Tag Archives: lightning

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For September 19 – 27, 2016

Greetings and happy Autumnal Equinox to folks in the Northern Hemisphere! If you’re south of the equator,  I hope your start to the spring season has gotten off to a grand start. There’s plenty of science news to peruse this week, so let’s get started.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter could be going up for sale in the near future. Considering its my primary social media outlet, I’m watching this unfold with great interest and not a little concern.

Here’s an excellent read that you should take very seriously. “66 Ways To Protect Your Privacy Right Now.”

The FBI recommends that you cover up the webcam on your computer…and for a very good reason.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

An interesting new perspective. “Scientists Confirm The Universe Has No Direction.”

A very intriguing read on Jupiter’s moon Europa and some of the newest “secrets” discovered.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING

Here’s an example of recycling at its best! Check out this table made from plastic pollution that’s found in our oceans.

A very concise overview of the causes behind wildfires.

According to recent World Health Organization data, over 90% of the world’s population is breathing unhealthy air.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Frustrated by political inaction, 375 of the world’s top scientists, including 30 Nobel Prize winners, didn’t mince words as to the immediate climate threat and published an open letter regarding climate change.

While ozone is unhealthy at ground level, it’s presence in our upper atmosphere is crucial. Here’s an excellent read on how and why ozone is measured from space.

A very impressive data set! “Longest historic temperature record stretches back 2 million years.”

Getting priorities straight with bipartisan support at home and cooperation with other countries is the most satisfactory path to dealing with climate change.

Is extreme weather driven by climate change costing USA citizens a lot of money? You bet it is. Current estimates tally a total upwards of $67 Billion US dollars.

Speaking of priorities, science is perhaps the only self-correcting field of study…and climate scientists are giving us fair warning that it’s time to recalculate the math on climate change.

“President Obama signed a presidential memorandum establishing that climate-change impacts must be factored into the development of all national security-related doctrine, policies and plans.” For the USA, this is good news. Like it or not, climate change has become an important part of national and foreign policy.

Here’s important information for folks who are deaf or hard of hearing and need important NOAA Weather Radio watches, warnings, and other important weather information.

The Autumnal Equinox arrived earlier this week for the Northern Hemisphere. Here are answers to the five most common questions regarding this annual event.

A lightning bolt in Oklahoma has been deemed the world’s longest…just under 200 miles in length!

Let’s hope this comes to fruition. “Senate Weather Bill That Supports Forecast Improvement Can Benefit All Americans.”

Can climate change deniers be some of the world’s most efficient contrary contrarians? According to this article, I’d answer that question in the affirmative.

Finally, a spot on info-graphic from Dr. Marshall Shepherd that should help you out when you’re dogged with that sophomoric statement about being “wrong half the time.”

cs9hjuexeaanjgp-jpg-largeI can recall many occasions where the Storm Prediction Center has been absolutely hitting the bull’s eye with severe weather outlooks…but if they’re off a bit (as happened a few weeks ago), you’d think it was the end of western civilization as we know it whilst people are calling for heads to roll. Much of the general public isn’t aware of the intricacies of weather forecasting and doesn’t comprehend the fact that dealing with a three-dimensional fluid that is in a never-ending state of erratic flux is one of the most daunting challenges a meteorologist/climatologist/weather hobbyist/storm chaser faces.

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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For July 29 – August 5, 2016

Greetings to everyone! I hope the weather’s being good to you no matter where you live. The most responses this week have come from the article on the current “hurricane drought” in the USA. Complacency could breed a nightmare scenario. There’s plenty of other interesting topics to explore out there, so let’s get started.

For your consideration, here are this weeks links…

CITIZEN SCIENCE

A nice essay on how anyone (yes, that includes you) can be a part of citizen science. It’s easy, often costs little to nothing, and covers a myriad of interests.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

This has been a long time coming. The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally realized that jet aircraft exhaust is not good for our planet.

A sobering graphic that shows the almost unbelievable growth of garbage dumps across the United States in the past century.

Here’s some good renewables news! The world’s largest floating wind farm is set to open in 2021 off the coast of California.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

2015 was without a doubt the warmest year on record for Earth. Here’s a look at the ten most startling facts about yet another record year for climate change.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released a 300-page State Of The Climate report documenting the historic warmth of 2015 as well as scores of other aspects of last year’s climate.

The hefty report, State of the Climate in 2015, was produced by more than 450 scientists from 62 countries around the world — more than any previous edition.

What this amazing video of a lightning bold obliterating a telephone pole…then watch it again in slow motion.

Check out these amazing images. “180,000 forgotten photos reveal the future of Greenland’s ice.”

The USA hasn’t seen landfall from a hurricane since 2015. That could induce complacency…and a potentially deadly scenario. It’s only a matter of time before this “hurricane drought” and our luck runs out.

Being an atmospheric scientist and studying climate often involves working in extreme weather conditions. Do you think you’ve got what it takes? Check this out.

Thanks to climate change, a new public health hazard can’t be ignored. “Hot and humid summer weather across the U.S. brings with it the rise of the mosquito season, and this year the threat of the Zika virus makes that more than a minor nuisance.”

The “fingerprints” of climate change can be found on every corner of the globe.

A very thought-provoking essay on a infrequently discussed but irrevocable climate and global economies link.

NBC’s new storm chasing vehicles sporting doppler radars are quite interesting…and more likely a gimmick than of scientific value.

THE QUIXOTIC

Senator Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) granddaughter gets science and wants to know why, unlike 64 percent of the American population which have climate change concerns, Inhofe does not understand the science.

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!

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For May 31 – June 7, 2016

Greetings everyone! I hope that all of you are having a great week and, if it’s warm where you live, you’re preparing for the onslaught of summer heat. Here in the USA’s Great Plains, we’ll be flirting with 90F in many locations this week. Summer is fraught with its own hazards and the heat that goes with it is an underrated hazard. On that note, let’s get started.

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

SOCIAL SCIENCE

An interesting read that challenges traditional opinions. “Our Level Of Wisdom Varies Depending On The Situation.”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A fascinating look at the weather on another planet as astronomers explore the complex atmosphere of the planet Jupiter.

Astronomers have known for some time that our universe is expanding. New research shows it’s expanding at a faster rate than previously believed.

All life on Earth and the atoms in our bodies were created in the furnace of now-long-dead stars.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico have found that contaminants (aka ‘Dirty Blizzard’) from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill lingered in the subsurface water for months after oil on the surface had been swept up or dispersed.

Plastic bag bans may like a good idea, but is it truly good for the environment?

Living in a sustainable manner sounds good, but many are not quite sure what “living sustainably” means.

A combination of operational meteorology and renewable energy sources that can benefit in a “win/win” situation.

You go Norway! This Scandinavian country has just become the world’s first country to commit to zero deforestation.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES

A stark reminder on the dangers of lightning…which is a clear and present danger even in the most “benign” of thunderstorms. If you can hear thunder, even just a distant rumble, you’re in danger of being struck.

These houses, by design and construction, handle hurricanes better than traditional design homes.

A thorough read on what’s causing the recent deadly floods in France and Germany. Unfortunately, it’s something they may have to get used to.

A good read from Climate Central on how the recent increase in Alaska wildfires is worsening global warming.

An interesting look at the trials and tribulations of riding along on a Great Plains storm chasing tour. Welcome to Oklahoma!

Yes, temperatures in the mid 80’s Fahrenheit are quite warm in Sweden. Here in Oklahoma, we should be so lucky.

I had to do a double take when I read this story’s title whilst thinking, “Surely you jest!” “Arabic Weather Term ‘Haboob’ is apparently troubling for some Texans.”

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to welcome my new followers here on WordPress & my other social media outlets. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

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 More For April 18 – 25, 2016

Greetings to one and all! I hope everyone’s having a great week and, regardless of where you live, the weather’s to your liking. There are plenty of topics to cover this week, especially in the climate change realm, and we’ll touch on those. However, due to impending severe weather in the USA’s central and southern plains this week from 26 April – 28 April, this post will be shorter than usual. Speaking of the severe weather threat, this would be an excellent time to double-check your emergency preparedness kit, your NOAA weather radio, other reliable sources of information, and any other details regarding the safety of your family, friends, coworkers, and you. At the end of this post there are three infographics that will explain the basics of what you need to know for severe weather safety. Having said that, let’s get started on this week’s post.

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Fortunately, reason and the scientific method have triumphed once again. “Court Tosses Kansas Case That Tried To Challenge Science Education Guidelines.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Smartphone users are redefining, and diminishing, privacy in public places.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A very thought-provoking read on the “irony” of Earth Day cleanups.

A nice read on seven things we’ve learned about our fragile and humble home since the first Earth Day back in 1970.

On the flip side, there’s plenty to celebrate on Earth Day…no need for endless pessimism!

Natural disasters around the globe have resulted in economic losses of roughly $7 trillion (equivalent to about £5tn or €6tn) since 1900, according to a new calculation from scientists.

The relentless drought plaguing the western parts of the USA has had far-reaching effects of many facets.

As many as half of all USA citizens breathe air that is literally a public health hazard.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

There’s no doubt about it that April is, statistically, the top month for long-track tornadoes in the USA.

An excellent climate read from Climate Central. “Flirting With The 1.5°C Threshold.

March, 2016 continues a global streak of staggering global warmth due to climate change.

With the Paris climate agreement now signed by more than half of the world’s countries, the hard work begins.

“By mid-century, pockets of southern Europe will face at least one severe climate hazard every year of the scale now occurring only once a century, according to a new study.”

Sad but true quote from Upton Sinclair. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” No better way of displaying climate change denial at its best than with “Bill Nye the Science Guy Takes On Climate Denialist Joe Bastardi the ‘Goebbels’ Guy.”

Last, but not least, here’s some valuable information to have on hand with regards to the pending severe weather for this week…or any time of the year for that matter.

IMG_0805This graphic from the Storm Prediction Center explains what you need to know about the different levels of severe weather risks that are issued in outlooks.

Watch and Warning Info GraphicIf a watch or warning is issued for your area, here’s the basics of what you need to know…most importantly, the difference between a watch and a warning.

IMG_0807If a warning is issued for your area, any of the thunderstorms can contain at least one (if not all) of the above hazards.

Cg45hP8WgAAyK2h.jpg largeMany people are still confused as to the difference between a tornado warning vs. a tornado watch. Here are the basics of what you need to know.

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

Cheers!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

 

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For February 29 – March 7, 2016

Greeting all! For my followers in the Northern Hemisphere, welcome to Meteorological Spring which began 1 March 2016. Winter still has much of a grip across parts of North America, Europe, & Scandinavia, but there are signs that warmer weather is on the way.

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

TECHNOLOGY

Are you using Windows 10? Here’s an interesting read on how Microsoft has beefed up Windows Defender.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Amazing astronomy news. “By pushing the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to its limits astronomers have shattered the cosmic distance record by measuring the distance to the most remote galaxy ever seen in the Universe.”

For those of us who are astronomy buffs and live in population centers, light pollution is one of the banes of our urban living existence.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

California’s water woes due to drought continue as a water mandate is extended through October, 2016.

Here’s some very good renewable energy news. “For The First Time, Solar Will Be The Top New Source Of Energy This Year.”

Are current technological developments improving air quality?

California’s drought woes continue with a shortage of mud being the latest challenge.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

A very comprehensive and nicely done look at the USA’s significant tornado activity for 2016. What will the rest of the year bring? Time will tell, but as things look now, an “average” year is more than likely.

Speaking of tornadoes, a recent study says that “extreme” tornado outbreaks (i.e. 3 April, 1974, 27 April 2011, et al) are becoming more common.

Here’s a very intriguing idea in a recent study concerning forecasting tornadoes in the long-term.

In many areas across the USA, Severe Weather Preparedness Week’s are in full swing. Here’s a very comprehensive page from the National Weather Service on severe weather & tornado safety tips.

 A fascinating read on research into a common, but strangely elusive atmospheric phenomenon we know as lightning.

If you live in England or Wales and feel the current winter is warm, you’re right. In fact, the winter of 2015/16 is expected to beat records going back to the 17th century.

A very nicely detailed overview of why the February, 2016 global temperature spike is significant not only at the surface, but much higher in the atmosphere.

January and February 2016 set global temperature records. Depending on the data, it’s El Niño versus manmade climate change that’s responsible.

No easy answers in the public and political discourse regarding climate change. “As Warming Accelerates, Talk Of Climate Change Dissipates.”

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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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

Tornado Quest Science Links For February 15 – 22, 2016

Greetings all! I hope everyone’s having a great week. The weather across much of North America has been relatively tranquil this week with unseasonably warm temperatures across much of the southern plains. As of today (22 February 2016) a busy severe weather day is on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday (23 & 24 February 2016) from Texas to the east coast states. Speaking of severe weather, all across the United States the National Weather Service offices are holding Skywarn spotting training classes. If you’re interested in severe weather and contributing to your community, I’d strongly recommend you take one of these courses and spend two (if not more) seasons as an “intern” with a seasoned spotter. On that note, let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Fortunately, the United States citizenry has a satisfactory of support for science.

In spite of the optimism expressed in the previous link, there’s still putrid bounty of anxiety and antagonism towards science within the US of A.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Sweden, you are amazing in every way! “Sweden To Go Carbon Neutral By 2045.”

Some great tips here! “17 Sustainable Ways To Be A Better Person To Yourself And To Others.”

Four billion people are facing a life-threatening water shortage…and no, the USA is not exempt.

Very interesting, and not surprising, infographic on the world’s most polluted cities.

You know the air in parts of China is bad when ventilation “corridors” are being built so people don’t have to breathe the outdoor air.

Of great interest to many here in Oklahoma. “Does Living Near An Oil Or Natural Gas Well Affect Your Drinking Water?”

Another read for folks in Oklahoma who are constantly barraged with shake, frack, and roll. “Sierra Club Sues Over Oil Company Earthquakes.”

Climate change + drought = a continent-wide volatile scenario. “Mother Africa On Fire.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Interesting interactive chart showing temperature trends for over 3,100 cities in 2015.

The UK’s Met Office habit of naming storms is likely little more than misguided hype.

Some nice videos of climate scientists briefly discussing climate change.

A very important read from Climate Central. “What Scalia’s Death Means For Climate Change.” Like it or not, climate change has become as much a foreign & domestic policy issue as much as it is science.

A good read by Chris Mooney on where our Earth’s the most vulnerable regions to big swings in climate.

Two years ago, a large, inexplicable hot patch of water appeared in the Pacific Ocean, and stayed right through the seasons—until now. Referred to as “the Blob,” it’s gone away, taken by El Niño. Will it return?

Speaking of El Niño, it has passed its peak strength but impacts will continue according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

 My fellow lightning aficionados will enjoy this read. Lightning-produced ozone has been detected…and this could be important to air quality assessment and prediction in the future.

The University of Miami just opened a new research facility that, by creating a “hurricane in a box,” can help us prepare for dangerous and potentially cataclysmic storms.

An amazing view of ice shattering like plates of glass on North American’s Lake Superior.

THE QUIXOTIC

“Hairy Panic,” a fast growing tumbleweed with a name straight out of a third-rate horror flick rolls into an Australian city.

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!

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Media Inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

Tornado Quest on WordPress: https://tornadoquest.wordpress.com

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

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

With the arrival of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the summer heat has arrived over much of the southern contiguous USA with a vengeance. In mid to late June, we’re already dealing with triple digit heat indices. It’s probably safe to say that the severe weather season, with a few exceptions, is a done deal for the traditional tornado alley. Oddly enough, the epicenter of severe weather shifted to the northern plains, Great Lakes, and south-central Canada unusually early this year. The Pope’s message on climate and the environment has been big news…and should be. While not perfect, it’s a step in the right direction.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

If you’ve never watched This Week In Science, be sure to check out their YouTube channel. Dr. Kiki Sanford and company have a plethora of cool science topics every week. I’ve watched TWIS for years and highly recommend it to anyone of all ages who has an interest in anything and everything science.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Oklahoma is on a pace to break its earthquake records of years past. Shake, frack, and roll.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING

New NASA data shows the world’s largest underground aquifers, which are a source of fresh water for hundreds of millions of people, are being depleted at alarming rates.
As an avid recycler, I’ve learned to avoid plastic as much as possible. It’s not easy, but we all have to deal with it…often involuntarily.
Here are six good reasons to either avoid or recycle plastic as much as possible.
A “tip-of-the-hat” to Mom’s Clean Air Force for their recent Father’s Day article, “Five Ways Dad’s Can Fight For Clean Air.”Speaking of clean air, the pollution in Chile has been so bad as of late that a “pollution emergency” was declared in Santiago.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

This week is Lightning Safety Week in the USA. Here’s some “bookmark-worthy” safety information from the National Weather Service.

The latest US Drought Monitor map shows the drastic reduction in drought conditions for the southern plains. Unfortunately, conditions for California have been static.

Summer has arrived with a vengeance across the south and southern plains states. Climate Central takes a look at how summers since 1970 have compared to one another.

The Pope’s recent encyclical on the climate and environment has stirred many reactions…including some who find it a bitter pill to swallow.

While the Pope’s encyclical was a good start, Lawrence M. Krauss adeptly points out its shortcomings.

Economics and climatology may seem strange bedfellows, but there is a connection.

Here’s a very thought-provoking read on the complexities and problems in ranking climate data and statistics. “Is Second Place Really First Loser?”

A bizarre National Weather Service restructuring program has been shelved (for the time being) and in its place is something beneficial and life-saving…NWS severe weather communication.

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

This week in social media: Tornado Quest on About Me

 

Updated: Wednesday’s Severe Weather Episode For Central/Southern Plains

For the mid-day Day 1 Severe Weather Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), a Moderate Risk was introduced for parts of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The possibility of this happening had been mentioned in previous outlooks. Considering some of the atmospheric ingredients coming into place, I’m not at all surprised. This post will focus on the mid-afternoon update issued by the SPC at 3:00 PM CDT (2000 UTC). More severe weather outlook updates will be issued by the SPC today. The next one will be at approximately 8:00 PM CDT (0100 UTC) and 1:00 AM CDT (0600 UTC). Keep in mind that severe weather setups are in a constant state of flux…and rarely do situations stay static from one hour to the next. This is where keeping in touch with your local National Weather Service office and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice are beneficial along with NOAA weather radio and, if available to you, a quality smart phone warning app. This post will be quite brief since things are rapidly falling into place for a busy severe weather day.

Let’s take a look at the mid-afternoon SPC severe weather update.

PUBLIC SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK ISSUED AT 12:01 PM CDT

PSWO 1 8 April 2014The SPC has issued a special Public Severe Weather Outlook that concisely explains today’s severe weather potential. This essentially has all the information you need to know. The next best step is making sure your emergency kit is in order and keep tabs on any warnings that are issued. Here’s a look at the mid-afternoon severe weather update from SPC.

WEDNESDAY MID-AFTERNOON SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK

Day 1 Categorical Outlook 1 8 April 2015Very little has changed from the earlier forecasts other than an increase in the likelihood of damaging straight-line winds and very large hail…possible up to three inches in diameter. As I’ve stated in previous posts, this is a very complex forecast scenario, is no “slam-dunk” forecast, and variables have come into play that may have a significant change in storm mode and hazards. Not everyone in the categorical outlook areas will see severe weather, but if you live anywhere in the Marginal, Slight, Enhanced, and Moderate Risk, be sure to keep in touch with official sources of watch and warning information. When and where will the storms form? From the mid-afternoon discussion, “ROUGHLY NEAR THE KANSAS/OKLAHOMA BORDER AREA EASTWARD THROUGH THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY…IS STILL EXPECTED TO BECOME THE FOCUS FOR THE PRIMARY STORM DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE PERIOD. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE MOST SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN COVERAGE/INTENSITY ALONG THE PLAINS PORTIONS OF THIS BOUNDARY MAY NOT OCCUR UNTIL THE 00-02Z (7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT) TIME FRAME.” In other words, some of the strongest storms may not get going until close to sunset…or even after dark. At night, it can be particularly difficult to see storms…so pay particular attention to any warning that is issued. Make sure you have a source of reliable official warnings handy through your evening and plan accordingly. While you’re at it, do yourself a favor and avoid the fear mongers. For those of you with anxiety and/or phobias regarding storms, deal with PTSD due to a previous encounter with a storm-related event, or are simply experiencing a great deal of worry, they’ll do you no good. Overall, they offer very little information that hasn’t already been disseminated by OFFICIAL watch and warning sources, and their actions (especially in social media) are usually self-serving.

In a scenario such as this, tornadoes are always front and center in everyone’s concern. Here’s a look at the mid-afternoon SPC tornado outlook map.

WEDNESDAY MID-AFTERNOON TORNADO OUTLOOK

SPC Day 1 Tornado Outlook 1 8 April 2015

The current thinking is the highest probability for a tornado is in the red shaded area. The highest probability for a significant (EF2 – EF5) tornado is in the black “hatched” area. Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone in the tornado outlook area will see a tornado…or even be in a tornado warning. Tornadoes can also occur in the 5% or 2% area, but that’s less likely. Just because someone lives right outside of the 10% or 5% area doesn’t mean they should let their guard down and take a cavalier attitude. On the flip side, the purpose of this map and all others isn’t to scare you, but keep you informed as to what kind of severe weather you may experience so if it occurs, you can take the necessary precautions.

Before we wind this up…here’s a look at the SPC damaging wind and hail outlooks.

WEDNESDAY MID-AFTERNOON HAIL OUTLOOK

SPC Day 1 Hail Outlook 1 8 April 2015 The chances for large hail are especially significant in the red shaded area and the hatched area for parts of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and a small part of west-central Illinois. Once again, not everyone will see large hail, but the possibility is there. You might consider making sure your vehicles or anything that could be damaged by large hail is under cover. Now a quick look at the SPC damaging wind outlook.

WEDNESDAY MID-AFTERNOON WIND OUTLOOK

SPC Day 1 Wind Outlook 1 8 April 2015The 30% damaging wind outlook area closely corresponds with the tornado outlook. North-central Oklahoma to west-central Missouri are the areas currently most vulnerable. Perhaps most important is the fact that any storms that form and become severe in any of the outlook areas have the potential for damaging straight-line winds, large hail, and tornadoes. Another very important and often overlooked risk is for flash flooding. The severe thunderstorms that form today can put down copious amounts of rain that can turn a low lying road or small creek into a roaring river that can sweep away even the largest of vehicles. Remember the safety phrase, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” It could save your life. Lightning will also be a hazard with any thunderstorm…severe our otherwise…so mind the lightning danger.

Now that you’ve gotten the scoop on what’s ahead especially in the Enhanced and Moderate Risk areas, time to put your game face on and keep on top of all watches and warnings. If you have a solid plan of action to take if you need to seek shelter and a reliable, hype-free source of watch and warning information, you will be safe. Yes, much of the information from official sources will sound stern at times, but it’s their job. You are being looked after by some of the best atmospheric scientists in the field…and trust me, some of these folks are top-notch experts with an inimitable dedication to their profession, willingly carrying the heavy responsibility that rests on their shoulders all while keeping your safety in mind.

For your convenience, here are some excellent sources of weather and weather safety information:

Finally, if you have a smart phone, you can put it to good use by downloading the mPING app and reporting to the National Severe Storms Laboratory any severe weather you experience. This is a great way for you to take your mind off the unpleasant side of severe weather while contributing information to research meteorologists. Every report counts…including yours…but please don’t put yourself in danger just to get that report.

Remember, stay informed, stay safe, stay calm.

Since things are getting very busy for me, this will likely be the last post for the Tornado Quest blog. For the rest of the duration of this event, I can most easily be followed or reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TornadoQuest.

Cheers!

Updated: Potentially Active Severe Weather Episode Mid-Week For Central/Southern Plains

As expected, there have been significant changes to the Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlooks for this week. The most notable change is with the Thursday outlook which, as of this post, has the outlook area covering states much farther to the northeast that in previous outlooks. Regardless, we’ve a busy weather week ahead. Let’s first take a look at Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY

SPC Wed Outlook 1 6 April 2015

Wednesday’s Slight Risk has been expanded and now covers a large area from south-central OK into southern Iowa and western Illinois. Several major metro areas are within the Slight Risk and include Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City, Wichita, and all surrounding suburbs. Warm, moist air is flowing northward across the risk area and will provide the fuel for the storms. In western Oklahoma, Kansas, and northwest Texas, a “dryline” (which is a sharp demarcation line between dry and moist air) will be the focal point for storm development. In the early hours of Wednesday, storm formation will be deterred by a “cap” which literally stops warm, moist parcels of air from rising and forming storms. Eventually, ingredients in the recipe will come into play that will allow the cap to “break” and storms will develop. Once that happens, storms that develop should rapidly become supercell thunderstorms with heavy rainfall, large hail, strong straight-line winds, and the potential for tornadoes. The SPC specifically addresses the tornado threat with, “THE AMPLY MOIST BOUNDARY LAYER AND FAVORABLE LOW-LEVEL SHEAR — PARTICULARLY NORTHWARD INTO KANSAS NEARER THE ADVANCING SURFACE LOW — WILL LIKELY BE SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT RISK FOR TORNADOES.” In other words, plentiful moisture for storm “fuel” along with wind shear that will allow storms to rotate will be present. There’s no reason to panic, just be aware that “tis the season” and any storms that form in the right environment have tornadic potential. Some forecast data hints at storms being somewhat isolated from each other, but any storms that do form will quickly become severe. As the evening progresses, storms will likely become more numerous, less isolated, and a reduction in the tornado threat may occur, but the large hail and damaging straight-line wind threat will continue. Flash flooding will also be an issue with any location that experiences torrential rainfall. Flooding kills more people every year than all other weather hazards combined and, in my opinion is a greatly underrated weather hazard. Now let’s take a look at Wednesday’s SPC Severe Weather Probabilistic map.

WEDNESDAY’S SEVERE WEATHER PROBABILISTIC MAP

SPC Wed Outlook 2 6 April 2015

The purpose of this SPC map is very simple, but certainly not meant to frighten anyone. It simply shows the probability of severe weather, including significant events, of occurring within twenty-five miles of any given point. Not every location within the Slight Risk 15% area or the significant severe “hatched” area will see storms. Some locations may not even see a drop of rain. It simply lets you know that within these areas, particularly the “hatched” area outlined in black, has a higher probability of severe weather being reported. This doesn’t mean an imminent disaster, but the Slight Risk also doesn’t mean storms will be “slightly” severe. At this time, SPC forecasters feel that storms within the hatched area will be pretty potent…which means if you live in or will be traveling through this area, expect a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch, numerous warnings, and some robust storms that won’t hesitate to show off how much shake, rattle, and roll they can make. It does not mean the end of the world or “death raining from the skies” which, unfortunately, is the message that many attention hungry fear mongers will convey through social media. If you have a well stocked emergency kit, a disaster/shelter plan in place, have good sources of watch and warning information, and heed all warnings and advisories only from official sources (your local National Weather Service office and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice), you will be safe. If you’re in an area where a warning has been issued, do not run outside with your camcorder to capture your ten seconds of YouTube fame, jump in a car and decide to become and impromptu “storm chaser,” or panic and try to drive out of the path of a storm. Those actions will expose you to lightning, high winds which can make driving difficult, low visibility, traffic congestion, and flash flooding which (with only two feet or less of water) can sweep you and your vehicle away. Plan ahead (as in now) for a day of severe weather, stay weather aware, and you’ll be fine. Now we can turn our attention to Thursday.

THURSDAY

SPC Day 4 Outlook 6 April 2015

At the risk of sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet, when I first saw this map, my immediate thought was, “Ah-Ha! Just as I thought. The severe weather threat area has been shifted to the north and east! Wednesday’s storms have overturned much of the atmosphere and laid out tons of outflow boundaries! What a mess…and forecasting nightmare.” I’m beginning to think that almost forty years of being a “weather geek” is paying off. But enough of me, back to the SPC severe outlook for Thursday. Due to the previous days severe weather and certain changes in the atmospheric “recipe,” this day presents (as stated in the SPC outlook), “SUBSTANTIAL CHALLENGES WITH RESPECT TO THE CONVECTIVE FORECAST.” In other words, severe weather is very likely, but what a headache it is trying to narrow things down to when and where. Wednesday’s storms will have had an effect on the atmosphere that will change where and when new storms form. To make matters more challenging, computer forecast models are not fully in agreement on where storms will be at the beginning of the day and where they will form as the hours pass. The threat for large hail and damaging straight line winds will definitely be present and the risk for tornadoes could be somewhat less than on Wednesday, but don’t let your guard down. Any storms that form Thursday will be just as potent as Wednesday’s storms and you should heed official information on watches and warnings with the same degree of caution. In spite of the possibility that Wednesday’s storms may have taken some of Thursday’s severe weather energy, it will be a day you’ll want to be keenly weather aware, especially in the red 30% area for parts of Illinois and Missouri. Once again, there’s no need to panic or worry. Simply be prepared, avoid the fear mongers, stick with official sources of weather information, and you will be fine. Let’s take a quick look at Friday.

FRIDAY

SPC Day 5 Outlook 6 April 2015By the time Friday rolls around, much of the “energy” for storms will have moved to an area stretching from Georgia northward to the DelMarVa region. Time will tell, but it appears at this time that damaging straight line winds and large hail will be the primary threats. As is the case with previous days, what transpires Friday will depend a great deal on Thursday’s storm activity. If you live in or near the 15% probability region, keep a reliable source of official weather information handy. As is always the case, as each specific forecast time draws nearer, the SPC forecasters can be more specific as to where and when storms will occur and what threats will be most prominent.

It’s my hope that these posts are helpful in your preparation for an active and interesting episode of weather. If anything,  I hope to give those of you that have a degree of anxiety or phobias towards storms a sense of being in control by acquiring knowledge. Knowledge being power, and a sense of empowerment begets a calmer state of mind. In our contemporary world where divisiveness on the most menial of topics runs rampant, the human species needs all the “calm” we can get.

Let’s meet again tomorrow and take a look at this show Mother Nature has on the schedule. Who knows what changes she’ll have up her sleeve by then. In the mean time, check your NOAA weather radio, emergency kit, and plan your day accordingly. If you’d like to see all of the SPC’s information, you can find it here. If you need information from your local National Weather Service office, click your location on the “NWS Forecast Offices Map” and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Finally, if you need information on NOAA weather radio, you can find it all here.

Cheers!

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