Tag Archives: Pluto

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For September 26 – October 3, 2016

Greetings everyone! I hope you’re having a good start to your week. For much of North American, there’s a touch of autumn in the air while spring is starting to kick in for the Southern Hemisphere. The big news this week (and for many days to come) is Hurricane Matthew, the first hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic season to achieve major hurricane status and the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic/Caribbean basin in almost a decade. Matthew has provided a consistent forecasting challenge and will continue to do so for several more days. As of today 4 October 2016) evacuations are pending for many areas along the southeastern USA coast. There’s also a severe weather threat in the USA’s central plains today…lots going on weather-wise for much of North America…so lets get started.

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

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

With Hurricane Matthew threat to many areas of the Caribbean (and North America), here’s some helpful information on making your own emergency preparedness kits. “Making a preparedness kit is one important way you can protect yourself and those around you. Remember that there are many types of emergencies – from those caused by illness to natural disasters – and you need different types of kits for a variety of situations.”

Further hurricane safety information…

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Do you live in a noisy location? If so, it can affect your quality of life. Here’s a cool citizen science project you can take part in…find out how noisy your location is while supplying data for an important study.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Perhaps we’re not out in the boonies as much as we thought. “It’s tricky to map an entire galaxy when you live in one of its arms. But astronomers have made the clearest map yet of the Milky Way – and it turns out that the arm that hosts our solar system is even bigger than previously thought.”

New research on Pluto suggests that it could have a deep salty ocean.

Check out this spectacular view…the first of its kind…of a billion stars shining in the Milky Way galaxy.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An excellent read on why you shouldn’t put all of your trust in a hurricane’s “cone of uncertainty.” Forecasters have a daunting challenge that is often made much worse by the almost unfathomable complexities of our planet’s atmosphere.

The NRDC has an excellent a concise overview on global warming that covers most any question anyone could ever have about this aspect of our changing climate.

A look into climates past. The longest lasting deserts on Earth are approximately 30 million years old and can give us a glimpse into future climate.

An interesting read on a surprising source of greenhouse gases…reservoirs built for many uses, including hydropower, drinking water, farm irrigation, and flood control, etc.

Part climatology, part public health in this read that, while focused on Australia, is applicable to all countries. Many in the medical profession are unsure of how to deal with climate change and its irrevocable connection to our health and well being.

Our planet’s future does depend on your vote. And this year, the stakes are higher than ever.

Speaking of the future, “Dear Tomorrow” is a project where today’s parents are writing letters concerning climate change to children of the future.

Finally, a sobering read that can be summed up by simply saying, “Science, Know Thy Enemy.” How The Attack On Science Is Becoming A Global Contagion.

Sorry to end this post on such a dour note, but unfortunately that is the current political, theological, and cultural climate we live in.

On a lighter note, I’d like to extend a sincere welcome to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun! There are lots of good times ahead.

Cheers!

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

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

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

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

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

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

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

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

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

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

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

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

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest 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 October 7 – 14, 2015

Autumn is certainly in the air across many areas of North American with a plethora of beautiful fall foliage to appeal to your aesthetic senses. If you’re seeing the seasonal change in your area, I hope you’re enjoying the scenery. Here in the southern plains of the USA, it’s been unseasonably warm. Summer is not going away without a fight in my neck of the woods. For the first time in many weeks, the tropical Atlantic and eastern Pacific are rather tranquil…and I’ve no complaints about that.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE/PUBLIC POLICY/STEM

Most American citizens feel political candidates should have a thorough comprehension of science…hence the immediate uselessness of the “I’m not a scientist” cop-out.

Fascinating read that should offer some encouragement for women to pursue STEM careers. “Margaret Hamilton wasn’t supposed to invent the modern concept of software and land men on the moon. It was 1960, not a time when women were encouraged to seek out high-powered technical work.”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Check out this slide show with amazing images of Pluto. Who would have thought that it was such an incredible place.

GEOLOGIC SCIENCE

A very nice read on the history of plate tectonic science.

Some spectacular views of lava flowing on Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) puts Twitter to good use by using the social media outlet as a means to better track earthquakes.

The USGS also has a very nice informative page on earthquake early warnings

In Oklahoma, USGS records show 1,400+ earthquakes to date in 2015 alone. The science behind human-caused earthquakes from is very solid…much to the chagrin of many Oklahoma-based fossil fuel interests.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, ordered companies on September 18, 2015 to shut or reduce usage of five saltwater disposal wells around the north-central Oklahoma city of Cushing. In an odd coincidence, in the early morning hours of October 10, 2015, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake occurred near Cushing. To date, over 1,400 earthquakes have occurred in Oklahoma during 2015 alone…and the year’s not over yet.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Here’s an excellent article explaining all you need to know about the current global coral reef bleaching.

Small, but nasty. California has become the latest state to ban/restrict microbeads in skin care products.

Sweden, you rock in every way possible! Stockholm aims to be powered only by sustainable energy sources by 2050.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

A thought-provoking read that’s bound to stir a great deal of discussion. An ex-republican meteorologist has called for the end of partisan divide over climate science.

In the light of climate change, a NASA scientist expresses his concerns over our own planet becoming like other dead worlds.

New research projects a doubling of surface melting of Antarctic ice shelves by 2050 and that by 2100 melting may surpass intensities associated with ice shelf collapse.

It’s not often what you say, but how you say (or write) it. Climate scientists, practicing good science protocol, use tentative wording in discussing or writing about climate change. Denialists, seeing the world in a strict “black-or-white” manner, are quite the opposite.

A sound idea since the science is solid, though I feel it’s most beneficial to implement solutions and continue research simultaneously. “New IPCC chief: Let’s focus on climate change solutions rather than more research.

The recent AP Stylebook recommendation in its climate change section is considered a “big” win for skeptics, a “small” win for denialists, but a bad decision overall.

Finally, feast your eyes on a summer’s worth of monsoons in this wonderful video.

THE QUIXOTIC

When a journalist arrived at the Oklahoma City headquarters of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) hoping for an interview, the congenial IOGCC folks called the Oklahoma City Police. I guess they don’t like their secrecy to come under scrutiny.

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That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to take a moment and send a “welcome” to my new followers on social media. Glad you’re along for the fun! 😎

Cheers!

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Media Inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

Tornado Quest on Tumblr (Obligatory Caveat: Not a science-based blog and occasionally NSFW. You’ve been warned.)

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For September 30 – October 7, 2015

Two big stories have dominated the North American weather news this week. The first event is Hurricane Joaquin which, as of this post, is still an ongoing event. Joaquin peaked in intensity on 3 October 2015 when it briefly reached maximum sustained winds just under the Category 5 threshold making it the most intense tropical cyclone of the Atlantic 2015 season to date. The other big story, which could have been made worse if Joaquin had made landfall on the eastern USA coast, is the historic flooding in North and South Carolina. The Charleston, South Carolina region was hit particularly hard. While flooding often doesn’t appear as “devastating” as substantial wind damage, it can be just as (if not more) deadly and force residents into years of recovery and rebuilding. One only has to look at areas of New Orleans, Louisiana to see this. Some areas of the “Big Easy” have yet to recover a full decade after Katrina slammed ashore in 2005. The deadliest natural disaster in the history of Tulsa, Oklahoma is not a tornado, but the Memorial Day flash flooding event of May, 1984 in which 14 fatalities occurred. Flooding kills more people every year than all other weather related phenomenon combined. Unfortunately, its dangers are highly underrated by much of the general public until they meet it head on. Only then does the stark realization occur that floods can be just as devastating to life and property as a major hurricane or violent tornado. On the brighter side, this week is the National Weather Service’s “Did You Know” week which is going on to help inform the general public about the many facets and benefits the NWS provides to our quality of life. You’ll likely see many posts on Twitter from your local NWS office with the hashtag #NWSDYK.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

An excellent essay on the benefits of citizen science. “Science Of The People, By The People, And For The People.”

A reminder to download the free mPING weather app you can use year round regardless of where you live and contribute to weather research. “The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory is collecting public weather reports through a free app available for smart phones or mobile devices. The app is called “mPING,” for Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground.” This app also has a very, very small “footprint” so it won’t be gobbling up a ton of space on your smart phone.

If you’re into citizen science and astronomy, you need to check out this new collaboration.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

New high-resolution photos of Pluto’s moon Charon show that it’s so ugly, it’s positively beautiful.

NASA has just released over 8,400 Apollo moon mission photos online…and they are spectacular.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RECYCLING/RENEWABLES

Perhaps the most cynical and imprimatur hyperbole on recycling I’ve ever read. “The Reign of Recycling.” When short-term profits supersede long-term environmental benefits, we’ve made no progress…and the author and New York Times have no problem with condoning such irresponsibility. Fortunately here’s a spot-on rebuttal that slays the arguments put forth in the NYT article.

Robots could (and should) make sorting recycling materials safer.

Indoor air quality is just as important as the air we breathe outside. Here’s some handy tips on how to improve indoor air quality on a budget.

The USA is gaining ground in the use of renewable energy but in some respects, has a great deal of catching up to do.

There’s a surprisingly cold “blob” of water in the north Atlantic. What’s causing that?

It happened once, it  can happen again. “Scientists say an ancient mega-tsunami hurled boulders nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If you’ve not checked out the National Weather Service’s Enhanced Data Display, you should take a peek. It’s a fantastic source of weather information for the general public, pilots, emergency managers, and more.

NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory has a very cool way to view weather conditions worldwide in an interactive site that’s well worth checking out.

This article, written early in the life cycle of Hurricane Joaquin, poignantly expresses the frustrating forecasting scenarios that so often plague meteorologists.

During Hurricane Joaquin’s early stages, the European forecast model was more accurate at one stage than the American model. What does that mean for weather forecasting?

What caused the recent record-setting rainfall in South Carolina? Here’s a nice overview that explains everything you need to know.

My fellow weather geeks will enjoy this NPR story. “What’s At The Edge Of A Cloud?”

Fortunately, there’s a reason or two for feeling optimistic about the upcoming Paris climate change summit.

While some recent documented gains in Antarctic ice may offset losses, there’s no reason to celebrate. The deniers will likely jump on this story, but their own workplace climate is changing.

There’s no “grey’s” or uncertainties about this. “No Doubt About it: People Who Mislead The Public About Climate Change Are Deniers.”

Speaking of melting ice and glaciers, the Mont Blanc glacier in the French alps isn’t what it used to be and is France’s most visible symbol of climate change.

The high price of reckless disregard for solid climate science. “The Cost Of Doing Nothing Hit $400 Trillion.”

THE QUIXOTIC

When public servants run out of constructive projects to benefit society and the quality of life, they do what they do best…especially if they’re threatened by science. Start a witch-hunt.

That’s a wrap for this post!

A quick “Thank You” and “Welcome” to my new followers on social media. It’s nice to have you here. I’m in this for the long haul, so the fun is just getting started.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest on Instagram

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

 

 

 

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!

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