Tag Archives: paleontology

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For August 29 – September 6, 2016

Greetings to one and all! It’s been quite a week for the tropical Atlantic and Pacific with several hurricanes, some reaching major intensity, taking the stage front and center. Hurricane Hermine made landfall in the Florida panhandle as a Category 1 storm and was the first hurricane to hit the “Sunshine State” since 2005. As of this post, Hermine is off the northeast coast of the USA and still poses a threat in spite of having lost its tropical characteristics. In the Pacific, hurricanes Madeline and Lester took swipes at Hawaii and gave us a reminder than those chain of islands are very vulnerable to even the most intense tropical cyclones. This post will be on the brief side since the past week has been exceptionally busy with hurricanes and multi-tasking previous commitments and media requests. As usual, there are many good reads on climate change as well as other dimensions of the atmospheric sciences…so let’s get started.

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

HISTORY OF SCIENCE

Meet the woman who first identified the greenhouse effect in 1856.

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION/EDUCATION

An excellent read for those of us who communicate science to the non-scientists. “12 Tips For Scientists Writing For The General Public.”

Yes, art and science can co-exist…and even bolster the scientific mind. From personal experience (I’m an electric bass player) I can say from personal experience that this does work.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

We’ve just gotten a good look at Jupiter’s north pole…and it’s unlike anything we’ve yet encountered in our own solar system.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

This is indeed an amazing and exciting discovery! “Live Thrived On Young Earth. Scientists Discover 3.7 Billion-Year-Old Fossils.”

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Just after 7:00 AM CDT on 3 September 2016, several midwestern states were shaken by a 5.6 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near Pawnee, OK. Damage was reported across a wide area of north-central Oklahoma. This earthquake tied the 5.6 OK earthquake of November, 2011 for the strongest in the Sooner states history. Understandably so, Oklahoma ordered fossil fuel wells shut down after the earthquake. After a relatively quiet period of seismic activity, it’s no accident that the record quake was tied. The question Oklahoma residents must ask themselves now it, “When will another substantial earthquake occur…and will it be an even bigger one?”

Here’s a seismograph from the Leonard, OK station of the earthquake.

OK Earthquake Seismograph 3 September 2016

While on the topic of Oklahoma earthquakes, here’s a good story from NPR on fossil fuel production and it’s relation to the sudden recent increase in seismic activity.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE?RENEWABLES

If there was ever a good reason for creating a drought hardy yard and garden, this is it.

Wind power is really taking off in the USA and is now the number two country in the world in installed wind capacity (after China) and number one in wind electricity generated!

The long-term implications of this are irrevocable. “Natural Gas Is Passing Coal As A Source Of CO2 Emissions In The USA.”

The irrevocable link between our air quality and our health. “Air Pollution Is Sending Tiny Magnetic Particles Into Your Brain.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

For sixty years, atmospheric scientists have watched a steady wind pattern in the stratosphere faithfully repeating like clockwork every two years. Without warning and for the first time it’s changed direction.

Here’s a very nice visualization of hurricanes that will help you easily understand the anatomy of these amazing storms.

What were hurricane hunters studying when they flew into Hurricane Hermine? Read this to find out! “Capturing The Genesis Of A Hurricane.”

In the northwest Pacific ocean, which happens to be the world’s hotspot for tropical cyclone activity, a new study reveals the land-falling typhoons have become more intense.

In spite of the cynics, it’s good news that the USA and China have formally committed to the Paris Climate Accord.

They took the words right out of my mouth…

  • For climate activists, the growing trend of climate change denialism in recent years isn’t just frustrating—it’s alarming. We know that the longer we wait to shift our energy sources and increase the efficiency with which we utilize the energy we produce, the more jarring the shift will be. Despite the powerful message that world leaders have sent by coming together in Paris to agree to limit warming to 2 degrees, currently national and global plans are not enough to make that a reality.”

Having said that, here’s the rest of the article on how to effectively communicate with a denier.

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

 

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For May 16 – 24. 2016

Greetings everyone! I hope all of you have had a good and productive week since we last visited…and here’s to another good week ahead. Speaking of the week ahead, there are several days of severe weather potential across North America on the menu so, as is par for the course, this post will be on the brief side. There are plenty of other topics to touch on this round, so let’s get started.

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

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Here’s some very cool news for my fellow dinosaur buffs. A new species of horned dinosaur has been discovered in the USA state of Utah.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

The legacy you leave behind for future generations is of utmost importance. “Don’t Be Eco-Friendly Just To Do A Good Deed…Make It Your Mark.”

While on the topic of being eco-friendly, many people are compliant at home but do a stellar backsliding job when in the workplace.

Very impressive…Portugal is finding a way to power itself with renewable energy for several days at a time.

The cost of storing renewable energy sources (i.e. solar) has reached a new all-time low.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Recent tornado events in the USA’s central and southern plains…and the resulting “extreme” storm chasing videos have once again proved to us that, in spite of deaths in recent years, storm chasers are stopping at nothing for superficial fame.

Speaking of storm chasing, it takes years of diligent forecasting experience and a dedicated intellect to obtain this kind of spectacular (and exceptionally rare) supercell thunderstorm imagery.

Scientist Bill Nye explains why he’s willing to take on the ostriches. “Why I Choose To Challenge Climate Change Deniers.”

Unfortunately, there’s a 99% chance that 2016 will be a record breaking year for global temperatures.

Recent and abrupt changes in the Atlantic Ocean may have been naturally occurring and not related to climate change.

The El Niño phenomenon that fueled endless weird weather, hot months this past year is on the downswing. If the latest NOAA data is any indicator, La Niña is liquored up and ready to rage.

As hurricane season approaches for the Atlantic basin, it’s very important to identify and have access to reliable sources of valid (and potentially life-saving) information.

Capture 2

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Folks in my ancestral homeland are celebrating the arrival of the summer midnight sun! Njuta av din sommar och har en stor tid!

That’s a wrap for this post! See you folks next time!

Cheers!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For Jan. 25 – Feb. 1, 2016

Happy February everyone! The first month of 2016 has come and gone in a flash. Before we know it, summer heat will be settling in over the Northern Hemisphere. In the meantime, January has been very active weather-wise for parts of North America and the UK. Both regions have experienced significant storms with hurricane force winds, blinding rains, devastating floods, and potentially deadly blizzard conditions. Let’s hope that February will be better behaved but, as is always the case, nature has the better hand and the money is always on the house. On that note, let’s get started.

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Critical thinking and the scientific method are the key ingredients of sorting through the rubbish of conspiracy mindsets from proven facts.

So sad that in the 21st Century, this kind of retrograde mentality is not only being taken seriously, but flourishing with disturbing frequency.

TECHNOLOGY

Understandably so, Americans from across the political spectrum have become increasingly outraged and outspoken as they have learned more about growing surveillance by governments and corporations.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Could you outrun a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex? Even if you could, I would advice against it. 😉

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

NASA’s Opportunity rover has gone above and beyond the call of duty by now purring smoothly into it’s 12th year of exploration.

This week marked the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. NASA marks the anniversary with a pledge to travel to Mars.

Can’t wait to see this finally in action! “Mirror on the Cosmos: NASA’s Next Big Telescope Takes Shape.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

Wind and sunshine could power most of the United States by 2030 without raising electricity prices.

I’m really hoping that this comes to fruition. “By 2030, Renewables Will Be The World’s Primary Power Source.”

Huge hurricane resistant wind power turbines? Sounds like a sound idea to me!

A very sound idea! Denmark is preparing for climate change by building parks that can transform into ponds during heavy rainfall events.

Speaking of Denmark, the beautiful city of Copenhagen is set to divest from fossil fuels.

A sobering read on the increasing amounts of mercury found in rain water over the central and western parts of the USA.

It should come as no surprise that most of the earth’s pollution is created by only a small percentage of polluters.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Many of us, including yours truly, love snow…but is it safe to eat?

An interesting read on the recent USA snowstorm and it’s connection to climate change.

A good climate read. “Study Finds Slim Odds Of Record Heat, But Not As Slim As Reported.”

Using data going back centuries, climate scientists have found that modern-day European summers are the warmest since the height of the Roman empire. For all practical purposed, this will mean a new way of life.

In spite of recent rains and modest improvements, drought conditions persist in parts of California and Oregon where some reservoirs remain well below half of their capacity.

Capture 1

This one day view of our Earth from a satellite is spectacular and a “must see.”

THE QUIXOTIC

Well said! “I hope that by showing how eye-wateringly unlikely some alleged conspiracies are, some people will reconsider their anti-science beliefs.”
Burying one’s head in the sand may feel good for the moment, but it’s not a courageous way to face scientific facts for which there is indisputable evidence.
And that’s a wrap for this post!
I’d like to extend a warm welcome and “Hello” to all 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 January 12 – 19, 2016

Greetings everyone! I hope the new year is off to a good start for all of you. So far this year, at least for most of North America, it’s been a relatively tranquil winter. El Nino is still a big player on a larger scale, many of its effects are yet to be seen. There’s plenty of good news on the renewables front with wind power in particular taking a lot of steam out of the fossil fuels.

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

TECHNOLOGY

Of interest to users of the Windows OS. “Windows 8, Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, and 10 (mostly) consigned to the dustbin of history.”

Sometimes going offline is the best way to spend your time. I take regular breaks from the “online” world and highly recommend them!

PHYSICS

This has the potential to be big in the world of physics. “Rumors are rippling through the science world that physicists may have detected gravitational waves, a key element of Einstein’s theory which if confirmed would be one of the biggest discoveries of our time.”

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Say “Hello” to the Titanosaur, a species that may be the largest dinosaur ever discovered.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A very nice primer on fracking…explained plain and simple.

This was inevitable, and completely justified. “Oklahoma Residents Sue Earthquake Companies Over Earthquake Damage.”

A look at an underrated health hazard. “Shock figures to reveal deadly toll of global air pollution.”

An interesting look at the geology/climate connection. “Growth rings on rocks give up North American climate secrets.”

Ah, the good old days…they weren’t really all that good.

There are only five countries than can be held responsible for up to sixty percent of the plastic pollution in our oceans.

Here’s some awesome renewables news. “Wind power supplied 97% of electricity needs of Scottish households in 2015.”

Even in an oil state like Texas, wind power is making it’s mark and setting records.

If you live in an urban environment and ever needed a reason to plant a tree or two (or a dozen), here’s your excuse.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

A long-awaited upgrade will triple the forecasting computing power of the USA’s National Weather Service.

An excellent read by Dr. Marshall Shepherd on Hurricane Alex, a rare January, 2016 tropical cyclone in the Atlantic Ocean.

Here’s an impressive view of Hurricane Alex from NASA.

Could the ongoing El Nino lead to a below average number of tornadoes across the USA for 2016?

Not so long ago, the ozone hole was the talk of the atmospheric sciences. What happened to it?

There’s a strong correlation between the recent record breaking floods and rains in the UK and climate change.

A list of ten climate related records that you don’t necessarily want to have broken.

JUST FOR FUN

As the saying goes, “When In Rome…” Or, in this case, my beloved Sweden in winter... 🙂

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a hearty “Welcome” to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

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

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

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

TECHNOLOGY

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

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

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

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

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

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

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

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

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

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

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

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE QUIXOTIC

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

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

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For Sept. 16 – 23, 2015

There’s a touch of autumn in the air across much of North America. In fact, I’ve even seen some photographs in my Twitter feed of trees showing off some very nice colors. September is also Emergency Preparedness Month. Here’s a very nice link from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Add this info to your arsenal of bookmarks for a plethora of preparedness info that will help you get in shape for the things we hope won’t happen.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

There’s quite an “ad-block-alypse” going on as of late in regards to ad-blocking add-ons and/or software.

For iOS users…a nice read on the ad blockers that won’t make your browser seem like molasses running uphill.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

This is a “must-see” astronomy event that’s coming this Sunday: The first “Super Moon” Eclipse in thirty-two years is this Sunday, 27 September 2015.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Paleontology isn’t the glamorous “Jurassic Park” fun and games most people think it is. In fact, most paleontologists work in very challenging conditions…and this is no exception.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

A very telling read that most Oklahoman’s (including your’s truly) can relate to. “How One US State Went From Two Earthquakes A Year To 585.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING

A very cool read on five things that people generally don’t consider recyclable.

Yes, it’s alright to buy water in plastic bottles for emergencies. Just make sure you follow proper precautions for water purity and safety. In life-threatening emergencies, there’s not always time to be green. Caveat: This is my personal opinion and the people who would disagree probably live in areas that are not subject to the horrors we see almost every year in Tornado Alley.

The inexorable link between health and climate is clearly explained in this article on air pollution and it’s deadly effects.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The much ballyhooed global warming “pause” may have occurred, but it’s no spearheading “game changer” and will have little to no significance regarding the overwhelming trend of climate change.

The AP Stylebook has just made a major faux pas that makes no sense at all.

Climate change denialists are now resorting to tactics used by the tobacco industry to discredit medical evidence on the harmful effects of smoking.

El Nino and La Nina will exacerbate (and threaten tens of millions) with coastal hazards across entire Pacific.

Public relations food for thought. “Should We Do Away With Percent Chance Of Rain And Just Use Words?” The greatest problem/challenge for NWS and broadcast meteorologists is dispelling the common myths that run rampant.

Last but not least, a reminder for National Preparedness Month that NOAA has a very nice site with a plethora of preparedness information. Check it out…and prepare now before it’s too late.

THE QUIXOTIC

Not sure what to make of this, but it’s “no-new-news” to my fellow “Quake-lahomans.”

As Oklahoma tallies up more earthquakes by the dozens…the “quakegate” continues…

On the brighter side, two last bits of business…

  • I’d like to send a very warm welcome and “hello” to my new followers on social media. I’m glad you folks are along for the fun. The best is yet to come and I’m in this for the long haul.
  • Coming soon, I’ll be hosting weather and science “hangouts” on FriendLife. Dates and times will be posted on Tornado Quest’s Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress social media outlets. I look forward to chatting with many of you!

That’s a wrap for this post! See you good folks soon!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For May 26 – June 2, 2015

Many of you who live outside of the southern plains of the contiguous USA may be wondering why all the news coverage of flooding (particularly in Oklahoma and Texas) is taking place. To say that we’ve had more than our share of drought-busting rains is a vast understatement. The good side is we’ve gotten several lakes that have been well below normal for years back to or over their usual level. Many agricultural interests got some badly needed relief. On the sad, and even tragic side, several lives have been lost including a Claremore, OK firefighter who drowned while trying to rescue people who were trapped in a building that was in danger of flooding. Several other Oklahoma first responders had close calls and nearly lost their lives saving people who (to be direct and to-the-point) did stupid and dangerous things…like driving a large four-wheel drive vehicle through water of an unknown depth. Those of us in the know who have seen the after effects of deadly floods (which I have) could talk to a good portion of the public until we’re blue in the face about the dangers of flash floods, but it’s all too often for naught. Everyone thinks their vehicle can handle the water. Everyone thinks their driving skills can overcome the forces of nature. Everyone thinks that drowning fatalities only happen to “other” people. The sad truth is 1. Flash Flooding is the largest weather related killer and outranks yearly the number of people killed by tornadoes, hurricanes, heat, cold, lightning, et. al combined and 2. YOU are just as vulnerable to death by drowning regardless of what kind of vehicle you’re driving. If you’re interested in staying alive, read this and take it to heart…and seriously. Now, on to our regular business.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

I’m absolutely gobsmacked that in 2015 this is still an issue. “Bias Against Women In Science Persists, Even In Egalitarian Societies.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

This can’t happen soon enough…and with merciless vengeance. Twitter trolls, your days are numbered. The Department of Justice is about to drop the hammer…on you.

SOCIAL SCIENCE

From personal experience, I’ve no doubt this is true. “Seeing Awe-Inspiring Natural Sights Makes You A Better Person.”

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY/PALEONTOLOGY

Fascinating read on new evidence on the origins of life.

There’s a new branch on the human family tree. Anthropologists say they’ve found a new human ancestor.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

A new study finds little known earthquake and tsunami hazards are lurking offshore of Southern California.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Cooperation is imperative to dealing with drought conditions. “Watersheds don’t obey the political boundaries of multi-state, multi-country resources.”

In the midst of an unprecedented California drought, residents of San Diego are ripping up their water-guzzling lawns.

As the world’s population grows, the quest to quench an ever-growing thirsty planet is an increasingly daunting task.

It would be great to see these go worldwide. “World’s first Ocean Cleanup Array will start removing plastic from the seas in 2016.”

Snow may be fun while it’s fresh…but the melting piles that are still melting are vile in every way possible.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The Atlantic hurricane season has officially started. Here’s an excellent overview of storm names, the seasonal outlook, and forecast products.

Complacency regarding the hurricane threat can lead to potentially lethal consequences. For many vulnerable regions of the USA, luck will run out…eventually. Regardless of how ambivalent one may be, now is the time to prepare…and the Red Cross has an excellent Hurricane Safety Checklist. (1 page PDF file)

Contrary to popular opinion, tropical storms are not the “drought-busters” that people want to believe they are.

This op-ed is simultaneously ignorant of the National Weather Service warning procedure, the atmospheric fluid dynamics of tornadogenisis, and fawningly sycophantic. Oddly enough, that’s about all it does achieve.

And before I close out this post one more reminder on flash flooding…TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!

Food for thought regarding climate change in the future. “Can A 4C Earth Support 10 Billion People?

An interesting read on research linking a warming Arctic and its potential connections to extremes in weather events.

A very interesting and telling look at eight maps that reveal American’s incoherent opinions of climate change.

THE QUIXOTIC

The plot thickens in the fracking/earthquake connection as academic integrity is threatened in Oklahoma. “Did Oklahoma’s richest man try to get Oklahoma Geological Survey scientists dismissed?”

For some, wind farms are an eyesore and aesthetics always outweigh environmental benefits…ergo, the perfect reason to abolish them from the face of the planet. Right.

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For April 13 – 21, 2015

It’s been a busy week across the Great Plains with multiple rounds of severe weather. Since late March, there have been several significant events. More severe weather is on tap for this week for the southern plains Wednesday through Friday. On the “home front”, some IT SNAFU’s reared their ugly heads. Technology is indeed a mixed bag and can show its nefarious side at the most inopportune moments…hence the brief post for today…so let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

An interesting look at maps that geographically depict climate change beliefs.

A nice interview of Neil deGrasse Tyson in Esquire magazine.

Speaking of Tyson…”Neil deGrasse Tyson: Politicians Denying Science is ‘Beginning Of The End Of An Informed Democracy.'”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Astronomers examining a map of the radiation leftover from the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background, or CMB) discovered the Cold Spot, a larger-than-expected unusually cold area of the sky.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Here’s a very interesting read for my fellow paleontology buffs. “Oldest Fossils Controversy Resolved.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

It’s been five years since the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster…and the reverberations are still with us today.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If you have any reason to be concerned with Severe Thunderstorm and/or Tornado Watches, here’s some important information on an update for the watches and warnings you’ll see online or hear on your NOAA weather radio.

If you’re interested in meteorology or considering it as a career, you need to know how to do this with your eyes closed. “Modern Tornado Outlooks Still Start With Colored Pencil Drawings.”

In case you’ve missed or would like to re-view Rich Thompson’s Tornado Forecasting Workshop, you can catch up on the OU SCAMS YouTube channel.

2015 has gotten off to a hot start…and it could top 2014.

Very thought-provoking. “Top Ten Reasons We Don’t Talk About Climate Change.”

Major climate changes are taking place in the Arctic…and the USA is leading a council along with seven other nations (Canada, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark) to investigate the rapidly warming Arctic climate.

A surprising read. “Air Force’s plan to drop U.S. forecast system for U.K. model draws criticism.”

A short and sweet post for today…and that’s a wrap! Time to finish off the IT troubleshooting grind.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For April 6 – 13, 2015

It’s been quite a histrionic weather week for the contiguous USA. Some locations are finally warming after a long and snowy winter, the California drought worsens, and the Great Plains had two wild days of severe weather (April 8-9, 2015). This week also marked the thirty-sixth anniversary of the Red River tornado outbreak in Oklahoma and Texas, the sixty-eighth anniversary of the Woodward, Oklahoma tornado, and the fiftieth anniversary of the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak. I’ll have more on those events later in this post. Since we are entering an active weather pattern over the next several days, I’ll keep this post on the brief side and include links that I think you’ll enjoy.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A very thought-provoking essay that confirms thought’s I’ve had for some time. “The Science Of Why You Really Should Listen To Science And Experts.”

Some great answers to, “Why Did You Become A Scientist?” My personal favorite…”Science turns “I don’t know” into “I don’t know… yet” and you won’t find anything more empowering than that.”

Ever wonder what the weather station identifiers mean? Here’s a handy essay that explains it all.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Check out this very cool soil collection program. Best of all…it’s free!

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

The Oklahoma Geological Survey will be adding another analyst to its ranks to keep track of the smaller earthquakes that, as of late, been occurring almost daily in the Sooner state.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

My beloved Brontosaurus has been raised from the dead so to speak. Welcome (back) to the dinosaur club!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING

A well written guide to California’s water crisis and the challenges faced by those dealing with it first hand.

Is there a bright side to the devastating California drought? Yes…and it’s renewable!

Another bright side to the California drought is an optimistic, proactive state of mind.

A mass extinction that occurred 252 million years ago could give us hints at to how the increasing acidity in our oceans could affect current and future life forms.

Here’s a very nice infographic on a highly underrated practice: Upcycling.

China will surpass the  USA as the top producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

It’s always fun to repost everyone’s favorite wind map!

A very nice climate resource: The US Climate Resilience Toolkit.

I love space exploration as much as any other science fan…but have often wondered why physicists immediately leap at careers in astronomy or cosmology. It’s time for a change because, “Climatologists To Physicists: Your Planet Needs You.”

The TRMM rainfall satellite mission has finally come to an end after seventeen years. Fortunately, there’s another satellite waiting to carry on the torch.

Could El Nino last all of 2015? If so, this summer will be incredibly interesting.

While Rolling Stone magazine isn’t know for its science writing, here’s a well-written thought-provoking read. “The Pentagon and Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security At Risk.”

Preliminary tornado/storm surveys from the Chicago National Weather Service on the severe weather events of 9 April, 2015. Until EF Scale rating are finalized and a comprehensive analysis is completed of the entire damage path, take with a grain of salt any unofficial or hyped rumors.

In weather history:

THE QUIXOTIC SIDE OF THE HUMAN ANIMAL

Yet another state has clamped down (aka censored) the term “climate change.”

In spite of overwhelming evidence, no end in sight on this. “Meet The United States Of Divided Climate Beliefs.”

And that’s a wrap for this post…

I’d like to welcome my new followers on Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, About.Me, Facebook, and Tumblr. Glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

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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