Tag Archives: severe weather

Tornado Quest Science Week In Review For February 25 – March 4, 2017

Greetings everyone and Happy Meteorological Spring to my friends and followers in the Northern Hemisphere. For many, it’s been an exceptionally warm winter and spring is already throttling up. In the USA, Skywarn spotter classes are ongoing as of this post. Check with your local National Weather Service office to see if there’s a class scheduled near you. And, as has been the case for the last few weeks, science and public policy have been front and center…so let’s get started.

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Wind and solar power are gaining major ground in countries across the globe. Considering that change is often difficult, how will the status quo adapt?

Cities around the globe smarten up & go green as 2/3 of world population will live in urban areas by 2030.

Air pollution isn’t just a minor irritation, it’s a major health hazard with lethal implications. Here’s an excellent read on how to deal with and/or avoid potentially deadly poor air quality.

Before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed in the USA, environmental conditions were in a sorry state. It would behoove us to keep that in mind and fight against the threat of retrograding into a new dark age.

While on the topic of air pollution, other countries besides the USA have their share of air quality issues. The problem for USA citizens is their noxious air travels round the globe and eventually reaches us.

Here’s another sobering look at environmental conditions in the USA in the pre-EPA days.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

A new earthquake outlook for 2017 highlights Oklahoma and California as the hot-spots for quake activity…so we’ve been warned.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If it seems like spring has come early this year for much of the Northern Hemisphere, you’re not imagining things.

The new GOES-16 weather satellite is sending back amazing high-resolution images!

For the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of meteorological spring occurred on 1 March 2017. Here’s a look back at an unusually warm winter from Climate Central.

2017winterreview_miami_en_title_lg

Sea surface temperatures and weather/climate are inextricably linked. From the National Weather Service in New Orleans, LA, “The Gulf has remained warm this winter, generally 2-7F above avg now. Pic from the NOAA View Global Data Explorer.”

c53aixlwcaadv9o-jpg-large

For the state of California, it was famine to feast in terms of rainfall. Here’s a look at the “atmospheric rivers” that kept the state dry, then inundated it with dangerous flooding conditions.

Speaking of drought, here’s the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for March, 2017. In spite of recent rains, drought conditions persist or increase across many areas of the plains and southern states.

month_drought

Though the focus of this article is on the recent heat wave in parts of Australia, it applies to other continents as well. “Climate Scientists Say Likelihood Of Extreme Summers Surging Due To Global Warming.”

What do citizens of the USA think about climate change? This interesting read provides some maps and links to answer that question.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-1_22_48-pmPercentage of adults, by state, who think global warming is happening. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication | George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication

An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius) according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Severe Weather Safety Link Of The Week: With the severe weather season well underway across the USA, here’s a very comprehensive yet concise overview of severe weather and it’s hazards from the National Weather Service. “Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, And Lightning. Natures Most Violent Storms.” (20 page PDF file)

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

NOAA is about to take a bit hit from the Trump administration, specifically their satellite division. This is ugly…and it will only get worse. Nefariously draconian comes to mind (considering that much of the life-saving data you benefit from comes from the portion of NOAA that’s under the gun), but that would be to politely generous.

Four Ways NOAA Benefits Your Life Today.” This is a “must-read” by Dr. Marshall Shepherd on the irreplaceable benefits that NOAA and the National Weather Service provide to USA citizens.

Do scientists really lose credibility when they become political? Absolutely not. We need all the scientists involved in the current political climate as possible.

Fighting fire with fire is the only way to deal with the building hostilities toward the scientific community.

Things are bad indeed. “Responding to attacks on scientific expertise and threats to public funding, the growing protest of American scientists might also suggest something about the perceived direness of the state of the world under Trump: If the scientists are organizing, then things must be really bad.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stopped collecting important climate and environmental data. No data = no science = no progress.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A Norwegian news site is on to an excellent way to deal with trolls and/or people who have a “knee-jerk” reaction to a headline and leave hostile and threatening comments. Make them read and article or essay and answer questions about it before they’re allowed to comment. There’s nothing like a little mature, critical thinking to take the place of sophomoric rants.

This disconcerting privacy read will make you think twice about carrying a mobile device in and out of the USA. In case you’re wondering, your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights don’t apply.

Your privacy in the safety of your own home is also a hazard. Chances are, you are your own worst security risk.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to send out a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. We’re in interesting times…so hang on…lots more fun to come.

Cheers!

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Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest’s Science Week In Review For January 13 – 23, 2017

Greetings everyone! I hope you’re having a good start to the week and the weather is being kind to you no matter where you are. We’ve just had a three day round of severe weather in the southeastern states of the USA including a High Risk on 22 January 2017. A High Risk is very rare, and even more so in January which is a month that’s not known for severe weather or tornadoes. Unfortunately, there’s a considerable amount of damage from Mississippi to Georgia with a number of fatalities. Simultaneously, the northeastern states dealt with a ‘nor’easter’ and California had an unusual amount of rain. It eased the drought conditions that have plagued that state for years, but won’t help much on the long run. This week’s review was delayed several days by the severe weather events and other projects. My next review will be published this Saturday, 28 January 2017. There’s quite a bit to go over this week, so let’s get started.

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

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

Who will lead NOAA and, ultimately the National Weather Service, during the Trump administration? This is something to watch very, very carefully.

Due to the lack of American lawmakers who have a sound scientific literacy, it has become increasingly important that scientists become more involved in the political process.

SCIENCE EDUCATION/CRITICAL THINKING

Pseudoscience is as rampant as ever in our modern day culture and, due to the proliferation of social media, is now more easily distributed to an unwary general public. To put it more succinctly…”This means that just because something catches our attention, or is easy to remember, it does not mean it is useful for understanding a new thing we want to learn.”

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Check out this very cool citizen science project that anyone can take part in. The awesome folks at Science Friday have a nice overview of how folks just like you can help out in year-long bird counts.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

How we process information (and where we get it) has much to do with how we interpret the validity of news…and decide on its validity…even if it’s fake and/or of dubious integrity.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A very cool astronomy read on how the universe could contain ten time more galaxies than previously thought.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Is the USA state of Wyoming trying to outlaw clean energy? If so, they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s an excellent read on severe weather High Risks and associated tornadoes that puts this past week’s severe weather into a historical perspective.

Speaking of tornadoes, is it really that cold inside a tornado? A new study on the tornado vortex says it is cold…very cold.

Since satellite monitoring of sea ice began in the 1970’s, the area of oceans covered by sea ice is at an all time low. Chances are good it’s the lowest it has been for many a millennia.

global-sea-ice-extent-2016The dark burgundy colored line in this NSIDC data graph represents sea ice in 2016. Note how it is far below other lines going back to 1978. Also note that the red line on the far left, representing 2017 to date, is even lower than 2016.

While on the subject of sea ice, take a few minutes and watch this fascinating and well produced video on climate change and its effects on glaciers in Alaska, USA.

Here’s a very good and thought-provoking read from meteorologist Brad Panovich. “It’s Time We Move On From A 0% & 100% Climate Change Debate.”

In case you missed it, “At the exact hour when the presidency transferred hands, the Obama administration’s climate and energy web pages became some of the first casualties of the new Trump administration.”

If the new presidential administration ignores climate change, China is more than willing to step up to the plate and become the world’s leader in climate science.

From a global perspective, some are of the opinion that we’ve almost lost any chance to stave off the effects of climate change. Personally speaking, I’m more optimistic, but we’ve no time to waste on getting the job started…and not letting any one industry or government…get in the way of science.

Fortunately, scientists are reminding citizens of the USA that science has been and always will be a major cornerstone of a civilized, intelligent, educated, and technologically advanced society.

WEATHER SAFETY

Here’s a great read from the American Red Cross on safety travel tips for cold weather conditions.

In light of the recent severe weather events and tornadoes, here’s a quick reminder from the National Weather Service on the difference between a Tornado Watch & a Tornado Warning.

difference-between-tornado-watch-and-warning.

Last but not least, some good news. NOAA’s new GOES-16 satellite is fully functional and is sending back some amazing high-resolution images of the Earth. This is truly a watershed event in the atmospheric sciences!

That’s a wrap for this review! I’d like to welcome my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun! Have a great week everybody…see you Saturday!

Cheers!


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

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

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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For October 10 – 17, 2016

Greetings to everyone! I hope you’re all having a great start to  your week and the weather where you live is being kind to you. The big weather story this week is the ongoing flooding in parts of the southeastern USA, North Carolina in particular, that resulted from Hurricane Matthew. In climate science, substantial progress has been made with dozens of countries agreeing on pacts that will have a dramatic impact on the quality of life for every one of us. On that note, let’s get started.

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

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION/SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

A nice overview of the challenge of communicating science to the general public.

A fascinating take on the gender differences that are often perpetuated within the sciences. “Metaphorically Speaking, Men Are Expected To Be Struck By Genius, Women To Nurture It.”

A chilling segment broadcast on Science Friday on 14 October 2016 on the ‘dangers’ involved in scientific research.

A very thought-provoking essay and overview of four new books that, “one way or another, our planet is wilder and weirder than the rules we are used to would predict.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES/RECYCLING

Ozone is beneficial in the upper levels of our atmosphere. The opposite is true at ground level where humans and other life forms exist. While many effects of ozone are understood, more are being researched and, as our planet warms, concern is growing about the public health and environmental impacts of this toxic substance.

A unique solution to a renewable energy challenge. “Scotland region will be 100% powered by kites within a decade.”

You’d think that in this day and age, irresponsibility like this wouldn’t be an issue, but it is. “British Households Fail To Recycle A ‘Staggering’ 16 Million Plastic Bottles A Day.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Ever wonder what it’s like to ride along with hurricane hunters? It’s not for the faint of heart. This video gives you an inside view.

If there’s a good chance of La Nina for North American in the coming months, how will it affect the coming winter?

Are you a storm chaser or have a particular interest in severe weather and tornadoes? Here’s a good read that should spearhead some of your own research into tornado genesis. “Wind Patterns In Lowest Layers Of Supercell Storms Key To Predicting Tornadoes.”

Simply put, this headline is spot on. “If Congress Invests In Seasonal Weather Forecast Research, Everybody Wins.”

Ever feel dismayed about overwhelming evidence on climate change? There’s no need to. Here’s a good viewpoint on how to “make lemonade out of climate change.”

Here’s an excellent Q & A from the Union Of Concerned Scientists regarding drought conditions that plague over 40% of the USA.

This is perhaps the biggest climate change news in quite some time. Over 190 countries have agreed to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the battle to combat climate change. It’s a very important step that is vital to the world we live in today…and for future generations.

A startling look at the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti with photos and maps.

ONE IMPORTANT LAST MESSAGE…

Please show your support & wear Orange this Wednesday.

UNITY DAY: Together against bullying — united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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

Cheers!


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

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

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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Nov. 1 – Nov. 8, 2015

Overall, it’s been a relatively quiet weather week across most of North America. A taste of autumn severe weather activity on Thursday, November 5 was one of the few highlights. Much of the southern states received beneficial rainfall. Unfortunately for the western states, the ongoing drought has stayed the course.  Due to several ongoing projects, this week’s post will be brief.

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

TECHNOLOGY/PRIVACY

Clicking that “Do Not Track” box may do you no good after all.

The next time a new “flavor-of-the-month” app rears its head and the developer describes it as a “game changer,” think twice about installing it. Chances are they’re playing a “game” with your private data.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

An under-reported story. Indonesia’s devastating (and deadly) forest fires are man-made.

Here’s some very encouraging renewables news. Sweden is aiming to be the world’s first country free of fossil fuels by 2050!

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Tornadoes in North America aren’t limited to the spring months. In fact, the autumn is historically noted as a very active severe weather season.

Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective” is a fascinating read published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The lasting legacy of climate change will be heat.” Indeed, a true statement as the long-term affects of climate change become more clearly defined with increasing research.

An interesting read on paleoclimatology research. Tree rings are being used to get a retrospective of Europe’s climate going back 2,000 years.

Quite often, the process is as important as the content when conveying knowledge. “How To Explain Climate Change To Teens.”

A mixed bag of results, many disconcerting yet some encouraging, in this Pew Research Center overview of global concern about climate change.

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

Cheers!

 

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

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Potentially Active Severe Weather Episode Mid-Week (Wednesday-Thursday) For Central Plains

The latest Storm Prediction Center Day 4-8 Severe Weather Outlook issued on Apr 4, 2015 hints at a potentially active severe weather episode across several states. Several ingredients will be missing early in the week, so that will keep things in check. On Wednesday, conditions look more interesting, especially across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. In the map below, the Day 5 (D5) severe weather probability is outlined in yellow and currently is at 15%. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s enough for the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) to take notice of. In the Storm Prediction Center Outlook, “WITH STRONG INSTABILITY AND MODERATELY STRONG SHEAR EXPECTED…ENVIRONMENT WILL FAVOR SUPERCELLS…AND ASSOCIATED RISK
FOR LARGE HAIL…DAMAGING WINDS…AND POSSIBLE TORNADOES.” (Please note: The use of upper case letters is standard for all NOAA/National Weather Service products). Essentially this means that instability (energy for storms to form) and shear (movement of air in the atmosphere that will help storms form large hail, and possible tornadoes) will be present.

WEDNESDAY

Day 5 SPC Outlook 4 April 2015

Looking ahead to Thursday, the Day 6 (D6) Outlook has a higher probability of severe weather across several states…from Texas and Oklahoma to Illinois and Indiana. This is where the forecast becomes more challenging. Storms that may have formed on Wednesday can be 1.) ongoing and still severe Thursday morning and/or 2.) affect the atmosphere in such a way that it will be difficult for forecasters to pin down a more specific outlook area where Thursday’s storms might form. Regardless, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is confident enough to have added a 30% probability to the Day 6 outlook. From the outlook discussion, “A FAIRLY BROAD AFTERNOON AND EVENING ZONE OF RISK FOR LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS ALONG WITH A FEW TORNADOES IS EVIDENT EXTENDING FROM ILLINOIS SOUTHWESTWARD ACROSS MISSOURI/ARKANSAS INTO SOUTHEASTERN KANSAS/EASTERN OKLAHOMA AND POSSIBLY INTO NORTH CENTRAL/NORTHEASTERN TEXAS.”  Having said that, confidence is rather high that Thursday will be a very active severe weather day with all the trimmings. Now for the caveat emptor. 

THURSDAY

Day 6 SPC Outlook 4 April 2015

 

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN FOR ME?

Let’s clear up a few things first. This forecast can and will change during the week. Like any of the best laid plans, things evolve or “Plan B” needs to be put into action. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is simply trying to convey the “heads up” that they see the potential for severe weather for the middle of the coming week. This post is also only my own subjective take on the SPC’s outlook along with some other computer model forecast information I’ve been watching. The Storm Prediction Center, your local National Weather Service Office, and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice are the best and most reliable sources of information to keep you and your family safe. If you want to keep close tabs on these severe weather outlooks, please follow the Storm Prediction Center on Twitter and visit their website often (at least two or three times a day) to monitor updates. On the menu to your right, click on the “Outlooks” tab for information pertinent to severe weather forecasts. Their website also has a wealth of information on how forecasts are made and what the Marginal/Slight/Enhanced/Moderate/High risks mean. It’s a very good “bookmark worthy” resource that everyone with even a passing interest in weather can benefit from.

  • Should I worry?
    • No. Simply make note of the possibility of severe weather this week and how it may affect your errands, commute, family plans, school, or work schedule, etc. It’s also a very good time to check your NOAA weather radio to make sure it has fresh batteries and is functioning properly. If you prepare ahead and stay on top of official forecasts, you will be safe (and feel safer) not just for this week, but the coming weeks and years ahead. Severe weather is a fact of life for most of the contiguous USA east of the Rocky mountains and, like the big snows in upstate New York, are something you should expect, prepare for, and take necessary precautions should you need to if a warning is issued for your area.
    • For those of you who have a degree of anxiety with storms, you’re not alone. Even the most modest of storms can bring some people into a very distressing panic attack. One thing that many severe weather aficionados don’t understand is there is a significant proportion of the population that does not share their enthusiasm. Some folks have a simple phobia of storms, lightning, thunder, etc. Others carry psychological and/or physical scars after having suffered through devastating personal loss directly related to a storm event in their past. If you’re in those groups, there’s one thing (well…make that two) you need to remember. First, the chances of the worst case scenario happening are very small. Second, stick with official sources of weather information and avoid the fear mongers at all costs. A good analogy is a quiet lake full of ducks…it looks calm until one or two start flapping their wings, splashing around, and cackling like they’re stark raving mad. While their “death-from-the-skies” rants may garner them a lot of followers on Twitter, likes to their Facebook pages, and visits to their websites, they rarely offer anything of value to the vast majority of folks like you who simply want to know reliable forecast information and how that will impact your everyday life.
  • What’s the purpose of this post?
    • 1. To pass along information that Mother Nature may throw a tantrum this week…so stay on top of your local forecasts. Be weather aware and plan accordingly. It’s that time of year.
    • 2. Give you a “laypersons” guide to what may happen and pass along resources of weather information.
    • 3. Reinforce the importance of being prepared for storms whether you’re at home, work, or school.
    • 4. Reassure those who are distressed by storms that knowledge is power, will keep you safer, and avoid the hype-sters who will only increase your anxiety.
    • 5. Remind once again that Tornado Quest is not and never should be looked upon as an official” source of potentially life-saving severe storm watch or warning information. I only pass along severe weather watch and forecast discussion information for purposes of convenience (I have a high percentage of Twitter followers in the Great Plains states) and severe weather forecast updates (aka Mesoscale Discussions) from SPC that, while often technical, give you insight into what some of the countries best forecasters are thinking regarding severe weather that is affecting your area. The only people who save lives are the hard-working folks at the National Weather Service. Broadcast meteorologists and emergency management officials should also be given credit where credit is due (especially the former) since they often convey a vast amount of life-saving information to a concerned or frightened public who is (understandably) not often able to discern what is happening…especially in moments of high fear or stress.
    • Last but not least, forget sirens. They’re old-school Cold War era technology that, at best, works for those who are a stones throw from the pole they’re on…and they do malfunction at the worst possible times. In most homes, schools, and commercial buildings, you’ll not be able to hear a siren over the cacophony of large hail, torrential rain, and high winds as a tornado bears down on your neighborhood…hence the importance of relying on NOAA weather radio along with broadcast meteorologists and (if available) a high quality smart phone warning app.

We’ve covered a lot of information here. My main purpose was to address the severe weather potential. As I thought about the general public’s concerns for impacts, I felt the need to address some issues that are of concern to me. The safety of you and your loved ones is of the utmost importance…and remember (especially in social media)…caveat emptor.

Have a great week everybody…I’ll post a few updates as we get closer to our chances of severe weather.

Cheers!

 

 

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