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18 October 2016

U.S. Model Issues Reach Main-Stream Media

Meteorologists have been talking about the long-range model issues for several years now, and many viewers of local weather already know that their local forecaster depends on the European long-range model much of the time. The superior performance of the European ECMWF global model made news during Hurricane Sandy, and the public likely first heard about the issue then. Congress did, because due to public pressure (and embarrassment?) NOAA finally …


22 September 2016

This Photo Speaks Volumes and Gives Me Hope For A Better World

The state of science literacy in America is frankly abysmal. Yes, I could write paragraphs about the chemtrail folks; those who think the world is 6,000 years old, and the 6% of the population who are convinced that the Moon landing was a hoax. Then I could start with the climate scientists I know who get death threats.   BUT THIS PHOTO GIVES ME HOPE.   It’s a photo of …


8 September 2016

OSIRIS Launches Toward Asteroid. It Will Bring Back a Piece of it!

I did a satellite interview with NASA Scientist Lucy McFadden Thursday about the launch of the OSIRIS probe. If all goes well, it will do something never done before, and bring back a few pieces of an asteroid orbiting the sun. You can see the interview below:


20 August 2016

Here Is How We Get More Women In Science

I ran across what I think is an important paper in PLOS One this week, and it involves women and STEM careers. Go to any science conference, and you see far fewer women than men, and this paper may have hit on why this is the case. In general, women do not seem to have the confidence that they can get through calculus, and make no mistake about it, it’s …


5 August 2016

Three Great Popular Science Books (and a bonus 4th)

I have not made any book recommendations lately, so it is high time I do. First for my fellow atmospheric science geeks (and those who have a math/physics background), the Tropical Meteorology textbook that was produced by Met-Ed (COMET) is excellent (you will need to register, but it’s free) and I have been enjoying it. I finally have my head around equatorial Kelvin waves! Even high school students (who have …


28 June 2016

Using Satellite Data to Forecast Flooding

A lot of folks have a vague idea of how valuable satellite data is for forecasting severe weather. With the launch of GOES R this fall, the data will be nearly real-time, like radar is now, and it will revolutionize forecasting. That said, we already have satellite products that (using the different IR and visible channels) can detect and track water vapor in the atmosphere.  I chair the NWA Committee …


3 June 2016

New Climate Spiral From Ed Hawkins

A big hat tip to the folks at Climate Central for alerting me to this. You likely saw the climate spiral courtesy of Ed Hawkins who is a climate scientist at the Univ. of Reading (UK). It melted the internet last month. Now he has made a new one showing how it will change for the rest of the century based on the latest most sophisticated models (which have done …


22 May 2016

Where The Fault Lies

Rural students in America who want a good education have a steep mountain to climb. Rural areas are generally poor, conservative, and tend toward fundamental religious beliefs, and this is turning out to be a real issue when it comes to teaching science. If you don’t believe me, ask a Biology teacher in rural Alabama, or almost anywhere in Texas. Too often, it’s not just angry parents they have to …


22 April 2016

You Can Thank These Three People for Earth Day

I remember very well watching the CBS Evening News (46 years ago today) on the first Earth Day. It was a major story, and I believe Walter Cronkite led the broadcast with it. We know a lot more about our planet now than we did then, and there have been some amazing successes in protecting our environment. We now know something that was not well understood then, and that is the …


4 March 2016

Looking Back Toward The Beginning of Time Itself

  NASA released a video today that shows the most distant object ever photographed. A galaxy that is 13.4 billion light years away. The Universe was 3% of its present age then and the red shift is an incredible 11.1. This object is now much farther away than 13.4 billion light years, because the Universe is expanding and remember we are seeing this forming galaxy as it looked 13,400 million …


11 February 2016

Einstein’s Gravity Waves Are Real

The American Physical Society has a good write up on the gravity wave discovery announced today here. AP Science writer Seth Borenstein has some background as well. The actual published paper is here: More on how LIGO works here:


11 December 2015

The Candle of Knowledge Flickers This Dark December

The Japanese have launched a spacecraft called Hyabusa 2 to look at an asteroid, and as it passed Earth this week (to get a speed boost), it grabbed this shot of the Earth and Moon in one frame. Take some time and look at that picture, and consider that the highest we go now is about a millimeter above the Earth in that image. We used to all the way …


6 November 2015

Someone Needs Some Support

Food science is way out of my knowledge base but when I see someone who is doing great science communication being hounded away from it, I want to help. Kevin Folta has a popular podcast about food science called Talking Biotech. Unfortunately, the following note was posted on his Facebook page today: I think the following quote from Isaac Asimov sums up the state of affairs we find ourselves in these …


27 July 2015

What’s Funny About That? Quite a Bit Actually!

 What happens when you write a blog that is so full of misinformation, and incorrect assumptions, that someone starts a separate a blog to correct the mistakes? Well, for one thing you get some good laughs, and at times a real feeling of Schadenfreude!  I’m talking about the blog What’s up With That (WUWT) and Hot Whopper which corrects the bad science posted there on a daily basis. If you don’t …


25 July 2015

Learning Physics on YouTube Can Be Very Entertaining

UPDATE: Hours after finishing this piece about physics online, I see a TED talk by John Green covering exactly the same subject with some great examples and his enthusiasm for it matches my own. So, enjoy the TED video below, and check out some of the real science on YouTube. I know you will have to wade through the Moon landing hoax,chemtrail,Clinton killed JFK junk, but there is a lot …


22 July 2015

Why Using El Nino to Forecast the Winter is Risky

The image above shows how very strong the developing El Nino in the Pacific, is compared to the 1997 event (which is the strongest on record). Since El Nino events usually peak in the later fall/winter, it sure looks like we are in for one of the strongest ever, if not perhaps a record breaker, but look closer at those two images. They are different. Notice the very warm water …


20 July 2015

Peabody Coals World of Illusion

Clayton Aldern at GRIST has a look at the world of climate denial through eyes smeared with coal dust, and it’s rather frightening. You almost have to ask yourself if they really believe this stuff. Even when you make the “Upton Sinclair adjustment” (“It’s nearly impossible to convince someone of something when their paycheck depends on it not being so”), you are still left with the equivalent of someone holding their …


5 July 2015

Frank Bruni’s Piece in the New York Times is a MUST Read

   I wish I could put words together this well. Frank Bruni’s California,Camelot and Vaccines in the NY Times today is worth the price of a Times  subscription by itself. A snapshot below, but read it all.


12 June 2015

Two Future Atmospheric Scientists

  If you ask almost anyone involved in atmospheric science, they’ll tell you that they were a born weather geek, and that is why when we meet a young person who lives and breathes weather, we do all we can to encourage them. The advice is always the same, take all the math and science you can in high school, to prepare for some tough college courses, and in the …


3 June 2015

This Will Make You Sit Down and Think For A While

I spotted this video thanks to Joe Hanson at It’s OK To Be Smart. He said after watching it that he needed to sit down and think for a while. I love reading about relativity, but i agree with Joe!  To get you to watch the 10 minute video, a question: You have identical watches, one you wind up and is running the other is not. Do they have the …