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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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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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 January 12 – 19, 2016

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

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

TECHNOLOGY

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

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

PHYSICS

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

PALEONTOLOGY/EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUST FOR FUN

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

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

Cheers!

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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 Sept. 2 – 9, 2015

For much of the contiguous USA plains states, summer heat has been holding on with a vengeance. Fortunately, there are changes underway as we speak and before long, autumn will “show its colors” (no pun intended). It’s also common for an uptick in severe weather to occur across Tornado Alley during the fall months. In the tropical cyclone realm, the Pacific has been very busy this year. The Atlantic has been relatively well-behaved in spite of some noble attempts at hurricane formation. Considering the alternative, I don’t really think anyone in hurricane prone regions is complaining. The downside is the fact that it’s been a decade since a significant hurricane made landfall in the USA. Complacency can breed carelessness. Therefore, this is a good time for us to remind ourselves that September is National Preparedness Month. The theme for 2015 is “Don’t Wait, Communicate” and the time to prepare for natural disasters of all kinds is now…when things are quiet…and you have the time and presence of mind to make calm, rational decisions. Those who have prepared ahead of time and experienced a disaster have told me many times that the time, effort, and resources used to “prep” were well worth it and, in some cases, life saving “preventative medicine.” It doesn’t matter where you live, even if the annual weather events are rather uneventful. Everyone is vulnerable.

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION/STEM

If you have a daughter interested in a science career, have her check out the Women In STEM career videos from GotScience.org.

Check out this nice infographic on how essential earth and space science is to all of us. It involves saving lives…every day.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Many people have serious privacy concerns over Windows 10. To add insult to injury, concerns are now raised over Windows 7 and 8.

If you’re concerned about online security, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense information. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

A very interesting and telling read from the Pew Research Center. “Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015.”

I very, very rarely recommend apps (especially weather apps) since the quality and accuracy of data is so unpredictable. But, in addition to the apps that you feel serve you best, I’d add the American Red Cross app. It’s very customizable and highly informative.

If, like me, you’re a user of many Apple products, here’s a quick overview of the September 9, 2015 Apple product event. For weather folks (including storm chasers), the new and larger iPad Pro would be an excellent addition in the field for radar products and/or model runs…and any improvement on iPhone processor and camera capabilities is a “must have.”

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a very cool citizen science project just in time for autumn. Kids, parents, and teachers can learn the “hows and whys” of leaves changing color during fall.

Speaking of plant-based citizen science for kids, here’s an excellent resource from Project BudBurst for K-4 educators.

Caren Cooper has written and excellent essay on the importance of the role citizen science plays in our children’s science education.

This is a project that should be taking place across North America. “European Citizens Measure Air Pollution With Their Smartphones.”

GEOLOGIC SCIENCE

What is Geologic time? A very, very, very long time.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

The recent wildfires in the northwest USA have done more than burn vegetation, they’ve endangered wildlife.

Yes, school recycling competitions are for real…and I’d like to see more of these everywhere.

Just follow the money. “Back to School: “Frackademia” Alive and Well at U.S. Universities, Says New Report.”

An interesting read on the irrevocable climate-biosphere link and how crucial food chain bacteria is altered by climate change.

A UK study that would without a doubt be valid worldwide. Trees in urban areas are valuable in dispersing air pollution (and improve the quality of the air you and I breathe).

Awesome is an understatement! “The Netherlands plans to have a 100% wind-powered railway system by 2018.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

This past week was the 115th anniversary of the deadliest weather disaster in the history of the USA: the 1900 Galveston, TX hurricane. There’s no exact death toll, but varying estimates range from a very, very conservative 6,000 to as high as 10,000. If you’ve not read “Issac’s Storm,” you should. It’s an excellent account of events and even an enlightening glimpse into the history of the science of early forecasting.

A very nice side-by-side comparison of 1997 and 2015 El Ninos from Climate Central.

While on the topic of El Nino, here’s a great resource for kids, parents, and teachers that has everything you ever wanted to know about this climate phenomenon and more.

According to new research, droughts and heat waves are happening simultaneously with much greater frequency than in the past.

An interesting read on how climate change would mean the death of one world and the birth of another.

If you live in the western contiguous 48 USA and thought August was hot, you were right. It was well above average in temperatures.

Many of us, including your’s truly, have watched The Weather Channel since it first aired in 1982. There are some big changes on tap and, personally speaking, I think they’re beneficial in the long-term.

“Cherry-picking” research is common among climate change denialists. In spite of the overwhelming worldwide consensus, research of dubious integrity continues.

QUIXOTIC HUMOR

If there was ever a country that has a fascinating cornucopia of dialects, it’s the USA. “Welcome To The United Slang Of America.”

And that’s a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm “welcome” to my new followers. Glad you’re along for the fun!

Cheers!

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

Tornado Quest on Instagram

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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