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28 January 2015

Predicting the Weather is Tricky Work

This is a guest post by long-time Raleigh North Carolina Meteorologist (and friend) Greg Fishel of WRAL-TV During Tuesday’s 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. news, I talked about ensembles, how they outperformed the deterministic models for New York City last night and that they appear to be performing better for the local area with regard to a storm arriving on Sunday. First, what are ensembles and why are they so …

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27 January 2015

Making Snowfall Forecasts More Accurate

We are at the cusp of some amazing technology that will hopefully make forecasting snowstorms, like the one predicted yesterday, much more accurate. I was on a local program produced by the TV station I work for (WBOC-TV) last week, and I showed a couple of smart phone apps that may eventually make a real difference in forecasting. Making better forecasts requires higher resolution models and that means more data …

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25 January 2015

East Coast Blizzard Brewing?

  There are increasing signs this early Sunday morning that the winter of 2015 is about to go into high gear. A major nor’easter is likely to develop Monday and move NE to off the New England coast by Tuesday evening. A word of warning here- there is still a lot of uncertainty in the strength and track of this low and that will play a big role in how …

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13 January 2015

Hanging With Smart People at AGU

The AGU meeting every December in San Francisco is truly an amazing experience, and while I only was able to be there for two days, it was well worth flying across the entire continent and back in 48 hours. Here are some sights and sounds from the AGU that I and others made. Up first is meeting Geoph Haines-Stiles one of the senior producers of the original COSMOS with Carl …

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12 January 2015

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Vaccine Against Pseudoscience

What does alternative math have in common with alternative physics, and alternative medicine? None of them work! This is a sample of an excellent edition of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk podcast about pseudoscience. It’s this kind of plain reasoning that make Neil Tyson the hero of college educated millennials, and science lovers everywhere. In the episode, the wiki list of cognitive biases is mentioned, and you can read it here. …

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23 December 2014

A Conversation With An Amazing Science Writer at The AGU in San Francisco

Writing about science is hard. Doing it very well is VERY hard. I had a nice long chat with my friend Bob Henson at the AGU meeting in San Francisco last Thursday. Bob is an amazing science writer who is leaving NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) after 25 years, and will be blogging for Weather Underground starting in a few weeks. He will be sorely missed at NCAR, but …

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20 December 2014

..and That’s What Science is all About Charlie Brown

I am just back from a whirlwind trip to the AGU Meeting in San Francisco. 25,000 Earth scientists in one place, and it’s among the largest science meetings on the planet. I shot some videos that I will post over the weekend, but in the meantime here is a talk I made in October 2013 (in Washington) as part of the AGU Science Speaker series.

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9 December 2014

Beware the Juice of Freshly Picked California Cherries

There has been some talk about a report on the California drought that was released this week, and it’s worth talking about the reaction to it. One thing that seems to have gotten particular attention is the following statement: “The current drought is not part of a long-term change in California precipitation, which exhibits no appreciable trend since 1895. Key oceanic features that caused precipitation inhibiting atmospheric ridging off the …

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6 December 2014

What You Missed In Science This Week

Unfalsifiable Belief- The Dark Side of Reason This piece on a recently published paper (in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2014. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000018) is a must read. Click the image to read it. Could this explain the faulty reasoning of those who refuse to accept the truth that greenhouse gases are warming the atmosphere, and those white lines behind jet aircraft are not government mind control chemicals? What do …

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26 November 2014

El Nino Modoki Style

I just finished a rather detailed piece for my station’s website about El Nino and long range forecasting. If you really want to understand what an El Nino is, and how it can help make a long range forecast, then it’s worth a read. Click the image below to read it. I warn you that it is long form, and there are 4 videos embedded that you really should watch. …

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21 November 2014

2014 On Way to Hottest Year on Record

My friends at Climate Central produced an excellent video that you should see and share.

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8 November 2014

Note to National Media- Stop Using the Term Polar Vortex!

In spite of valiant attempts by my fellow broadcast meteorologists to stop it, the so-called polar vortex is back and being blamed for just about everything again. Let me show you why this is dead wrong, and if you see a story in mass media blaming a cold air outbreak on the polar vortex, I can say categorically that it’s wrong. DEAD WRONG. There IS such a thing as a polar …

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7 November 2014

El Nino Threat Diminishing?? Modoki El Nino Coming?

NOAA released an update on the El Nino Southern Oscillation this week, and the odds of an El Nino are down to 58%. One of the main reasons for this is that the atmosphere has not responded to the rather weak warming in the Eastern Pacific. El Nino is not just an ocean warming, it is an ocean atmosphere interaction and so far the atmosphere has just not picked up …

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6 November 2014

Some Sciency Stuff You Ought To Read

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.” – Doctor Who  NPR has a great piece about a clock that is accurate to 5,000 million years, and why this is a real PROBLEM! Will we see more pieces like this after they axed their climate and …

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16 October 2014

Well Worth a Read: How Did We Become a Society Suspicious of Science?

I spotted this piece tonight by Keith Parsons a Professor of Philosophy at the Univ. of Houston-Clear lake. Well worth a read! He has a real point and it reminds me of Richard Feynman’s great quote: “Science is what we do keep from lying to ourselves”.

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14 September 2014

If British Airways Offered Jet Service To The Moon, How long A Flight Would It Be?

Have you ever thought about how long a commercial airline flight to the Moon would take?? It’s actually a good question, and an excellent way of getting your head around the vast distances of just our own solar system. It’s actually an easy math problem, and while not all such questions are that simple, they almost all come with surprising results. Meteorologists frequently get these type questions, and  can tell …

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23 July 2014

The Great Facebook Blizzard of 2014

At the AMS Broadcast Meteorology conference last month in Lake Tahoe, I presented a talk about widespread rumors on Facebook last January that a paralyzing snowstorm was coming. This is just one example of the love/hate relationship that meteorologists have with Facebook, and I was quoted in an article on TV News Check about this as well a couple of weeks ago. As I told the reporter for TV News …

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27 June 2014

NCDC: Hottest May On Record

  The National Park Service had an interesting post on FLIKR today (as well with this image): FROM NPS: Shrinking Snowpacks A recent snowstorm brought nearly 3 feet of snow near Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, and road crews are still working hard on opening the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Large June snowstorms like this one used to be more common in the northern Rockies, but average snowpacks have been in …

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25 June 2014

Chem-Trail Folks Crash AMS Conference on Broadcast Meteorology

We came back from lunch for our final session to find that every seat in the room had a DVD, and the same glossy brochure claiming that the government is giving you all kinds of disease from their secret spraying program. For those that may not have heard yet, these people believe that those white lines you see in the sky behind high-flying jet aircraft are actually mind/weather control chemicals. …

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23 June 2014

The Shoshone Road Cut

I know just enough geology to be dangerous, but I highly recommend a trip through Death Valley NP. Make sure you bring a good roadside geology book, and better yet, read it before you go. I took advantage of the drive back to Las Vegas from the AMS weather conference in Lake Tahoe to spend a Sunday in the park, and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve …

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