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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…


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.


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.”


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.


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.


A very cool astronomy read on how the universe could contain ten time more galaxies than previously thought.


Is the USA state of Wyoming trying to outlaw clean energy? If so, they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face.


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.


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.


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!


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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For February 1 – 8, 2016

Greetings to everyone! I hope all of you have had a nice start to February. It’s hard to imagine that January has gone in a flash. The next thing we know, the seasons will switch places in the hemispheres and the blistering summer heat will settle in for my neck of the woods. El Nino has made quite a bit of news lately. That phenomenon, among others, are covered in this post…so let’s get started.

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


An excellent read by Caren Cooper. “Scientists Should Talk To The Public, But Also Listen.”


The demise of Flash, one of the tech banes of my existence, may come sooner than previously thought…which is a few years too late for me.

Twitter has introduced algorithms. Nothing…and I do mean NOTHING can or will come good of this, save for the shrieks of joy from fear-mongers, hypsters, and shills.


Scientists have found evidence of continental collisions in Wyoming’s Teton Range, similar to those in the Himalayas, dating to as early as 2.68 billion years ago.

Would love to see this come to fruition. “U.S. Quake Warning System Could Save Lives When Seconds Count.”


A vastly underrated public health hazard. “The Truth About London’s Air Pollution.”


Folks living in the United States…did you know your local National Weather Service office has Twitter and Facebook accounts and can provide you with locally tailored forecasts and weather information?

NOAA and NASA have teamed up to study the current El Nino, one of the strongest on record.

Whoever thought that, in the middle of California’s historic drought, a little bit of El Nino induced rain could pose a problem?

It should come as no surprise that southern England’s floods in 2014 were linked to climate change.

Yet another weather event that has been linked to climate change…the Missouri, USA floods of December, 2015.

The drought that has plagued the western USA for some time now is rapidly becoming a new way of life.

At the other end of the rain/drought spectrum, residents in Yorkshire, England are dealing with the brutal aftermath and immense psychological stress of recent flooding.

A “tip-of-the-hat” to Pope Francis for not kowtowing to either special interests or the anti-science crowd and producing this well done video on caring for the only home our species will ever know.

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


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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For May 12 – 19, 2015

We’ve had another active severe weather week across much of the Great Plains. One of the beneficial “side-effects” of the recent storms is the badly needed drought relief that has been felt across much of Oklahoma and Texas. For agricultural and ranching interests, this is really good news. Many reservoirs that were dangerously low are filling up nicely. Unfortunately, flooding has been an issue in many areas. It was also an active period for tornadoes, particularly in Oklahoma. I have a few links from local National Weather Service offices in this post with preliminary damage survey information. Since the severe weather keeps me exceptionally busy (and today, 19 May 2015 is no exception),  I’ll be on the brief side for this post.

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


If, like me, you spend a considerable amount of time doing research work online in preparation for science-based articles, essays, or proposals, here’s a very handy read on research tools.


SciStarter is your “go-to” website for all things citizen science. Check out some of the new projects they’ve recently listed!

This has been one of the “hottest” citizen science stories in quite some time. Did Wyoming criminalize citizen science?


The Oklahoma “quakegate” gets more interesting by the day. “Groups call on state leaders to take action to prevent more earthquakes.”


Levels of ozone increase as the Northern Hemisphere spring weather warms. This could be making some seasonal allergy sufferers feel even worse.


Much to the chagrin of many…”Networks Are Obligated To Preempt Your TV Shows During A Tornado” How some people fail to comprehend this leaves me…speechless.

A thought-provoking essay on the California drought which, as of late, has now become a new way of life.

Here’s a very informative read on what could be ahead for 2015 and the current El Niño.

2015 got off to a warm start…and it may have no place to go but up from here.

Satellites are incredible tools that gather a wealth of information on weather and climate…but they’re not infallible.

The “third stage” of climate change denial has arrived and become the current popular modus operandi.

Looking into the climate events of the past: Oceans may have played a part in the Great Plains Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.

Damage surveys are ongoing at several National Weather Service offices in the aftermath of recent tornado events: Norman, OK; Tulsa, OK; Springfield, MO; Lubbock, TX. This information is very preliminary and will be updated as surveys are completed. Check with your local National Weather Service office for any details on recent severe weather in your area.

That’s a wrap for this post! Severe weather could be on tap for the plains states this weekend…so stay weather aware!



Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For May 5 – 12, 2015

The last day of an active severe weather episode is underway as of this post with tornado and severe thunderstorm watches in effect for parts of the Great Lakes and Ohio valley region. The focus of most of the week’s severe weather has been across the central and southern plains. If you’d like to review some of the data from past severe weather events, visit the Storm Prediction Center’s Severe Weather Events Archive. It’s a treasure trove of information that can prove helpful in many regards, especially for those interested in using past events and their relation to forecasting techniques. It’s also been a very long week for me…so this will be a very short post. Still, there are several items I’d like to share with you.

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


How often should you post on social media? It depends on what you’re using. The most important “A-#1” rule to remember is…quality over quantity.


Check out iSeeChange… a crowdsourced citizen science journal of community submitted local weather and environment observations.

A reminder for you to download the mPING app for your iOS or Android smart phone. It’s a very small app, won’t take a lot of space, and will help weather research with your real-time reports!

Has Wyoming criminalized citizen science? Certainly seems suspiciously malevolent to me.


“Using the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers have observed a gas clump in the early stages of its gravitational collapse for the first time.”


There’s a reason I never use incandescent bulbs unless absolutely necessary. “The Shocking Truth About LED lights.”

The western drought hasn’t spared Arizona from the same kind of water woes California is facing.

Starbucks is going to stop selling bottled water in drought-ravaged California.

The western drought isn’t only bringing problems related to water, the coming “fire season” is expected to be difficult as well.


With the addition of the Marginal and Enhanced SPC risk categories, I’m often asked what is the meaning behind it all. Fortunately, the folks at SPC have this handy graphic.

A very interesting read on weather forecasters, specifically those in broadcast media, and changing attitudes toward climate change.

A very tough job indeed. “Two Guys In Paris Aim To Charm The World Into Climate Action.”

Being a geoscientist can be very hazardous work. Unfortunately, two scientists recently lost their lives while studying climate change.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to access research stations in Antarctica due to sea ice which is increasing due to a variety of reasons.

Thanks to Hadley Cells, we can take a look at an interesting map that averaged cloud cover over our planet for the past thirteen years.

This past week was the 110th anniversary of the Snyder, OK tornado…one of the top 20 deadliest tornadoes in USA history. The death toll of 97 is approximate since there is no data on exactly how many people were killed. One of the more sobering images is the mass grave containing more than thirty unidentified fatalities from the tornado.


I’d like to extend a sincere “Welcome!” to my new followers! I’m glad you’re along for the fun! There are some cool things in the works for Tornado Quest over the next few months. Like all good things, it takes time and finding the right people for the right job. If you’re new to Tornado Quest, don’t let the name fool you. I purposefully explore and share a wide spectrum of earth science information, specifically geoscience, environmental, and atmospheric science topics. There’s always something interesting going on with this amazingly complex planet we live on. To focus only on storm chasing and specifically tornadoes, really misses the point. As one of my meteorological mentors told me in the spring of 1984, “All weather is interesting. There’s something fascinating going on every day. If someone can’t grasp that and tornadoes are all they’re interested in, well…they’ve no business being a part of this science.” He couldn’t have been more correct.

That’s a wrap for this post! See you folks again soon!


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