Tag Archives: World Meteorological Orgainization

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

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

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

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

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

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

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

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

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

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

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

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

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

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

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

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

2017winterreview_miami_en_title_lg

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

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

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

month_drought

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

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

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

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

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

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

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

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

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

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

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

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

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And More For October 17 – 24, 2016

Greetings to one and all! I hope the weather, autumn in particular, is going your way. It’s been an unusually warm October across the Southern Plains of the USA with many areas running a rainfall deficit of up to nine inches. In the Atlantic, the tropical cyclone season is winding down. Much of the southeastern USA (North Carolina in particular) is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Looking to the future, NOAA has issued their outlook for the coming winter. Time will tell what comes to fruition. There’s plenty of other topics to explore, so let’s get started.

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION & PUBLIC POLICY

By an overwhelmingly large margin, there is bi-partisan support for science in the USA yet it has remained untouched among topics discussed. How can we make America scientific again?

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLE ENERGY

Articles such as this one on air quality show the irrevocable link between meteorology, environmental science, and public health. “Clean Air For Livable Cities.”

Over the last thirty years, forest fires in the western USA have seen a dramatic increase thanks in no small part to climate change.

Considering the current divisive political climate, this should come as no surprise to any of us in the USA. “U.S. Senate Could Block Landmark HFC Climate Treaty.”

Very good news on the wind power front. “Although solar power gets more press, the wind power industry is growing nearly as fast. The (GWEC) released a historic report Tuesday in Beijing, saying 20 percent of the world’s total electricity could come from wind by as early as 2030.

Here are some startling images that speak for themselves. “Industrial scars: The environmental cost of consumption.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

NOAA has issued its outlook for the winter of 2016-2017. The main caveat is to remember that this is an outlook and NOT a forecast. Yes, there is a difference.

outlook_map_temp_2016 outlook_map_precip_2016

Based on recent NASA data, 2016 is shaping up (from a global perspective) to be another year where long-standing climate records are broken. September, 2016 stands alone itself on world-wide records.

Top climate scientists have just under two years (until 2018) to deliver a new UN report of dangers and avoiding strategies for warming of 1.5C.

Based on World Meteorological Organization data, a “new era of climate change reality” has been reached. “In 2015, for the first time, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were at 400 parts per million (ppm) on average across the year as a whole, the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) annual greenhouse gas bulletin reveals.”

The future to a young climate scientist can seem very daunting. Here’s an excellent Q&A with several climate scientists on their careers and the challenges they face.

A sobering read from a former US Navy meteorologist on climate change. “It’s Eroding Our National Security.”

According to the Danish Meteorological Institute, Sweden could be in for one of its coldest winters in quite some time. Long-term forecasts such as this are often a long shot and based on large-scale global weather patterns mixed with statistical data…so only time will tell if their outlook will come to fruition.

Hurricane Matthew may have been a “once in 1,000 year” event for North Carolina, USA…but it won’t take another 1,000 years for an equally bad (or worse) event like Matthew to happen again.

Just because autumn  and it’s cooler temperatures have settled in across much of the USA doesn’t mean the wildfire danger has decreased. In fact, many significant wildfire events in recent years have taken place in the fall. Wildfires are one of the greatest underrated environmental/weather hazards.

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That’s a wrap for this week! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers and a big “thank you” to my long-time friends in social media. I’m glad you’re all along for the fun!

Cheers!


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Tornado Quest Science Links For February 15 – 22, 2016

Greetings all! I hope everyone’s having a great week. The weather across much of North America has been relatively tranquil this week with unseasonably warm temperatures across much of the southern plains. As of today (22 February 2016) a busy severe weather day is on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday (23 & 24 February 2016) from Texas to the east coast states. Speaking of severe weather, all across the United States the National Weather Service offices are holding Skywarn spotting training classes. If you’re interested in severe weather and contributing to your community, I’d strongly recommend you take one of these courses and spend two (if not more) seasons as an “intern” with a seasoned spotter. On that note, let’s get started.

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

GENERAL SCIENCE

Fortunately, the United States citizenry has a satisfactory of support for science.

In spite of the optimism expressed in the previous link, there’s still putrid bounty of anxiety and antagonism towards science within the US of A.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

Sweden, you are amazing in every way! “Sweden To Go Carbon Neutral By 2045.”

Some great tips here! “17 Sustainable Ways To Be A Better Person To Yourself And To Others.”

Four billion people are facing a life-threatening water shortage…and no, the USA is not exempt.

Very interesting, and not surprising, infographic on the world’s most polluted cities.

You know the air in parts of China is bad when ventilation “corridors” are being built so people don’t have to breathe the outdoor air.

Of great interest to many here in Oklahoma. “Does Living Near An Oil Or Natural Gas Well Affect Your Drinking Water?”

Another read for folks in Oklahoma who are constantly barraged with shake, frack, and roll. “Sierra Club Sues Over Oil Company Earthquakes.”

Climate change + drought = a continent-wide volatile scenario. “Mother Africa On Fire.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Interesting interactive chart showing temperature trends for over 3,100 cities in 2015.

The UK’s Met Office habit of naming storms is likely little more than misguided hype.

Some nice videos of climate scientists briefly discussing climate change.

A very important read from Climate Central. “What Scalia’s Death Means For Climate Change.” Like it or not, climate change has become as much a foreign & domestic policy issue as much as it is science.

A good read by Chris Mooney on where our Earth’s the most vulnerable regions to big swings in climate.

Two years ago, a large, inexplicable hot patch of water appeared in the Pacific Ocean, and stayed right through the seasons—until now. Referred to as “the Blob,” it’s gone away, taken by El Niño. Will it return?

Speaking of El Niño, it has passed its peak strength but impacts will continue according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

 My fellow lightning aficionados will enjoy this read. Lightning-produced ozone has been detected…and this could be important to air quality assessment and prediction in the future.

The University of Miami just opened a new research facility that, by creating a “hurricane in a box,” can help us prepare for dangerous and potentially cataclysmic storms.

An amazing view of ice shattering like plates of glass on North American’s Lake Superior.

THE QUIXOTIC

“Hairy Panic,” a fast growing tumbleweed with a name straight out of a third-rate horror flick rolls into an Australian city.

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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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Nov. 22 – 29, 2015

Greetings to all! I hope you had a great week. If you celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday, I hope you had a great holiday. As the end of the 2015 Atlantic tropical cyclone draws to an official close, we can take note that it’s been another year without a significant landfall on the contiguous US states. Save for Sandra, an intense late season hurricane, the Eastern Pacific has fallen silent as well. Our attention, for those who care about the future of our planet, will turn to the United Nations Conference On Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, France in the coming week. Lots of news to keep on on…and plentiful links of good info within this post…so let’s get started.

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

TECHNOLOGY

Finding a secure mobile messaging app can be a daunting task. This article should help you easily narrow down your choices.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

You only have to step out of your back door to take part in this citizen science project. “Collecting Meteorites In Your Own Back Yard.”

ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE

Check out this amazing 46 billion pixel map of a small part of our Milky Way galaxy.

This nice retrospective puts NASA’s Apollo program in a new light.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

“The Great Pacific garbage patch is one of the world’s least talked about environmental disasters.” It’s plastic in paradise.

A new satellite program called FireSat, has the potential to be invaluable in a world where, due to climate change, large fires have become more common.

A slight rise in US carbon emissions was noted in 2014. Thought it was less than 1%, it’s still far too much and in the wrong direction.

This amazing animation from NASA gives us an idea of our planet’s yearly plant cycle.

A very interesting question! “Why Are Autumn Leaves Mostly Yellow In Europe And Red In North America?”

This very nice interactive map unveils the mystery of wind turbines.

What can the world learn from Europe’s self-styled greenest city? A lot!

Once again, Sweden is leading the way by challenging the world to go fossil fuel-free.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Here’s a very nice overview of the 2015 Atlantic tropical cyclone season. Joaquin was the most intense hurricane this year…reaching Category 4 status.

Recent discussions of a climate change “hiatus” have proven to be as unsound as the use of the word itself.

A good read from the World Meteorological Organization. “2015 Likely To Be Warmest On Record, 2011-2015 Warmest Five Year Period.”

One of the most sparsely populated states in the USA is also one of the leaders in the per capita CO2 production.

Do you think you’re up to taking the “hardest climate change quiz ever?”

The most unusual weather story I’ve seen in some time. “D.C. Weather Balloon Falls On Car In Philadelphia And Is Mistaken For A Bomb.”

Will be interesting to see how well this works out. “New National Weather Service Outlook Will Tell You About The Next Snowmageddon Up To A Week In Advance.”

A very informative read by Dr. Marshall Shepherd. “Four Odd Facts About Rain.”

A nice paleoclimatology read. “Scientists discover 308-million-year-old tropical forest in the Arctic.”

THE QUIXOTIC

Sadly, a vast majority of our elected public servants in Washington, DC are out of step with sound scientific evidence and the American public.

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

Cheers!

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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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