change? You bet! Here’s how.

Here’s a very cool segment on the Diane Rehm show: The Environmental Outlook: Citizen Scientists.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

The MESSENGER spacecraft exceeded all expectations before snapping one final image shortly before crashing into the surface of the planet Mercury.

An amazing look at the vastness of space…specifically within our own solar system.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

The Oklahoma earthquake and link to fracking gets more interesting by the week. Observing it from the perspective of a native Oklahoman, it’s like watching a slow motion train wreck.

Here’s a spectacular video from the United States Geological Survey of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano putting on quite a show.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Desperate times mean desperate measures. California is tapping into water reserves that are 20,000 years old to help take the edge off their brutal drought.

Tulsa has always had a problem with ozone for as far back as I can remember. As a result, it was no surprise that the former “oil capital” was ranked the 12th worst city in the USA for ozone levels.

A very good read! “The Next Step In Saving The Planet: E.O. Wilson And Sean Carroll In Conversation.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you have many reasons to hate pollen with a passion. Here’s another reason…it may mess with your weather.

Interesting essay with suggestions for dealing with disaster preparedness.

Speaking of disaster preparedness, the USA has been in somewhat of a hurricane “drought” for several years. It’s simply a matter of good luck that we’ve been this fortunate, but it won’t last forever.

Social science (sociology and psychology) and operational meteorology aren’t mutually exclusive. “Troubled Forecasters Seek Way To Improve Tornado Warnings.”

As glaciers in Antarctica retreat, the future results will not be pleasant to deal with.

A very nice interview with Heidi Cullen of Climate Central on the role of oceans in climate change.

An informative, and fun, infographic on five characteristics of science and/or climate change denial.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’ll be writing some posts with subjective analysis of this week’s severe weather setups for the Great Plains, Wednesday and Saturday in particular. If you’re in an area that will be under the gun for severe weather this week, remember to stay in touch with reliable media outlets of your choice, keep your NOAA weather radio handy, and follow your local National Weather Service office and the Storm Prediction Center for the latest severe weather information.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For Sept. 14 – Oct. 1, 2014

Due to varying complicating factors which seem to creep up on us in life at the least opportune moments, I’m running a couple of weeks behind on weekly Tornado Quest Science Links posts. Add to that a personal illness…and things slow to a crawl and priorities change. Having said that, here’s a small selection of links for this post.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a very cool meteorology citizen science project for Earth Science Week (Oct. 12 – 18, 2014) from NASA!

Just because winter’s coming to the Northern Hemisphere doesn’t mean it’s time to put your rain gauge in hibernation. CoCoRaHS needs citizen science weather observers year round!

MEDICAL SCIENCE/PUBLIC HEALTH

I saw this tweet on hand washing in my Twitter feed the other day. Flabbergasted. I can’t believe we still have to drum proper personal sanitation and hand-washing into people’s heads in the 21st Century.

SOCIAL SCIENCE

As social scientists well know, how a message is delivered is as important as it’s content. Here’s another good article in the same vein.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Sweden FTW!!! Read about the world’s first garment made entirely from recycled cotton.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

On Sept. 30, 2014, the HRRR forecast model officially went operational with NOAA. It’ been in use in an experimental stage for some time. I’ve enjoyed using it and think it will be a great asset.

If you’re keeping track of this year’s El Nino, histrionic is an apt understatement.

In a rush to rebuild after the tornado of May 20, 2013, many Moore, OK homes have been rebuilt with a lot left to desire.

The California drought is only getting worse with no sight of relief in sight.

Like to give yourself a nice refresher course on some meteorology and climate topics? Here’s a good place to start.

And that’s a wrap for this week. In addition to this WordPress blog, Tornado Quest can also be found on About MeTumblr and Instagram.

Have a great week…cheers! Continue reading →

Tornado Quest Science Links and Much More for August 24 – 31, 2014

For the time being, the tropical Atlantic has quieted down. In the eastern Pacific, Hurricane Marie reached an impressive Category 5 status and had an imposing presence on satellite imagery. Though it may seem serene now, especially in the Atlantic, we’re just entering the statistical “peak” of the hurricane season. If you live in a hurricane prone region and have not set in place an evacuation plan and/or emergency disaster kit, now would be an excellent time to do so. And speaking of “below average” weather events, much of the USA is running well below normal for the number of tornadoes to date.

This week’s post will be shorter than usual. I’ve many really exciting projects in the works and with the potential of severe weather Sunday (August 31) and Monday (September 1), my dance card is full.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

NASA’s new Earth Science Week website is up and running! Check it out…and give them a follow on Twitter at @NASAESW

Interesting chart: Why Most STEM Majors Don’t Have STEM Jobs.

TECHNOLOGY

For RadarScope users: How to add custom locations.

Instagram’s new Hyperlapse app should make for some interesting videos of clouds of all kinds.

Using Windows 8.1? Here’s a handy guide on how to tidy it up.

Interesting, and disconcerting, read on why some privacy apps in the Google Play store get the boot.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Like to be a weather detective? You can help out a citizen science project that helps document weather observations back to the late 19th century.

Crowdsourced photos of the dry conditions across many USA states are helping scientists get a clearer idea of how extensive the ongoing drought is.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Volcanic ash and jet aircraft engines don’t mix. Here’s why.

California is part of a very volatile seismic region. Here’s a good read on the causes behind the recent Napa Valley earthquake.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Cleaner air is not only better for our health, but can help pay for reducing carbon emissions.

Renewable energy is growing at an ever-faster pace and produces up to 22% of the world’s electricity.

An interesting perspective: Is ecology explaining less and less?

For the first time ever, drought-ravaged California is going to regulate underground water.

Water scarcity isn’t just a developing world problem, it’s a global issue. A new study says reducing water scarcity is possible by 2050.

Interesting new study says our humble planet Earth can sustain more terrestrial plant growth than previously thought.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

For the contiguous USA, 2014 has had a wild roller-coaster ride in regards to temperature. Climate Central also had a very interesting look on this year’s temperatures.

The next time the USA is confronted with a “Katrina” or “Sandy”…will we do better?

Climate scientists are not mincing words on the latest draft of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

These photos of the western USA drought conditions are simultaneously stunning and sobering.

While the tropical season in the Atlantic has been rather quiet, the Pacific has seen (to date) five robust tropical cyclones.

Check out these amazing images of Hurricane Marie…which was a Category 5 hurricane in the eastern Pacific.

NASA is using unmanned aircraft to fly hurricane missions. This has really good future potential.

I could talk about this until I’m blue in the face…but people continually follow (in droves) amateur weather buffs and “social mediarologists” as if every post to their website, blog, Twitter account, et al is the sacred word. Most are of dubious integrity and only fishing for attention and relish needless fear mongering. Long-range hurricane/tropical cyclone outlooks from the National Hurricane Center are the ONLY ones you should take seriously.

 Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” series was a smashing success…and his explanation of climate change is to-the-point and brilliant.

THE QUIXOTIC SIDE OF “DON”T ROCK THE BOAT”

No surprise that an article with this opinion would appear in one of Oklahoma’s largest newspapers. At least this paper used some data from the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

And that’s a wrap for this wild week! If you’re celebrating Labor Day, enjoy the holiday weekend and if it’s hot, stay cool!

Cheers!

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