Tag Archives: physics

Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For February 18 – 25, 2016

Greetings to everyone! It’s been quite a mild winter for much of North America. While some locations have had their fair share of snow and cold temperatures, many locations (including my own) have had very warm winter conditions. Many flowering trees are in full bloom, weeds and early spring flowers are showing their presence, and those unfortunate souls who deal with seasonal allergies are quite miserable. Many high temperature records across the USA have been broken, some of which have stood for the good part of a century. Meanwhile, Australians have had a recent heat wave with lethal temperatures in some locations of 110-115F. This week, there are more than enough science/public policy reads to partake of. For the near term, this is going to be the dominant trend among the scientific community. Scientists from all areas of study have traditionally endeavored to remain apolitical. Those days are gone and, with the war on science gathering steam, it’s time we fight fire with fire. On that note, let’s get started…

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

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

A very thought provoking read that well established what many of us already know…science is an international/global endeavor and it’s time for scientists to stand up to all detractors.

The war for science in the USA is more than a minor difference of opinion. It’s become an all out threat to the USA and, eventually, the entire globe.

While the war on science wages, university officials have very legitimate concerns over scientific research funding that may…or may not…disappear. It’s presence may depend on whether or not it fits within the current presidential administrations agenda.

Ensuring scientific integrity during a time with the anti-science sentiment is at an all time high, will be increasingly difficult in spite of any progress.

Former Oklahoma Attorney General and newly sworn-in head of the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt’s emails are starting to surface…and they speak for themselves.

The constituents of congressional climate deniers are getting a well-deserved rude awakening at recent town halls. I suppose denying global warming is one way members of Congress are attempting in vain to keep the heat off.

Red states in the USA are giving a small degree of notice to climate change…but only with names that are, at best, watered down euphemisms.

The choice for the current USA’s presidential science advisor is William Happer…and he’s quite interesting to say the least.

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION/EDUCATION

An excellent read by Dr. Marshall Shepherd. “Nine Tips For Communicating Science To People Who Are Not Scientists.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

This is a very thought provoking read that will have you thinking twice about taking your mobile device aboard an international commercial airline flight. Obviously, in spite of the power behind the USA’s Constitution, there are times where our fourth and fifth amendments rights are null and void.

While on the topic of privacy and security, here’s an excellent read on how to encrypt your online life in short order. “Pro Tip: if you insist on enabling thumbprint identification for convenience’s sake, and are ever arrested, immediately power off your phone. When the authorities turn your phone back on, they won’t be able to unlock it without your password. The fifth amendment (against self-incrimination) allows you to keep your password secret. But a court can compel you to unlock your phone with your thumbprint.”

Now that you’ve done your best to protect your privacy and security, here’s a good read on having grace in social media.

PHYSICS

A fascinating physics read. “Time Crystals – How Scientists Created A New State Of Matter.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Here’s some excellent wind power news for the USA. Wind briefly powered more than 50 percent of electric demand on 12 February 2017 for the first time on any North American power grid.

Norway is making major headway in switching over to electric-powered vehicles (EV) and could be one hundred percent EV in as little as eight years.

The sight of four million solar panels from space is quite a sight…and one we can hope will spread across the globe.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Once upon a time, even Benjamin Franklin, lightning rods, and the UK were locked in political sabre rattling over…lightning rods.

The latest US Drought Monitor shows 13.8% of the contiguous USA in drought conditions with intensification noted in the south, mid-Atlantic, and New England.

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Forecasting winter weather events is one of the most daunting challenges that a meteorologist can face. This message from the Twin Cities, MN National Weather Service does an excellent job of explaining to a largely un-weatherwise public the difficulties of doing their job and dealing with a cantankerous segment of the public.

capture-1

THE QUIXOTIC

In the 21st century, people are still taking this kind of pseudoscience seriously. Sad but true.

That’s a wrap for this post! As usual, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun! We’ve got some wild times ahead, so hang on.

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!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For July 5 – 15, 2015

Summer has settled in over the southern plains of the USA with the annual vengeance. With the exception of a recent rainy spell complete with flash flood warnings and plenty of fuel to fire a bumper crop of hungry, vindictive mosquitoes, heat indices have been brutal even without the air temperature reaching the century mark. It’s all part of life in this neck of the woods. Fire and ice. If you’re a native to the region like me, you know it takes a thick skin to “weather the weather.” With the severe weather season winding down overall, it is a perfect time for those of us into the atmospheric sciences to stretch our wings and explore different weather and climate vistas; tropical weather (sans tropical cyclones), global wind patterns, climate change, dual-pol doppler radar case studies, atmospheric chemistry, or the ever-present connection between weather, climate, and life forms of all kinds. There’s an almost endless and ever-changing continuum of fascinating atmospheric science topics for the taking and, if you dare step out of your comfort zone, a great deal of knowledge can be yours. As one of my meteorological mentors emphasized with me over 30 years ago, “Everything about the atmosphere and every science related to it is fascinating. If it isn’t, you’re just a one-trick-pony and need to find another interest.” If variety is the spice of life, it is exceptionally important in the sciences. On a more personal note; I’m temporarily back up to speed for the time being. Ongoing heath issues are the reason I’ve had to spread recent posts out several days apart. Friendly suggestion: never take good health for granted. Thanks for the words of encouragement and concern from followers and online friends. You know who you are…and I know who is on my side. Your support, regardless of whether is in-person or from thousands of miles away, is something I appreciate a great deal. Thank you!

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A fascinating, but rather technical, read on the limitations of statistics in scientific research.

“For women who aspire to the sciences, a sense of belonging is a powerful force in determining the path they take.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA/PRIVACY

An excellent essay covering anonymity online…which is becoming more difficult to maintain in lieu of convenience.

Some good news for fellow Firefox users…Mozilla is taking Flash down and hard.

PHYSICS

Here’s some awesome physics news on the building blocks of our universe. “World record: Most powerful high-energy particle beam for a neutrino experiment ever generated.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Ten years in the making, NASA’s New Horizons reached the pinnacle of a 3 billion mile voyage to Pluto. The images are amazing!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Smoke from recent Alaskan and Canadian wildfires has been taking a significant toll on contiguous USA air quality.

NASA captured from space the annual population of algae (the blue-green color of the phytoplankton) in the North Atlantic reaching towards its peak.

For seasonal allergy sufferers, the BBC takes a look at the science behind the summer pollen count in the UK.

Worse than allergies…new research shows approximately 9,500 people die every year in London from air pollution.

Both and environmental and atmospheric science essay where the title says it all. “The Oceans can’t take any more: Fundamental change in oceans predicted.”

Suger-coating the issue or avoiding being labeled “doom and gloom” won’t make the potential environmental disaster go away.

For decades, the fossil fuel industry (by some accounts) has been involved in a game of public deception that continues to this day.

Some great news on the renewables front. Kenya is building Africa’s biggest wind power farm to generate one fifth of its power needs.

Want more awesome renewables news? Denmark just generated 140 percent of its electrical needs from wind power.

Here’s even more good renewables news! The price of solar power has once again dropped to a new low!

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The National Weather Service recently implemented new graphics on their websites which will make it easier for you to interpret forecasts and how they will impact your day-to-day life.

The National Weather Service needs your feedback in another very important (and potentially life-saving) topic: Severe Weather Impact Graphics. These have, IMHO, been exceptionally effective in giving you important severe thunderstorm and tornado warning impact information that can be found nowhere else. Your local NWS office will issue these products over social media (specifically Twitter). You can also follow @NWSSevereTstorm and/or @NWSTornad0 on Twitter and get every severe thunderstorm warning and tornado warning issued for the USA. This example of a Tornado Warning from the National Weather Service in Tulsa, OK is a good example of a Severe Weather Impact Graphic.

NWS Tulsa Tornado WarningTake careful notice of the plethora of information you get in addition to the warning over your NOAA weather radio. Population, the area in square miles, number of public schools, hospitals, airports, etc. are included. The time the warning is valid til is also included as well as storm information regarding movement and hazards. Media meteorologists (whom you should follow…your personal favorites of your choice) are excellent at conveying this information to the public. Ultimately, your first line of defense in a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning scenario is knowledge and awareness of impacts to your and your loved ones…and that comes from the National Weather Service…and no one else…storm chasers and weather hobbyists in particular.

While on the topic of severe weather warnings and the use (and abuse) of social media to disseminate warning information, here’s a spot-on essay that shows just hot bad the deterioration, specifically with Twitter, has become with bots and “mediarologists” run amok.

The PECAN severe storm research project has been gathering some incredible data this spring across the Great Plains. I can’t wait to see the data presented at conferences!

Good advice. “Keep calm and stop obsessing over weekly changes in ENSO.”

As if the western USA drought wasn’t bad enough, an unusually hot summer is raising the misery index for many residents of Washington to Utah.

The heat has also been problematic in Europe as well. “Heat records all over: The Northern Hemisphere Is In Hot Water.”

“Which Advanced Country Has The Most Climate Sceptics?” No, it’s not the United States. Yes, some of the internet’s most notoriously hostile climate change denialists live there.

As of late, there’s been a rubbish story making the rounds that an “ice age” is imminent. Don’t believe it for a minute.

“Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists Call For Action To Minimize The Substantial Risks Of Climate Change.”

The IPCC is at a crossroads with many key points to consider. Here’s an excellent essay that provides the reader with a concise overview.

Why do people in the path of a hurricane ignore evacuation orders?

Speaking of storm safety, is this tornado photo an awesome childhood experience or reckless parenting? My main concern would be the lightning danger…which is always a potentially lethal killer in every thunderstorm.

Last but certainly not least, here’s some “bookmark worthy” summer heat safety tips from the NWS that will help keep you and your family safe from this underrated killer.

THE QUIXOTIC

Some people, in spite of being the beneficiaries of broadcast meteorologists, simply can’t wrap their heads around the importance of potentially life-saving information. Sadly, this is an all-too common behavioral phenomenon.

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE…

In our contemporary society where technology reigns 24/7…this could be just the ticket to de-stressing from our obsession with being plugged in.

Now dust off those coloring pencils and crayons…and de-stress! 🙂

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 30 – April 6, 2015

The severe weather season has kicked into full swing across much of the great plains. So far there have been only a few events, but we’ve still the busiest and most active months ahead. Due to this week’s pending severe weather, this post will be shorter than usual. I’ve also addressed the current severe weather setup for this week in other posts.

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION/PUBLIC SCIENCE POLICY

A very good…and most timely…read on the hard-hitting realities that exist whether we want to believe them or not. “Why Scientific Truth May Hurt.”

A though-provoking read on what the climate movement must learn from religion.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

The CoCoRaHS “Hail Week” runs from April 6 – 11. 2015. Learn how to measure and collect hail…and then report it when it does make an occasional visit to your location.

TECHNOLOGY

A nice article on my favorite search engine which, in the process of competing with Google has also tripled it’s growth.

PHYSICS

After a two-year hiatus, the Large Hadron Collider is back in action and more powerful than before.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

When it hits home, it hits harder. “Poll: Americans Starting to Worry About Climate Change Now That It Affects Their Lawns.”

No surprise here. The California drought is testing the limits of unfettered, unregulated, and endless growth.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s a look at the latest US Drought Monitor. Conditions in California have remain steady as mandatory water rationing goes into effect. Extreme/exceptional conditions across Oklahoma and Texas actually worsened.

While on the topic of drought, the California drought saga continues.

This is a climactic “smoking gun” if there ever was one. “Thawing Permafrost Could Be The Worst Climate Threat You’ve Never Heard Of.”

Some good news from the National Weather Service. Impact-based warnings are becoming more commonplace across the nation.

A new technique in flood forecasting could prove beneficial for any populated area near a coastal area.

Emergency management officials are understandably concerned about the growing public complacency towards hurricane hazards.

Here’s a very nice graphic from the National Weather Service in Kansas City via the Oklahoma Mesonet that explains the recent changes to the Storm Prediction Center’s Convective Outlooks.

A very nice retrospective look back at the April 3-4, 1974 tornado Superoutbreak.

That’s a wrap for this post!

I’d also like to welcome my new followers! Glad you’re along!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest’s Science Links and More for August 3 – 10, 2014

While weather over most of North America has been rather tranquil this past week, the tropical cyclone activity has been interesting to watch. Save for Bertha in the Atlantic, the tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific has been very active. Iselle cruised across the Hawaii doing a great deal of infrastructure damage, but it could have been much worse.  Julio was nice enough to stay to the north of the islands. The Hawaiian Islands are no stranger to tropical cyclones, they just don’t happen to have frequent encounters with them. Perhaps worst of all was a certain degree of hype in mainstream media which, considering their lack of ineptness with scientific data, should come as no surprise. As of this writing, Invest 94-L coming off the west coast of African looks interesting, but will be facing a very hostile environment conducive to any development. For now…the Atlantic basin remains rather tranquil…but that could change.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Ready, set, glow! Here’s how to take part in a cool citizen science firefly project this summer.

From SciStarer: Super Moon, Super Meteor Showers, Super Citizen Science!

PHYSICS

The journey to the answers is half the fun. “The Never-Ending Conundrums Of Classical Physics.”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

The Mars Curiosity rover is celebrating its second anniversary on its amazing journey across the Mars landscape. Here’s to many more anniversaries!

Have you ever watched the ISS pass overhead on a clear night? It’s a spectacular sight I’ve relished many times. Here’s a site (Spot The Station) where you can find out when your viewing chance will come along.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Atmospheric scientists aren’t the only ones that have to deal with misinformation, rumors, and denialism. Geologists get it too.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

NOAA and EPA scientists have found a large area of low oxygen water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Looks like it’s time for California to come to terms with its water woes…which, at this time, look to be permanent.

A look at the top ten US states leading the nation in solar energy growth.

Just how far will “urban sprawl” grow in our largest population centers? A great deal. While that is good in many ways, it also makes our growing cities more vulnerable to unavoidable natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

It’s never too early to teach kids about science. Here are some cool books that will make environmental science education easy.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

As the old saying goes, some clouds have a silver lining. In this case, something that could help with an ever-increasing amount of greenhouse gases.

Check out these amazing view of pyrocumulus clouds captured a few days ago over Oregon.

An interesting study on the interactions among fire, climate change, and forests for five major regions of the United States.

The chances of an El Nino forming this year have been reduced, but its formation is still expected.

How much do hurricanes hurt the economy? More than the local chamber of commerce would like to believe.

There are some substantial changes coming this autumn to Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlooks. Take a look at what’s in store.

A very interesting read on “Investing For Meteorologists.” No, we’re not talking finances.

All above-ground storm shelters should be manufactured by, purchased from, and installed by companies that adhere to strict requirements. Here’s a study into an apparently home-brew shelter that led to tragic results.

An enjoyable read by Greg Laden on how to talk with that relative/friend/coworker, et al who thinks climate change is a hoax.

SOME HELPFUL INFO

If you’re like me, you spend many hours seated at your computer every day of the week. Here’s a very good article on setting up a computer centered workspace.

Thought provoking: How Perfectionism Destroys Happiness.

Eight tips to help you stay safe online…from Webroot…an anti-virus software I highly recommend.

That’s a wrap for this week!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links for April 1- 8, 2014

This was a busy weather week across the contiguous 48 states. For the time being, the Great Plains are in a quiet spell for now, but it won’t last. Before we get to this week’s links, I’d like to thank the 200+ people who mentioned or re-tweeted me on Twitter. When possible, I like to thank everyone but with so many especially during severe weather events, it would be time consuming for me and blow up my followers Twitter feeds with dozens of tweets full of Twitter handles. So, for those who did RT/Mention me, a heartfelt “Thank You.” Also, due to several ongoing projects related to Tornado Quest and the severe weather season, it’s necessary for me to limit the number of links to 10-15 per week. As many of you well know, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for all the priorities that come with our busy & harried lives.

On that note, here are some links for your consideration…

GENERAL SCIENCE

Science has an advantage over almost any other field in that it is self-correcting…or is it?

Science, like many other fields of study, has its own philosophy. What is it and should scientists care?

Particle Fever looks like a “must-see” movie!

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Citizen scientists can revel in the fact that there are many apps for citizen science projects! To the list in the article, I’d also add the mPING app that helps the National Severe Storms Laboratory with research!

Citizen scientists not only help research, but can aid in keeping non-scientist-minded public servants on their toes.

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Read about a very cool project where footprints of a dinosaur chase were digitally reconstructed.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

If you’re an avid recycler like me, you are always on the lookout for things that can be recycled or up-cycled. Here’s a good read on 20 things we didn’t know could be recycled.

Stanford scientist unveils 50-state plan to transform U.S. to renewable energy.

This week, the federal government announced a record-breaking $5 billion settlement in a remarkable environmental case.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

This past week marked the 40th anniversary of the 1974 Superoutbreak of tornadoes.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has taken a look at climate science coverage on cable news networks. Not surprisingly, the results range from lukewarm to ghastly.

Will the new IPCC report help climate action? It could, but some modifications could help.

Speaking of IPCC reports, could a streamlining aid in their conveying information to both scientists and non-scientists?

Take a look at climate change impacts in eight stark IPCC images.

No easy answer to this dilemma…but here’s an interesting view on why increasing funding of tornado research wouldn’t be a good idea.

THE QUIXOTIC

I can’t embrace Swedes’ obsession with the hug.” Hey, this Swede has nothing against hugs, we’re just not naturally a demonstrative lot. 😉

And that’s a wrap for this week…

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Jan. 27 – Feb. 4, 2014

Winter certainly has not loosened its grip on the contiguous 48 United States. As of this post, one of several rounds of snow, sleet, and freezing rain were making a path from OK, KS, & TX to southern  ME. On the home front, I was invited by the folks at Kestrel Meters to write a guest post for their blog! So, let’s get started on this week’s links…

GENERAL SCIENCE

Sublime magazine takes a look at the inherent uncertainties that will always be a part of all fields of science…and why so many people find that distressing.

A thought-provoking long-read that touches on so many topics; history, climatology, sociology, and much more.

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Conveying complex scientific information to the layperson can be incredibly frustrating. Here are some helpful tips that could ease the pain.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

There’s plenty of snow to be measured while contributing to citizen science!

PHYSICS

What do swirling patterns on bubbles and hurricanes, tornadoes, and other atmospheric vortexes have in common?

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Was January cold in Alaska? Well, “cool” might be a better description since the USA’s largest state had record warmth.

How much snow does it take to cancel school? Here’s an interesting map that gives a general idea. Note: please see the links within the article with the writer’s caveats as to the map’s accuracy.

Weather can not only close schools, but take a toll on our roads.

The inimitable Chuck Doswell writes eloquently on the forecasters frustrations with specific relation to the recent winter storm that cripples much of the southern US.

Here’s a more personal, subjective viewpoint on the southern storm, “Why The South Fell Apart In The Snow.”

Can glaciers move fast? Yes they can…and the world’s fastest is located in Greenland.

Some very cool new technology from NASA will enable scientists to measure depth of sea ice and glaciers.

Why is there more methane in the Earth’s atmosphere? The sources are numerous.

Personally, I feel it’s time to reassess the Enhanced Fujita scale and the impact that remote sensing/portable high-resolution doppler radars can have on tornado intensity ratings.

Here’s a “spot-on” essay from meteorologist Dan Satterfield that cuts through the rubbish and exposes “The Great Facebook Blizzard – Storms and Rumors of Storms.”

Last, but definitely not least, I’m pleased to present a blog essay I’ve written for the awesome folks at Kestrel Meters. They were kind enough to invite me to write on the topic of becoming a storm spotter. Many folks are interested, but there’s a lot that you should be aware of. My feature, “A Beginner’s Guide To Skywarn Severe Weather Spotting” touches on a few topics that I hope are of value to you if you’re considering becoming a Skywarn spotter.  I’m also a big fan of Kestrel products and have used their 3000 and 4000 for many years and can’t recommend their line of products highly enough. Give them a visit…try one of their great meters out…and tell them I sent you. You won’t regret using a Kestrel. In terms of hand-held weather meters, they’re state-of-the-art…and made in the USA!

Have a great week everybody…stay warm and drive carefully!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Nov. 25 – Dec. 2, 2013

As we welcome meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the Atlantic hurricane season quietly winds down. Fortunately, it was a very quiet season. The big news over the contiguous 48 states this week will be an early December blast of winter complete with snow, sleet, and all the frigid wind chills your thermal underwear can stand.

Here are this week’s links…

GENERAL SCIENCE

Here’s a very cool project for a science fair…or just for fun. How to make your own Spectroscope.

I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth another look. The title may as well be “How To Explain Science Research To The Non-scientist”

Good read by Chris Mooney: “Why Climate Change Skeptics and Evolution Deniers Joined Forces

This essay is as good a reason as I need for being a perennial advocate for critical thinking, the scientific method, and high quality science education.

ASTRONOMY

Did Comet ISON survive its close encounter with the sun? Only it’s hairdresser knows…

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Another reason why trees are awesome: “Study shows tree leaves can capture 50% of particulate matter pollution.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s NOAA’s summary of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season…the sixth least active since 1950.

Interesting Op-Ed: “Climate Change Needs An Elephant Whisperer

The challenges of operational synoptic meteorology blending with climactic research is well explained in this article.

Another well written Op-Ed from people who really know what their doing: “The Truth About Tornadoes

Weather and climate research on the open seas can be a lonely but fascinating endeavor for the scientists involved.

Interesting concept…would be interesting to see if it works: “Using moving cars to measure rainfall

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…

Note to fellow storm chasers…never leave your camcorder unattended if eagles are present.

Check out sixty-two of the world’s most beautiful libraries. Yes, I have my favorites, but none of them look modern.

Finally, ten reasons to spend winter in Sweden!

And on that note, it’s a wrap!

Cheers!

National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) Technical Investigation of Joplin, MO Tornado (492 page PDF File) #mowx

There’s no doubt that the Joplin, MO tornado of 22 May 2011 was a watershed event in 21st century USA weather history. A triple digit death toll had not been seen in the USA since 1953. Since then, spotter networks, improvements in radar and warning technology had reduced the overall death tolls dramatically. In light of the 3 May 1999 Bridge Creek/Moore/OKC tornado, much speculation was generated about the potential death tolls that could result from a violent, long-track EF-4 or EF-5 moving through a large metropolitan area such as Dallas/Ft. Worth. Many people, including yours truly, assumed it would take a direct hit for a triple digit death toll to occur in contemporary society. Only then, the death tolls could possibly top 100 or more. The Joplin, MO event was a dramatic wake up call that it didn’t take a large metropolitan area suffering a direct hit from a violent tornado for a 100+ fatality death toll to occur. The Joplin metro has a population of roughly 50,000 yet had a death toll of 161 from a violent EF-5 that moved through the city during a late Sunday afternoon.

The NIST has released a technical investigation of the Joplin tornado event. While rather technical, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the atmospheric or earth sciences. A word of caution; this is a large 492 page PDF file. The download time, depending on your internet connection and computer, may take some time. Regardless, it’s a worthwhile read with a wealth of information.

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