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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!


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Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For January 3 – 13, 2017

Greetings everyone! This has been a wild weather week across much of the western USA with California getting tons of snow, more than enough rainfall to put a dent in much of the drought stricken areas, and even an EF-0 tornado near Sacramento. Much of the midwest is bracing for an ice storm and, as of this date (13 January 2017) Ice Storm Warnings are in effect from the northeast Texas panhandle across Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and even into west-central Illinois. As usual, there’s a plethora of other topics to cover. On a personal level, it’s been a “full dance card” week for me with many projects that led me to delay this week’s post. On that note, let’s get started…

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION

Excellent read from American Scientist magazine on nurturing scientific literacy among the general public. What is meant by ‘scientific literacy?’

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a fascinating story of a man who, in search of a quiet existence in a remote area, inadvertently had a significant effect on climate change science.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

A very cool astronomy read about researchers getting the first look at a very rare kind of galaxy.

A recent study found evidence that the Earth’s moon is older than scientists thought…millions of years earlier than previously believed.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

An idea that, for the sake of our future generations, should come to fruition. “How To Save $23 Trillion Per Year: 100% Renewable Energy For The World.”

Good advice to get the new year started off right. “All too often environmentalism is about stopping doing something, but maybe it’s time to be more active and start doing something instead?”

As of late, the air pollution in China has literally become lethal in nature. This article explains why their air pollution is on the rise again.

China isn’t the only country struggling with severe air pollution problems. Just five days into 2017, London has breached its annual air pollution limit.

Those of us in Oklahoma know all too well what Trump’s EPA nominee Scott Pruitt is capable of. Now, the rest of the country has the chance to find out for themselves.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An interesting read on a study that says the frequency of large-scale tornado outbreaks is increasing in the USA, particularly when it comes to the most extreme events. A link to the original study is included.

Tornadoes in California? You bet. On 10 January 2017, the Sacramento area was visited by an EF-0 tornado.

The latest US Drought Monitor shows over 20% of the contiguous USA is experiencing drought conditions. Recent rain and snowfall throughout the southern states should provide relief that will be evident on the next Drought Monitor.

c1axvprxaaa0ot7-jpg-large

There’s often a great deal of confusion about winter weather advisories, watches, and warnings. This NWS infographic has got you covered.

winter-weather-watch-warning-advisory-infographic

Are you prepared for an ice storm? If you’re in the areas under an Ice Storm Warning, all the preparations in this info-graphic (courtesy of the St. Louis, MO National Weather Service) should be rushed to completion.

are-you-prepared-for-an-ice-storm

While it may sound bizarre, you can have a blizzard even when it’s not snowing.

In 2016, a total of 121 flood related deaths occurred in the USA. This map from the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center gives a state-by-state breakdown. High death tolls in West Virginia were due to June floods, Texas deaths from flooding in late May.

2016-usa-flood-deaths-map

Just when you thought the new year couldn’t get off to a more bizarre start. “House Science Committee’s Twitter Account Is Now Just Another Climate Science Denial Troll.”

While not necessarily representative of the whole of American society, this survey gives an informative ‘snapshot’ of the daunting challenges atmospheric scientists are up against when trying to convey climate science to the general public.

Another challenge is conveying the risk of climate change to the public. A recent World Economic Forum report ranks climate change and associated environmental factors as the greatest risk facing humanity.

Here’s a disconcerting ‘must-read’ on the anti-science crusade that continues to build steam in the USA. “The Congressional Attack On Science.”

A concise overview from the Capital Weather Gang of ten extreme weather events outside of the USA that killed thousands and cost untold billions during 2016.

In the Antarctic, an ice shelf is breaking up from the inside out. The ice shelf is bigger than New York’s Long Island and when it breaks off, it could result in global sea level rise that threatens many large cities close to the world’s coasts.

THOUGHT PROVOKING

Last but not least, when asked about death and the ‘afterlife,’ astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gives a spot on answer that is particularly enlightening.

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!


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

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

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Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

Copyright © 1998 – 2017 Tornado Quest, LLC

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For December 12 – 20, 2016

Greetings everyone! For those of you across North America, I hope you’re managing to stay warm during the current cold snap. It certainly adds a bit of ‘zing’ to the holiday season. Speaking of the holidays, this post and the following two will be on the brief side. It’s a crazy, busy time of year for many of us and I’m no exception. Still, there are important topics to keep abreast of, so let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

A wide variety of science fields are covered in this particular retrospective on the twelve key science moments of 2016.

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION

What’s the best way to communicate scientific concepts that are often very complex to the general public? “It turns out that even in the world of scientific writing, your eighth-grade teacher was right: how you write can matter as much as what you write.”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Exciting news for astronomy fans. The world’s largest digital survey of the visible Universe, mapping billions of stars and galaxies, has been publicly released.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

When the air quality in a city is so bad that airline traffic is cancelled, you know it’s air that is literally lethal to breathe.

Here’s an excellent read and infographic on reducing your plastic pollution. The plastics that are part of many life saving items aren’t the problem, it’s the “daily plastics” that aren’t always necessary and so easily discarded that are the challenge.

The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association has released a “fact” sheet on waste water injection/fracking and it’s relation to the recent and dramatic increase of earthquakes in the Sooner State. For reasons that are blatantly obvious, they’re not taking responsibility for their actions. This is public relations cherry-picking at its best.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

An unsettling read from Climate Central: Scientists Are Saving Climate Data; This Is Why It Matters. “In recent days, efforts have sprung up to archive climate data on federal sites. They’ve been spurred by fears that the Trump administration could take a hostile stance toward climate science and that budget cuts could make data less accessible.”

A very unsettling essay by climate scientist Michael E. Mann that is a “must read” for anyone interested in the atmospheric sciences. “I’m A Scientist Who Has Gotten Death Threats. I Fear What May Happen Under Trump.”

Here’s a look at NOAA’s global State Of The Climate report for November, 2016. First, let’s take a look at selected climate anomalies and events.

201611Here’s the global temperature trends for November. While much of North America was quite above normal, parts of Europe and Asia were unseasonably cool.

201612

After a very warm November in North America, 2016 had to get one last cold shot in before year’s end. Watching it take place across surface observations (especially the Oklahoma Mesonet) was quite a sight.

Finally, a rather impertinent view of the never-to-be-settled-argument on school closings and winter weather. In this game, you just can’t win, even when erring on the side of justifiable caution.


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