Tag Archives: USGS

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Oct. 14 – 25, 2015

There have been many big weather and climate relates stories this week but the one that was most dominant was Hurricane Patricia. There’s no doubt that Patricia was one for the record books, but the manner in which that was conveyed by mainstream media to the general public has brought about a great deal of discussion. The latest US Drought Monitor shows a startling increase in drought conditions from Texas into Mississippi as the western states drought has become the “status quo.” As for our climate, the latest State Of The Climate report has been issued and, to no one’s surprise, September 2015 was indeed warm…globally.

Shifting gears here a bit at Tornado Quest. Our weekly Science Links And More will now be posted on Sundays. As a result, and due to several other ongoing (but exciting) projects, this post will be on the brief side.

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Fight For The Future is worth checking out, especially if you have concerns about privacy rights.

If you use the iOS operating system, there’s 184 new emojis to choose from…including a tornado!

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Here’s a list of six cool citizen science projects to help you monitor the environment around you.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Mars has a very unique climate…a bit like Earth’s, and simultaneously a bit “alien.”

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

No surprise here. In fact, this was quite inevitable. USGS study links earthquakes due to fracking as far back as the 1920’s.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The latest NOAA State Of The Climate report is out. One of the most startling (but sadly not unexpected) findings is that during September, 2015, record warmth was documented globally.

The public perception of climate change is finally beginning to change itself and concur with the overwhelming scientific evidence.

This week’s US Drought Monitor (20 October 2015) shows the rapid spread of drought conditions from central Texas into western Mississippi.

Hurricane Patricia was a truly remarkable event in the eastern Pacific. Here’s a very nice overview from NASA with some spectacular imagery.

Near the height of Patricia’s intensity, this is what the Category 5 hurricane looked like from a visible satellite viewpoint at 9:15AM (1415 UTC) on 23 October 2015.

Hurricane Patricia Vis Sat 1 23 Oct 2015 1415 UTC

Finally, a somewhat technical but interesting read on atmospheric chemistry and air pollution in China.

I’d like to send a hearty “welcome” to my new followers on social media! Glad you’re along for the fun! 😎

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

Media inquiries: tornadoquest@protonmail.ch

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For October 7 – 14, 2015

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

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

GENERAL SCIENCE/PUBLIC POLICY/STEM

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

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

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

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

GEOLOGIC SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

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

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

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

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE QUIXOTIC

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

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

Cheers!

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Media Inquiries: tornadoquest@gmail.com

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

Tornado Quest Science Links And More For July 22 – 29, 2015

For much of North America, it’s been summer as usual. One notable exception is the ridge of high pressure that has parked itself over the southern plains and, for the time being, has no intentions of moving. With a rich supply of Gulf moisture, the dew points combined with temperatures in the upper 90’sF have created potentially dangerous heat indexes near or above 110F. In conditions like that, the body can easily be overcome by heat…even in people who are in the best of physical condition. As for the tropics, the Atlantic and eastern Pacific are quiet for the time being. But, it’s still very early in the hurricane season. We’re nowhere close to reaching the climatological peak. While the tropics are quiet, this is an excellent time to make sure your emergency kit is in order.

Here’s a big “thank you” to all the folks who’ve given me positive feedback about this blog and my decision (for the time being) to make it a more concise post. Like many of you, I’ve many simultaneous projects in progress, each with its own unique demands, requirements, and deadlines. On that note…

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson explain literally everything in the universe…and, in under 8 minutes!

BIOLOGICAL/MEDICAL SCIENCE

A fascinating read on a brutal fact of injuries suffered in the 22 May 2011 Joplin, MO tornado: Soil Dwelling Fungus Rode Joplin Tornado To Unexpected Human Home.

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

A very interesting and eye-opening look at many modes of social media and/or messaging from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. To no one’s surprise, many of the most popular items are to be trusted the least.

One of the most annoying facts of online culture is the tendency of website designers to block password managers. “Websites, Pleas Stop Blocking Password Managers. It’s 2015.” Trust me, if there’s anything that will induce me to not revisit your site, it’s the blocking of password managers.

SOCIAL SCIENCE

When the storm has passed and it becomes yesterday’s news, most of the populace assumed things are back the normal. If anything, the contrary to that delusion is the long-term truth. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, et al. all have the same brutal psychological effects on many of the people dealing with the aftermath.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Oklahoma has a new claim to fame…and it’s nothing to do with tornadoes. Shake, frack, and roll!

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

A very good read from the USGS: “How Much Water Is There On, In, And Above The Earth?” Interesting to note that, “The vast majority of water on the Earth’s surface, over 96 percent, is saline water in the oceans.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

This was quite a popular story this past week, but the phenomenon isn’t uncommon. In fact, bugs, bats, birds, smoke, cold fronts, outflow boundaries, etc. are easily picked up on doppler radar and, depending on the time of day and season, is quite commonly seen.

If you missed the Tornado Forecasting Workshop this spring with Rich Thompson, you can watch them on YouTube here.

Is asking “How much rain will it take to end the drought?” too simplistic? Quite often it is.

Tornadoes occur round the world on many continents. They’re no stranger to Sweden, but it’s very rare for the Lapland region to see tornadoes in a region this far north.

Finally, I’d like to welcome my new followers…I’m really glad you’re along for the fun. Tornado Quest covers a plethora of geoscience topics that will be of interest to many. We’re here for the long haul too…so stick around for some very cool things we have in the works.

Cheers!

Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For April 28 – May 5, 2015

After several days of respite from episodes of severe weather, an active week is underway with much of the Great Plains forecast to have multiple rounds of thunderstorms, some of which will be severe. Like many other posts for this time of year, this week will be somewhat brief. Between Skywarn spotting duties, storm chasing, and several writing projects, I’ve got a full dance card. Nevertheless, there are plenty of good science stories for our enjoyment.

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

TECHNOLOGY/PRIVACY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Mind the apps you download from Google Play…or iTunes for that matter. Many popular ones, without your permission, are collecting a great deal of private data. For you and me, it’s simply a matter of common sense when choosing apps.

Snarks, trolls, & nefarious interlopers run amok in social media. It can be tough enough for adults who are targets but for our youth, much of the anonymous abuse can be particularly brutal. “Young people think friends more at risk of cyberbullying.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Can Instagram be used by citizen scientists to track climate change? You bet! Here’s how.

Here’s a very cool segment on the Diane Rehm show: The Environmental Outlook: Citizen Scientists.

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

The MESSENGER spacecraft exceeded all expectations before snapping one final image shortly before crashing into the surface of the planet Mercury.

An amazing look at the vastness of space…specifically within our own solar system.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

The Oklahoma earthquake and link to fracking gets more interesting by the week. Observing it from the perspective of a native Oklahoman, it’s like watching a slow motion train wreck.

Here’s a spectacular video from the United States Geological Survey of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano putting on quite a show.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Desperate times mean desperate measures. California is tapping into water reserves that are 20,000 years old to help take the edge off their brutal drought.

Tulsa has always had a problem with ozone for as far back as I can remember. As a result, it was no surprise that the former “oil capital” was ranked the 12th worst city in the USA for ozone levels.

A very good read! “The Next Step In Saving The Planet: E.O. Wilson And Sean Carroll In Conversation.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you have many reasons to hate pollen with a passion. Here’s another reason…it may mess with your weather.

Interesting essay with suggestions for dealing with disaster preparedness.

Speaking of disaster preparedness, the USA has been in somewhat of a hurricane “drought” for several years. It’s simply a matter of good luck that we’ve been this fortunate, but it won’t last forever.

Social science (sociology and psychology) and operational meteorology aren’t mutually exclusive. “Troubled Forecasters Seek Way To Improve Tornado Warnings.”

As glaciers in Antarctica retreat, the future results will not be pleasant to deal with.

A very nice interview with Heidi Cullen of Climate Central on the role of oceans in climate change.

An informative, and fun, infographic on five characteristics of science and/or climate change denial.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’ll be writing some posts with subjective analysis of this week’s severe weather setups for the Great Plains, Wednesday and Saturday in particular. If you’re in an area that will be under the gun for severe weather this week, remember to stay in touch with reliable media outlets of your choice, keep your NOAA weather radio handy, and follow your local National Weather Service office and the Storm Prediction Center for the latest severe weather information.

Cheers!

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!

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