Tag Archives: Lawrence Krauss

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For September 12 – 19, 2016

Greetings to one and all! I hope the weather is to your liking regardless of where you live. Autumn is beginning to make its presence known in parts of North America. As of this post, a very warm spell has settled over much of the southern and central Great Plains of the USA. It’s been a long, hot summer and I’m ready for some cool crisp mornings with a change in fall foliage color. The tropical Atlantic is rather active at this time. Fortunately, none of the systems that are being watched are a current threat to any land masses or populated areas. As usual, there’s plenty to cover, so let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A very thought-provoking read where scientists answer twenty questions on the future of humanity.

Speaking of questions, here’s an excellent and very objective read by Lawrence Krauss on twenty questions for this year’s presidential candidates. “The net result? There is something here for everyone, because every view, no matter how inconsistent, is presented somewhere.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A very good Psychology Today article from 2014 on the nature of the online troll. Considering recent events, it’s a read worth revisiting.

Do you use WhatsApp? Be prepared to share (unwillingly) a great deal of your private information with Facebook. There’s an opt-out, but personally speaking. I’d recommend you change over to Telegram.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A look at an interesting concept of the possible climate of Mars past…and how it could have led to its present day appearance.

No, Cupid didn’t make the “heart” on Pluto. It was something else far more interesting.

Don’t mess with the Milky Way. “Kamikaze galaxy explodes after diving into the Milky Way.”

From the BBC…from auroras to galaxies… a nice collection of spectacular imagery.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

New scientific ways of monitoring and predicting the affects climate change have on our ecosystems are coming to fruition.

Ghost Forests” are on the increase thanks in no small part to climate change. Unfortunately, this is a trend that will be on the upswing for some time.

Driven by climate change, large masses of trees across the USA are succumbing to diseases, insects, droughts, and wildfires.

Check out this nice “gif” of the USA’s growing use of wind power. Take note that the South has a lot of catching up to do.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service (NWS) have a tough job with many daunting tasks and challenges. They need all the public and governmental support they can get. Your local National Weather Service office as well as other NWS social media accounts are the definitive source for all-important and potentially life-saving information.

An excellent comic that should put (temporarily) the kibosh on “the climate has always been changing” denier crowd.

Part climate science and part public policy in an interesting read on how climate adaptation can save money and improve the quality of life.

A very good climate read. “Why We Don’t Know If It Will Sunny Next Month But We Know It’ll Be Hot All Year.”

I could talk about this until I’m blue in the face. There is a distinctive difference in weather and climate. Hopefully, this short video will clear up the confusion.

Over a month after the devastating August, 2016 Louisiana floods, environmental and health concerns are growing along with anger among residents in the affected areas.

Flooding of low lying coastal areas in the USA due to sea level rise is no longer a theoretical concept.

And that’s a wrap up for this post! For my new followers in social media, I’d like to extend a warm welcome…I am quite active in other forms of social media and would really enjoy connecting and collaborating with other folks into the sciences.

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For August 15 – 29, 2016

Greetings all! I hope everyone’s having a great start to your week. Due to several previous time-consuming commitments I’ve had to delay publishing a post by one week. The tropical Atlantic has been very busy as of late with (as of 29 August 2016) one hurricane, two tropical depressions, and an interesting tropical wave near the Cabo Verde Islands. Two back-to-back hurricanes are also between North American and Hawaii. Ultimately, nature has the upper hand and will do things on its own time scale which is the primary reason for preparedness…regardless of whether an immediate threat is present…or not. Having said that, it would behoove us to keep tabs on the tropics…the peak of the season has arrived. On that note, let’s get started.

For your consideration, here are the links for this post…

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Do you use WhatsApp? I’d recommend you switch to Telegram. Here’s why.

All iPhone users need to get the latest iOS update immediately.

GENERAL SCIENCE

An eye-opening reminder as to why the maps we know and love offer a very distorted view of our humble home.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

There’s a solar eclipse treat on the menu next year for much of the USA and, understandably, many folks are not a little excited.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Summers in the U.S. bring more than just searing, dangerously hot days. When there’s little air circulation and the air becomes stagnant, high levels of air pollution and increases in the level of ozone are triggered by the hot temperatures. The resulting health consequences for millions of Americans is quite significant. The Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Dallas/Fort Worth metros have had at least two “Ozone Alert Days” so far this summer.

Speaking of sizzling summer days, setting in traffic in urban areas has certain air quality hazards. Here’s a good read on how you can reduce your exposure to pollutants.

Here’s some very good renewables news. Wind power is flourishing in the USA. In fact, the first offshore wind farm in the USA is nearing completion. Unfortunately, the comments section on the latter link is exceptionally cynical.

If wind power won’t work for you, check out solar. The price of solar is declining to all-time record lows.

A disconcerting environmental science/climate read. “This year’s melt season in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas started with a bang, with a record low maximum extent in March and relatively rapid ice loss through May. One NASA sea ice scientist describes this as ‘the new normal.'”

This is very exciting…not just for the USA, but the world in general. President Obama just quadrupled the size of a national marine monument off northwestern Hawaii. It’ll be twice the size of Texas!

Last but not least, the USA’s National Parks just celebrated their 100th anniversary. Here’s a spectacular VR trip through geologic time courtesy of NPR.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

A concise overview of the recent deadly floods in Louisiana. By some accounts, the storm system responsible for the heavy rainfall was a “hurricane without the winds.”

This “no name” storm also dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina.

Here’s a very good read on the Louisiana flooding by Dr. Marshall Shepherd. “5 Reasons Some Were Unaware Of One Of The Biggest Weather Disasters Since Sandy.”

On 24 August 2016, a localized outbreak of tornadoes occurred in parts of Indiana and Ohio. The Storm Prediction Center is now being raked over the coals for having “missed” a forecast. Did the SPC miss a forecast and, more importantly, does it matter? There’s been plenty of sophomoric “Monday morning quarterbacking” over this (the vast majority coming from amateur weather hobbyists) who think they are better qualified. I seriously doubt that. As with the hype over what was known as “Invest #99L,” nature always has the better hand and the ace up its sleeve. Dealing with a 3-D fluid that is in a constant state of change is difficult enough for day-to-day forecasting let alone a regional tornado outbreak that didn’t have all the parameters that would have given even the most seasoned forecasters a “heads up.” I can recall several instances this year alone where the SPC was absolutely spot-on in it’s forecast…but all it takes is one “miss” and the trolling begins.

A perfect example of how imagery is worth a thousand words. Take a look at the hottest weather ever visualized.

Can lightning be predicted in the same way forecasters predict precipitation?

An interesting, and irrevocable, climate science & economics connection. As our climate changes, our economies become more vulnerable. The time for economic adaptation is now.

Communities have traditionally prepared for natural disasters based on past events. Extreme weather events will now force communities to confront new climate patterns and prepare with a focus on the future.

An interesting read on the ocean-weather-climate link. “Pacific Sea Level Predicts Global Temperature Changes.”

The latest US Drought Monitor shows dry conditions persist in the western states while spreading in the southeast.

A spot-on read covering tactical capers of climate change denialists. This is anti-science mindsets at their best.

Speaking of climate change denialists, referring them as “skeptics” is disingenuous to the true meaning of skepticism.

THE QUIXOTIC

A spot 0n yet startling read by Lawrence M. Krauss. “Trump’s Anti-Science Campaign.”

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to give a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. It’s nice to have new folks along with the old friends that have been a part of my online community for several years!

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tornadoquest

Tornado Quest on Tumblr: http://tornadoquest.tumblr.com/

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For March 16 – 24, 2015

A belated happy spring to one and all! The vernal equinox took place on 20 March 2015 and (astronomically) ushered in spring for the Northern Hemisphere. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have a day with an equal number of hours of sunlight and darkness, here’s your chance. It only happens twice a year. For the time being, winter is still keeping a chill in the air over much of North America, but the warmth of spring is making itself felt in many other regions. Just a quick reminder that the spring severe weather season is upon us and before it gets too busy, now’s the time to prepare your emergency kit, have a plan of action at home or work, and reliable, official sources of severe weather warning information: a NOAA weather radio, a high-quality smart phone warning app, the broadcast meteorologists of your choice, and your local National Weather Service offices in social media. This will come in handy for many across the central USA plains this week as severe weather is forecast by the Storm Prediction Center. This post was delayed by one day so I could share some “up-to-date” information regarding the severe weather potential. I’ll also give a quick overview at the end of this post on what you can expect…and how to get the most timely weather information.

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

A brilliant spot-on essay by Lawrence Krauss, who is one of many on my ‘most admired’ list. “Teaching Doubt.” “Informed doubt is the very essence of science.”

SOCIAL SCIENCE

A little sociology, psychology, and geographic demography wrapped into one very interesting read; How Different Groups Think About Scientific Issues.

Good news for introverts such as myself. We are winning quiet victories.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Citizen science FTW! Two new species of flowering plants have been discovered in South Africa.

Citizen scientists can pitch in on collecting climate data for this spring!

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

NASA’s Messenger spacecraft is set to plunge to its death on April 30, 2015…but since 2011, Messenger has been doing some amazing work including capturing the most spectacular images of Mercury to date.

NASA tells Congress to take a hike. I couldn’t agree more.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

One of the many great things about paleontology is the ever-changing nature of its discoveries. And this newest one is not a little amazing.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Wind, like water, can sculpt the Earth’s landscapes in some amazing ways.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES/SUSTAINABILITY

A very good read on the connection between our urban biosphere and atmosphere. It’s also a good excuse for you to plant a tree!

As of late, the UK has been dealing with air pollution that warrants health warnings.

What smog-eating buildings lack in aesthetics is made up for in clean air.

Of note to seasonal allergy sufferers; Air pollutants could boost the potency of the very things that make you feel miserable.

Love to see this come to fruition. “Solar could meet CA energy demand 3 to 5 times over.”

Speaking of CA, solar plants produced 5% of the state’s electricity last year.

This gives a new meaning to “waste” not, want not. “This Public Bus Runs Entirely On Human Poop Converted Into Fuel.”

New roofs in France must be covered in plants or solar panels. I’ve no problem with that. Not only will it be a good renewables/sustainability move, anything…and I do mean anything…is more aesthetically appealing than a black tar and gravel roof.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Happy World Meteorological Day to all the atmospheric scientists, citizen scientists, and devoted weather hobbyists out there! Here’s a look at work the World Meteorological Organization is doing regarding climate change. “The WMO is working more broadly to better disseminate weather and climate information to those on the ground who need it to make informed decisions, including farmers, health workers and emergency managers.”

The latest State Of The Climate report has been released by NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center. The full report can be read here. A concise summary can be found here. Bottom line: global average temperatures for both February, 2015 and December, 2014 – February 2015 were above average across the board for land and sea surface temperatures. I highly recommend that those interested, regardless of your position, read the full report carefully.

This week’s US Drought Monitor shows a sliver of improvement, but otherwise the extreme/exceptional conditions persist from CA, NV, & OR to OK & TX.

As California’s drought worsens, a relief plan has been proposed. Water rationing may very well become a way of life while reserves of water up to 20,000 years old are being tapped. Desperate measures for desperate times indeed.

Arctic sea ice, which scientists knew was shrinking rapidly, has just hit a new low.

Merchants Of Doubt” will be showing in a few select cities. If you’re living in one where it will be showing, I’d take it in. There are plenty of folks who don’t think you should.

Waterspouts may appear graceful, benign, and even almost harmless, but they are as potentially deadly as any Great Plains tornado. Here’s an interesting video of a recent waterspout in Brazil.

Interesting concept that’s certainly worth a try. “Experimental Forecast Projects #Tornado Season.”

Intriguing read about weather’s second deadliest killer. “Morning is the time for powerful lightning.”

Here’s a very interesting read on severe weather and how it affects animal behavior.

The individual who compiled this data isn’t doing his reputation any favors. Besides, as the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” Regardless, here’s said individual’s take on the “dreariest” cities in the USA.

THE VISCERAL UNDERBELLY

This blatant violation of the 1st Amendment can only get worse from here. “Florida’s Climate Change Gag Order Claims Its First Victim.”

Someone please tell me this is a joke…right? “Solar eclipse: schoolchildren banned from watching on ‘religious and cultural’ grounds.”

THIS WEEK’S SEVERE WEATHER POTENTIAL…AND SOME HELPFUL HINTS

Updated 2:25 PM (1925 UTC) 24 March 2015: As of this post, an Elevated and Slight Risk of severe thunderstorms exists for Tuesday (from OK to MO) and Wednesday (TX northeast into IL/KY). As is always the case with Storm Prediction Center (SPC) severe weather outlooks, changes in status are inevitable. This video from the SPC will show you how severe weather forecasts are made. These forecasts are made by some of the top-notch atmospheric scientists in the USA and should be the primary severe weather outlooks you use. The SPC also issues all severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and mesoscale discussions (technical but informative products regarding the status of severe weather potential or ongoing storms). Now that we’ve covered that, here’s my subjective take on this week’s severe weather potential. The primary threats will be high winds and hail. Tornadoes will likely be far and few between if any are able to form. This isn’t the kind of “recipe” for a major severe weather outbreak, so there’s no reason to panic or worry unnecessarily. I’ll also spare you all the “geek-speak” that will no doubt flood social media and blogs since that is not the intended audience for this section of this post.

While you still have a day or so to prepare, look over your emergency kit to make sure it’s in order, your NOAA weather radio is function properly, follow the SPC, your local National Weather Service office, and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice on Twitter, and (if this applies to you) double-check your smart phone severe weather warning app. Though this only scratches the surface and I could go on for page after page on preparedness, it’s my intention to give you some helpful hints and give some peace of mind to those who tend to have strong feelings of anxiety or worry if and when severe weather is possible. One thing you can do that will most certainly alleviate any unnecessary discomfort on your part is to avoid the fear mongers, hype-sters, and over zealous “media-rologists.” It’s true that everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, freedom of speech, and (as long as TOS are observed) can run their own social media accounts as they wish. On the other hand, the public (and possibly law enforcement) won’t take kindly to someone screaming “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. You’re free to follow whomever you wish in social media, but caveat emptor please. Just as one would never go to a homeopathic hobbyist for a severe medical condition, one should exercise extreme caution regarding severe weather warnings. As for the information I share on any of the social media outlets from Tornado Quest, I only share severe thunderstorm or tornado watch information for the southern plains from the SPC once all the information is online. I also enjoy sharing mesoscale discussions relevant to Oklahoma and surrounding states to give folks a “behind the scenes” look into what SPC forecasters are thinking. This is merely for convenience since (1.) I have a high concentration of followers in the southern plains and (2.) I try my best to make folks aware of official sources of information. If I comment or post a radar image of a particularly strong or tornadic storm, it’s more from a scientific or weather geek perspective. I do not and never will post warning information. Under no circumstances should any of the information I share on Tornado Quest be used for the safety of life and/or property. If you’ve read this far, it’s become obvious that this portion of the post is less about this week’s severe weather potential than how you can best get reliable and timely warnings from the best responsible sources. I’ve addressed this issue for years and, not unexpectedly, my opinions aren’t popular…but I stand behind every word.

And on that note, I’d like to welcome my new followers…I appreciate all of you a great deal. Stay weather aware folks! See you next time!

Cheers!

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