Tag Archives: solar

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For August 15 – 29, 2016

Greetings all! I hope everyone’s having a great start to your week. Due to several previous time-consuming commitments I’ve had to delay publishing a post by one week. The tropical Atlantic has been very busy as of late with (as of 29 August 2016) one hurricane, two tropical depressions, and an interesting tropical wave near the Cabo Verde Islands. Two back-to-back hurricanes are also between North American and Hawaii. Ultimately, nature has the upper hand and will do things on its own time scale which is the primary reason for preparedness…regardless of whether an immediate threat is present…or not. Having said that, it would behoove us to keep tabs on the tropics…the peak of the season has arrived. On that note, let’s get started.

For your consideration, here are the links for this post…

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Do you use WhatsApp? I’d recommend you switch to Telegram. Here’s why.

All iPhone users need to get the latest iOS update immediately.

GENERAL SCIENCE

An eye-opening reminder as to why the maps we know and love offer a very distorted view of our humble home.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

There’s a solar eclipse treat on the menu next year for much of the USA and, understandably, many folks are not a little excited.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Summers in the U.S. bring more than just searing, dangerously hot days. When there’s little air circulation and the air becomes stagnant, high levels of air pollution and increases in the level of ozone are triggered by the hot temperatures. The resulting health consequences for millions of Americans is quite significant. The Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Dallas/Fort Worth metros have had at least two “Ozone Alert Days” so far this summer.

Speaking of sizzling summer days, setting in traffic in urban areas has certain air quality hazards. Here’s a good read on how you can reduce your exposure to pollutants.

Here’s some very good renewables news. Wind power is flourishing in the USA. In fact, the first offshore wind farm in the USA is nearing completion. Unfortunately, the comments section on the latter link is exceptionally cynical.

If wind power won’t work for you, check out solar. The price of solar is declining to all-time record lows.

A disconcerting environmental science/climate read. “This year’s melt season in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas started with a bang, with a record low maximum extent in March and relatively rapid ice loss through May. One NASA sea ice scientist describes this as ‘the new normal.'”

This is very exciting…not just for the USA, but the world in general. President Obama just quadrupled the size of a national marine monument off northwestern Hawaii. It’ll be twice the size of Texas!

Last but not least, the USA’s National Parks just celebrated their 100th anniversary. Here’s a spectacular VR trip through geologic time courtesy of NPR.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

A concise overview of the recent deadly floods in Louisiana. By some accounts, the storm system responsible for the heavy rainfall was a “hurricane without the winds.”

This “no name” storm also dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina.

Here’s a very good read on the Louisiana flooding by Dr. Marshall Shepherd. “5 Reasons Some Were Unaware Of One Of The Biggest Weather Disasters Since Sandy.”

On 24 August 2016, a localized outbreak of tornadoes occurred in parts of Indiana and Ohio. The Storm Prediction Center is now being raked over the coals for having “missed” a forecast. Did the SPC miss a forecast and, more importantly, does it matter? There’s been plenty of sophomoric “Monday morning quarterbacking” over this (the vast majority coming from amateur weather hobbyists) who think they are better qualified. I seriously doubt that. As with the hype over what was known as “Invest #99L,” nature always has the better hand and the ace up its sleeve. Dealing with a 3-D fluid that is in a constant state of change is difficult enough for day-to-day forecasting let alone a regional tornado outbreak that didn’t have all the parameters that would have given even the most seasoned forecasters a “heads up.” I can recall several instances this year alone where the SPC was absolutely spot-on in it’s forecast…but all it takes is one “miss” and the trolling begins.

A perfect example of how imagery is worth a thousand words. Take a look at the hottest weather ever visualized.

Can lightning be predicted in the same way forecasters predict precipitation?

An interesting, and irrevocable, climate science & economics connection. As our climate changes, our economies become more vulnerable. The time for economic adaptation is now.

Communities have traditionally prepared for natural disasters based on past events. Extreme weather events will now force communities to confront new climate patterns and prepare with a focus on the future.

An interesting read on the ocean-weather-climate link. “Pacific Sea Level Predicts Global Temperature Changes.”

The latest US Drought Monitor shows dry conditions persist in the western states while spreading in the southeast.

A spot-on read covering tactical capers of climate change denialists. This is anti-science mindsets at their best.

Speaking of climate change denialists, referring them as “skeptics” is disingenuous to the true meaning of skepticism.

THE QUIXOTIC

A spot 0n yet startling read by Lawrence M. Krauss. “Trump’s Anti-Science Campaign.”

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to give a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. It’s nice to have new folks along with the old friends that have been a part of my online community for several years!

Cheers!

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

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 More For July 19 – 29, 2016

Greetings everybody! I hope everyone’s having a good week and, if you’re dealing with the heat wave covering a good portion of North America, you’re staying cool and comfortable. For much of the USA, drought conditions are spreading and even include many northeastern states. For folks into citizen science, there’s news regarding the mPING app. And, as usual, there’s plenty of climate data to keep up with…so let’s get started.

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

CITIZEN SCIENCE

If you’re using an older version of the mPING app, please update so your important weather reports will work with the updated database. If you’re not familiar with mPING, it’s a great way for citizen scientists to report weather events to the National Severe Storms Laboratory to help with their research. The mPING app is free, takes up very little space on your smart phone, and is available for both iOS and Android.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter finally dealt a blow to one if it’s most offensive users. Let’s hope this isn’t a one-time publicity stunt.

Twitter is also regrouping in an effort to attract new users in order to, “help people to understand that Twitter isn’t really a Facebook-like social network where you connect with friends and family (thank goodness for that!) nor a place where you have to show up and tweet every day.” For severe weather information, Twitter is “hands-down” the best social media platform to receive severe weather watch and warning information…so long as you follow official media and National Weather Service accounts.

Trolls are an ever-present irritant in the online world, but there are ways to soundly destroy them…and it’s not that difficult.

An incredible technology and aeronautical achievement has just been completed. A solar-powered aircraft had circled the globe!

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

An excellent read on why we need to remember the Apollo moon landings.

The red spot storm on Jupiter has been observed for hundreds of years. The air in its thunderstorms boil at temperatures of of at least 2400°F (1300°C).

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Now that the DSCOVR satellite has been orbiting the Earth for over a year, its EPIC camera has finally captured enough images for a year-long time-lapse video of our home.

Thanks to climate change, wildfires in the USA have burned over 2.6 million acres so far this year…and there’s more to come.

California isn’t the only state in the US that is currently ravaged by drought. The northeastern states are in the grips of dry conditions as well.

A novel idea that’s worth looking into. If you’ve got an overabundance of CO2, get more giant trees.

For those who have the daunting task for forecasting flood events, climate change just changed the rules they must play by.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

We all need weather forecasts available on our mobile devices. The National Weather Service has you covered for your summer vacation…and year round.

Weather Ready Graphic

An excellent read by Dr. Marshall Shepherd. “Do You (Or Your Meteorologist) Understand What 40% Chance Of Rain Means?”

For the next three months (August, September, and October, 2016), NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s outlook is for above average temperatures for the contiguous forty-eight states and Alaska.

We’re only in late July and, according to data from NOAA and NASA, 2016 is already shaping up to be another record-breaking year for global temperatures.

With 2016 shaping up to be another record-breaking year for global temperatures, here’s an important look at many USA cities which are bound to set records of their own.

A new NASA-led study finds that almost one-fifth of the global warming that has occurred in the past 150 years has been missed by historical records due to quirks in how global temperatures were recorded.

A very informative read on how climate models are accurately predicting ocean and global warming.

Part health, part weather…a good read on keeping the human body cool during a heat wave. Your life could depend on it.

While on the topic of heat and the human body, here’s a comprehensive list of seven misconceptions about heat and humidity. Chances are you believe in some of them.

An interesting map of the climate worries that are (most likely) in the USA’s public mind…state-by-state.

An interesting read on one of the more enigmatic lightning related phenomenons in meteorology: ball lightning.

Yet another media-hype unscientific term has infiltrated itself into mass media and the colloquial dictionary. Welcome to the “heat dome.”

Finally, a look at the best arguments that climate change denialists can devise. From the article, “These are the publishing climate scientists who argue that something other than humans is responsible for the majority of global warming, although their explanations are often contradictory and don’t withstand scientific scrutiny.” The flat-earth society is still alive and well.

That’s a wrap for this post!

One last note; due to ongoing commitments to many other projects, this blog post will now be published on Friday. I’d also like to welcome my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the fun! All of Tornado Quest’s social media links can be found below.

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 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 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 March 21 – 28, 2016

Greetings and welcome to all. I hope everybody’s having a great week and ready for April to take front and center. Hard to imagine that three months of 2016 have already passed. As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun…so make 2016 your year for personal growth…and make sure to nurture the kind of things in your life that money can’t buy. Those are truly the most valuable. On that note, let’s get started…

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Can science fair participation bring about future educational and career success? Absolutely!

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

An ugly scenario. “A Nightmarish Timeline Of What Would Happen To The Earth After A Massive Solar Flare.”

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

How much energy could the USA get from solar? Far more than we are now…and now it the time to go full throttle.

Based on Met Office data, the UK’s plant growing season is a month longer than it was in 1990.

While we’re in the UK, its beaches have seen a dramatic (and unfortunate) rise in the amount of beach litter…most of which could be easily recycled.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

With adaptation being the key to survival, California is finding ways to take the lead in fighting climate change.

A very thought-provoking read on proposals that are aimed at dealing with climate change.

With mounting evidence increasing by the day, meteorologists are now overwhelmingly concluding that climate change in indeed real and caused by humans.

Interesting read on cloud droplet research and its potential to influence climate models.

This is a great idea and badly needed to prevent unnecessary and completely preventable deaths from heat exposure that occur every year.

That’s a wrap for this post!

I’d like to welcome all my new followers in social media, I’m glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

_____________________________________________________________________

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TECHNOLOGY

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

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

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

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

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

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

Are current technological developments improving air quality?

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

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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

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

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

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

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For April 20 – 28, 2015

After several days of active severe weather, the contiguous 48 USA states get a bit of a respite. For the most part, it will be welcome. There’s still plenty of time left to get your emergency kit for home or work in order…and this quiet period is a good time to make sure everything is in check. May is the most active tornado month (from a climatological standpoint) for North America…so we’ve still many weeks of severe weather potential ahead. With the recent spate of severe weather and several crucial deadlines garnering my time and energy, I’ve had to carefully delegate my time…ergo the brevity of this post.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Food for thought. “Can We Trust Scientists Self-Control?” In general, yes.

An excellent essay that hits the spot in “Inoculating Against Science Denial.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A “must-read” for anyone who is online from Ghostery (which I can’t recommend highly enough). Trolls…aka online bullies…don’t just live for the change to make sophomoric comments, some lust for private data too.

HISTORY OF SCIENCE

A very comprehensive list of about one hundred books that cover a wide spectrum on the history of science.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

The recent devastating Nepal earthquake was, by some accounts, a “nightmare waiting to happen.”

This doesn’t surprise me at all. We’re so good at causing earthquakes, the U.S. Geological Survey wants to start forecasting them.

Oklahomans feel far more earthquakes than Californians do…and the reason isn’t a surprise. Shake, frack, and roll.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

This is the kind of good news I love seeing. “Like Shale Oil, Solar Power Is Shaking Up Global Energy.”

This is Air Quality Awareness Week. For many folks (depending on their local climate patterns) with health issues, this is far more important than even severe weather awareness.

2015 could be a very rough year for wildfires across the contiguous USA…and California in particular.

Our dependency on Amazon rainforests is much greater than we are aware of.

Some surprising survey results of American’s opinions on regulating CO2 and renewable energy research.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Nice overview of the current California drought and its connection to climate change.

California’s drought isn’t the end of the world, but it will change the lifestyles of people who are affected by it. Welcome to a new and permanent way of life.

Are recent extremes in weather events tied to climate change? Some studies say, “yes.”

It’s been almost a decade (October, 2005) since a major (Category 3 or stronger) hurricane has made landfall in the USA. How much longer will our luck hold out?

I couldn’t have said it better myself. “Climate change eats away at the foundation of virtually every issue Americans worry most about today: the economy, national security, good jobs and public health.”

Could seasonal tornado forecasts be on the horizon? If this is feasible, it will be interesting to see how well it works over the long term.

There’s quite a storm brewing over the National Weather Service in Birmingham, AL installing a television studio. Personally, I welcome the concept and think it’s a cracking idea!

Can doppler radar detect birds? Absolutely. It can also detect smoke from wildfires, insects, bats…and much more!

Ft Worth TX NWS GraphicA very informative graphic from the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, TX explaining why an impressive velocity couplet on radar doesn’t mean “wedge.” A long-lasting cyclic supercell moved across central TX on 26 April 2015 and produced all modes of severe weather including large hail, tornadoes, and flash flooding. Damage surveys revealed all the tornadoes that occurred were of EF-0 intensity. Evaluation of real-time storm chaser reports also reveal 1) the difficulty in accurately deciphering what chasers are seeing with only lightning to illuminate the storm and 2) the hazards for the general public of getting your warning information from unofficial (non NWS and media outlet) weather information sources.

Ft Worth TX NWS Graphic2Yes, it was a remarkable supercell with impressive fluid dynamics and behavior, but rather normal in the number of and intensity of tornadoes.

FINALLY, THE QUIXOTIC

Can you put a price on the opinion of Pope Francis? Apparently some delusional opportunists think so…which is a shame. Unethical also comes to mind.

And on that note, this is a wrap! See you good folks next time!

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For March 23 – 30, 2015

To say that the severe weather season for the contiguous USA got started with a “bang” is a vast understatement. Nature pulled a fast one on us. What appeared as a potentially big (literally) hail day with a Moderate and Enhanced Risk for parts of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma turned out to be an event with all modes of severe weather occurring. At the bottom of this post will be sites with up-to-date information relevant to the event. Is this an omen as to what the rest of the severe weather season will bring? Not likely, but then again, nature always has the better hand and the ace up the sleeve. We’ll have to wait and find out. As for preparedness, it’s best to be prepared for emergencies even if one doesn’t occur. There’s plenty of other interesting topics for this week, so let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A very telling read about scientists studying journalists that cover science.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Once again Twitter shows off its third-rate milquetoast attitude towards trolls and bullying.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

The scorch marks left by our rovers are Mars quickly fade as the red planet reclaims traces of our presence.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

As a former HVAC technician, I can vouch for the validity of this infographic on the dangers of indoor air pollution.

A new study shows the extent that humankind has tailored the Earth’s landscapes to our own devices at the expense of the rest of the natural world.

The current California drought isn’t helping the already problematic air quality issues.

Did you take part in Earth Hour on 28 March 2015? I did…and didn’t miss anything I thought I might.

Here’s some awesome renewables news from the Lone Star state! Georgetown, Texas will get all of its power from solar and wind. They should win an award. Now, who’s next?

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s the latest US Drought Monitor. Unfortunately, little to no change from last week. This past week’s rainfall in the southern plains didn’t fall on the parts of Oklahoma and Texas that need it the most.

Interesting new study based in part on NASA satellite data has shows an increase in large, well-organized thunderstorms is behind increased rainfall in the wettest tropical regions.

A very thought-provoking read on the media’s response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It’s our responsibility to leave a health planet for our children, grandchildren, and the many generations to follow. “Tackling Climate Change ~ For Our Kids.”

Antarctica may have seen a recent high temperature record. 63.5F may not be blistering hot, but it’s toasty for that continent.

Speaking of Antarctica, it’s ice shelves are not in the best of shape.

THE 25 MARCH 2015 OKLAHOMA AND ARKANSAS SEVERE WEATHER EVENT

First, some handy safety tips from AAA on what to do if you’re driving and find yourself caught in a storm. Ideally, the best thing to do is not wind up in that kind of bind in the first place!

Summary pages of the 25 March 2015 severe weather events from the Tulsa, Norman, Springfield, and Little Rock National Weather Service offices. Much of this information is preliminary and updates will be added often.

Here’s an excellent video by broadcast meteorologist George Flickinger of Tulsa’s KJRH discussing the Sand Springs, OK tornado and how the silly myths (rivers and/or hills protecting a town or city) were blown away by this storm.

Nice radar images from the Tulsa NWS of the Sand Springs, OK tornado.

An impressive gallery of images from the Tulsa World of the Sand Springs, OK tornado damage.

An excellent must-read for anyone who really wants to understand the dynamics of severe weather: “The Science Behind The Oklahoma And Arkansas Tornadoes Of March 25, 2015.”

As time allows, I may add a few more links with further information regarding this event.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’d also like to extend a hearty welcome to my new followers…very glad you’re along for the fun!

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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